Outside the academy, I’m sure the perception remains that academics sit in leather armchairs, gazing out the gilded windows of our ivory towers, thinking all day. That has not been my experience, nor that of anyone I know. My colleagues and peers have, however, experienced levels of anxiety and depression that are six times higher than experienced in the general population. They report higher levels of workaholism, the kind that has a negative and unwanted effect on relationships with loved ones. The picture is often even bleaker for women, people of colour, and other non-White, non-middle-class, non-males. So whether you think academics are ‘delicate woeful souls’ or not, it’s difficult to deny that there is a real problem to be tackled here.
The 27th of May to the 3rd of June is National Reconciliation Week in Australia. Reconciliation, for anthropology, includes reckoning with the discipline’s colonial past, and confronting the ongoing problems within anthropology today. Anthropology and anthropologists have been involved in violence and dispossession against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. And it is still yet … Continue reading Hearing Indigenous Voices
We need to acknowledge the role we all play in silencing research. Consider the times we have dismissed a colleague’s idea because it ‘isn’t worth it’, or immediately assumed a paper must be faulty in some way because we don’t like its conclusions.
Although I’ve often been heard to sigh and groan that “technology hates me”, just like any other self-respecting anthropologist, in this post I want to consider just what we might be missing out on if we choose to totally avoid extending our minds into cyber-infinity and beyond.
Two of your familiar strangers are currently participating in the 2017 Australian Anthropological Society’s Annual General Meeting in Adelaide, this year held in collaboration with our UK and NZ anthropology colleagues. As such, we thought we’d do some “studying sideways” and take a look at some of the cultures of anthropologists in a conference setting. … Continue reading Fieldnotes from the AAS/ASA/ASAANZ Conference 2017
I was listening to a ‘Waking Up with Sam Harris’ episode a few weeks ago, called Facing the Crowd. It has since been playing on my mind. Harris talks with Yale Professor Nicholas Christakis, who, for a few short months in 2015/16, was also a Yale ‘Master’ - a title for academic caretakers of particular … Continue reading Unpacking the Yale Halloween Scandal
Can you engage in the present moment and let go of your other concerns while not engaged in a) an activity that demands all your attention, or b) under the influence of any drugs, or c) taking a sick day? Reading this might be a start, but hardly enough to free yourself from the pull … Continue reading Are You Living in Haste?
Questions about Exploitation and Invisible Work in Academia It is an open "secret" amongst academics that universities exploit the labour of their academic staff, and more importantly, that they exploit the unpaid labour of their academic staff. There are arguments for and against this – doesn’t every vocation evoke unpaid labour? Hasn’t academia always been … Continue reading In Academia, All You Need is Love
In some ways, it’s easier than ever before to be an expert in something - YouTube can teach you almost anything you want to know. At the same time though, it’s not the best time in history to purport to be an expert, either. And in a ‘post-fact era’, where politicians can make statements like … Continue reading Are You an Intellectual, or a Member of the Intelligentsia?
Author: Alex Di Giorgio, PhD Candidate in Anthropology at the University of Tasmania and Research Assistant for Larrakia Nation I remember my first year of university as being an introduction to the big bad world of academic writing. Taking home my first reading brick - back when they still existed – I was faced with … Continue reading Academic Jargon & Knowledge Exclusion