Two important lessons we learned at the 2013 Annual Meeting in Chicago:
1. Recent graduates in anthropology are deeply devoted to the field and motivated to spread the good word. The rising scholars we spoke with had broadly-conceived career goals like ?make a difference? and ?do something meaningful?. And they were eager to introduce anthropology into less-familiar career settings ? design anthropology, program evaluation, evidence-based policy, data artistry, digital anthropology, organizational behavior, heritage management, to name a few. Discussions in the hallways, between sessions and workshops, in the Careers Expo and the Section Summit, often centered on the array of career alternatives available to anthropologists and the preparation needs of students in a rapidly evolving job market.
The Human Terrain System is under critique again, and this time not from the AAA, but from a pro-military Congressman who finds that the program was rife with waste, fraud, and abuse. As the Army Times reports, Congressman Duncan Hunter reports ?It?s shocking that this program, with its controversy and highly questionable need, could be extended.? Apparently Human Terrain contractors burned through $726 million in the name of providing actionable social science to the military.
“So this suggests that the male hybrids might not have been fertile, whereas the females might have been fully fertile,” says Svante Paabo, director of the department of genetics at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, who …
[The following is an anonymous reader letter I received in response to some of the recent discussions about anthropology & the ontological turn.]
I don?t get the ontological turn, to be honest. Oh, I get it intellectually, this struggle to understand how we can understand the other yet also incorporate that into our philosophy, and to open up our thinking beyond just a mentalese version of culture (rules, symbols, etc.). We?re material beings, we?re agents, the world is a material place, other people think differently than we do? You think that would all be common sense at this point for anthropologists, rather than a big existential crisis all over again.
(Savage Minds is pleased to run this guest column from Gina Athena Ulysse as the launch post of our new Writers? Workshop series. Gina is an associate professor of anthropology at Wesleyan University. Born in Haiti, she has lived in the United States for the last thirty years. She is also a poet, performance artist and multi-media artist. Prof U, as her students call her, is the author of Downtown Ladies: Informal Commercial Importers, A Haitian Anthropologist and Self-Making in Jamaica (Chicago 2008). She recently completed Why Haiti Needs New Narratives, a collection of post-quake dispatches, essays and meditations written between 2010-2012. Currently, she is developing, VooDooDoll, What if Haiti Were a Woman, a performance-installation project. Most recently, her writing has been published in Gastronomica, Souls, and Transition.)
North Country Public Radio
Catching up on my journal reading over Christmas break, I came across a study by an international team of anthropologists which points to a fascinating pattern in how humans move across the landscape. Whether foraging for food in Tanzania or walking
(Savage Minds is pleased to run this interview with Kirin Narayan as part of our Writers? Workshop series. Kirin is currently professor in the School of Culture, History and Language at Australian National University, after a distinguished career in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Wisconsin. She is the author of numerous books and articles, written across all possible ethnographic genres, including the monographStorytellers, Saints, and Scoundrels: Folk Narrative in Hindu Religious Teaching, folklore such as Mondays on the Dark Night of the Moon: Himalayan Foothill Folktales, the novel Love, Stars, and All That, her memoir My Family and Other Saints, and the writing guide Alive in the Writing: Crafting Ethnography in the Company of Chekhov.)
This past month, I interviewed Kirin Narayan over email, she in Australia and India, and me in the USA. Inspired not only by her writings, but also by an ethnographic writing workshop she led for faculty and students at the University of Colorado a couple years back, I wanted to share her insights and inspiration with Savage Minds readers and participants in ourongoing writing group. Below is our exchange. Enjoy, learn, write!