A Banner Year for Guest Bloggers

As the Savage Minds leviathan grows to evermore staggering heights in 2012, it’s inescapable pseudopods pulling anthropologists into its its membranes like some creature-feature villain crossed with the Dialectic of Enlightenment, we have had the privilege of hosting some truly excellent guest bloggers.

Garrison used his experience in the anthropology of media to turn a fresh eye on the American Muslim experience and extolled us on the virtues of doing research sideways.

Mary Alice wrote several posts on mentoring and research as a kind of pedagogy. To paraphrase her posts, mentoring is about listening, teaching, and offering up shared experiences — a fitting model for an anthropology that aspires to produce knowledge that excites people to action.

Over the summer a team of six bloggers came together to offer an extensive series of posts all loosely related to one another on the theme of precarity, truly a signifier for our times. Deepa wrote about quitting a tenured position to become an adjunct. Aalok wrote about keeping one’s ethnographic research mobile when professional development necessitates hopping from continent to continent. Ali wrote about being an anthropologist on the sidelines of the tenure track system, bracketing out her work as an adjunct while also serving as managing editor and program director for Cultural Anthropology. Laurel talked about doing ethnography of consumer behavior for market research and Nathan, too, was looking for ways to make his expertise in ethnography pay bills. Finally, Lane wondered how the condition of precarity shapes the kind ethnography we do.

Laura shared her experience of being interviewed and then misrepresented by a journalist. She also broached a taboo topic among anthropologists: what to do when one does not like their field research site?

DJ explained why friendship in the field is not naive, but a virtue. Reflecting on his days in the field in Taiwan from the vantage point of Boston he pined for a different way to move a body through space.

Speaking of bodies in space, Adonia posted a series on the anthropology of bicycling, in particular how people experience disruptions of their transportation habitus.

Finally, Clare put a cap on the year with her series on the Mayan Apocalypse. Her post on the movie “2012” added that feature to other anthropological anti-classics like Clan of the Cave Bear and 10000 BC.

Thanks to everyone who contributed to Savage Minds last year! We look forward to welcoming new guest bloggers in the coming year. If you are interested in writing posts for SM then we’re interested in hearing from you. Principally we’re looking for people who already have experience writing for their own blog. Blogging is free, its fun, and we believe everyone should do it.

Thanks also to our readers and participants in the comments section. Meeting new people and sharing ideas is a big part of what makes blogging so rewarding. If you’ve been a long time reader but never commented we encourage you to leave your mark. We’ll be the richer for your contribution.

Matt Thompson

Matt Thompson is Project Cataloger at The Mariners’ Museum in Newport News, Virginia, and currently working on a CLIR ‘hidden collections’ grant to describe the museum’s collection of early 20th Century photography. He has a doctorate in anthropology from the University of North Carolina and a Masters in information science from the University of Tennessee.

3 thoughts on “A Banner Year for Guest Bloggers

  1. Thanks for that elegant summary of our marathon session from last July, Matt! Aside from it being a neat experiment/experience for each of us, I realized at the end of it all that the dilemma I’d really been struggling with was with how to reconstitute “ethnography” outside the academy via new modes of representation, and writing. If I had to do it over, I might just have started from my last post on writing and figured out how far to push boundaries from there. C’est la vie, live and learn. Thanks again to Savage Minds for giving us the space and opportunity to work these things out.

  2. And thank you for the invitation to blog here! I’ve always enjoyed Savage Minds and it was a great honor to have the chance to participate, and found the comments and feedback from your readers very helpful and interesting. I plan to be a more vocal in commenting from now on.

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