Taussig on Kobane-Ocalan-feminism-anarchism-ISIS-Turkey-non-hierarchy-Mauss

Screen Shot 2015-08-13 at 12.09.10a incandescent reflective comment by Michael Taussig on his visit to Kobane, with images:

“Walking through the dust of the wind-blown ruins, I was greeted enthusiastically like the Pied Piper by well-dressed, well-fed, happy kids attached to a women in her forties in a long yellow gown who spoke effusively about resistance to the siege without once pausing for breath. It seemed like she really wanted to — had to – talk, and the kids hung on every word as well as teased us a little. One ten year old had a toy camera with which, held upside down and back to front, he would photograph us photographing Kobane.”

and on Ocalan

“The legend is all here: solitary confinement on a prison island for seventeen years since his 1998 capture in Kenya by the CIA and Turkey (with rumored Mossad support); an imprisonment that seems to have greatly boosted his charisma and power and, be it noted, given him the time to write and read widely; his quasi-religious conversion in prison from the Stalinist model of the hierarchical party to the anarchist idea of horizontal structures of democratic governance; the underlying, all-encompassing effulgence of feminism as not simply gender equality but as a cultural revolution in the meaning of maleness; plus a pronounced emphasis on care for the environment with all the heebie-jeebies of nationalism and ethnicity cast to the winds along with the hocus-pocus of the nation-state.”

You have to read the whole thing to get the context.

Also reports on the Suruc Cultural Centre bombing.

Thanks Ulker for the link

snippet of presentation advice for #dissertation

queneauon dissertation formats:

This is a stylistic question that I think depends on the overall shape/effect of the piece and what you want to achieve. It raises interesting issues in terms of overall impression you give a reader. The language, the layout, the kinds of typology, fonts, subheadings, the tone or way you may or may not echo different kinds of writing – range can be vast, from essay, chapter, article, breezy reflexive summary or policy report, government regulation documentation, legal opinion, scientific prospectus, conventions of the dissertation (several formulaic kinds including lit review chapter or not etc) and all through the varieties of literary expression or models – diary, letters, mix of all of these. It is even important in publishing – not for you just yet obviously, but maybe of interest soon – to consider the type of binding, cover endorsements, size of name/title on spine etc – all these things are factors when someone picks up a book in a shop. Then there is the whole other question of how it looks online, on kindle etc. queneau
But on this, the decision is totally yours – which option looks best to you. Usually go with gut instinct on this. I have no personal preference. Sometimes I write to numbers, sometimes as stream of consciousness… as above. Thing is to leave time to indulge such considerations, and kill all typos.

Museum of Innocence on smoking

For curio’s sake – and for its [mild] critique of anthropology – there is this short chapter from Orhan Pamuk’s ‘Museum of Innocence’. You only need to know that the ‘author’ of the text has been deliriously in love with Fusan for years. What is impressive however is the way empirical evidence gets into the novel, a documentation of this obsession. It is even possible to visit the museum and see the butts lovingly displayed.

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The Slow Boat to China

john hutnyk:

Following this -giant- boat by ethnography.

Originally posted on The Disorder Of Things:

The following post is the first in a series of oceanic dispatches from Disorder member Charmaine Chua. She is currently on a 36-day journey on board a 100,000 ton Evergreen container ship starting in Los Angeles, going across the Pacific Ocean and ending in Taipei. Follow her ethnographic adventures with the tag ‘Slow Boat to China’.


“In civilizations without boats, dreams dry up, espionage takes the place of adventure, and the police take the place of pirates.”

– Foucault, Of Other Spaces

cc_EPL2_IMG_0666 Source: Author

There is uncanny beauty in the monstrous. This, at least, is the feeling that seizes me as I stand under the colossal Ever Cthulu[1] berthed in the Port of Los Angeles. The ship’s hull alone rises eight stories into the air; even from a distance, I am unable to capture its full length or height within a single camera frame. In describing the…

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Pre fieldwork

Was asked for advice on preparation for field research today…

It is always a good question. I think most anthropologists, in preparation for fieldwork, write a fairly critical ethical reflection on what they are about to do, but invariably the actual doing of it throws up things they could not really have anticipated. That in itself is interesting, and good. A kind of dialectic based on preparing for the unexpected. Perhaps this can be called the great philosophical angst and reflection form of the existential conundrum – boiled down to: how can you get yourself ready to be surprised?

Methods courses have always somehow been about this. The anthropologist or sociologist is someone who trains to seek out what they do not know. Most especially, or maybe ideally, to find something that they probably don’t even know they are looking for. How can this even be taught? Maybe it is a philosophical attitude, maybe it requires a certain kind of person, maybe it is always self-deception? We do tend to seek out what fits our understanding, what confirms our view of the world. Yet we also try to recognise that the only reason for doing anything is really to find out if it’s possible to see the world differently that we do now.

My advice is always to stay prepared for what you cannot be prepared for, even if it means disregarding advice… An old book, Kurt Wolff ‘Surrender and Catch’ might be worth a look in this regard.

and yet

On the other hand, my position has usually been that anthropologists and sociologists should not be inflicted upon the world. Keep them home – a moratorium on fieldwork for 20 years…