Savage Minds is very pleased to welcome Rena Lederman as a guest blogger for a spell. Rena has taught at Princeton University for over 20 years. Here is an introductory paragraph:
Lederman has done fieldwork in Papua New Guinea and the US. Her PNG fieldwork resulted in an ethnography, What Gifts Engender: Social Relations and Politics in Mendi, Highland Papua New Guinea, and numerous journal articles and book chapters on the exchange, inequality and leadership, gender roles and ideologies, historical representations, and socio-cultural transformations. More recently, her research has concerned the anthropology of knowledge practices and their ethical underpinnings. She edited and contributed to Anxious Borders between Work and Life in an Era of Bureaucratic Ethics Regulation (American Ethnologist Forum, November 2006)—on the politics of “human subjects” research oversight—and is currently completing a book entitled Anthropology Among the Disciplines that situates ethnography’s peculiar form of expertise comparatively among related kinds of knowledge (like sociology, social psychology, history and journalism). Spinning-off the work on research ethics, she recently designed a new course on The Uses of Deception in Magic and Science. Her other ongoing research concerns the politics of expertise, particularly the challenge of representing science in schools and popular media.
Rena will be initiating a discussion of, among other things, current thinking on the politics of IRB oversight of ethnographic research. This has been a hot topic here at SM on several previous occasions, and I hope that everyone will join me in avidly engaging Rena’s current thinking on this important topic.
I add that Rena was my principal dissertation adviser. I am pleased to be able to welcome her to SM as a trusted mentor, colleague, and friend.