Two Amazing Things

It just occurred to me that two amazing things happened in Ryan’s post about Wasting Away In Grantlandia. First, I find it sort of amazing that someone could write a post asking for advice how to apply for grants and then have the readership, which includes people who have actually doled grants out, offer advice. Maybe this happens regularly on other blogs in other fields, but I don’t remember seeing it before — especially in anthropology. Grantsmanship is usually the sort of thing discussed at secretive graduate seminars and even then grad students are given advice about how to apply, rather than being told what it is like to actually judge the damn things. I don’t know — it just struck me that this sort of instant, true feedback on the topic of grants is pretty unusual.

The second amazing thing is the same as the first: a grad student wrote a blog post and then tenured professors left comments in the margins. Usually this goes in reverse order: professors write books, articles, lectures, and so forth, and then the graduate students get to leave some feedback, if they are lucky. On SM, the grad students have a chance to be front and center

There are lots of websites on the Internet that do a better job of building community than Savage Minds, I’m sure, and we still have a long way to go to really do what we want the site to do. I just mention these two things to point out something that suddenly struck me as unusual and valuable about the site.


Alex Golub is an associate professor of anthropology at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. His book Leviathans at The Gold Mine has been published by Duke University Press. You can contact him at

3 thoughts on “Two Amazing Things

  1. Sort of a sidenote here, but you mentioned that, “There are lots of websites on the Internet that do a better job of building community than Savage Minds”

    Any thoughts on what some of those might be?

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