Encounters with Benjamin Bloom: Part One

For the last few semesters, I have taught a course on "ethnographic methods" to designers in an MFA program. The class itself is my own design but the title was gifted to me. I can't say that I approve of the term "ethnographic methods," but one has to go along at times. In the main, it … Continue reading Encounters with Benjamin Bloom: Part One

Researching Around the Surveillance State

Last month in the New York Review of Books, historian Natalie Zemon Davis wrote a short essay about her experience with the FBI in late 1952. Upon returning from France, where she was conducting archive research for her PhD thesis, this happened: Not long after my return, two gentlemen from the US State Department arrived … Continue reading Researching Around the Surveillance State

To Disrupt or Preserve The University

Lately there has been a lot of heat around the idea of disrupting higher education. In fact, the search phrase “disrupting higher education” currently yields almost 2 million results via Google. Like everything else disrupted in the recent past, the impetus here is the application of digital technology to a new domain in order to … Continue reading To Disrupt or Preserve The University

Call For Papers: AAA 2014

CFP AAA 2014: Producing Anthropology, Producing Science: Citizen Science and Emerging Problematics Many of the challenges facing anthropology today have their parallels in the emerging citizen science sphere. Anthropologists have long conceptualized, and re-conceptualized, the permeable boundaries of knowledge production, but new challenges emergent within citizen science mark a changing landscape where new forms of … Continue reading Call For Papers: AAA 2014

Happy #anthrovalentineS Day

I will leave it to the historians of wikipedia to sort out the history of Valentine’s Day. And I will leave the critique to the Huffington Post . Today I want to publicly thank @DonnaLanclos , an anthropologist who works in a library, for storifying the results of the twitter hashtag #anthrovalentines . My favorite tweet, … Continue reading Happy #anthrovalentineS Day

Gates On Diamond

2013 was a year marked by yet another Jared Diamond book and yet another round of anthropological hand-wringing over Jared Diamond’s public profile. I won’t launch into a criticism of Diamond. Instead, I will sum up the year of Jared Diamond with the following Bill Gates takeaway: He (Diamond) describes several areas in particular, like … Continue reading Gates On Diamond

Academic Deans, The NSA and Censorship

Jay Rosen has written a fascinating article in the Guardian today about Johns Hopkin’s response to this blog post by Professor Matthew Green. The short version of the story is that Green wrote a blog post about the NSA and cryptography on September 5th. Last Monday, Green received a takedown request from the dean of … Continue reading Academic Deans, The NSA and Censorship

On Time and Evaluation

by Scott Freeman I was recently at a bar and jokingly attacked by a couple of friends about non-quantitative data. Consultants love them some numbers. While their jests were well taken, the underlying point was also well taken. As Hervè Varenne addressed in his position paper on anthropology and education, students of anthropology often find … Continue reading On Time and Evaluation

Lawrence Cremin and Mara Mayor Discuss Technology and Education In 1989

Given the discussion of MOOCs that has been occurring in the blogosphere over the last year, I thought it might be helpful to get a longer perspective on technology and education. In that spirit, I have dug up this 30 minute conversation between Lawrence Cremin of Teachers College and Mara Mayor of the Annenberg CPB … Continue reading Lawrence Cremin and Mara Mayor Discuss Technology and Education In 1989

Discovering Exaptation: Or, How To Leverage Your Philosophical Baggage To Further Science

I want take up Tony’s question about this Dennett quote: There is no such thing as philosophy-free science; there is only science whose philosophical baggage is taken on board without examination (Dennett 1995) One way to answer this is through recourse to the literature on Science and Technology Studies (STS). We could weave our way … Continue reading Discovering Exaptation: Or, How To Leverage Your Philosophical Baggage To Further Science

Jason Richwine, Scientist?

"We destroy people with the inappropriate tools we use to study them" - Ray Birdwhistell Jason Richwine has emerged to defend himself in a National Review editorial. As you might expect, Richwine contextualizes his dissertation as an exercise in scientific fortitude and paints himself as a heroic seeker of truth. For example, he sums up … Continue reading Jason Richwine, Scientist?

“1 + 1”: More than an Equation

by Amina Tawasil Schooling is supposed to either spark or augment IQ/cognitive ability which is then exhibited as ‘skills’. Thus, it only follows that schooling increases the chances of upward mobility for girls, women and people of color. And, for men and women in ‘small villages of ailing countries’, schooling is considered a pillar to … Continue reading “1 + 1”: More than an Equation