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Saba Mahmood: A tribute

Saba Mahmood: A tribute

Today marks 40 days since Saba Mahmood’s passing. In my family culture and tradition, 40 days after death is an important marker of passage, of coping, of figuring out how you will move on… for both those who have passed and those who experienced the loss. To mark this moment, on behalf of Anthrodendum, I invited scholars representing diverse stages in their own careers, each of whom has a different relationship to Saba and her work. As a collection of notes, these {+}

Learning From Design Researchers: Jan Chipchase’s Field Study Handbook

Learning From Design Researchers: Jan Chipchase’s Field Study Handbook

Jan Chipchase is a leading design researcher. Some of you may have come across his work on the anthropology of mobile phones. I discovered it by chance while flicking through a copy of Wired magazine some years back. That Wired piece became a core reading for students when I taught a Business Anthropology module at Manchester. It opened my eyes to a wider world of anthropology. Jan has extensive experience of working with interdisciplinary teams to carry out field based {+}

Race is Still a Problem in Anthropology

Race is Still a Problem in Anthropology

By Anar Parikh [The following essay emerges from conversation with fellow PhD student and AES/SVA attendee, Scott Ross (George Washington University).] How is it that a senior anthropologist used the n-word during a plenary lecture and no one is talking about it? At last month’s American Ethnological Society Spring Conference in Philadelphia, Sherry Ortner delivered one of three keynote lectures, titled “Documenting Newark: Violent Resemblances.” Whereas much of Ortner’s work during the past two decades has focused on conceptualizing and {+}

Roll Your Own QDA (Working With Text 5)

Roll Your Own QDA (Working With Text 5)

Many social scientists purchase expensive qualitative data analysis software to code their field notes and interview data, but I want to show how you can accomplish the same thing for free using Dynalist or Workflowy. Neither app is truly free, but they both offer generous free plans that allow you to do a lot before you would need to pay for a subscription. We are also going to ignore most of the features offered by these apps, such as outlining, {+}

Anthropologists and Espionage, chapter 4,378

Anthropologists and Espionage, chapter 4,378

Is there anything new to say in the never-ending discussion of anthropology and espionage? Most anthropologists think it is unethical to gather intelligence on behalf of the government when they do their fieldwork — but not all of them. Some spies pose as anthropologists. Sometimes people start out as anthropologists and move into espionage as a form of applied work. Indigenous people and others have criticized anthropology as itself inherently a form of unethical surveillance which aids colonialism. It turns {+}

Hobbes the Science Fiction Writer (Part II)

Hobbes the Science Fiction Writer (Part II)

In Part I, I explored how Hobbes’s myth was a kind of science fiction story designed convince his readers to end the English Civil War by accepting peace under the rule of a single sovereign. (For Hobbes that meant either King or Parliament, but not both.) I also discussed how that myth “requires both the artificial man and the state of nature,” since “one part of the story cannot work without the other.” Now, in the conclusion of this two-part {+}

Hobbes the Science Fiction Writer (Part I)

Hobbes the Science Fiction Writer (Part I)

It is common to meet people who believe that much of the world is beset by “tribalism” and that the only thing holding back the chaos of a Hobbesian war of all against all is the presence of “strong leaders.” This worldview reached its apogee during the Cold War, when the US used it to justify propping up numerous dictators around the world, helping them brutally suppress separatist movements and impose authoritarian rule. The argument was that the alternative would {+}

Around the Web Digest: February 2018

Around the Web Digest: February 2018

Now that spring in the northern hemisphere is returning,  my seasonal affective disorder will probably revert to regular depression again.  However, the monthly harvest of internet discourse remains fruitful with my just as consistent monthly round-up. Well if I was not already in a state of severe anxiety regarding the job market for anthropology majors and my perpetual underemployment, this set of readings from Cultural Anthropology would have Sparta kicked me into the abyss. A little curvy Paleolithic figure meets the Facebook algorithm. {+}

Sun Ra > Black Panther

Sun Ra > Black Panther

The Black Panther movie has been out for a little bit now, and posts both pro and con have been circulating on the Internet (Kerim has a quick roundup in a microblog of his). As a white guy who studies the Pacific, I don’t really have anything to say about Black Panther, which I liked as well as any entry in Marvel’s massive movie franchise. I guess it’s not surprising that Black Panther’s hero ends up endorsing an Obama-like liberal {+}

Lazy PowerPoint (Working With Text 4)

Lazy PowerPoint (Working With Text 4)

We all know we should bike to work, but sometimes the weather is bad, or we are late, or just feeling lazy, and so we take the car. Similarly, we all know that we shouldn’t use use PowerPoint, or if we do use PowerPoint we shouldn’t stuff them full of text and bullet points but instead use illustrative pictures. But sometimes we are running late, or just feeling lazy, or maybe even have a good reason1 for using text-heavy slides, {+}