Thursday, December 20, 2012

Gift Guide 2012! Last Minute Gift Guide for the Anthropologist in Your Life

Look, I know how it goes. You're not really sure what anthropology is all about, but you want to get something thoughtful for your loved one who studies, teaches, or practices anthropology. So what do you do, go straight for the Indiana Jones Box Set, right? No. Put down the whip - it's not funny anymore. Here are some last minute gift ideas for your loved ones in Anthropology. Equally important: pay special attention to the Holiday Anti-Gift List at the bottom.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

#AAA2012: Whatever You Do, Don’t Call It “Frisco.”

First and foremost, Happy Veteran’s Day and thank you to all the servicewomen and men (my father and grandfather, included) who defend this country, even though we’re like a big dysfunctional family of 350,000,000 people. Despite the fact that our President (in general, not any specific one) does not always use you in the smartest ways, your willingness to join in the first place is admirable. It disgusts me that we only give you one day of the year and then think we’re even. You deserve more (and yet, you still fight).

Many of you might remember that last year’s American Anthropological Association meeting in Montreal was my first. What many of you don’t know is that I was high-as-a-kite on the tailpipe fumes of academia for weeks to come. I made many friends, many connections, and learned a lot about myself and what I want to do in my academic career. I anticipate very much of the same, this week in San Francisco. I am not presenting a paper or poster – my proposal was accepted, but the panel was cut – but if you want me to tell you about my research in Senegal, find me and I’ll be more than willing!

I will be live tweeting all week long with the tag #AAA2012, so follow me at @plazdiquehardt (or #FF me, preferably before Friday though). Unfortunately, there is no highly anticipated “Science in Anthropology” open discussion, but there are going to be some fantastic sessions in Medical Anthropology and Biological Anthropology. Hopefully, I’ll remember to post pictures. Like last year, I will be at the BAS business meeting and keynote on Friday night. If you’re there, and someone awkwardly says “Hi” as you stuff your face with egg rolls, it’s probably me.

Finally, I’d like to mention that I've been chosen as the Society for Medical Anthropology and National Association of Student Anthropologists’ Emerging Leader in Medical Anthropology. The program entails a professional mentorship which will hopefully lead to a “professional training paper” addressing the track of my choice – which was World Anthropologies. Unfortunately, I won’t be meeting my mentor at #AAA2012, because they won’t be chosen yet, but I will be attending some sessions on critical issues in anthropology, for which I am quite excited.

See you in San Francisco!

Friday, October 12, 2012

So This Just Happened – OR – Why to be careful about what you share on Facebook.

I was a little confused to see this photo on my feed. In fact, I didn’t know if it was real. I looked at it for a moment, just to make sure that it was actually what I thought it was – I didn’t want to overreact. 2012!
Nope, that is definitely a girl in blackface. I reacted, commenting sarcastically, “That’s not racist as fuck,” and promptly received a message from the offender, one Cherise McClimans. (See my chat with her after the jump.)

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Guest Blog: How I Got Into Grad School (With a Full Ride, No Less)

[Editor: A very good friend of mine has recently started his first year of graduate school in a very good anthropology program. He asked if he could share his story on my blog and, despite the fact that I know he is a crass writer, I decided to oblige him. Let me disclaim two things: (1) His writing is usually much better than this; he must have been drunk. (2) These are not my opinions or statements. Without further ado, J. Anonymous' blogging debut:]

This story does not start with some memorable one liner like “All this happened, more or less” from Slaughterhouse-Five or “It was a pleasure to burn” from Fahrenheit 451, this story starts with my humble beginnings on a side street on the West Side of Cleveland and takes me to where I am today: reading a plethora of books to prepare for Graduate School in the Fall. Me, yes me, Graduate School.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Senegal 2012: Field Notes Digest (Part 2)

The Traditional Medicine Hospital at Keur Massar is more of a compound of specialized buildings, well groomed land, and a comprehensive garden of the world’s medicinal plants (and it’s growing). A sign out front lists some ailments they are capable of treating, probably the most common, which reads like a fast food menu. It also makes mention of the price structure: Consultations are 1000FCFA, and treatments are the same. I am told that in the event that a patient cannot afford either, they are more than welcome to make installments. The generous pay-what-you-can policy found at the guérisseur in Dakar might be missing here, but it’s understandable: Keur Massar is a self-sustained property where the plants are grown at the point of sale. One might think that the cheaper rates and wide-open rural space might be more attractive to those in need, but at this time of the year, the hospital may only see five to ten patients a day. Unfortunately, Keur Massar is about an hour and a half from downtown Dakar by autobus (or 3 hours, in my case), though the cost is only 400FCFA there and back. On the other hand, a trip to the guérisseur from my neighborhood could be 10 minutes at 2000FCFA by taxi or 45 minutes at 200FCFA by car-rapide – both prices being round-trip.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Senegal 2012: Field Notes Digest (Part 1)

I’ve been in Senegal for two weeks now. This is my first time to Africa, and it certainly won’t be my last. For the most part, it has been an easy transition, but I’d be lying if I said that my first couple days weren’t completely overwhelming. It is one thing to be a foreigner here, but I get the impression that my experience is strongly influenced by the fact that I am tubaab – a Wolof word that describes me as a Caucasian, and implies that I have wealth. Senegal isn’t special in that regard; people the world over tend to assume that “because you are white, you have money,” which is a phrase I often hear. The onslaught of vendors just takes some getting used to.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Getting to the Root of Dengidëk

I often receive emails from the Anthropology faculty and staff alerting me of opportunities to study abroad, participate in a field school, or look into a particular graduate program. Sometimes they are sent to all anthropology students, sometimes a selection of them, and in many cases they are sent only to me. Most of the time, these advertisements – titled something like, “FORWARD THIS TO YOUR STUDENTS!” – don’t apply to my interests, and they go right into the Trash folder. This past December, however, I received one that caught my eye and I had to give it a go.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Please Don't Beat Me, Sir!: A Review

I have been thinking about this for weeks: What qualifies me to write a review for an ethnographic film? As of now, I am eight weeks into a course on visual anthropology and two-and-a-half years into an anthropology degree. I don’t know film theory (and frankly don’t care for it), and as it regards this particular film, I know next to nothing about the cultures of India, let alone India itself. And then I thought: Who is the intended audience of such ethnographic film? With the exception of those that find a wider audience (like Melissa Llewelyn-Davies’ 1984 BBC series, “Diary of a Masai Village” [sic]), most of these films are intended for institutional-use – I am the intended audience, and I guess that is my qualification.

The oft-asked question throughout my visual anthropology course has been based on the core of Karl G. Heider’s Ethnographic Film: What is “ethnographicness?” To really get to the heart of such a difficult (and at times, contentious) inquiry, I ask, Who speaks on behalf of the film’s subject? It is from this perspective that I review the film, Please Don’t Beat Me, Sir!

This is the story about the sons and daughters of “criminals,” their choice to turn away from the ways of their elders, and how they cope with a world that is not ready for their metamorphosis.