The title of this article rings like a child’s story or artwork – “My First Bicycle,” or “My First Vacation.” Typically, these stories are those of great anticipation for someone that may have not yet experienced it in like, but more commonly they are stories that those experiential veterans can read with appreciation, remembering to forgive the writer for naiveté; after all, it is their “first.” I title it this way because that’s how I feel here this week, at my first American Anthropological Association: a neophyte in a sea of weathered professionals and their favored protégés.
This would have been my second, had our Student Government come through on funding last year. Alas, we did not make a solid case to them, and still more, were going for nothing more than personal enrichment. This year is different; this year, our department sent four students to the AAA to present posters. And here I am. So let’s start with what I expected: