Ana provided me with generous amounts of knowledge, time, and care. She knew I was doing a doctorate, and the understanding between us was clear: her knowledge, and her story, would be at its core. Now, that isn’t going to happen. I can use her information for articles, but it doesn’t feel the same.
Online ethnography, where researchers may never share a physical space with the participants in their research, is finding its methodological feet. Combine that with an analysis of these sorts of online media, combining intimacy, community, public speaking, and private listening, and you’ll see what makes podcasts so fascinating and potentially fruitful for anthropologists.
“Doing history ideally is like doing anthropology of people who are gone, except that you don’t have native informants, you only have these written fragmentary sources. But the same hermeneutic struggle goes on: you’re trying to understand somebody from their point of view.” Dipesh Chakrabarty, the Lawrence A. Kimpton Distinguished Service Professor of history and … Continue reading Ep. #7 The knowledge we value: Dipesh Chakrabarty talks the contentious politics of knowledge production
There aren’t that many passions that have stuck with me since I left New York City some ten years ago. But one thing feels like home wherever I encounter it: baseball. I came to the game in the late 1990s, when the teams were great in both Queens and the Bronx. I savored Mike Piazza’s … Continue reading Searching For Home (Plate) in Indonesia
For anthropologists, who labor in a discipline obscure enough that even most educated lay-people have no idea what it is, podcasting offers a new and powerful way to reach out and tell the general public about our work, how we do it, and, critically, why it matters. If you’re anything like me, you have also … Continue reading Anthrocasts: Who’s Talking, Who’s Listening?
In this wide-ranging conversation, Dr. Assa Doron talks about India’s waste, both liquid and solid, and the physical and institutional infrastructures that handle it--or fail to, plus the transformative effects of cheap mobile phones on India’s poor, how trash turns back into treasure, how to write anthropology that’s both “appealing and authoritative,” and where to find schnitzel on the Subcontinent.
Did you know that your mind is a cesspit of anger, and fear, and unresolved moments from your childhood? It’s not just you. Apparently everyone is living in a minefield of emotional triggers and traps. And underlying all of your behavior is a completely individualized personality structure, built up from stray comments and the subtle … Continue reading It’s Not Just Your Parents’ Fault
Anthropologists everywhere are reaching out to engage the public. Blogs. Podcasts. What we have to say matters, and we want to be heard. And I don’t think it’s working. Why not? Is it the jargon? The interdisciplinary turf wars? Could it be the ontological turn? While all of those things certainly contribute to anthropology’s general … Continue reading Anthropological Hot Takes
About one year ago, on June 13th, 2016, I was in a village down the Flores coast, south of my primary field site, where I had been invited to attend a wedding. I expected I would be in that village all day, bopping around the various rituals, feasts, and celebrations, taking notes, asking questions, drinking … Continue reading Fieldwork Feelings Following the Pulse Nightclub Massacre
Earlier today, I bought a cheap sweater. (I think Australians call this a “jumper.”) As any student of commodity chains knows, that sweater, sitting in a big-box store, embodied a range of economic and social processes. Follow the thing, and it leads you back to the factory where it was made, the field where the … Continue reading Spirit Blinders