Sunflower Student Movement

What is happening1 in Taiwan?

The best introductory text to the events immediately preceding the protest is this piece by J. Michael Cole in The Diplomat:

Thousands of Taiwanese were surrounding and occupying the Legislative Yuan (LY) in Taipei on March 19 after legislators from the ruling Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) expedited the review process of a services trade pact with China that many fear could have damaging repercussions on Taiwan’s economy and sovereignty.

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Week 9: Savage Minds Writing Group Check-in

Nine weeks down, one week to go. The first ever Savage Minds Writing Group is winding down. Let’s check in now about our past week of writing, but also reflect on how our styles of writing are indebted to our mentors.

This week’s Writing Workshop post by Michael Ralph–Styles of Writing, Techniques of Mentorship: A Tribute to Michel-Rolph Trouillot–was heart-stirring in many ways. The process of becoming an anthropologist, a scholar, a writer, is one that involves so many people as mentors along the way. In the field, at your university, at large in the discipline.

So much of this piece resonated with me, and with others whom I’ve spoken with this past week:

On the physical constitution of the scholar,

on writing as re-thinking as well as re-deploying,

and

on the need for teachers.

Thank you, Michael Ralph, for this piece. And thank you to my mentors too. My thinking and my writing are indebted to them in ways I am still realizing.

Ontology and wonder: an interview with Michael W. Scott

Thanks to the incredible incredibilicity of our intern Angela, I’m happy to present an interview I recently did with Michael W. Scott. Michael is currently an associate professor of anthropology at the London School of Economics. He has a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago and his book, The Severed Snake: Matrilineages, Making Place, and a Melanesian Christianity in Southeast Solomon Islands, appeared in 2007. Michael frequently uses the concept of ‘ontology’ in his work, so I sat down to talk with him today about this and other aspects of his intellectual project. I’ve broken the interview down into sections, so scroll down to read Michael’s thoughts on Marilyn Strathern and Roy Wagner, wonder, whether reality exists, politics, and how to do fieldwork.

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How do you pronounce “革命ing”?

Last night over 300 students and demonstrators took over Taiwan’s Legislative Yuan in protest of a secret trade agreement with China. For some background and context over the protest I recommend reading Michael Turton’s excellent blog posts on the ECFA trade agreement. And there is also an English language live-blog of the protest for those who wish to follow the news as it develops. What I want to focus on here, however, is one image from that live blog: Continue reading

Styles of Writing, Techniques of Mentorship: A Tribute to Michel-Rolph Trouillot

(Savage Minds is pleased to run this essay by guest author Michael Ralph as part of our Writers’ Workshop series. Michael is Assistant Professor of Social and Cultural Analysis, and Director of the Metropolitan Studies Program at NYU. He is the author of the entries on Commodity, Diaspora, and Hip hop in Social Text 100, and of the forthcoming University of Chicago Press book Forensics of Capital based on his research in Senegal.)

The idea of having your own writing style is an illusion. In fact, we learn to write by digesting the writers we love. We obsess over the elegant turns of phrase they appear to deliver effortlessly, and pore over our own drafts hoping to wrench beauty from passages that have been pummeled by angst and uncertainty. If we manage to enjoy success in writing (or really, in editing), it is generally because we have been well trained. At some point, someone made it her mission to instill in us a sense of conviction about the words we wield. We learned to appreciate the magic of authorship. But, it is easier to trace the blessed path to writerly righteousness in retrospect. Learning to write (which means learning to think and plan more carefully) can be a curious kind of training, in part because we don’t always know when it is happening. In reflecting upon my own training, I decided to dedicate this column to the person who initiated me into the anthropological guild, Michel-Rolph Trouillot. Continue reading

Around the Web Digest: Week of March 9

There have been very many language/linguistics-related items this week, so the first several links will be related. Also, this week I’ve decided that I’m going to start drawing your attention to one particular article in the Digest. This is to say, if you read just one article here, I highly recommend “this one.” As always, if you have any blog articles or suggestions, send them my way at richard.powis@gmail.com and be sure to follow me on Twitter @dtpowis. Continue reading

Animating History and Memory

Savage Minds welcomes guest blogger Aimee Villarreal

Corn Dancers

The late Pueblo historian, Joe Sando, a member of Jemez Pueblo in New Mexico called the Pueblo Revolt of 1680 the “first American Revolution.” Although this event remains mostly unknown and may seem distant history to an outsider, the Pueblo Revolt in New Mexico is living history. It is evoked continuously today and remembered in Pueblo and Nuevomexicano communities as a seminal moment defining Pueblo autonomy and cultural sustainability. In popular culture, the Revolt is retold in historical commemorations, performed in ceremonial dances and religious celebrations, and is increasingly the inspiration for works of art. Continue reading

Cultural Anthropology and Psychiatry: SMOPS 11

“Cultural Anthropology and Psychiatry” is perhaps the best summary of Sapir’s approach to what would become known as the ‘culture and personality’ movement in anthropology. But this brief, rich, and intelligent essay is more then that. It is also a statement about the nature of culture, the role of human agency in culture, and the complex, differentiated nature of culture. It is a remarkable piece that demonstrates the incredible clarity and sophistication of Sapir’s thought.

Cultural Anthropology and Psychiatry
, by Edward Sapir, edited and with an introduction by Alex Golub

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anthropology + design: kat jungnickel.

[This post is part of a series featuring interviews with designers reflecting on anthropology and design.]

KAT JUNGNICKEL. ethnographer. maker.

kat 1

ANTHROPOLOGY + DESIGN.

I’ve always made a bit of a mess. I’ve splashed around darkrooms, attempted to stitch interdisciplinary collaborations, and knit a research blog. I’ve hosted exhibitions, printed ‘zines and folded origami-inspired data boxes. I regularly collaborate with colleagues to build and perform dubiously welded “Enquiry Machines,” and I’m currently sewing a range of new Victorian women’s cycle wear as a means of thinking about public space, mobility, and gender.

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Dr. Funding, or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Grant Writing

(Savage Minds is pleased to run this essay by guest author Robin Bernstein as part of our Writers’ Workshop series. Robin is Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Colorado. She works on how growth and development is shaped, both across generations and among species, in humans and nonhuman primates, and is currently conducting research in rural Gambia. Her recent publications include articles in the American Journal of Primatology and the American Journal of Physical Anthropology.)

As an anthropologist with a field site on another continent and a laboratory that needs a full-time technician to operate properly, I am dependent on continuous external funding to keep things going. There was a time when I resented this, and felt utterly exhausted and desperate in the context of the endless application-rejection cycles, waiting on the edge of my seat to find out whether I could continue my projects uninterrupted, keep my employees employed, and offer any resources to my students. Continue reading

Around the Web Digest: Week of March 2

A couple weeks ago, when I took helm of the HMS Around the Web Digest (yeah, it’s British – it’s my ship and I do what I want), I was naïve enough to think that I would curate collections of themed articles. Alas, there is just so much good stuff that it’s really difficult at the end of the week to select the things that I don’t want to share. I do my best to cut the chaff (yeah, I just went from running a ship to processing wheat), so I apologize if it’s overwhelming. I am open to feedback! Anyway, if you have a blog article that you would like to be shared in the Around the Web Digest, just hit me at richard.powis@gmail.com or on Twitter @dtpowis. So here we go. Continue reading