California…Knows How to Party

November 18, 2008 at 4:09 pm (anthropology)

I am leaving tomorrow for my first-ever trip to California to present a paper that is not yet written.  Whoo hoo!  Navigatrix will be accompanying me, since I cannot seem to do a national meeting without her lately.

Last time I left town I broke my foot.  And the time before that I succumbed to a grave illness.  I hope my luck changes for the better.

Anyone want to help me write this paper?  Feel free to share what you know about botanical gardens in the comments field.


Permalink 5 Comments


August 27, 2008 at 3:48 pm (anthropology)

I started teaching again this past Monday.  At one point in the lecture, we were discussing cultural assimilation.  I mentioned to the students that I’d been studying “culture” for as long as most of them had been alive, and it would be difficult to put 5 anthropologists in a room and have them reach a consensus on what constituted culture. 

Upon hearing this, the students expressed disbelief, not at the ambiguity of the concept of culture, but at my advanced age.  “Yes,” I assured them, “I started college in 1987.”

My announcement was met with a ripple of audible gasps.  Heads in the back rows swung around dramatically to get a look at the teacher who was pretty much where they are now in their lives in 1987.

Perhaps they were astounded that I have too much youthful energy and good looks for one so aged?

Permalink 5 Comments

Awesomer Still

August 14, 2008 at 3:11 pm (anthropology, der Fuß)

Guess which semi-lame Bronx-born anthropologist will be chairing her panel at the Big Important National Meeting?  Yes, yes y’all.

Other awesomeness: someone I know and love drove herself to the doctor and then to work this morning.  She even wore two sneakers and matching socks.

Permalink 8 Comments


July 31, 2008 at 1:18 pm (anthropology)

Guess which Bronx-born anthropologist will not only be adjuncting at a small, private college this fall, but will also be presenting a paper at the Great Big Anthropology Conference in San Francisco in November?

Permalink 4 Comments

I Have Characteristics

July 28, 2008 at 2:10 pm (anthropology)

From the teacher’s guide for the course I teach:

Older women may have less drive to remarry and they are more likely to have characteristics that affect their suitability to potential partners.

Hmm, since BOTH negative and positive characteristics affect suitability, is the book trying to tell me that older women are more likely to have characteristics in general?  And more likely than WHO, exactly?  Older men, younger women, younger men?  Whoever they are, they are characteristicless, and their suitability remains unaffected.  WHAT?

Then comes this helpful nugget:

There are three main contexts from which divorced men and women might find another partner: in the workplace, through leisure activities, and through their social network.

In other words, in the places they go and through the people they meet.  Revelatory.  Next thing the book is going to tell me is that divorcees tend to pick contemporary, live, human partners who exist in time and space.

Permalink 2 Comments

What I’ve Always Wanted

July 17, 2008 at 10:07 pm (anthropology)

Cliff’s Notes for the social sciences!

Permalink 1 Comment

Always Gotta Keep a Sista Down!

May 15, 2008 at 5:31 pm (anthropology)

Someone from an anthropological society to which I belong has been emailing me all week, trying to ask me if I’d like to chair a panel at the Big Important Meeting this fall.  Unfortunately, the mail server at Nearby Women’s College is in cahoots with my evil bosses in undermining my professional development.  I didn’t get any of the emails, and the chair passed on to someone else.    

If I don’t become Anthropology Empress now I know who to blame.

Permalink 3 Comments

I Am Losing My Patience

April 7, 2008 at 3:05 pm (anthropology)

With sloppy information presented as science. I spent most of the weekend reading the textbook that the college forces me to use in my class. (I am being observed today; usually I pull my lectures out of my, er, head). The slim chapter on parenting was rife with errors, inconsistencies, and outright lies. (For example, the authors write “approximately 2 million to 14 million children live with gay or lesbian parents.” What, a margin of error of 12 million?! Numbers are supposed to illustrate a point. If the point is, “We have no idea what we’re talking about,” numbers won’t help.)

In doing a little internet research for my class this evening, I came across this piece in the NYTimes health blog. This article is awful for so many reasons, most of which are identified in the comments. What’s particularly upsetting to me is that this non-science (or nonsense) is being conflated with the maternal instinct. I have been trying all semester to debunk this idea for my students, and still the best thing I’ve found is Scheper-Hughes’ Death without Weeping, which entails its own difficulties, because students are apt to Otherize the situation of poor Brazilian women living in a shantytown. (Bad mothering is something that those people over there do, etc.)

I smell another research project. That’s two now, waiting in the wings for me to finish my dissertation.

Permalink 8 Comments


April 3, 2008 at 3:48 pm (anthropology, Work)

Somehow last week, during a conversation with my student assistant, I got inspired to become a grown up.  I had been playing Fantasy Life Search* online and I realized that if I was ever going to get the kind of house I wanted, I would have take care of some stuff first.   Hence the trancribing for the dissertation, submitting an abstract for the national conference, and other activities designed to make me an real anthropologist.

I also decided to take a more active role in managing my money, and made an appt. with the retirement plan representative at work.  My questions were basic, but I did want to talk to someone about my options. The woman called 3 times and emailed me to let me know that we had an appt. yesterday at 4 pm in the Student Center Conference Room.

Apparently I am not ready to become an adult.  Ashyknees has recently written about absent mindedness. But I am not even dating anyone now.  I have no excuse for the enfeeblement of my brain. 

I went to the Student Center, which is a confusing warren of a building with many blind openings and dead ends.  I entered through one door to find myself in the post office.  I left and entered through another door that led to the student spiritual office.  I walked to the west side of the building and entered to find the vegetarian cafeteria, which was locked.  I exited and walked to the south side and ended up near the faculty cafeteria (also locked).  I finally found a staircase and ascended to the top floor, where the a student worker told me where the conference room was.  I walked down the long hallway to find the conference room completely empty.

At this point I gave up and returned to the office.  If I can’t even find the right room, what  is the point, really?

I did learn, later, that the rep had been waiting in another room, which is actually named after the color of the door; no one calls it the conference room.  Furthermore, the only route of access to that room that I know would have been through the vegetarian cafeteria. 

*This is a game I invented where I look online for academic jobs, then research the housing market in the college town, and then research the cultural scape and dating scene in these towns and fantasize about a life much more rewarding and exciting than my own. Or not.

Permalink 3 Comments

Bonnes Nouvelles

March 27, 2008 at 11:25 am (anthropology, The Albatross)

J’ai trouvé quelqu’un pour faire mes transcriptions.  La these, elle pourrait être finie cette année!

Permalink 7 Comments