Ethnography.com Reset!

 

Ok, my book mss Is off to the publisher, academic article on the “forthcoming” list, summer travels done, and new class launched. In other words, no more excuses for ignoring Ethnography.com! So here are some of the plans.

–I’m going to go more aggressively after the field of anthropology. I became involved with Ethnography.com in the first place by whining how anthropology had abandoned the subject of culture back in 2007 or so. No more whining. Since anthropology has abandoned culture, I want to take it up here, with no apologies!

–I still think that Participant-Observation is a great technique. But why don’t anthropologists ever do it anymore? All those Fulbright and Wenner-Gren applications seek money for only the “observation” part. Going abroad to be an English teacher, NGO worker, businessperson, consultant etc., means that you are also a participant—and will wrestle with the same moral dilemmas the people you observe do. In other words, like those unapologetic colonialists Malinowski and Radcliffe-Brown. Or more to the point, returned members of the Human Terrain Team like Mark Dawson.

–Speaking of participant observation, I just read something I wrote in 2010 about being busted by German immigration on Christmas 2009 for losing my passport. In the blog, I recalled how the Germans bad-mouthed “African” immigration, and I promised to write something positive about my experiences with Tanzanian immigration in particular. Maybe it is time to do that.

–As part of our Weber book, we studied carefully the ethical questions facing politicians. I suspect I will be writing about that more. In the meantime, the “potted plant” blog I did earlier this year, and posted here is still one of my favorites!

–Speaking of ethics, IRBs really kind of bother me. And the discussions about “ethics” that take place in such places really bother me. The idea that complying with regulations from the US federal government makes you ethical makes me want to gag. Filling out paperwork is not about ethics; wrestling with human situations for which there is no right or wrong is.

–Finally a note about the layout on ethnography.com. Well, let’s face it is so 2005. I will need to go hang out with some computer geeks to figure out how to do it better—and will do so in the coming months.

–Every time I write something about the short-comings of evolutionary theory and i.q., it brings out the unreconstructed fans of socio-biology and “human bio-diversity” it attracts heated responses from people who believe that iq is biologically determined, and therefore associated with race. Posting something like this is always a good reminder to me that there are still racial-determinists out there. I still have an interest in discussing this, but my interest in dealing with this school of thought is waning. Still, in a future blog, I may include a provocative link or two.

–Rants about the funding of higher education, the position of the social sciences in the university curriculum, etc., are always welcome, and a great stress reliever for anyone caught up in that part of the rat race! Plus here at Chico State, the Academic Senate just passed a sort-of vote of “no confidence” in the President.   We’ll have to wait and see what happens with that.

Anyway, that is what I am planning for the coming month or two on Ethnography.com. Now, is there anyone out there who also wants to contribute? Email anything you think might be appropriate to twaters@csuchico.edu. Submissions are welcome dealing with the social sciences in general, and anthropology in particular.

That’s it for now. More on-line soon!

Oh, and sorry for any and all typos.