Anthropology Blog Highlights, 8 January 2012
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Interesting things happening on anthropology blogs recently. Here are some anthropology blog highlights.
Anthropology Purpose and Scope
Anthropology Matters, Leith P Mullings
We live in a world where anthropological knowledge and practice have the potential to illuminate many of our current dilemmas and to envision possible solutions. It is my hope that over the next two years, we will make strides in demonstrating how anthropology, positioned at the nexus of the sciences and humanities, can bring our collective methodological and theoretical strengths to bear not only to expand knowledge, but also to engage communities in addressing social problems and achieving sustainable futures.
Note: Encouraging to see new AAA President Leith Mullings cite some of the great Anthropology Blogs.
The Purpose of Anthropology, Jeremy Trombley
The purpose of anthropology is to create a better world. I say that completely without irony or sarcasm, and it is only apparently normative. I am not saying “the purpose of anthropology should be to create a better world.” I am saying that it is to create a better world. How can I say that? How can I impose my purpose upon the vast field of anthropology with all of its different practitioners, each with their own vision of a “better” world and each with a different set of values and goals?
Note: See also Trombley on Anthropology and making a difference.
Discuss White Privilege
Despite all its talk about self-reflexivity, anthropology and anthropologists are not very self-reflexive when it comes to race, racism, and the **daily practices**/institutional and cultural norms and forms which make (white) racial privilege possible.
Note: See the journal article referenced in the entry below.
Anthropology as White Public Space?, Karen Brodkin, Sandra Morgen and Janis Hutchinson
How far has anthropology come in becoming racially inclusive? In this article, we analyze an online survey of anthropology graduate students and faculty of color undertaken by the AAA Commission on Race and Racism in Anthropology. Despite some progress, institutional and attitudinal barriers remain. We use the concept of “white public space“ to analyze these barriers: departmental labor is divided in ways that assign to faculty and graduate students of color responsibilities that have lower status and rewards than those of their white counterparts. Colorblind racial explanatory practices—discourses that explain away racially unequal institutional practices as being “not about race“—are common. We argue that such practices make many anthropology departments feel like white-owned social and intellectual spaces. We conclude by suggesting steps with which anthropology departments can create more inclusive social spaces that are owned equally by scholars of color and their white peers.
I’m Disgusted and Despondent, Rob Gargett
One of the benefits of an anthropological education is an awareness of the historical and current circumstances of the world’s indigenous people. I’m haunted by this awareness. . . . Those of us who feel ashamed, in the present, for the present-day circumstances of the world’s indigenous people, accounts such as this one published in today’s Guardian are particularly disheartening for the abhorrent acts that they chronicle.
the workmen of the mes aynak, Anthropology Major Fox would like to thank the men and women who are not anthropologists or archaeologists who work on field sites. The people hired to stimulate local economy, involve the community, and who, frankly, are sometimes more knowledgeable than us silly scientists.
Anthropology Teaching and Learning
Best practices and tips for Twitter in the higher-ed classroom
Try taking the reins, to meet your students at the information smorgasbord. Getting your students to interact with each other outside of class is one of the best ways to deepen their educational experience. Twitter is a tool that can enable ad hoc conversations and interactions among your students, in ways that you can track and foster.
Anthro 101 Readings: Early Marriage Among the Maasai, Dalton Luther
Thumbing through the most recent issue of American Anthropologist (vol. 113, issue 4), Caroline S. Archambault’s “Ethnographic Empathy and the Social Context of Rights: ‘Rescuing’ Maasai Girls from Early Marriage” has the hallmarks of a good introductory discussion reading. In it, she discusses the discourse surrounding efforts to end the practice of early marriage and juxtaposes that to her ethnographic work to provide a much more nuanced and contextualized examination.
Hrdy on Santorum, Matt Thompson
In prepping for my new gender studies course this spring I’m rereading Sarah Blaffer Hrdy’s Mother Nature. . . . It came as somewhat of a surprise to find that Hrdy, twelve years out from publication, had something to say about now top-tier presidential candidate, Rick Santorum. . . . What really stands out to me in the passage is the great wit that Hrdy marshals in her description of Santorum on the senate floor, not easy to do given the circumstances, recontextualizing the abortion debate as something older than politics itself. It’s a testament to what a talented writer can do with words and how one anthropologist contributed to the discourse by deconstructing it.
Anthropology Open Access and Broadcasting Anthropology
Bill in US Congress to limit Open Access, Michael E. Smith
The Research Works Act, H.R. 3699, is a bill that would make it illegal for researchers to post their own publications on the internet for public access. Guess who is behind this bill? Elsevier and the commercial publishing lobby (the Association of American Publishers).
Why HR 3699 Sucks, Alex Golub
I can see why Big Content is afraid: we, the construction workers, engineers, and planners, are all willing to work for free to make roads for whoever wants to use them, and we have free software that basically will run all the back office stuff. Do you see the beauty of this situation? It’s the executives, not the workers, who are afraid of being laid off once people realize that 90% of the people actually building the roads can do it without the help of the guys in suits.
Links to AIA Live-Tweeted Papers, Kristina Kilgrove
List of the AIA papers that I live-tweeted (with tweets by others who were in the same session). Each link sends you to a collection of tweets through Storify.