Around the Web

Second HTS Fatality: [via] News agencies have reported the death of Nicole Suveges, the second social scientist affiliated with Human Terrain System to die in the field. Suveges died along with 11 other military personnel and civilians in an explosion in Iraq.

[Update: For a good round up of different articles on Suveges, click here]

Ethnography on the Big Screen: John L. Jackson wrote a provocative piece for on the film adaptation of sociologist Sudhir Venkatesh’s recent urban ethnography Gang Leader for a Day. Jackson compares the project to the now pedestrian movie genre of educated outsider goes to the hood. But he also questions whether the movie will capture the everyday quality of ethnography and if this movie might change public perceptions of anthropology. [Thanks to Neuroanthropology for posting a link to this article.]

Covering Old Ground: The Guardian reported that the so-called recently-discovered Amazonian tribe was documented in 1910, and that Funai, the Brazilian Indian Agency, has been tracking the group for about twenty years

Community Standards Online: This Slate article discusses a new legal defense for violating community standards of decency–google search data tells you more about a community’s standards than what they report. The author, William Saletan writes:

It’s a clever argument. But it assumes that morality is what people do, not what they say. “Time and time again you’ll have jurors sitting on a jury panel who will condemn material that they routinely consume in private,” Walters tells the Times. Thanks to Google, “we can show how people really think and feel and act in their own homes.”

Perhaps google searches might be common ethnographic evidence in the future. The logic of participant observation also relies upon the conceit that what people do is more telling than what they say. Saletan goes on to write how the Internet rearranges public and private spheres, and constitutes a new public morality made by the aggregate of anonymous searches. Google bots might make great online informants to help the anthropologist get inside the head of the native.

David Harvey Online: Kerim pointed me to David Harvey’s blog, where Harvey is posting podcasts of his lectures on Marx’s Capital, Volume 1. It’s a thirteen-lecture series, with a podcast coming out once a week(?). You can also subscribe to the podcasts via I-Tunes and donate to Harvey’s project.

Author, what’s that? Lorenz at compiled and commented on the conversation happening over at Culture Matters on the hurdles of getting pdf access to one’s own article from Sage Publications.

Culture Wars Come to Philly: The New York Times reported on nine Philadelphia institutions’ preparations for the Year of Evolution, celebrating Darwin’s 200th birthday. Events will include both scientific exhibits and lectures/roundtables on the clash of evolution and intelligent design in the science education.

Three Strikes…Maximilian posted a piece on Open Anthropology on the no-win double bind of studying self vs. studying other in anthropology. He also attached a video of a great spoken word performance by Suheir Hammad from early Def Poetry Jam.

7 thoughts on “Around the Web

  1. Curious if anyone thinks Venkatesh’s book is worth reading, or if it is just an extended rehashing of his experiences as detailed in Freakonomics… is it worthwhile, or is it sensationalistic crossover into bestseller-baiting?

  2. great roundup – anyone remember the film version of Oscar Lewis’s Children of Sanchez?

    thx for pointing to info. on using google trends (via the Slate article)

  3. LFB, Derick,

    I know next to nothing about Gang Leader for a Day and would be interested in hearing about it from someone who has read it. Your comments make me think about how social science’s estrangement from broader popular genres and audiences is relatively recent.

    Jackson suggests that this movie could recruit a generation of ethnographers like Indiana Jones did for archaeologists. Of course, going to school with that generation right now, all of my arch friends think Indy is only good for a laugh. (On a side note, I hear no one making claims about other disciplines, like all the up-and-coming primatologists were inspired by “Gorillas in the Mist”). Maybe pop culture can seduce a generation of ethnographers so that the academy can trick them into becoming serious scholars. But then when that scholar publishes a book by Penguin that gets made into a movie, does it becomes pop culture again?

  4. State Dept. aide dies in Sadr City bombing. He and others had tried to force out an al-Sadr loyalist

    “Steven Farley, a State Department official working to build up the local government in the Baghdad enclave of Sadr City, knew he and his colleagues had taken a bold step, his son Brett recalled Tuesday.
    Farley and other U.S. officials had learned that the Sadr City District Council’s acting chairman was loyal to the anti-American Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr and had urged other members of the local advisory group to force the man to resign.
    That was last week. On Tuesday, Farley, 57, and three other Americans were killed after a bomb exploded in the District Council building, just minutes before the selection of a new chairman was to begin.
    Capitalizing on recent security gains in Iraq, U.S. soldiers and diplomats have waded deeply into Iraqi politics in an effort to build moderate and responsive government bodies that they hope will erode the appeal of extremists.”

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