It is Week 7, or, the Week I Forgot To Put Up the Check-in Post. Its been that sort of week. Here at Savage Minds, we migrated to our brand new site and in the process our comments feature got all buggy. So if you tried to comment in Week 6 and couldn’t, we’ll just start fresh today. How has your week been? Where are you in the writing?
This week’s gorgeous guest essay on “Writing Archaeology” by Zoë Crossland brought a new conversation to our Writers’ Workshop series: how does one teach writing? How does one learn to write? As she reflects:
It’s clear that the practice of archaeology is as much about writing as it is about fieldwork. The texts we compose are fundamental to translating artifacts and sediments into stories about the past, and yet we pay relatively little attention to the craft of writing, preferring to train students in techniques of excavation and field survey.
The craft of writing, indeed. Here is to continuing to think about writing collectively, and to thinking about writing pedagogy.
Most of our writing instruction in the discipline takes place in either direct feedback on one’s writing from peers or professors, or simply from reading good writing. Less common, but growing over time are ethnographic writing workshops–we’ve had three at the University of Colorado over the last five-six years or so, led by Ann Armbrecht, Kirin Narayan, and myself; and there are always such workshops at the AAAs every year, including Renato Rosaldo’s fantastic ethnographic poetry workshop. Even rarer it seems–but much needed–are courses devoted to writing such as Zoë Crossland’s Writing Archaeology course or Ruth Behar’s longstanding Ethnographic Writing course at the University of Michigan. Who else is teaching writing in anthropology?
Tune in Monday for our next Writers’ Workshop post from Robin Bernstein on grant writing, and some tips we can all use. For now, check-in on your week and your writing, and here’s to the homestretch–two weeks to go!