03.08.05: The blog has moved to www.antropologi.info/blog/anthropology/
, and several broken links have been corrected
Here are the most recent posts on the new blog location:
Friday, April 08, 2005, 13:55
New book by Lila Abu-Lughod: The Politics of Television in Egypt
"Dramas of Nationhood. The Politics of Television in Egypt" by anthropologist Lila Abu-Lughod is the first major work to analyze contemporary Egypt TV watching nation. 10 years went into researching and writing the book. Ten years spent watching television melodramas with Egypt’s subalterns to write a book that no one who watches television will ever read. It is an academic work that analyzes the “post-Orientalist epistemes” in the relationship between Egyptian melodramatic series and the (re)production of the nation/state.
In a region over-colonized by Western political scientists and journalists writing “behind the scenes” accounts, a book that takes seriously the oeuvre of Usama Anwar Ukasha (“the Naguib Mahfouz of Egyptian television”) comes as a breath of fresh air. >> continue
Lila Abu-Lughod: The Interpretation of Culture(s) After Television
Interview with Lila Abu-Lughod by Nermeen Shaikh of AsiaSource
American Ethnologist Book review: "The Anthropology of Media: A Reader" and "Media Worlds: Anthropology on New Terrain"
Book review "Faye D. Ginsburg, Lila Abu-Lughod and Brian Larkin: Media Worlds: Anthropology on New Terrain
Australian Journal of AnthropologyAugust, 2004 by Jennifer Deger (findarticles.com)
Friday, April 08, 2005, 13:05
Shattering shaman myths: New book explores female roots of shamanism
University of Buffalo Reporter
In a new book published last month by Random House, Barbara Tedlock, professor of anthropology, challenges the historical hegemony of the male shamanic tradition, restores women to their essential place in the history of spirituality and celebrates their continuing role in the worldwide resurgence of shamanism.
Tedlock's book, "The Woman in a Shaman's Body", also presents empirical studies that find common shamanic practices to be very effective in medical terms and discusses why this is the case. Women shamans, she says, have often practiced in the fields of healing, birthing children, gathering and growing food, keeping communities in balance, presiding over ceremonies and rites of passage, maintaining relations with the dead, teaching, ministering to those in need, communing with nature to learn her secrets, preserving the wisdom traditions, divining the future and dancing with gods and goddesses. >> continue
Ecstasy, Madness, and Spirit Possession in the Nepal Himalayas
Thursday, April 07, 2005, 11:59
Book review: Political Competition and State-Society Relations In Mount Hagen
Edward P. Wolfers, The National (Papua New Guinea)
The book "The Name Must Not Go Down: Political Competition and State-Society Relations In Mount Hagen, Papua New Guinea" by Dr Joseph Ketan is primarily a study of political competition in the area around Mount Hagen. It began as a PhD thesis, and as a work of scholarly analysis, it is a mega-success.
The award of his PhD and publication of his book make Dr Ketan, himself a member of a local group, the Kawelka, in the Mount Hagen area, afully-fledged member of the academic community. As a member of one of the groups of whom he writes, Dr Ketan, is in the unusual position for a student of anthropology of being, at least in linguistic and many cultural terms, an insider from the community about which he writes. >> continue
Wednesday, April 06, 2005, 19:14
Women have a leading role in North Korea's economy
Andrei Lankov, Australian National University, Asia Times Online
SEOUL - A defector from the North, a typical tough Korean auntie with trademark permed hair, smiled when asked about "men's role" in North Korean families: "Well, in 1997-98 men became useless. They went to their jobs, but there was nothing to be done there, so they came back. Meanwhile their wives went to distant places to trade and kept families going."
Indeed, the sudden increase in the economic strength and status of women is one of manifold changes that have taken place North Korea over the past 10 or 15 years. >> continue
(via Danny Yee's blog)
Wednesday, April 06, 2005, 01:09
Indigenousness and the Politics of Spirituality
Sabina Magliocco, Anthropology News April 2005, American Anthropological Association
The commodification of indigenous spirituality is based on Romanticism’s construction of indigenes as more authentic, closer to nature and the sacred than Westerners; but it grew out of popular fascination with indigenous spirituality, fueled partly by ethnography and its imitators. By the 1980s a growing popular literature on New Age mysticism was emerging, drawing many concepts from Romantic notions of indigenous spirituality.
The commodification of spirituality led to outrage on the part of many indigenous peoples that white “wannabees” were playing at being Indian and appropriating their spiritual traditions. Some Native American groups decreed that only members of their own tribes would be permitted to practice certain traditions. Another possibility that appealed to some indigenous groups was to copyright their spiritual practices through the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).
The idea that the right to spiritual practice is determined by blood violates everything we know about the constructed nature of race, ethnicity and culture. As anthropologists, we cannot turn our backs on our most fundamental assumptions, even to protect indigenous groups whose spiritual traditions have been fetishized. Taken to its logical extreme, it leads directly to essentialization and racism. >> continue
Anthropology News April 2005 - Overview
Monday, April 04, 2005, 23:41
The Angry Anthropologist - another anthropology blog!
The Angry Anthropologist has existed already since november last year. Looks like a very interesting blog dealing about social and cultural anthropology issues. In his first post, the anonym blogger with "background in economic anthropology, cognitive anthropology, and social network analysis" writes:
"So why The Angry Anthropologist? For decades anthropologists, especially cultural anthropologists, have had to fight misleading public images of their discipline, replete with popular notions of corduroy-wrapped professors nestled in comfortable offices, and never-ending salary checks. The reality is quite different. We have made important contribution to the fields of marketing, advertising, economics, development, public planning, and public health, and have even moved into business. Contrary to whatever documentary was recently aired on PBS, the vast majority of us are not physical anthropologists, or are endlessly seeking funding grants for obscure projects. We work in a variety of disciplines, and bring our expertise to bear on important questions of the day." >> continue to The Angry Anthropologist
Friday, April 01, 2005, 16:49
Smithsonian Folkways to Open MP3 Music Store
The Smithsonian Institution is entering the highly competitive world of music downloads by offering the Smithsonian Folkways collection of ethnic and traditional music in an online music store. Smithsonian Global Sound, the new project, will be formally launched during the Smithsonian Folklife Festival in June.
Global Sound will charge 99 cents a song, which are available in MP3 format. The Smithsonian will pay royalties to the artists, as its recording label has done with records and CDs. The Web site, www.smithsonianglobalsound.org, will allow searches by artist, geographic location, language, cultural group or instrument. All of the Folkways archives, including photographs, can be downloaded onto a screen. >> continue
Friday, April 01, 2005, 16:44
New book: Divination and Healing: Potent Vision
Divination and Healing: Potent Vision, a scholarly collection of articles from the University of Arizona Press, examines a number of divinatory systems in Africa, Asia and the Americas. Divination is present, to some extent, in all cultures, ranging from well-known types like astrology, tarot and a variety of psychic activities, to those a bit more arcane, involving such diverse phenomenon as umbilical cords, comet tails, bouncing pearls, roosters, rats and cheese.
For the most part, social scientists have viewed these pursuits from a materialist perspective, seeing them as the illusionary byproducts of the human desire for control in a perilous and unpredictable world. However, in recent years, anthropologists have begun reassessing divinatory frameworks and the subjective meaning they have for participants, because of the growing recognition that many of these techniques actually work. >> continue
Friday, April 01, 2005, 16:39
Reconstructing tribal history
The Telegraph, Calcutta
Tribal societies have seldom recorded their own history. They usually relied on oral transmission of events, which raises definite difficulties for mainstream historians, who have seldom given serious thought or space to tribal struggles or movements. Recently, Sussex University celebrated the 150th anniversary of the historic Santhal Hul calling for reconstruction of tribal history.
In the wake of this memorable event, a researcher should not forget that writing history has always been determined by the dominant ideologies and class interests, creating products more or less of specialised brands. >> continue
Wednesday, March 30, 2005, 22:31
Lots of book reviews on The Canadian Review of Sociology and Anthropology's site
Just discovered the Canadian Sociology and Anthropology Association's website. You can't read the articles in The Canadian Review of Sociology and Anthropology, but you'll find lots of interesting book reviews. Lots of stuff to explore! >> continue to the Book Reviews
American Ethnologist Book Reviews
Danny Yee's Book Reviews - anthropology
Monday, March 28, 2005, 21:52
Young Muslims: Search for a True Islam - by Anthropologist Martijn de Koning
Anthropologist Martijn de Koning (Leiden University, Netherlands)
Since the murder on Van Gogh radical Muslims are the centre of attention. However, it is still a minor group that is radicalizing. In this lecture the focus will be on the life of ordinary, not radical and not criminal, young Muslims and how they negotiate in different domains (especially internet) about what Islam is, what the importance of Islam is and how they should practice Islam. In the end some concluding remarks will be made on the relationship between 'radical' and 'moderate' Islam. >> continue
Anthropologist Martijn de Koning is one of the blogging anthropologists! I found his blog after he had left a message in my guestbook. He writes mostly in Dutch but has a huge collection of Islam-related links. Very interesting - and partly in English - is www.religionresearch.org, a blog by several academics who research religion including Martijn Koning. Check also their news aggregator with links to religion-related news stories from around the world!
Monday, March 28, 2005, 20:37
Book review: Reindeer People - Living with Animals and Spirits in Siberia
Ronald Hutton, Times Online
Piers Vitebsky is one of a tiny number of British experts on the region and an internationally renowned anthropologist. This book "REINDEER PEOPLE: Living with Animals and Spirits in Siberia" is the record of successive visits that he has made over the past 17 years to live with members of a native people called the Eveny in the Verkhoyansk Mountains in the far north-east. Like his earlier work, it shows him to be both an excellent scholar and a gifted writer, with a feeling for landscape and character and a knack for metaphor and allusion. >> continue
Piers Vitebsky: What is a shaman? - Worlds of the Shaman (Natural History, March 1997 / findarticles.com)
Peoples of the Russian North and Far East (Arctic Circle)
Wednesday, March 23, 2005, 10:36
The emerging field of commercial ethnography
Since October 2004 Jesse Kipp has been working at a top San Francisco advertising firm, Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, where he operates simultaneously as an anthropologist, a market research assistant, and a documentarian. Kipp is the company's answer to a burgeoning industrywide research movement called "commercial ethnography."
The documentaries themselves are highly stylized romps into the inner lives of target audience members -- everyone from football fans bitching about a cable outage during the big game to the unguarded talk of Lisa and Amanda, which will be used to inform a new advertising campaign for Britney Spears' perfume, Curious. In the end, the agency uses the films both to woo new clients and to better understand and craft ad messages. >> continue
antropologi.info's special on Corporate and Business Anthropology
Sunday, March 20, 2005, 21:22
Book review: Empires of the Word: A Language History of the World
Martin Jacques, The Guardian
There are many ways of recounting the history of the world - via the rise and fall of civilisations, the fortunes of nation states, socio-economic systems and patterns, the development of technology, or the chronology of war and military prowess. This book tells the story through the rise and decline of languages. It is a compelling read, one of the most interesting books I have read in a long while.
Nicholas Ostler does not adopt a narrowly linguistic approach - based on the structure of languages and their evolution - but instead looks at the history of languages, the reasons for their rise and, as a rule, also their fall. While it is a history of languages, it is at the same time a history of the cultures and civilisations from which they sprang. >> continue
(via Arts & Letters Daily)
Sunday, March 20, 2005, 18:57
Modern American family: Strained and losing intimacy
The intimate moments that once were the glue of American family life are disappearing amid job demands and nonstop activities. Scientists at UCLA Center on Everyday Lives of Families have spent the past four years observing 32 Los Angeles families in a study of how working America somehow gets it done. Day after day. "We've scheduled and outsourced a lot of our relationships," says the study's director, Elinor Ochs, a linguistic anthropologist. "There isn't much room for the flow of life, those little moments when things happen spontaneously.
For Ochs, the most worrisome trend is how indifferently people treat each other, especially when they reunite at day's end. In her view, the chilly exchanges repeated in so many of the study's households suggests something has gone awry. >> continue (Link updated, 29.3.05)
Sunday, March 20, 2005, 17:40
The power of dead bodies in Eastern Europe
The Oberlin Review
“Dead bodies have enjoyed political life the world over,” said anthropologist Katherine Verdery on Monday. She did not, however, mean this literally. Verdery’s lecture, appropriately called “The Political Lives of Dead Bodies” after the title of her new book, aimed to explore the tremendous changes across Eastern Europe that accompanied the end of Communist rule. By studying the dead for political purposes, Verdery hopes to gain better understanding of these changes and their impacts. >> continue
Book review: The Political Lives of Dead Bodies Reburial and Postsocialist Change by Katherine Verdery (Commonweal, June 4, 1999 / findarticles.com)
Wednesday, March 16, 2005, 23:19
Race again: Anthropologist Kerim Friedman comments on controversial article
A few days ago, Armand Marie Leroi, an evolutionary developmental biologist at Imperial College in London, wrote a controversial article in the New York Times. She claimed, that contrary to what anthropologists have to say on the subject, perhaps "race" isn't a purely social construct, but does have some scientific validity after all.
Anthropologist and blogger Kerim Friedman comments on this article:
"The sad fact is that race is not simply a shorthand for Leroi's maps with elevations, contour lines, and reference grids, but refers to all kinds of cultural and political differences that have nothing to do with genetics. More importantly, these genetic difference map rather poorly on to our common sense notions about "race," in ways that do nothing to help us understand the many important genetic issues that Leroi believes the term will help us face."
He invited population biologist Fredrick Gentz, a Ph.D. candidate at Temple University, to comment on the article.
>> read more on Kerim Friedman's blog
Alex Golub: OK, OK, one more quick thing on race
Anthropology and Race - Discussions in theClassroom
American Anthropological Association Statement on "Race"
Tuesday, March 15, 2005, 10:45
What is Civilization?
When asked this question directly, many people answer that a civilization is simply a synonym for "society"--that a civilization is simply a group of people living together. This definition is betrayed when you press the point with borderline examples. Are you comfortable with the phrase "Inuit Civilization"? Or "!Kung Civilization?" Or "Australian Aborigine Civilization"? Most people are not. There is no doubt as to whether the Inuit, !Kung or Aborigines constitute societies, but we waver on the question of their civilization. Obviously, then, the two words are not the synonyms some would claim. >> continue
Read also the most recent entry The Meaning of Civilization
Sunday, March 13, 2005, 23:30
Frazer's The Golden Bough is available online
This classic study in early anthropology (all in all 12 volumes, I think) is published online as part of Project Gutenberg. del.icio anthropology pointed to the book published on Bartleby's website. But the book can also be downloaded from Sacred Texts-website and Project Gutenberg - without any ads.
Wikipedia on The Golden Bough and amazon reviews
California Digital Library: 61 Free Anthropology Books in fulltext
Sunday, March 13, 2005, 14:49
Collision of cultures? Somali immigrants share New England's small-town values
As almost 1,400 Somali refugees poured in this nearly all-white New England town, the natives weren't quite sure what to make of them. Here were people who looked different, spoke little English and had little money. And expected this city of 35,000 to find them jobs and places to live.
But these Muslims from Africa, it turned out, shared many of Lewiston's small-town values. The Somalis wanted to raise their kids in a safe, quiet community where faith was important. As both groups discovered, things as simple as potluck dinners and henna hand painting can go a long way toward bridging a vast cultural divide. >> continue
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