Broken Femurs and Cracked Backs: An Ethnography of Thai Motorcycle Safety

Introduction We arrived in Thailand last Thursday to visit our daughter Kirsten who teaches English in a Thai school. Within a half hour of arrival we were informed that she had just had an accident. She was driving her scooter near a Thai market in the small city of Phrae, when a “white car” backed … Continue reading Broken Femurs and Cracked Backs: An Ethnography of Thai Motorcycle Safety

Leaving Germany Again: Something about Bildung, Auschwitz, and Dresden

I’m leaving Germany after a two month long teaching gig at Leuphana University in Lueneburg, which is near Hamburg. Again I was impressed with the version of a university education that is being developed there—it values learning and investigation. Here is a blog I wrote about German Bildung, the philosophy of education, two years ago: … Continue reading Leaving Germany Again: Something about Bildung, Auschwitz, and Dresden

How are the Minds of PhD Students “Disciplined” by Graduate School?

Thinking about getting a PhD? Disciplined Minds by Jeff Schmidt is the book to read. Already getting a PhD, ditto. Already have a PhD?   You should also read this book, even though it was published way back in 2000, and relies on data from the 1980s and 1990s. It applies to today as well—little has … Continue reading How are the Minds of PhD Students “Disciplined” by Graduate School?

What would George Carlin Say? Might Translation be Reverse Plagiarism?

Still they ask you in court to “use your own words,” and more to the point of my profession, we tell our students to “use your own words,” and we even have fancy computer programs like “turnitin.com” that help us haul offenders off for plagiarism, which is the crime of using someone else’s own words … Continue reading What would George Carlin Say? Might Translation be Reverse Plagiarism?

Audience Reception of “Sing Along” Music: Hey Jude 1969 vs. Michael Row the Boat Ashore 1963

I have used this clip of Pete Seeger singing “Michael Rowed the Boat Ashore” in class for some years, now. The song is a great example of how the music of the American slave cabins moved into the mainstream American culture, and then moved all the way to Australia where this clip was made in … Continue reading Audience Reception of “Sing Along” Music: Hey Jude 1969 vs. Michael Row the Boat Ashore 1963

The US Army’s Human Terrain System Bites the Dust

….some argue that HTS was a good idea that was badly mismanaged. It would be more accurate to say that HTS was a bad idea that was badly mismanaged. Cultural knowledge is not a service that can be easily provided by contractors and consultants, or taught to soldiers using a training manual. HTS was built upon a flawed premise, and its abysmal record was the inevitable result. The fact that the program continued as long as it did reveals the Army’s superficial attitude towards culture…..Roberto Gonzalez

Why is Queen Nefertiti’s Bust in Berlin, and not Egypt?

Last weekend, I visited The Egyptian Queen Nefertiti this weekend on a trip to Berlin’s Neues Museum. “New” being a museum built in the mid-nineteenth century, bombed during World War II, and finally re-opened in 2009 after reconstruction following German Reunification. The bust of Nefertiti is the Neues Museum’s best-known artifact. The Nefertiti statue is … Continue reading Why is Queen Nefertiti’s Bust in Berlin, and not Egypt?