Liquor Store Mind Bender Puzzle

This challenging mind bender puzzle is great fun to do over coffee, with friends, or on the toilet…alone. Imagine you are working as a cashier at a liquor store, late in the evening, the night after St. Patrick’s Day. Note: all California Super Lotto transactions are not entered in the cash register, but they must … Continue reading Liquor Store Mind Bender Puzzle

“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

Language Learning, Stigma, and Protecting a Potentially Spoiled Identity

This blog is about why ethnographer Erving Goffman’s observation of stigma are important not just to ex-cons, but also to professors like me on foreign exchange programs. Goffman, as many sociologists and anthropologists know, observed the maneuvers of the marginalized and stigmatized in society, and then wrote about how they thought about their disability. He … Continue reading Language Learning, Stigma, and Protecting a Potentially Spoiled Identity

Second-class PhD

"I never thought I'd be a second class citizen," he lamented. "Where I come from, education is the most important thing. A man with a PhD is respected, listened to." He shook his head gravely. "What did I do to cause such treatment, that I wouldn't be listened to by my colleagues?" He dug a … Continue reading Second-class PhD

Ethnography, Tanzania, PhD degrees, and Something to Read at Bedtime

         Someone told me once that a PhD is a license to write for other PhDs.  As Donna Lanclos notes, this is different than making a living, and getting a full-time tenure-track job.  Nevertheless, as Donna herself demonstrated with her own book about childhood in Northern Ireland, this is a license that we can … Continue reading Ethnography, Tanzania, PhD degrees, and Something to Read at Bedtime