The New Face of Ethnography, from Tanzania to Thailand

The writings of an important Thai writer & journalist are just beginning to surface in the English language. I feel confident enough to say that I am the first anthropologist & ethnographer indebted to 'Rong Wongsawan, because my mentor Dr. Tony Waters is conducting this translation work, with the help of his Thai students, and … Continue reading The New Face of Ethnography, from Tanzania to Thailand

Life as an Insect Inside a Glass Jar: Language Learning Through Immersion

Life as an Insect Inside a Glass Jar:  Language Learning Through Immersion (Sic Semper, Malinowski and the Tropical Beach...) What does it feel like to live as an insect inside a glass jar? The praying mantis was removed from its environment suddenly, and plopped into a clean, bright glass vessel, along with other things that … Continue reading Life as an Insect Inside a Glass Jar: Language Learning Through Immersion

“Certain esoteric rites” for The Ethnographer

There need be no explanation for most occupations– but ethnographer?  At least one of Argentina's beloved poets would not have asked what I do if we'd met at a cocktail party, so I'd told him I was an ethnographer.  It's 1969, an assortment of olives and cheese crumbles between us, I swirl my dram glass … Continue reading “Certain esoteric rites” for The Ethnographer

Max Weber was a funny guy!

That’s right, Max Weber, the dour looking social theorist on the cover of your social theory text made jokes. How do I know this? Well, my wife and I just published a new book Weber’s Rationalism: New Translations on Politics, Bureaucracy, and Social Stratification, and this post is an essay about why you should read … Continue reading Max Weber was a funny guy!

Peace Corps Edifice Complexes

Most Peace Corps volunteers are young—in their early 20s. When I went to Thailand with the Peace Corps in 1980, I was 22, and fresh out of college with a degree in Biology. And I wanted to do stuff—big stuff—stuff that could be seen, and would be talked about, like The Pyramids of Egypt. The … Continue reading Peace Corps Edifice Complexes

It’s Not How Many Times You Fall….

I began writing my dissertation in 2003 or so. My first year in graduate school at Kansas State University, I had the good fortune of enrolling in Dr. Robert K. Schaeffer's graduate Social Change course. When Dr. Schaeffer assigned the requisite term paper due in every graduate level course I have ever taken, he gave … Continue reading It’s Not How Many Times You Fall….

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

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?

National Adjunct Walkout Day #NAWD

I started adjuncting in spring 2006, about two weeks after turning in my MA thesis at California State University, Chico. I was hired to teach sociology by an Anthropology professor I'd taken in grad school who was also the chair of the social and behavioral sciences (SBS) department at Butte Community College. I reread my … Continue reading National Adjunct Walkout Day #NAWD

The PhD as an Existential Question???

Originally published here at e.com in August 2012.  To PhD or not to PhD, that is that a question for you?  Well, at Ethnography.com we have years of unsolicited advice to those of wondering if all the uncertainties of grad school are for you or not. For example those of you have lousy grades for … Continue reading The PhD as an Existential Question???

Is an NSF Grant Just Another Cult Fetish?

I made a somewhat off-hand comment one of Ryan’s posts about graduate education on Savage Minds.Org some time ago.  I warned graduate students about “fetishizing” various types of grant sources like NSF, NIMH, Fulbright, and the various others sources of grad student funding which students compete to get.  This initially got me a deserved sharp … Continue reading Is an NSF Grant Just Another Cult Fetish?