We know in European history, terms like “clientele”, “servants” or “serfs” come up every now and then. But how do we determine if somebody was a “slave” or merely “unfree”? I have the impression that slavery in Europe is mostly overlooked. The only time I see that brought up in public discourse is as a whataboutism to either defame the Black liberation movement or to portray Europeans as victims of foreing religions and people, but never to just study our past.
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.
Chapter 11, titled “Politics and power” of Thomas Eriksen’s book Small Places, Large Issues: An introduction to social and cultural anthropology is a great summary of what political power is and how it is implemented in different contexts, especially in decentralized hierarchies, outside the usual institutions such as states and parliaments for which he cites and compares different case studies from West Asia and Africa.
On the matter of police abolishment, I consider myself “moderate”, for now. I see the argument and I sympathize but I am not sure about it yet. And I believe my indecisiveness is not that much a matter of principle as it is a matter of my own insecurity and lack of knowledge. It is a journey for me, as I try to find my place in this discourse as well as in the political spectrum as a whole.
Or: Locating the badass Indian pirate princess
Being somewhat familiar with the piracy and slavery in the Mediterranean, as well as the history of Indian Ocean trade, I dared to bridge these two topics to find out a little more about pirates in the Indian Ocean. This article is the result of my research, outlining the history, politics and feuds along the Indian West Coast.