The term was not everywhere at the AAAs, but it was used consistently, ambitiously, audaciously, and almost totally unironically to offer anthropology something that it (supposedly) hasn’t had in a long time: A massive infusion of theory that will alter our paradigm, create a shift in the field that everyone will feel and which will orient future work, and that will allow us, once again, to ask big questions. To be honest, as someone who had been following ‘ontological anthropology’ for the past couple of years, I was sort of expecting it to not get much traction in the US. But the successful branding of the term and the cultural capital attached to it may prove me wrong yet.
In fact, there were just two major events with the world ontology in the title: the“Politics of Ontology” roundtable and the blowout “The Ontological Turn in French Philosophical Anthropology”. But these events were full of ‘stars’ and attracted plenty of attention.
Will this amount to anything? What is ontology anyway? Were there other themes that were more dominant in the conference? I don’t have any answers to these questions yet, but I hope to soon and will let you figure it out when I do. If you get there before me, then fire away in the comments section and we’ll see what people think.
11 Things Everyone Should Know About Virginity Culture Huffington Post Filmmaker Therese Shecter dives right into the ambiguities that surround the idea of virginity and virginity culture in her new documentary, “How To Lose Your Virginity.”...
Explore Everything: Place-Hacking the City, by Bradley L. Garrett Times Higher Education There are hints of classic ethnography here, harking back to those intensive, immersive projects of the 1950s and 1960s.
Film Review: 'Leviathan' CineVue The latest remarkable offering from Harvard University's Sensory Ethnography Lab (whose additional credits include Sweetgrass, Foreign Parts and the upcoming Manakamana), Lucien Castiang-Taylor and Verena Paravel's...
In my fieldwork, I found Indonesian Occupiers using Facebook as a cyberspatial plaza, a place where they can collectively engage with what John Dewey called the expression of “ideal possibilities unified through imaginative realization and projection” - the “active relation between the ideal and the actual.” What Dewey is describing is imagination, the ability to imagine better worlds and to work with others to bring about those different realities.
What is anthropology? Coldwater Daily Reporter While everyone I talked to through throughout my college career had at least a vague understanding of what history is and what being an historian entails, most had no idea what anthropology is.
In this article, I return to my engagements with people in the field not only to address the specific circumstances and trajectories I encountered there, but to make a case for allowing our engagement with Others to determine the course of our thinking about them and to reflect more broadly upon the agonistic and reflexive relations between anthropology and philosophy. I do so in order to suggest that through ethnographic rendering, people’s own theorizing of their conditions may leak into, animate, and challenge present-day regimes of veridiction, including philosophical universals and anthropological subjugation to philosophy. I am interested in how ethnographic realities find their way into theoretical work. Using the mutual influence between Pierre Clastres and Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari as a case study, I argue against reducing ethnography to proto-philosophy. The relationship, in fact, may be more productively seen as one of creative tension and cross-pollination. This sense of ethnography in the way of (instead of to) theory—like art—aims at keeping interrelatedness, precariousness, curiosity, and unfinishedness in focus. In resisting synthetic ends and making openings rather than truths, ethnographic practice allows for an emancipatory reflexivity and for a more empowering critique of the rationalities, interventions, and moral issues of our times. I conclude with a literal return to the field and reflect on how the story of lives continues. [ethnography and critical theory, fieldwork and life stories, exchanges between Clastres, Deleuze and Guattari, concept work, human becomings, the unfinishedness of anthropology]
Alexa Curtis recently attended EPIC, the Ethnographic Praxis in Industry Conference, a truly international gathering of ethnographers, anthropologists, strategists, designers, and others who are committed to understanding ...
Social media practices and technologies are often part of how ethnographic research participants navigate their wider social, material and technological worlds and are equally part of ethnographic practice.
What is the relationship between the ethnographer and the ethnographic subject when that subject isn’t a human, but an autonomous software program? What does it mean to relate an emic account of a such a being, and what does ethnographic fieldwork look like in such an endeavor? How do classic concepts like agency, materiality, and the fieldsite play out when investigating what is often seen as more of an object than a subject? What do we even mean when we say ‘object’, and what are we using this term to exclude?...
Australia history. Yirrkala drawings from the Berndt Museum of Anthropology Yareah Magazine In 1947, senior ceremonial leaders at Yirrkala in north-east Arnhem Land produced hundreds of vibrant crayon drawings on paper for the anthropologists...
Evolutionary anthropology is the interdisciplinary study of the evolution of human physiology and human behavior and the relation between hominids and non-hominid primates. Studies of biological evolution generally concern the evolution of the human form. Note that cultural evolution is not the same as biological evolution. Evolutionary anthropology also studies human anatomy, endocrinology, and neurobiology and differences and changes between species, variation between human groups, the relationships to cultural factors, and the interaction of humans with their environment.
Ken Walsh reports on how Team Obama made an unprecedented effort to understand the voters and speak their language, slicing and dicing the electorate with a sophistication and savvy that the Republicans couldn’t match and are still scrambling to replicate.
“The Obama team’s opinion research was led by Joel Benenson, a tough-minded pollster from New York. [...]
In 2012, he succeeded, largely because the depth of his research was so extraordinary. Benenson says his goal as a pollster is “to understand the hidden architecture of opinion” and to “probe deeply into the underlying values and attitudes that shape how people are viewing the issues of the day and the content of their lives.”
One way that Benenson set the Obama campaign apart was through the ethnography project. It was designed as a deep dive into the world of everyday Americans not only to clarify their views on politics but to find insights into their “daily lives,” Benenson told me.
After the responses [to an online questionnaire] were analyzed, nine voters were chosen from among the participants in each of the three states, and they were further divided into groups of three, or “triads.” At that point, detailed interviews were conducted to learn even more about them as individuals.
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