(via Livejournal Anthropology Community) Jesse de Leon, Master’s student in Social Anthropology, has started blogging on his research on Filipino bloggers - a very interesting blog about migration, transnationalism, identity and internet research. In his second post he explains:
I’m what’s known as a 1.5 generation immigrant: someone who immigrated as a child old enough to remember the country they were born in. In my case, I immigrated to Canada from the Philippines when I was ten years old. I consider myself as having grown up in both countries. I know that if I had grown up entirely in the Philippines, I would be a different person than what I am today.
It’s therefore understandable that I’m interested in issues of migration, transnationalism, and identity. I’m particularly interested in what identity is like for other Filipinos who have migrated. Do they consider themselves as being completely Filipino? Or do they see themselves as being Canadians now (or American, or Australian, or so on)?
Now, this is all well and good, but lots of other people have examined these issues. What am I doing that’s new? Well, I’m investigating Filipino migration and identity, but I’m investigating them through blogs. Specifically, I’m looking at how Filipino bloggers talk about these issues. I’m also looking at how Filipino bloggers don’t talk about these issues.
Former professor of anthropology at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and peace activist for over 30 years, Jeff Halper has started blogging. In his post "Welcome to an Engaged Anthropologist's Blog" he explains:
My idea for this blog is to to bring you into the world of a peace activist in Israel-Palestine, an American-born Jew who became an Israeli some 35 years ago when he immigrated from Minnesota to Israel, who nevertheless believes in peace, justice, human rights, international law and critical thinking -- thinking "out of the box" when it come to framing solutions to the world's problems.
I'm not really conspiratorial or nutty as some of my words on the link among Israel, Jewish "leaders" and American Empire might imply (...). In fact, I'm a mild-mannered professor of Anthropology (used to teach at Ben Gurion University and elsewhere) who would love to do nothing more than go back to teaching and writing about the deconstruction of consciousness among the Nacirema or some other such stuff.
>> visit Jeff Halper's blog (but why is there no RSS-feed??)
Halper has been nominated for the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize for his grass root peace activities, along with Professor Ghassan Andoni
A Montreal newspaper story has rapidly sent Filipino tempers rising around the world. Luc Cagadoc, a 7-year-old pupil, was punished by a lunchtime day-care monitor: “You are in Canada. Here in Canada you should eat the way Canadians eat,” the Quebecois educator allegedly said, and went on to observe that Luc “ate like a pig.” The reason: Luc insisted on eating with a spoon and fork as most Filipinos do.
"Educators and parents alike should find ways to work together to avoid traumatizing children who deserve more than to be made to feel inferior because of their parent’s culture", the editor (I suppose) of the Philippine Daily Inquirer comments.
In a follow-up article called Spoon Wars, anthropologist Michael L. Tan gives us more information about food, eating habits and cultural history (that's the role anthropologists should play, isn't it?):
For Filipinos, and most Asians, spoons were the greatest invention ever. Throw away the knife and the fork but never the spoon, which we use for soups, desserts, vegetables, even to cut meat.
Anyone with knowledge of culinary history can tell you the spoon was the first eating utensil to have been invented. Knives, well, they were originally invented as weapons, and then got reduced for the dining table. And the fork, the infamous fork that westerners insist is the main eating utensil? They come much later, introduced from the Middle East into southern Europe, but treated with disdain by the northern Europeans.
Etiquette changes all the time because they’re based on meanings we give to people, events, places. In earlier less civil times, meals could become quite violent so the last thing you needed were utensils brandished like weapons, which is why the Chinese resisted knives and forks and stuck to chopsticks.
But don’t worry, with 8 million Filipinos living and working in Canada and all kinds of other remote, savage lands, many infiltrating homes as nannies and cooks and housekeepers, we’ll teach the world that the proper way of eating is with a spoon and a fork.
She has recently completed her PhD in Social Anthropology at the University of Hull, UK. Many might know her as frequent poster in anthropology email-lists. She's particularily interested in internet and its effect on our daily lives. Her doctoral research is an ethnographic account of my three years living and working in a virtual community.
My so-called anthropology newspaper is getting more and more crowded. The most recent addition is Cultural commentary", a blog by anthropologist Marcel J. Harmon. He is partner and founding member of the consultancy Human Inquiry, that "applies anthropological/ethnographic methods within an evolutionary framework" to among others "improve human applications of technology, increase profits, and maximize productivity by analyzing how people use technology - from laptop computers to architectural spaces - thus enhancing the enjoyment, comfort, efficiency, satisfaction, and safety of both customers and employees".
Also added: The life of PhD with the subtitle "Writing a PhD can be fun, but it can also be torture. This is my space for coming to terms with writing my thesis". Many thoughts about the writing and working process!
Most homepages of anthropologists at universities only consist of a boring list of non-clickable publications. One of the few exceptions is the homepage of Joshua Barker at the University of Toronto. Eight papers can be read, including papers that have been published in exclusive journals like Current Anthropology. His research focuses on Indonesia, on urban studies, crime and security, and new technologies. Barker is currently conducting a three-year research project 'Engineers and Political Dreams: Indonesia's Internet in Cultural Perspective'.
Some weeks ago, he's started his blog Metropolis 347
For some reason, information on what is going on on anthropology conferences is difficult to obtain. Accidentally, I stumbled upon the website on a conference by the Association of Social Anthropologists on Approaches to Indigenous Knowledge that was held six years ago. Strangely enough, all papers are published in full text.
From the introduction:
Anthropology's enduring interest in people's knowledge systems has recently attracted the attention of development policymakers and practitioners. 'Indigenous knowledge' has emerged with the focus on popular participation and planning-from-below. It has opened up opportunities for anthropology to engage practically as never before. How might it further contribute to, and learn from this current burgeoning of interest, which has taken it somewhat by surprise?
Here's a try to sum up the anthropology year 2005 based on entries in this blog (in English). A look back might be useful especially if you are as disorganized as I am and tend to forget everything. This is a post in progress!
Among the most discussed topics last year we find the African village at the zoo in Augsburg in Southern Germany. Earlier last year, the tsunami disaster triggered similar debates on racism and colonialism.
Much debates arose on CIA sponsers anthropologists to gather sensitive information and related Anthropology and Counterinsurgency: The Strange Story of Their Curious Relations. On Savage Minds, a post on Jared Diamond's book "Guns, Germs and Steel" and the reasons for differences in progress for different societies received 128 comments! Anarchist anthropologist David Graeber was fired from Yale and the research by an undercover anthropologist among her own students raised discussions on the ethics of fieldwork.
2005 can be characterized as the year anthropology finally became visible on the internet.
A large rage of new websites and blogs popped up as for example the group blog Savage Minds, Tad McIlwraith's Field Notes, John Norvell's initiative AnthroBlogs - a community of nine anthropologist-bloggers, Wolfgang Wohlwend's blog Anthronaut, the relaunch of anthropology.net with lots of new bloggers and most recently the fieldwork blog Cicilie among the Parisians by Cicilie Fagerlid - to name a few. Furthermore, the question How can we create a more plural anthropological community? was raised.
Open access to research material is crucial here and this topic was widely discussed Although a survey by the American Anthropological Association revealed that there's a minimal willingness to post one’s own work online, more and more papers do appear online. Kerim Friedman put his dissertation in Anthropology online before it was published as a book. The most recent Open Access initiative is the full text journal: Ecological and Environmental Anthropology at the University of Georgia.
Anthropologists have also been more visible in the media and managed to react when their knowledge was needed on the aftermath of the Katrina disaster. And within a short time, a new website was launched: Understanding Katrina: Perspectives from the Social Sciences. They showed how in this case applied anthropology becomes aid.
Earlier last year, Anthroscope - a new anthropological radio show was launched.
The engagement for "ways to advance a more relevant and public scholarship" was actually the rewarded when Luke Eric Lassiter received the Margaret Mead Anthropology Award for his Collaborative Ethnography.
Lots of articles appeared in newspapers on business anthropology, so that Grant McCracken asked: "Ethnography a Buzz Word in the Industry - Where is the Quality Control?".
There have been lots of interesting studies, stories and books, among others the article Somali immigrants share New England's small-town values or Stories of an African Bar Girl - "an ethnography done by an illiterate" or studies on gun enthusiasts.
Very useful: Alex Golub made a list on popular ethnographies.
Here on antropologi.info, a post on the Internet Gift Culture and on Thomas Hylland Eriksens book More and more anthropologists, but they're absent from public debates - "Engaging Anthropology" the interview six anthropologists on anthropology and internet and a new anthropology search page and aggreagator anthropology newspaper received some attention while the new forum in English hasn't been used at all (much activity on the German forum, though).