The Theory and History course (unit 2 and 3 this week) is extremely interesting. It provides a solid base of anthropological, well, theory and history, and it is taught by a professor who is very knowledgeable and inspiring. The three and a half hours just fly by.
Watching Secrets of the Tribe, S commented that Napoleon Chagnon and his co-researchers (and by that I don’t mean his informants) didn’t seem to see the Yanomami as their equals. When vaccinating them against measels Chagnon & co ran out of gamma-globulin. Shortly afterwards the dentist of the group entered the village despite having flu-like symptoms. 200 local people died. The exact causes can of course not be easily determined, so it’s a bit harsh to accuse Chagnon of “genocide” as some in the movie did. But I thought: Wouldn’t Chagnon have found a way to get more gamma-globulin if it was his own people that were at risk? And wouldn’t the dentist have thought twice before risking infecting his own people?
I mentioned this in the Theory and History class, with my conclusion that no, Chagnon & co did indeed not see the people they studied as their equals. Maybe few anthropologist do, by default. We must therefore be aware of this basic predicament for any kind of research and make sure that we really, truly believe in it – that we live it.
The lecturer emphasised that this doesn’t mean we have to be completely blank and non-judgmental when we face radically different customs and ways of thinking, but rather that we “suspend judgement” and learn to “inhabit paradox”.
I like that: Inhabit paradox.
I worked quite a bit on my project in Digital Anthropology. I corresponded in Japanese with several informants, and corrected the Japanese of my online questionnaire – again. I started writing a script for my machinima and asked some of my informants if they would consider contributing to it with some material.
S showed me a movie from 1986 called Babakiueria. A brilliant satire of anthropology and especially its history. But also of how white people treat black people in general. Babakiueria switched the roles, so that the narrator asked questions like “are white people intelligent?”. As a white man I was emotionally affected – I took it personally! – despite I knew it was satire. So that’s how brilliant it was.
Finished watching Mr Robot season 3. Perfection.
Finally fixed my fixie! Premiered it yesterday and took a longer ride today in the sunshine:
Theory and History of Social and Cultural Anthropology
Unit 2: The long 19th Century: Primitive Culture in Victorian England (Taylor) and Psychic Unity of Mankind in Prussia (Bastian)
- Tylor, Edward Burnett (1871): The Science of Culture. In Primitive culture: researches into the development of mythology, philosophy, religion, art, and custom. Vol. 1, 1920 (1871), pp.1-25.
Unit 3: Cultural Relativism and Historical Particularism: Boasian Anthropology in North America
- Boas, Franz (1920): The methods of ethnology. In American Anthropologist 22, no. 4, pp. 311-321.
Unit 4: Anthropologist as Fieldworker and Functionalism (Malinowski)
- Malinowski, Bronislaw (1922): Introduction: The Subject, Method, and Scope of This Inquiry. In Argonauts of the Western Pacific: An Account of the Native Enterprise and Adventure in the Archipelagoes of Melanesian New Guinea, pp. 1-26.
- Malinowska, Violetta (1967): Preface. In A Diary In The Strict Sense Of The Term, pp. vii–ix.
- Firth, Raymond (1988): Second Introduction 1988. In A Diary In The Strict Sense Of The Term, pp. xxi–xxxi.
- Note. In A Diary In The Strict Sense Of The Term, pp. xxxiii–xxxiv.
Readings related to my research:
- Baudinette, Thomas (2017): Japanese gay men’s attitudes towards ‘gay manga’ and the problem of genre. In East Asian Journal of Popular Culture, vol. 3, no. 1, pp. 59-72.
- The Economist: Millennial socialism
- Secrets of the Tribe (2010, 110 min)
- SOS visit Funkhaus Berlin (2015, 32 min)
- Stacey Dooley Investigates: Young Sex for Sale in Japan (2017, 60 min)
- Babakiueria (1986, 30 min)
- Heiseshow: Backup als bester Schutz – Was fällt so schwer? (45 min)
- The Intelligence: Echoes of Iran’s revolution, Harley-Davidson’s downshift and driverless-car ethics (24 min)
- The Intelligence: Visiting “iPhone City”, Angola’s diamond auction and El Salvador’s presidential hopeful (19 min)
- Babbage: How to regulate tech giants? (20 min)
- Bögministeriet: Det med banan på pizzan (68 min) ❤️