Anthropological New Year's Resolutions

All day today has felt like Sunday, but really its Wednesday. I can’t say that New Year’s Day or making resolutions is a big thing for me. I think the last resolution I made was a few years ago. I said I would go to a play at the community theater that is one block away from my house and I never went. Still haven’t been!

Why write a blog post about making resolutions in anthropology? My kids are playing with their Kindles they got for Christmas so I have a moment alone. So why not?!

1. Finish what you started. Last summer I was going to read Frazer’s Golden Bough and didn’t even make it half-way. I’m gonna finish that! And I’m going to stop picking up projects and not see them through to the end.

2. I’m going to begin designing a website for my Master’s thesis in Information Science at UTenn. If I work on it a little bit every day its going to look awesome by the start of the fall semester. By this time next year I want to be ready to write up the thesis.

3. The AAA’s are in DC and I’m going to go! I can’t really afford to go to conferences anymore, but DC is as close as they come. Maybe I’ll do a paper on my MA thesis project and maybe I’ll host some DANG event.

Okay, kids are all up in my face now. It’s the last vacation day before they’re back to school so I’m going to go play with them.

What are you going go to do with your year?

Matt Thompson is adjunct assistant professor of anthropology in the Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice at Old Dominion University and a Masters student in the School of Information Science at the University of Tennessee. He was once cast as a soldier in Andrew Jackson's army in a theatrical production on an Indian reservation.

2 thoughts on “Anthropological New Year's Resolutions

  1. Matt, best wishes for a Happy New Year. Not picking up projects and then not seeing them through to the end is a great resolution —close to home, too, since I am trying to finish up something I’ve been poking at for five years and counting. Serendipitously, my daughter talked her mother and I into buying Jawbone U24 activity trackers, which have spurred us to walk more than 10,000 steps a day for 9 out of 11 of the days since they arrived in Japan. I find myself wondering if it would be possible to create something similar for scholar/writers. We might call it the MWeber (alluding to the story that Max Weber, who was chronically depressed, wrote as much as he did by religiously writing two hours a day). It would nag you gently. “You have been at the keyboard 45 minutes and only written 10 words. Time to step it up.” Or “Your typing pattern suggests that you are messing around on Facebook or Twitter instead of producing a steady stream of prose. Time to focus.” I was trying to figure out the technology required to make this work using a wearable Bluetooth device like the Jawbone or FitBit. No luck so far in finding anything better than the standard on-screen nanny nag. Any ideas are welcome.

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