One of the most popular jokes among anthropologists is how often our work is mistaken for palaeontology. Almost every one of my colleagues and even a few of my students can relate an anecdote involving a situation where they were asked if they “dug up dinosaurs.” Imagine the difficulty I now face in my own work where the answer is effectively, “Yes, but not for the reasons you’re thinking.”
It doesn’t go without saying, so I’ll say it: I’ve never worked for the CIA, or done any intelligence or security work of any kind, nor would I. But all through my years living abroad, in Indonesia and Australia, I harbored a secret fantasy, that maybe, one day, I would be tapped.
Ian (1:25) starts us off by asking, just how well-written does a thesis need to be? "As anthropologists, basically what we do is write... whether it's writing your field notes, or whether it's writing up your articles or your dissertation... and most of us have never actually been trained in how to write." As Julia says, "there … Continue reading Ep. #14 Thesis writing, picturing cults, Muslims with caste, & fieldwork boredom: this month on TFS
A shaft of afternoon light began to stream through the window of the clinic room. Observing the light reflected in my eyes, she now saw in them the “Holy Spirit”. Assured, she said I could look at her again.
How do we ensure that the #metoo movements reach beyond both Hollywood’s red carpets and academia’s Ivory Towers, to areas where a shake-up is arguably most needed? How do we approach community solidarities that provide both victim and perpetrators meaning and comfort, at the same time as perpetuating the problem sexual abuse?
In this month’s panel discussion, Jodie (1:14) tells us about documents with agency: “Ideas just get up and grow legs, and they run away with themselves.” (Trigger warning: this segment mentions the recent Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. If you want to avoid that part, skip to 3:45.) Next, Ian (6:00) … Continue reading Ep. #4 Killer Docs, Imaginary Landscapes, Political Lies, and Emotional Risk: this month on TFS
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
Anthropologists love to compare themselves to tourists. Nothing more confirms the merit of anthropology and its commitment to ‘in-depth’ fieldwork than the cultural missteps of globetrotters – especially wealthy Western ones – as they bumble through quagmires of etiquette and faux pas in the act of rubbing up against foreign cultures across the world. Anthropologists … Continue reading Ethnographers vs ‘Tourists’
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