Announcing the Savage Minds Writing Group

It’s time to get writing. We invite any and all anthropologists working on any sort of writing project to join the new Savage Minds Writing Group. Starting Monday, January 20, the group will run for ten weeks, concluding on Friday, March 28. The objective of the group is to provide a community of support and accountability to help members achieve their weekly writing goals. Writing group participants will check in online here every Friday to report their weekly writing progress. Writing can be such a solo endeavor, so here’s to forging some collective energy and inspiration!

Toward the goal of inspiration, the writing group will be paired with a series of Writers’ Workshop blog posts every Monday. Our schedule of fantastic guest authors is:

Monday, January 27: Gina Athena Ulysse

Monday, February 3: Kirin Narayan

Monday, February 10: Sienna Craig

Monday, February 17: Bianca Williams

Monday, February 24: Kristen Ghodsee

Monday, March 3: Zoe Crossland

Monday, March 10: Robin Bernstein

Monday, March 17: Michael Ralph

Monday, March 24: Matt Sponheimer

Interested in participating in the writing group? Here are the Who, What, Where, When, Why, and Hows:

WHO: Anthropologists across all subdisciplines, stage of career, job status, in and out of the academy are welcome to join in.

WHAT: A ten-week writing group designed to provide community, support, and accountability. It does not matter what you are writing: a book, article, report, dissertation, qualifying exam, poetry, grant proposal, etc. Participants will check-in every Friday to report their writing accomplishments each week.  There is no requirement for participation beyond setting your own writing goals for the ten-week period, and then meeting (or trying to meet) and reporting on those goals. That is, this is not a reading and feedback group; we will not be circulating writing samples publicly for critique.

WHERE: Here, on the Savage Minds website.

WHEN: The writing group will officially launch on Monday, January 20 with weekly check-ins on Fridays, starting on January 24. We will go for ten weeks, concluding with the final check-in on Friday, March 28.

WHY: The impetus for this group comes from my own desire to establish a regular, daily writing practice. My personal goal for the ten-week period is to write for at least one hour every day (rather than only when I have a deadline, a day off from teaching, or during the summer, etc.). One of the most frequently repeated writing tips is to write every day. And yet, in talking with my colleagues and students, I find that it is difficult for many of us to consistently set aside daily writing time. Hence, this writing group. But, this is my goal. What are yours?

HOW: Want to participate? All you need to do is officially sign up for this ten-week commitment. In the comments section below, please write and post the following information: Name, Writing Project(s), Goals. Then, check-in with us every Friday.

I look forward to writing with you!

I am an anthropologist and historian of Tibet, and a professor at the University of Colorado. I conduct research, write, lecture, and teach. At any given time, I am probably working on one of the following projects: Tibet, British empire, and the Pangdatsang family; the CIA as an ethnographic subject; contemporary US empire; the ongoing self-immolations in Tibet; the Chushi Gangdrug resistance army; refugee citizenship in the Tibetan diaspora (Canada, India, Nepal, USA); and, anthropology as theoretical storytelling.

78 thoughts on “Announcing the Savage Minds Writing Group

  1. Name: Carole McGranahan

    Writing Project(s): I am working on a handful of different projects at the moment—books and articles all about Tibet in relation to either (1) US empire, the CIA, covert humanitarianism, and love, or to (2) British empire, ethnography in the archives, non-colonial subjects, and rebel intellectuals, or to (3) refugee citizenship, political asylum, and 21st century possibilities for political subjectivity.

    Goals: To establish a daily writing practice, specifically to write for at least one hour every day (even on those days when I am teaching!)

  2. Name: Anil Bhattarai
    Writing Project (s): I am writing/revising several dissertation chapters on sustainable agricultural practices in Nepal. My approach is transdisciplinary and, therefore, is not strictly anthropological, but I also think that, except for being housed in disciplinary academia, in reality anthropology is perhaps the quintessential transdisciplinary practice. That aside, my chapters explore (transformation of vibrant materialities of farm ecosystems; diverse economic practices; and reassembling of knowledge landscapes). I am also converting a section of one of my dissertation chapters into a paper to be presented at Yale Himalaya conference in March. This paper explores commons as emergent pheonomena involving human-non-human assemblages. More specifically, I take as a case study the emergence in my study village of a bird, which re-made some material configurations of farms, together with growing adoption of organic farming practices, tree-planting, etc.

    Goals: To continue writing daily, at least 8 hours a day.

  3. Name: Rachel Fleming

    Writing Project: The first draft of three ethnographic chapters for my dissertation “Negotiating Modernity through Friendship: Workplaces, Social Spaces, and the Importance of Friends for Professional Women in Bangalore.”

    Goals: Drawing from my ethnographic data, which is organized according to a detailed outline, writing drafts of three core chapters on Work, Family, and Friendship through daily writing sessions in the mornings.

  4. Name: Michelle Munyikwa

    Writing Project: Revise a project proposal I’ve been working on, revise papers from last semester, and get a head start on one of my term papers for the spring.

    Goals: To establish a daily writing project, and become more comfortable with sharing my work.

  5. Name: Jeffrey Lauer

    Writing Project(s): I am currently working on my Master’s thesis, which explores the redevelopment of the “600-year old” Gujari Bazaar as a result of the Sabarmati Riverfront Development (SRD) project in Ahmedabad, India. My academic training is urban planning/studies, but my approach to this subject is largely ethnographic.

    Goals: I would like to transform chapter four of my thesis, titled: “A Market for Rumor, Corruption, and the Arts of Resistance,” into a substantive journal article. And I would also like to refine/finish chapter three of my thesis, titled: “The PIL and the Politics of Heritage.”

  6. Name: Robin Bernstein
    Writing Project: Manuscript – Review Paper
    Goals: 1) To work on the project daily; 2) To have a draft to my co-authors by the middle of the group schedule; 3) To be working on their revisions at the end of the group schedule

  7. Name: Mariam Durrani
    Writing Project(s): I am writing for several dissertation writing fellowships as well as preparing a paper for a conference in February. I hope for the paper to become a dissertation chapter.
    Goals: Write at least an hour every weekday.

  8. Name: Rex
    Writing Project(s): Two articles and a book manuscript on World of Warcraft
    Goals: Uh… pretty much get them done by the deadline!

  9. Name: Amy Cooper

    Writing Project(s): revise an article and work on a book manuscript about health care and citizenship in Venezuela

    Goals: To re-establish a daily writing practice — write one hour M/T/W and at least two hours Th/F.

  10. Name: Tashi Tsering
    Writing project: Dissertation chapters
    Goals: Make regular and good progress in writing the chapter(s) suggested by the committee (in a meeting later this afternoon).

  11. Name: Drew Zackary

    Writing Project: Finish and shape up article about human-wolf conflict in the western US.

    Goals: Complete article and submit- write one hour a day – improve editing skills to clarify arguments and logic.

  12. Name: Amelia Moore

    Writing Projects: One 7000 word article draft before Feb. 1st, book revisions

    Goals: Submit article draft by Feb. 1st and make great progress on book revisions so as to resubmit the entire draft to readers by mid-May of this year.

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    Name: Lorena Gibson
    Writing Projects: a film review, a book review, a book chapter, and a journal article.
    Goals: To devote one day per week to specifically to writing, and to write for at least one Pomodoro (25 mins) on other days. And to get these writing projects finished!

  14. Name: Lorena Gibson

    Writing Projects: a film review, a book review, a book chapter, and a journal article.

    Goals: To devote one day per week to specifically to writing, and to write for at least one Pomodoro (25 mins) on other days. And to get these writing projects finished!

  15. Name: Gina Athena Ulysse

    Writing/Performance Projects: 1) review, 2) #10 Encuentro preparation 3) book chapter

    Goals/Processes: 2-3 block hours of studio time 3 times a week until first week of April used to complete 1 and 3 and practice, practice, practice #10.

  16. Fantastic to have so many folks joining in. Welcome, everyone. And, a special thanks to our Writers’ Workshop guest authors, several of whom are also participating in the writing group: Gina Ulysse, Kirin Narayan, Sienna Craig, Bianca Williams, Kristen Ghodsee, Zoe Crossland, Robin Bernstein, Michael Ralph, and Matt Sponheimer. Archaeologists, biological anthropologists, and cultural anthropologists, oh my! Glad to have you all here with us so far.

  17. Name: Ishita Dey

    Writing Projects: I am currently working on 3rd chapter out of the six chapters for my dissertation on “Production, Caste and Ritual in Bengali Sweet Industry”.

    Goals: As part of this exercise I plan to complete three chapters by first week of February and finally a draft with introduction by 15 March 2014. I will keep a count of hours that I put into writing, and also take a stock of writing work I have completed by end of each week.

  18. Name- Minati Dash
    Writing Project – Presenting writing Chapters of my PhD work on Capitalist Transition in a mining site. Specifically looking at resistance, solidarities, class formation & role of culture.
    Goals – Finish the 6 th Chapter presently working on – Fractured Solidarities and Class Formation. And finish the overview of Chapter 7 – Culture in Capitalist Transition. Also figure out another Chapter which will possibly be chapter 5 on resistance & negotiations.

  19. Name: Alvaro Jarrin

    Writing Projects: finish an article, then work on Intro to book manuscript

    Goals: article needs to be submitted by late January, and Intro by end of the ten weeks!

  20. Name: Nikki

    Writing Project: I have a few writing projects that I am juggling at the moment but the primary is my masters thesis about the local historic underground spaces and how these spaces affected or were affected by the social and economic climate of the town in the late 19th century.

    Goal: I have a lot of bits and pieces that have been written over the past year and my goal is to complete and defend the thesis by the end of March. I would like to have drafts of all chapters into my committee by Feb. 7th.

  21. Name: Dilek Genc

    Writing Project: I am writing my undergraduate honor’s thesis on comparative locomotion, specifically of the northern tree shrew and comparing it to other non-human primates and talking about the evolution of bipedalism.

    Goals: Work on it every weekday for an hour and definitely finish it by the end of the writing group.

  22. Name: Camila
    Writing Projects: projects regarding my Master’s research. I’m currently working on a literature review on the relations of indigenous peoples that involve money, manufactured goods and market economy focusing on Lowland South America. Writing projects are: (1) annual progress report on research activities for the financing foundation; (2) annual progress report to graduate program; (3) abstract to submit to congress panel.
    Goals: To have (2) finish by January 27th, (1) by February 10th and (3) by February 17th. (I might not follow the group till the end).

  23. Name: Zoe Crossland
    Writing projects: several related projects on human remains, agency and semiotics
    Goals: to find time to write every day and to have one particular paper finished well in advance of deadline…

  24. Name: Lindsay Bell
    Writing Project(s) two articles in progress and a riveting job talk… one article in ling anth, the other in human impacts of extractive industry
    Goals: Talk written practiced before Jan 30th. First article gets 5 hours of attention per week in January, and then gets two hours a day until sent. Second article gets 5 hours a week as of mid January. All sent by end of March.

  25. Name- Sarbani

    Writing project- Writing the Chapter-1 of my doctoral thesis on “everyday meanings of Azadi in Kashmir”

    Goals- Finish Chapter-1 & lay out the framework of Chapter-2 & Introduction. Convert an old paper into an article.

  26. Name: Marlous van den Akker
    Writing Project: Dissertation chapters
    Goal: finish the chapter I’m currently working on by the end of February, and make good progress with the subsequent chapter by the time this writing group dissolves. I’m not sure if this is realistic though, so here’s another goal – gain better insight in what I can sensibly expect from my own advancements.

  27. Alexandra Soulier
    Writing projects: two articles and phd dissertation
    Goals: learn to juggle with short and long-term writing projects; finalize articles already well advanced; and create a daily habit to write on my thesis (2 hours in week-days and half an hour on week-ends/kids’holydays) to creat a feel of connexion.

  28. Name: Sarita Fae Jarmack

    Writing Project: revision of my ethnographic work: “Migrants from Nepal: Men’s Self-perceptions of Masculinity,” entry for “The Last Feminist Magazine,” finalize various creative writing side project contributions, revise/rewrite PhD proposal, and finish/start built up blog entries

    Goals: to have a healthy relationship with writing; to be in love with composing and remind myself how incredible it is to be able to spend my time and life writing, learning, and exploring; I would also like to get into the habit of accepting the inability to always produce a written text and acknowledge that it is part of the process (and when I have produced something that is not satisfactory, I will allow myself to still do regular things like eat chocolate and have a break with friends).
    * In addition, create a regulated schedule of 45 minutes of writing without disruptions like facebook (facebook you are the devil sometimes) and 15 minutes of planning each day. During this time work on only one writing project per day.

  29. Name: Marie-Pierre Renaud
    Project: Master’s degree memoir, three book reviews and three blog articles
    Goals: Develop a habit of writing daily, finish my memoir chapters on time and progress steadily with other projects.

  30. Name: Tamar Shirinian
    Writing Project(s): Currently working on my dissertation, “Survival of a Perverse Nation: Gender, Sexuality and Kinship in Post-Soviet Armenia” which thinks about sexuality in relation to anxieties over population loss due to emigration and a low fertility rate in Armenia, as well as a hyper-policing of gender roles and desire to “protect” the family from crumbling altogether. For the 10-week period, my goals are to write the ethnographic parts of a new chapter on leaving Armenia – emigration, as well as modes of escape through cyberspace. I also aim to edit another chapter, on “Gender Hysteria” for a conference presentation and publication as part of an edited volume.
    Goals: Write the ethnography for the chapter on “Leaving” and significant edits to the “Gender Hysteria” chapter in two versions – dissertation and for the conference/edited volume.

  31. Name: Soibam Haripriya
    Writing Projects: Working on a Chapter “Between Death and Marriage: The Widow of the Sikh Martyr”; A Book Review; Continue writing poetry.
    Goal: Devote an hour to poetry a day, Work towards a complete draft of my thesis by March, Complete this Chapter by 23rd January. Begin reading for Book review, devote at least an hour a day towards reading up for the book review. Complete the book review by 16th February

  32. Name: Marnie Thomson
    Writing Projects: PhD dissertation and a journal article
    Goals: to establish a daily writing practice, specifically to write a minimum of 500 words for my dissertation every day

  33. Name: Nancy Dammann
    Writing Projects: Several grant proposals, text to accompany photographic exhibit, collaborative articles (this will be the hardest to tackle and poses my biggest stumbling block). All focussed on collaborative work exploring community based landscape governance in the Peruvian Amazon.
    Goals: To establish daily writing practice: to write for 30 minutes to 1 hour five days a week.

    PS: reading everyone’s goals and projects–very inspiring, and I wish we could read all of the projects when they were done…perhaps we could have a link where people could, as appropriate, post them.

  34. Name: Aaron Seaman
    Writing Projects: Complete two chapter drafts of dissertation on caregiving, dementia, and the making of family; Get a co-authored article on dementia and deception out the door
    Goals: Establish a daily writing practice; Establish a writing rhythm that does NOT involve sitting and staring at my computer for six hours before commencing, but instead is able to take advantage of the small windows of time I currently seem to be afforded

  35. Name: Krista Harper
    Writing projects: Draft essay on “Participatory visual and digital research in anthropology”; finish draft of article about “Youth school food activism”; write/submit “Final report” for grant; begin data analysis for “Lisbon urban gardens” project.
    Goals: I’d like to wrap up some projects that have been on my desk for a long time (“Final report” and “School lunch”), then start work on my newer projects (“Participatory” and “Lisbon”). Reinforce and re-energize my daily writing habit by connecting with other anthropologists.
    Process: I write about my own stuff for some amount of time 5 days/week–usually taking weekends off from writing because I have kids at home. Been doing this pretty consistently for 5 years now. Sometimes that means 10 minutes or just 66 words. I like to set goals I can fall toward.

  36. Name: Nicole Laborde
    Writing Project: Manuscript on Perception of Efficacy in microbicide trail
    Gaol: Draft of manuscript by March 1 and Draft of presentation by last week in February.

  37. Name: Amber
    Writing Project: PhD thesis proposal
    Goal: Write towards my proposal every day, complete first draft of proposal by beginning of March.

  38. Name: Sarah Rebolloso McCullough
    Writing Project: Complete a rough draft of two articles, plus write to develop a plan for revising my manuscript. I’ve been away from consistent writing for about six months now, and have a great desire to get back to it. I want to be creative with my writing process and cultivate more joy around my writing. Making writing pleasurable also seems to have the added benefit of producing better writing, too!
    Goal: Write daily. Even if it’s just a little bit. Have fun with it. Write for at least an hour four days a week.

  39. Name: Samuel M. Anderson
    Writing Project: Complete the introduction and remaining chapter to my dissertation, “Celebrity, Violence, and the Mystic Arts in Postwar Sierra Leone.”
    Goal: 10-15 pages a week should get me caught up.

  40. Name:
    Sienna Trapp Bowie

    Writing Project:

    At the moment I am in love with working on my blog ( which explores how the intentional recollection of past events shapes the conceptualization of a present identity. I am especially interested in the use of parallel medium (in this case photoshop collage and writing) to not only document and communicate my exploration but help to define it.

    To produce a post of min 1,000 words in addition to one complete collage – each week.

  41. Name: Giorgio Mezzolla Pedersen

    Writing project: revising a draft version of an article based on my master’s thesis: “Browser Culture: an ethnography of technological vulnerability in an online community.”

    Goal: submit article to journal.

  42. Name: Pranta Pratik Patnaik

    Writing Project – I am into too many things right now, ph.d thesis – Television and Socio-cultural Identity: An ethnographic study, which is on the priority list, followed by few articles whose deadlines are surprisingly coincidentally on 28th February and then a book review.

    Goal: to sincerely complete all these work before due date and have to devote seriously few hours for writing even on days I am teaching

  43. Name: Margo
    Projects: Several journal articles in progress.
    Goal: To write for at least 2 hours every week day, no matter what else is going on. To (re)submit at least 2 articles during the 10 weeks between now and March 28th.

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