There are signs of hope that the U.S. Senate is putting together a Better Immigration Bill. At the same time, the whole issue has become intertwined with that never-ending battle about the relation between race and IQ (thank you to Beatriz Reyes-Foster for the tweet alert).
The scenes take us back to Franz Boas and the foundations of academic anthropology in the United States. Immigration was supposed to be one of the key public issues for the American Anthropological Association in 2013, but I’m not seeing any updates since the General Statement on Immigration of 2011. The AAA General Statement is important, as it discusses anthropology’s history and obligations, but it was written in opposition to state-level laws and does not comment on current national legislation.
I have also not seen much in the anthropology blogosphere (let me know if I’m missing something!). Michael Scroggins is pursuing a related track with The Political Economy of IQ at Ethnography.com, and Debra Lattanzi has been tracking immigration reform with pieces like Five Myths about the Immigration Line at Living Ethnography, but it would be nice to see more anthropology on the issues of immigration, nation, ethnicity, race, and IQ.
So this is a CFBP, a call for blog posts. I can put your work up as a guest post, promote it, or suggest another outlet in the anthropology blogosphere.
Here are some additional possible resources:
Featured book is Alain Testart’s Critique du don, as links go from the American Anthropological Association to Savage Minds to some off-the-beaten-path anthropology.
- Marriage and Other Arrangements. The inaugural issue of Open Anthropology, a public journal of the American Anthropological Association. A well-done collection of peer-reviewed work, with immediate social relevance. I’ve also added it to my strangely-popular and search-engine friendly Anthropology, Sex, Gender, Sexuality: Gender is a Social Construction.
[But see Alex Golub's assessment Yes, The AAA’s new ‘open access’ ‘journal’ is just as disappointing as everyone thought it would be.]
- Become an Expert in Less Than an Hour. Good tips from Kerim Friedman at Savage Minds.
- La propuesta de una sola página como herramienta en antropología aplicada. This goes well with the 1-hour expert advice! “Si aceptamos el desafío de elaborar una propuesta de acción concreta, un programa social, un evento cultural, o cualquier otro tipo de intervención debemos saber que no podemos escribir un documento de 200 páginas porque no lo van a leer por las mismas razones ya enumeradas al principio de este artículo: urgencias, falta de tiempo, agenda ajustada. Es preciso ser capaz de sintetizar al extremo en una sola página toda la información necesaria para que quien tiene la responsabilidad esté en condiciones de tomar la decisión sobre nuestra propuesta. Esa información incluye los objetivos del proyecto, las acciones propuestas, los argumentos y datos duros que las justifican, el costo económico de llevarlas a cabo, los beneficios que se obtendrán y qué se ha hecho hasta el momento. Todo en una sola página. Si es más probablemente no lo lean.” I agree that the 1-page skill is desperately needed, although I also see unexpected opportunities for longer formats.
- Against Signposting. Interestingly, in this post (Kerim Friedman is on a blogging roll!), Kerim takes a somewhat different tack than the short-and-upfront approach.
- How scholars in the Middle East developed anthropology more than 1000 years ago. Although I generally stick with the academic-disciplinary formation for What is Anthropology, an interesting reflection here.
- Naturalism and Anthropology. Al West meditates on issues also related to link #5.
- Transfers of the third kind – what are they? Another off-the-beaten-path-link e-mailed to me by Aldo Matteucci, who is reading French anthropologist Alain Testart’s Critique du don.
Anthropology links, featured book is Paul Stoller, The Power of the Between: An Anthropological Odyssey.
- Paul Stoller or Why Anthropology Still Matters. I’ve very much appreciated the writing Gina Athena Ulysse and Paul Stoller have been doing at The Huffington Post, and this is a double-dip, as Ulysse wrties about Stoller winning the Anders Retzius gold medal. Here’s Ulysse interviewing Stoller: “Anthropology will continue to get a bad rap as long as we anthropologists think and write about the human condition in obtuse ways. When I talk about my life in anthropology and the people I have come to know and love over the years, I find people in the audience moved–not because what I had to say was particularly brilliant, but because I opened my experience–my joy and pain and that of my Nigerian friends–to them and such an opening established a connection. At my last several talks, I’ve seen people shed a tear to two when I talk about the depth of my ethnographic experience and the depth of the humanity of my Nigerian friends. That kind of connect is usually missing in anthropological accounts. In my view of things, this connect should be the centerpiece of what we do.”
- Anthropologists should do a better job of promoting their field. “Cultural anthropology’s branding problem is largely superficial. Anthropologists possess unique knowledge and skill sets that have real-world value. Anthropology helps us understand the world in a way that cannot be reduced to numbers or captured in surveys. . . . Anthropologists need to take better ownership of our brand. The complexity of anthropological concepts such as culture, power and the global should not dissuade anthropologists from engaging in meaningful public discourse.” Thanks Beatriz Reyes-Foster and Ty Matejowsky for a great column!
- Stephen Wertheim reviews Diamond in The Nation. Alex Golub not only puts out his own reviews of Jared Diamond, Anthropology, Footnoted, he reviews the reviews. This is important work–for better or worse, Jared Diamond is approaching Margaret-Mead-like reach. Even though Napoleon Chagnon probably got more column-inches and splash in The New York Times, this has faded into a news media blip. Diamond’s book continues to get mentions and coverage. Like it or not, if anthropologists want “ownership of our brand” (link #2), we do need to tackle Jared Diamond.
- Searching for a Career in Anthropology.
- Sarah Franklin comments on egg-freezing, a response originally posted on ReproNet to the debate previously highlighted in Link #7.
- Speaking in Proverbs: Language and Everyday Life in Belize.
- Prehistoric Drugs – Cultural Tools. A blog by retired anthropologist and pharmacist Pamela Watson, now added to the Anthropology Blogs 2013 list.
Book Description: It is the anthropologist’s fate to always be between things: countries, languages, cultures, even realities. But rather than lament this, anthropologist Paul Stoller here celebrates the creative power of the between, showing how it can transform us, changing our conceptions of who we are, what we know, and how we live in the world. Beginning with his early days with the Peace Corps in Africa and culminating with a recent bout with cancer, The Power of the Between is an evocative account of the circuitous path Stoller’s life has taken, offering a fascinating depiction of how a career is shaped over decades of reading and research. Stoller imparts his accumulated wisdom not through grandiose pronouncements but by drawing on his gift for storytelling. Tales of his apprenticeship to a sorcerer in Niger, his studies with Claude Lévi-Strauss in Paris, and his friendships with West African street vendors in New York City accompany philosophical reflections on love, memory, power, courage, health, and illness. Graced with Stoller’s trademark humor and narrative elegance, The Power of the Between is both the story of a distinguished career and a profound meditation on coming to terms with the impermanence of all things.
Featured book is The Archaeology of Consumer Culture by Paul Mullins.
- Alex Golub’s full review–Anthropology, Footnoted: Jared Diamond’s The World Until Yesterday–is up and well worth a read. Added to Anthropology on Jared Diamond – The World Until Yesterday.
- “I had no power to say ‘that’s not okay:’” Reports of harassment and abuse in the field. Kate Clancy.
- Commodifying Conception: The Material Culture of Sperm Banks. Paul Mullins.
- Size Matters, or Does It? Agustin Fuentes.
- A lesson on lessening, from economics. Ken Weiss: “In the case of recent economics, hugely negative effects have resulted, because politicians bought into convenient ideas, in part citing this influential ‘research’ in their support. The word’s in quotes because it’s treated by the public, politicians, and scientists as if it were the same as gospel. But who knows how many thousands–or millions–of people lost homes or jobs, were driven into crime, disease, divorce or despair and the like, or even died because of lost access to affordable medical care, because government policy did not come to their rescue–because of a polarized commitment to some preconception?” Ideas very much related to a Black Swan Anthropology.
- 2013 AAA Elections Going on Now.
- Anthropology Resource. Website under construction sent to me by an international anthropology student. Seeking advice and promotion, feedback welcome.