Savage Minds Around the Web

Is there an Anthropologist in the House? Daniel Goldberg at Medical Humanities Blog, posted his plea for more medical anthropologists in clinical settings. Self-professedly a fan but not practitioner of anthropology, Goldberg suggests that medical anthropologists would be a valuable addition (if not replacement?) for clinical medical ethicists. He writes:

I have often wondered how different my local world would be if it were anthropologists in charge of designing, implementing, and teaching cultural humility, instead of the relatively thin but conventionally dominant and poorly named “cultural competence.

Reform at a Distance: In A recent New York Times Op-Ed , contributor Nassrine Azimi on suggests that Ruth Benedict’s The Chrysanthemum and the Sword is an oldie-but-goodie model for people to think holistically about demographic and educational challenges currently facing Japan.

You Can’t Say That in Science! Language Log has a plea for action regarding a libel lawsuit against British science journalist Simon Singh. Singh is currently fighting a lawsuit brought from the the British Chiropractic Association, claiming that Singh’s challenges to the validity of certain claims of chiropractics lack demonstrable evidence constitute intent to defame the Association. Perhaps more interesting than the case itself has been the response from various public interest groups claiming that free speech is necessary to scholarly practices of critique. The comments to this post also raise some interesting views.

Biopower at the Limits: Thanks to Somatosphere for linking to a new blog post by Paul Rabinow discussing his research collective’s conceptual work on synthetic anthropos–an emergent constellation of effects and propositions borne out over the struggle between the figures of biopower and human dignity. Or something to that effect. Eugene Raikhel’s somatosphere post has some interesting views on this as well.

In Memoriam [Updated 6/16/09]: Stephen Christomalis at Glossographia has a great tribute to Willard Walker, recently deceased linguistic anthropologist and expert in (the admittedly specific field of) Cherokee numerals indigenous literacy in the Americas, most specifically the Cherokee syllabary.  In all cases, a really interesting description of one scholar’s life’s work.

As always, feel free to write in or post any other news.

8 thoughts on “Savage Minds Around the Web

  1. Thanks for the link! A minor quibble: Walker’s main area of expertise was indigenous literacy in the Americas, most specifically the Cherokee syllabary, but he actually wrote very little about the Cherokee written numerals.

  2. Although I did not know him, I can observe that Professor Walker was a major scholar whose studies extended beyond the Cherokee to encompass the languages and culture histories of other Southeastern U.S. native peoples as well. He pursued significant work in this field during the period of its post-war ebb. The recent revival of this research area owes a debt to his efforts. He was also well-regarded by many people in Indian Country.

  3. The week before the first conference paper I ever gave (as an undergraduate, in 2002) I noticed Prof. Walker’s name among the recipients of the before-the-conference group e-mail and sent him a message asking him if he might be able to make it to my paper. During my paper—part of the final panel on the final day—he was indeed right there in the front row. I found him in the lobby afterwards and asked what he had thought of my presentation. He apologized that he had been able to take in very little of it as he had been functionally deaf for some time. So, in my limited interaction with him, he was a very good person in addition to being a very good scholar.

  4. Daniel Goldberg wrote, calling for medical anthros instead of ethicists in medical settings: “I have often wondered how different my local world would be if it were anthropologists in charge of designing, implementing, and teaching cultural humility, instead of the relatively thin but conventionally dominant and poorly named “cultural competence.”
    Cultural comopetence, eh? Now there’s a bureaucratic term for ya.

    How about the oft-used term “compliance”, or “compliant” – used to refer to patients who take/follow orders and don’t raise objections. The power hegemony implicit in this term “compliant” just makes my blood boil. It was once used of myself when I had home health people coming over because of a broken arm. I thought I was just being polite and cooperative…then I saw what one wrote in her record book – that I was “compliant.” Argh. Whatever happened to the term “cooperative”, which implies negotiation, at least?

  5. J: The strikethrough happens when you use double-dashes. This stie uses Textile instead of HTML in comments, and Textile reads double-dashes as a strikethrough. I’ve edited your comment to remove the strikethrough.

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