83 Matching Annotations
  1. Sep 2021
    1. The state of slavery, among these wild barbarous people, as we esteem them, is much milder than in our colonies

      Given the word barbarous here, I wonder if, on the whole, cultures viewed from outside of one's own culture are more often seen for the worst of their traits rather than the best or even just the average traits?

      With limited experience and exposure, what qualifies one correspondent to stereotype an entire culture? Is the lack of alternate and likely better information reason enough for the viewing culture to completely condemn the external culture? (Assuredly not...)

    2. Africa had a kind of feudalism, like Europe based on agriculture, and withhierarchies of lords and vassals. But African feudalism did not come, as didEurope’s, out of the slave societies of Greece and Rome, which had destroyedancient tribal life. In Africa, tribal life was still powerful, and some of itsbetter features—a communal spirit, more kindness in law and punishment—still existed.

      Francis Fukuyama is still fermenting in my reading pile, but I wonder how he covers these political transitions?

      I'm curious about descriptions of the law and punishment practiced in these societies. Was there more sense of restorative justice?

    3. The Virginians needed labor, to grow corn for subsistence, to grow tobaccofor export. They had just figured out how to grow tobacco, and in 1617 theysent off the first cargo to England. Finding that, like all pleasurable drugstainted with moral disapproval, it brought a high price, the planters, despitetheir high religious talk, were not going to ask questions about something soprofitable.

      Told from this perspective and with the knowledge of the importance of the theory of First Effective Settlement, is it any wonder that America has grown up to be so heavily influenced by moral and mental depravity, over-influenced by capitalism and religion, ready to enslave others, and push vice and drugs? The founding Virginians are truly America in miniature.

      Cross reference: Theory of First Effective Settlement

      “Whenever an empty territory undergoes settlement, or an earlier population is dislodged by invaders, the specific characteristics of the first group able to effect a viable, self-perpetuating society are of crucial significance for the later social and cultural geography of the area, no matter how tiny the initial band of settlers may have been.” “Thus, in terms of lasting impact, the activities of a few hundred, or even a few score, initial colonizers can mean much more for the cultural geography of a place than the contributions of tens of thousands of new immigrants a few generations later.” — Wilbur Zelinsky, The Cultural Geography of the United States, Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1973, pp. 13–14.

    1. Summary:

      "What has time done to us?"

    2. . . . the Nuer have no expression equivalent to "time" in our language, and they cannot, therefore, as we can, speak of time as though it were something actual, which passes, can be wasted, can be saved, and so forth. I do not think that they ever experience the same feeling of fighting against time or of having to co-ordinate activities with an abstract passage of time because their points of reference are mainly the activities themselves, which are generally of a leisurely character. Events follow a logical order, but they are not controlled by an abstract system, there being no autonomous points of reference to which activities have to conform with precision. Nuer are fortunate. 129 O

      129 E. Evans-Pritchard, op. cit., p. 103.

    3. ing world. What needs to be said is not that one way of life is better than the other, but that this is a place of the most far-reaching conflict; that the historical record is not a simple one of neutral and inevitable 124

      technological change, but is also one of exploitation and of resistance to exploitation; and that values stand to be lost as well as gained.

    4. ple". The Mexican mineworker had the custom of returning to his village for corn planting and harvest: His lack of initiative, inability to save, absences while celebrating too many holidays, willingness to work only three or four days a week if that paid for necessities, insatiable desire for alchohol - all were pointed out as proof of a natural inferiority. He

      In the next paragraphs, it turns out that there isn't laziness, but misaligned incentives. The lifeways of the people involved were not those of the writer who jumped to conclusions about the people who were different from him.

      In generalizations supported by another study of Mexican labour conditions, Wilbert Moore remarks: "Work is almost always task-orientated in non-industrial societies ... and ... it may be appropriate to tie wages to tasks and not directly to time in newly developing areas".

      When comparing and contrasting cultures, empathy for each and their particular incentives must be taken into account.

      This is particularly important as he's spent a dozen pages talking about how poorly the English dealt with industrialization over centuries themselves. How quickly we forget.

    5. ve. By the 1830s and 1840s it was commonly observed that the English industrial worker was marked off from his fellow Irish worker, not by a greater capacity for hard work, but by his regularity, his methodical paying-out of energy, and perhaps also by a repression, not of enjoyments, but of the capacity to relax in the old, uninhibited ways. There is no way in which we can quantify the

      This shows some nationalism and institutionalized classism. Note the general harms here of comparing cultures and societies, even in "modern" and Western culture.

    6. ties. So also is "that slothful spending the Morning in Bed": The necessity of early rising would reduce the poor to a necessity of going to Bed betime; and thereby prevent the Danger of Midnight revels. Early rising would also "introduce an exact Regularity into their Families, a wonderful Order into their Oeconomy". The catalogue is

      I wonder what effects this shift in time and industry had on causing the disappearance of the idea of first and second sleeps?

      Cross reference: https://www.sciencealert.com/humans-used-to-sleep-in-two-shifts-maybe-we-should-again

    7. ween societies at greatly differing economic levels). It is also that there has never been any single type of "the transition". The stress of the transition falls upon the whole culture: resistance to change and assent to change arise from the whole culture. And this culture includes the systems of power, property-relations, religious institu- tions, etc., inattention to which merely flattens phenomena and trivializes analysis. Above all, the transition is not to "industrialism" tout court but to industrial capitalism or (in the twentieth century) to alternative systems whose features are still indistinct. Wh

      Speaking about transitions within societies and cultures can be problematic as they are complex and intertwined between individuals, families, and larger structures and institutions. The transition to industrialization is often seen as a foregone conclusion when, in fact, it was a gradual struggle over time. Glossing over these types of transition can trivialize analysis of the complex effects at play.

    8. ect. It is not only that the highly- developed and technically-alert manufacturing industries (and the way-of-life supported by them) of France or England in the eighteenth century can only by semantic torture be described as "pre-industrial". (And such a description opens the door to endless false analogies between societies at greatly differing economic levels). It is also that

      One needs to be careful with their language in comparing different societies as it can make it easier for others to create false framing and analogies about one society being better or worse than another.

    9. . Three points may be proposed about task-orientation. First, there is a sense in which it is more humanly comprehensible than timed labour. The peasant or labourer appears to attend upon what is an observed necessity. Second, a community in which task-orientation is common appears to show least demarcation between "work" and "life". Social intercourse and labour are intermingled - the working-day lengthens or contracts according to the task - and there is no great sense of conflict between labour and "passing the time of day". Third, to men accustomed to labour timed by the clock, this attitude to labour appears to be wasteful and lacking in urgency.1
    10. als. In Madagascar time might be measured by "a rice-cooking" (about half an hour) or "the frying of a locust" (a moment).
  2. Aug 2021
    1. Some manicules terminated abruptly at the wrist, while others emerged from sleeves of varying sophistication to reveal, in turn, something of the fashions of their time. Petrarch’s flowing sleeves, for instance, gave way to delicate, lace-trimmed cuffs in later centuries, and continuing the trend, modern-day manicules often show the sober cuff of a suit-wearing businessman. Cuffs and sleeves also provided convenient containers for notes on the pointed-to material, binding a note to its target text.

      Another reference to the clothing of the time attached to manicules. What might these tell us about fashion over time? What other older fashions existed within these?

    1. Beatrice Webb, the famous sociologist and political activist, reported in 1926: "'Every one agrees nowadays', observe the most noted French writers on the study of history, 'that it is advisable to collect materials on separate cards or slips of paper. . . . The advantages of this artifice are obvious; the detachability of the slips enables us to group them at will in a host of different combinations; if necessary, to change their places; it is easy to bring texts of the same kind together, and to incorporate additions, as they are acquired, in the interior of the groups to which they belong.'" [6]

      footnote:

      Webb 1926, p. 363. The number of scholars who have used the index card method is legion, especially in sociology and anthropology, but also in many other subjects. Claude Lévy-Strauss learned their use from Marcel Mauss and others, Roland Barthes used them, Charles Sanders Peirce relied on them, and William Van Orman Quine wrote his lectures on them, etc.

  3. Jul 2021
    1. I would rather see the scientists and the healers and the artists depicted in a heroic light.

      Why are so many villains in comic books depicted as scientists? Has this harmed the American psyche? Encouraged an anti-science temperament?

      Observation sparked, in part, to episode of Young Sheldon, Season 1 about Sheldon's eating issues.

    1. What professionals actually do to earn the large incomes that pay for their nice things is a mystery. All those hours spent sitting at a computer screen—do they contribute something to society, to the family of an electrician or a home health aide (whose contributions are obvious)?

      A solid question.

      Perhaps less mysterious when gauged against the extreme financialization of our economy since the 1970's.

      Are these people primarily propping up our classist structures to the lack of all else?

      What could be done to re-regulate things back into some semblance of balance?

      How much of the financialization is strip mining the lower classes or even middle classes of their earnings and retirements in progressively more vicious economic downturns that get bailed out by the populace?

      Would allowing companies that are "too large to fail" help right the system and push more wealth back down to the lower classes?

    1. Thus we can roughly define what we mean by the art of reading as follows: the process whereby a mind, with nothing to operate on but the symbols of the readable matter, and with no help from outside, 0 elevates itself by the power of its own operations. The mind passes from understanding less to under­standing more. The skilled operations that cause this to hap­pen are the various acts that constitute the art of reading.

      I'm not sure I agree with this perspective of not necessarily asking for outside help.

      What if the author is at fault for not communicating properly or leaving things too obscure? Is this the exception of which he speaks?

      What if the author isn't properly contextualizing all the necessary information to the reader? This can be a particular problem when writing history across large spans of both time and culture or even language.

    1. The contemporary email newsletter is not a novel form; often it amounts to a new delivery system for the same sorts of content — essays, explainers, Q&As, news roundups, advice, and lists — that have long been staples of online media. (Subscribe to enough newsletters and sort them the right way, and it’s possible to re-create something like an RSS-feed reader.)

      Email delivery apparently isn't much different than RSS. What sorts of functionality do RSS readers provide over email in terms of search, filtering, and presentation? Surely RSS is more powerful at slicing and dicing one's reader data.

      How do all these different forms of content fit into the greater set of genres in Western culture?

    1. When we devalue the full range of everyday cognition, we offer limited educational opportunities and fail to make fresh and meaningful instructional connections among disparate kinds of skill and knowledge. If we think that whole categories of people—identified by class or occupation—are not that bright, then we reinforce social separations and cripple our ability to talk across cultural divides.
  4. Jun 2021
    1. when i was in high school just a high school in chester pennsylvania there was like english class there was also like a card game that was happening in the back of the room

      when i was in high school just a high school in chester pennsylvania there was like english class there was also like a card game that was happening in the back of the room and no one like asked those students what they were teaching in that card game because we were like supposed to be doing worksheets in english class but that's also an intellectual practice so like ...—Christopher R. Rogers (autogenerated transcript)

      I love the idea of this parable of a card game in an English class.

      Moral: Don't marginalize the card game in preference for the supposed main topic as it has its own power and value, and may in fact be more valuable to the participants and their lives than the "main conversation". Value the thing for itself and not for some perceived other thing. View it in a positive framing rather than in a negative one. Simultaneously, don't attempt to subvert it either to reframe or re-capture the topic. Let it be what it is.

    2. liberatory struggle but also there are traditions that are um indigenous to like black um to the like to the black community to black explorer community

      yes marxism is a incredibly important tool um for thinking you know uh for you know liberatory struggle but also there are traditions that are um indigenous to like black um to the like to the black community to black diaspora community —Christopher R. Rogers (auto-generated transcript)

      Marxism can be a lens (tool) through which to look at the black community, but the black community has also changed Marxism.

      How can we connect this to the McLuhan-esque idea of us shaping out tools and then them reshaping us?

      cf. https://hypothes.is/a/6Znx6MiMEeu3ljcVBsKNOw

      "We shape our tools and thereafter they shape us." — John M. Culkin cf.

    3. i feel like if i if i use the word new somewhere i want to go through and like no no no no

      i feel like if i if i use the word new somewhere i want to go through and like no no no no new to who and put the question mark there just to remember that there are those um models that come before us right and there are those traditions that come before us that are even in some ways operating when we don't even you know notice or recognize them

      Asking the question "new to who?" can be important whenever using the word new can be very revealing. We need to recall and respect that everyone comes from a different context.

    1. “Anthropologists of our own culture.”

      Is it anthro's best-kept secret that we always work on our own cultural contexts?

    1. If so many people who say they have committed their life to Christ live a life that is in many areas so antithetical to the ways of Christ, what are we to make of that?

      Does Christianity still have a space in modern life if it can't be effective in the simplest ways?

      Is it christianity+capitalism and conspicuous consumption that doesn't work?

      What is causing this institutional failure?

    2. One of the more incisive comments about the gap we often see between faith and works sticks with me today: that for too many people of the Christian faith, Jesus is a “hood ornament.”

      Jesus is a "hood ornament."

      searing...

    3. I have heard from pastors in different parts of America who describe a “generational catastrophe” that is unfolding because of how disillusioned young people, including many young Christians, are by what they have seen.

      Is it possible that this religion has been forcing itself on it's youth and thus chasing them away, thereby eroding support?

      When will this "apocalypse" happen? What will it look like? What will be the cultural and political fall out look like?

  5. May 2021
    1. In all his writings Parry argued for a historical approach to literature, condemning the classi cists who re‐created the past in the image of the present. We must “re construct the community of thought through which the poet made him self understood to those who heard him sing.”

      This is reminiscent of an admonishment to recall that we shouldn't act as if (famous) writers never lived nor as writers never died.

    2. If this is so, we literati must surrender certain cherished assumptions: that litera ture is inextricably associated with reading and writing, that lack of literacy means lack of culture.

      Lack of literacy definitely does not mean lack of culture.

      Reminder to self: I've got a strong suspicion that the Hebrew bible was transmitted orally for generations prior to being written down in a similar manner. I need to collect some additional evidence to build this case. The arc of the covenant is a first potential piece of evidence.

  6. Apr 2021
    1. What we were doing, and what anthropology was doing, essentially, since the late 19th century, was sort of salvaging work, salvaging the cultures that were disappearing.
    1. Article synopsis of paper that looks at hypoxia with relation to artistic asphyxia in pre-historic cave art. The use of torches, lamps, or fire in small enclosed spaces may have influenced early cave art.

    2. He adds that the ethnographic record shows that with rare exceptions, rock art is indeed associated with ritual and beliefs. “The concept of ‘art for art’s sake’ is a relatively recent western attitude,” he says – and if anything, the propensity for drawing in the dark seems to support that assumption.

      Here again, the sentence reads well if we replace rituals and beliefs with mnemonic practice.

    3. Whitley says: “The conceptual and practical division between the supernatural/sacred/religious world  and the mundane realm is a largely modern and western conceit that has become especially prominent since the Protestant Reformation. Many traditional peoples saw/see no separation between daily versus religious life; many don’t even recognize that they have a ‘religion’ per se. I then concur with the notion that many prehistoric peoples felt a strong connection to the supernatural and the cosmos.”

      This fits into a mnemonic perspective of life as being something greater than religion or ancestor worship. The ancestor worship part comes in because they're a thing to attach our memories of needed culture and knowledge to. They're also important because they're the ones that discovered the knowledge and helped to hand it down.

    4. “In western North America alone, for example, rock art was exclusively made by shamans among some tribes. But in others it might also be made by puberty initiates – boys and/or girls – and in others include adults experiencing life crises too (e.g., the death of a spouse),” Whitley says. But throughout North America, it seems artistic creation was associated with visionary experiences and the perceived receipt of supernatural power.

      Shamanic instances could support knowledge preservation and communication to following generations.

    5. “We also commonly see repetitions of motifs – an iconographic system – in corpora of rock art, again indicative of communicative rather than purely decorative intent,” Whitley says. “By this I don’t imply that rock art has no aesthetic component. In many cases it clearly does. But that doesn’t seem to have been its goal or main justification.”

      The fact that it was just for "art's sake" is a motivating clue for supporting use of these as mnemonics.

    6. Arguing in favor of cosmic connectivity, à la Whitley: why would anybody create art in places that are very difficult to see and dangerous to enter, if the goal is purely aesthetic or decorative?

      If these were used for societal memory purposes, the privacy of the caves as well as the auditory and even halucinatory effects could have helped as well.

      What sorts of other things would we expect to see in such instances? Definitely worth looking at Lynne Kelly's ten criteria in these situations, though some of them are so old as to be unlikely to have as much supporting evidence.

    7. Figurative cave art is the fief of Homo sapiens, going by present evidence (there is no evidence of figurative Neanderthal art). The earliest-known painting is of a warty pig; it was found just this year in a very inaccessible cavesite in Indonesia and is about 45,500 years old.

      Dating of the oldest cave art to about 45,500 years ago.

    8. Whitley notes that cave sites were visited by people other than the artists, as attested by the occasional preservation of footprints, including of children. The implication is that they too would have experienced an altered state of consciousness, a kind of group trance. “This is a novel and important implication of this research,” Whitley says.

      If the groups were large enough and stayed for long enough, they could have induced hallucinations just based on many people depleting oxygen in small enclosed spaces.

    1. There are surprisingly few digital editions of commonplace books, especially given how the genre lends itself to digitization. What we've made isn't perfect but we hope it helps others think through/with these types of books. More about that here: digitalbookhistory.com/colletscommonp…

      I've seen some people building digital commonplace books in real time, but I'm also curious to see more academics doing it and seeing what tools and platforms they're using to do it.

      Given the prevalence for these in text, I'd be particularly curious to see them being done as .txt or .md files and then imported into platforms like Obsidian, Roam Research, Org Mode, TiddlyWiki, et al for cross linking and backlinking.

      I've seen some evidence of people doing some of this with copies of the bible, but yet to see anyone digitize and cross link old notebooks or commonplace books.

    1. We cannot transfer beliefs or customs from one culture to another, but we can transfer generalisations from multiple cultures about how humans maintain critical knowledge when they are dependent on memory.

      Almost every anthropology source I've read in the last six months has highlighted some version of this.

      If our short history of experience with archaeology is any indicator, it can be very dangerous (and painfully wrong) for us to transfer our customs and beliefs onto other cultures and civilizations which don't have our culture or knowledge base.

      However we can more easily transfer broad generalizations from and across various cultures when we discuss how humans used memory and orality (within their cultures) particularly when they would never have interacted with each other.

  7. Feb 2021
    1. Essentially, we study culture at an "on the ground" level – looking for the individual stories, rich details, particular nuances, and thick description you can only find by spending extended time with people in their daily lives.

      I'm reading this and can't help but think it's sort of what Jack Jamieson did in writing his recent thesis Independent Together: Building and Maintaining Values in a Distributed Web Infrastructure.

      It's definitely the sort of thing that Maggie Appleton may appreciate.

  8. Jan 2021
    1. Nabonidus, last native king of Babylon (reigned 555–539 bc), took a keen inter-est in antiquities. In one important temple he dug down and discovered the foundation stone which had been laid some 2200 years before. He housed many of his finds in a kind of museum at Babylon.

      example of an early anthropologist

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  9. Dec 2020
    1. I like the idea of a word for the year and have seen others like Mark Aaron Davis do this in the past.

      It's apparently a broader thing as I've seen many people posting about receiving their Theme System Journals from @cortexpodcast on Twitter over the past week. They've cleverly set aside the letters ME in some of their marketing like so: THEME System Journal

      I'm not sure if I'll choose a theme in this way specifically, but I think I'm going to choose a theme to help direct some of my reading though. I'm going to try to focus more on the idea of anthropology when I make reading choices.

    1. Anthropology is thus a broad discipline – so broad that it is generally broken down into three smaller disciplines: biological anthropology, cultural anthropology, and archaeology.

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  10. Oct 2020
    1. Perspectives:An Open Invitation to Cultural Anthropology2nd Edition The first peer-reviewed open access textbook for cultural anthropology courses. Produced by the Society for Anthropology in Community Colleges and available free of charge for use in any setting.
    1. In 1965, he published the highly influential work Theories of Primitive Religion, arguing against the existing theories of what at the time were called "primitive" religious practices. Arguing along the lines of his theoretical work of the 1950s, he claimed that anthropologists rarely succeeded in entering the minds of the people they studied, and so ascribed to them motivations which more closely matched themselves and their own culture, not the one they were studying. He also argued that believers and non-believers approached the study of religion in vastly different ways, with non-believers being quicker to come up with biological, sociological, or psychological theories to explain religion as an illusion, and believers being more likely to come up with theories explaining religion as a method of conceptualizing and relating to reality.
    1. According to a recent Dutch study, that point of view still holds true today: Protestants and citizens of predominately Protestant countries tend to conflate labor with personal satisfaction more than those of other religious traditions.

      How does this juxtapose with the ideas of indigenous scocieties in James Suzman's article The 300,000-year case for the 15-hour week (Financial Times, 2020-08-27)

    1. Sehr viele wichtige und Bemerkungen zur Situation der Anthropologie und der Humanwissenschaften im Anthropozän. Erstes Kapitel des Waterworlds-Buch

  11. Aug 2020
    1. That restructuring of societies in Western Europe in turn also benefited the church, notes Henrich. "In some sense, the church is killing off clans, and they're often getting the lands in wealth," he says. "So this is enriching the church. Meanwhile, Europeans are broken down into monogamous, nuclear families and they can't re-create the complex kinship structures that we [still] see elsewhere in the world."

      If true, this is an astounding finding.

  12. Jul 2020
    1. El jardín de la extracción capitalista se constru-ye mediante tecnologías de exterminio que acaban con la bio-diversidad natural y, por lo tanto, con la potencialidad actuante de la materia.

      Creo que la "potencialidad actuante de la materia" no se ve disminuida por el capitalismo, es mas, la agencialidad del cumulo de aserrin atesta a lo contrario. De la misma forma, podemos ver en esta materia impuesta por el neoliberalismo, un agente tambien. Como en el caso del matsutake, del libro the Anna Tsing, The mushroom at the end of the world

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  13. Jun 2020
    1. A word deployed in academe to curb racialist denotations is often used today inside and outside of academe with racialist con-notations. A word intended to promote pluralism often becomes a trope in con-servative agendas or in late liberal versions of the civilizing project.

      This is a fundamental aspect of the historical development of the concept of culture. As seen, for example, in racist statements from physicians in the book Reproducing Race, where they ascribe differential treatment of patients by means of different cultures. It is also the idea of "racism without races" of Etienne Balibar

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  14. Apr 2020
  15. Mar 2020
    1. Therefore let the 201 desire of possession take hold of no one, for what gain is it to acquire these things which we cannot take with us? Why not rather get those things which we can take away with us--to wit, prudence, justice, temperance, courage, understanding, love, kindness to the poor, faith in Christ, freedom from wrath, hospitality? If we possess these, we shall find them of themselves preparing for us a welcome there in the land of the meek-hearted.

      This makes me think of Origen's anthropology of how humans should try to be active (like God, incorporeal) rather than passive (materialistic, corporeal) because he said that the more materialistic you are, the more distracted from God you become.

  16. May 2019
    1. culturally or anthropologically sensitive than they were at that time

      what does "culturally or anthropologically sensitive" mean? Her continued explanation sounds like it means using interpreters, local guides, learning the language. It does not sound at all like it means respecting local sovereignty or valuing local knowledge. This seems like a SUPER exploitative vision of anthropology, which likely is depressingly realistic for how it is used by the majority of people who claim to be "trained" in cultural anthropology.

  17. Jun 2018
    1. This is due to a natural human reaction to “Google” someone before we meet them for the first time. Before we show up to teach a class, take a class, interview for a job, go on a date…we’ve been reviewed online. Other people use the trail of breadcrumbs that we’ve left behind to make judgements about us. The question/challenge is that this trail of breadcrumbs is usually incomplete, and locked up in various silos. You may have bits of your identity in Facebook or Twitter, while you have other parts locked up in Instagram, Snapchat, or LinkedIn. What do these incomplete pieces say about you? Furthermore, are they getting the entire picture of you when they uncover certain details? Can they look back to see what else you’re interested in? Can they see how you think all of these interests fit together…or they seeing the tail end of a feverish bout of sharing cat pics?

      I can't help but think that doing this is a form of cultural anthropology being practiced contemporaneously.

      Which is more likely: someone a 100 years from now delving into my life via my personal website that aggregated everything or scholars attempting to piece it all back together from hundreds of other sites? Even with advanced AI techniques, I think the former is far more likely.

      Of course I also think about what @Undine is posting about cats on Twitter or perhaps following #marginaliamonday and cats, and they're at least taking things to a whole new level of scholarship.


      [also on boffosocko.com]

  18. Feb 2018
    1. Constructions of "religion" vary, but most of them are dependent in some way upon Christian presuppositions, distorting the interpretation of other, non-Christian phenomena they might otherwise be wi

      Should this be considered to be true? What would support this? I think that modern anthropology of religion would not be so influenced by Christian notions of religion. Certainly, I should do more research about this.

    2. pilgrims, but it is possible to imagine some of the Western biases that are fro

      Good point: the idea which some scholars had about Beat spirituality is influenced by Western notions of religion. However, this concept could be further elaborated on.

    3. ecognizable to the Western scholar, one might conclude that what the Beats practiced was spirituality (a messy, individualistic affair of no relevance to students of religion) rather than a properly Durkheimian religion (which requires overt signs

      Again, some theoretical/anthropological background considering distinctions between spirituality and religion would be useful, although it would admittedly take much space.

    4. s such: "If we look at this enormous literature, claiming a disputed canonical authenticity, what we find in reality is a shifting mass of teachings with little or no central core, many of which are incompatible with each other and within which we can sometimes detect mutual criticism

      This seems to be a good source as concerns Buddhism and its evasion, in its doctrine itself, of more "Western" notions of religion.

    5. "Religion" is not a native category. It is not a first person term of self-charac- terization. It is a category imposed from the outside on some aspect of native culture. It is the other, in these instances colonialists, who are solely respon- sible for the content of the term. -Smith 1998: 269

      Again, this would be interesting to include when considering more anthropological notions. The writer here seems to be Jonathan Z. Smith, an American historian of religion (contemporary: he died las year). This could be an interesting essay by him on the topic of religions (quote comes from here): http://www.iupui.edu/~womrel/Rel433%20Readings/SearchableTextFiles/Smith_ReligionReligionsReligious.pdf.

      This would support my view of religion as applied to the Beats.

    6. y learned elites rather than practitioners, and a Durkheimian assumption that religion is somehow at its most genuine when it is organized into church or sect rather than personal or familial in form (a "societal" element that somehow distinguishes "religion" from other categories such as "magic" and "spiritu- a

      This could be very interesting and useful to my argument. In fact, if I want to make a point about Beat "embodiment" of their philosophy and literature, I might consider some anthropological notions which go back to performance and embodiment of abstract things by figures such as the shaman or the fool. Including anthropology (in this case anthropologist Durkheim) in ways which would oppose my thesis could be interesting as well, especially if I illustrate how this has been done by other scholars.

    1. This is their ‘afterlife’!” They successfully transmitted some essence of their life to a world far beyond their own.

      This is a very interesting way to think about it. Maybe we need to make sure we leave similar such traces behind.

  19. Jan 2018
    1. While we are the only hominids to walk the Earth today, this year genomic evidence proved that the DNA of some people contains traces of Paleolithic trysts between humans and other Homo species, like the Neanderthals and the Denisovans.

      The Denisovans? Never heard of them...

  20. Oct 2017
    1. Geertz argued that the old functional, positivist, behavioral, and totalizing approaches to the human disciplines were giving way to a more pluralistic, interpretive, and open-ended perspective. This [Page 315]new perspective took cultural representations and their meanings as its point of departure. Calling for “thick descriptions” of particular events, rituals, and customs, Geertz suggested that all anthropological writings were interpretations of interpretations.
  21. Sep 2016
    1. Ethnographic fieldwork is the hallmark of cultural anthropology
      • Ethnographic fieldwork is the greeting card to cultural anthropology
      • Cultural anthropology is when someone goes to another community and studying the culture
      • ethnographic fieldwork is the work of describing a culture and the fieldwork is what they learn from the people rather than just studying them
    2. anthropologist goes to where peo-ple live and “does fieldwork.”
      • Anthropologists go to where people live and by fieldwork it participates in activities, asks questions, watches ceremonies, etc.
      • activities often obscures the nature the of most important task of doing ethnography
  22. Sep 2015
    1. Ritual performances may also be viewed as the principal mechanism by which meaning in the built environment is activated (175) or as the key to investing domestic spaces with meaning and transforming their meaning

      Can what we build come alive through ritual performances?

    1. historical political boundaries of the native Americans

      We view the world in these simplified 2D representations of clearcut political entities. Fredrik Barth and Benedict Anderson have said quite a few important things about these issues of maps and boundaries.