Make Anthropology Matter!

Or: “Academia vs the public”? – Part 3 of 3

After reading John Hawk’s article “What’s wrong with anthropology“, that tackles the question of why anthropology as a discipline lost its relevance, I started thinking about my own role as a researcher. In this essay I am going to summarize some of Hawk’s theses, as well as adding my personal experience and thought to the discussion.

In previous parts of this series, I spoke about the barrier between the public and the “ivory tower” of academia. Hundreds, even thousands of publications are released annually. However, it hardly reaches public discourse. Are people too lazy to read scientific publications? Are they to blame for not taking a step outside their ideological bubble? Maybe, to some degree. Intellectual laziness exists. But today, instead of pointing fingers, I want to talk about the responsibility of us researchers.

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Postcolonialism, 2Pac, and the borders in our head

I had an interesting conversation last night with my former teacher in Iranian studies. We were sitting at the bank of the river Main, listening to 2pac and talking about colonialism in history and politics in the Middle West (aka Europe).

In that context, he led me read his newest article. It wasn’t edited or refined in any way but as soon as it is published, I see there is potential to write a review of that article here.

And just so you don’t set your expectations too high:
2Pac wasn’t mentioned there.

What happened to The Hive?

As a lover of podcast, I wanted to produce one myself for a long time. And as announced, I actually produced three episodes of my podcast called The Hive. I am glad I did it and it was a great experience but I didn’t publish them.

I wasn’t happy with the result and the overall presentation. I have years of acting experience but hosting a talk show is still another thing. I am probably too introverted to feel comfortable in this kind of format, i guess. I still love the idea and The Hive is still something I want to try again when I am ready for this step.

I consider this a strategic retreat to reassess the whole concept. Now I can better evaluate the applicability of certain ideas. Things that didn’t work out this time will work out next time. I am privileged to have friends who supported me in every step in the making of The Hive, from concept to editing, and with their hands-on experience and feedback, I can’t wait to sit down and create the next Hive.

Coffee and incense: Sensewalking in Ethiopia

“It was like Serbia”, I told my friend. And it was. I talked about how things went slower than what I am used to in western Europe and how open and welcoming the people were. It was indeed very similar to what I experienced on the Balkans, “plus the scent of coffee and incense in the air”. I said it with a smile on my face but there was truth to it. The smell of buna and etan, coffee and incense, is something that brings back memories of my fieldwork. I noticed that smell and sound can, in a way, define the cityscape even more than architecture and urban planning.

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