What insights did you gain from this artifact?


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Amanda N Windle's picture
August 14, 2020

Hi Efe, 

You chose affectual images involving group and singular portraits of people. They are media images for journalism and in design terms, could be useful inside a book, with the great captions that you have given them.

I wonder, are these images more of a "moodboard", or a collection of "ephemeral objects" and imagery that might inspire a book cover? If say, you're book was chosen by a press that gives you limited pre-made patterns and colours to work with, what shapes and colours might you glean from your chosen images? Have a look at the Pivot books for their existing book covers to see what I mean? 

Megan Wiessner's picture
August 13, 2020

For Gabriel & Efe:

I'm responding to both of you because each of your responses to question 6 (overarching generalizations vs. holding back?) struck me.  I spend a lot of time handwringing about this, as I hint at in my response about wishing I was more willing to go out on a limb and make bold claims. I'm more at home with complexity but sometimes wonder why I'm doing the research at all, or whether I shouldn't focus on something more straigthforward (and more dull?) but more important and easier to make clear claims about. It often feels to me as if there's an inverse relationship between how morally transparent a phenomena is and how "interesting" it is as a research project, which troubles me.  Of course, I suspect that this is just a bad habit of thinking I need to unlearn. As I'm trying to get out of this way of thinking, it's at least helpful to get a sense in these responses that other people might face these questions. 

Efe I'm glad you included that Tsing quote, becuase she is someone I admire tremendously for her ability to hold onto what's at stake - violence, commodification, power - while diving straight into the complexity. I aspire to that kind of "everything is complicated, but also...this. we need to care about this." approach.  At the same time, I know others who find this approch still too ambiguous and thus morally questionable. I suppose you just can't please everyone - another impluse I'm trying to unlearn. 

Julieta Arancio's picture
August 13, 2020

On Hannah Cohoon's contribution.

I found the badges initiative super useful, thank you! In particular when there are still no incentives in place for academics going open (I study open hardware for science).

I imagine this could be an interesting 'altmetric' for researchers who volunteer much of their time. It could also serve as a point of contact between open science folks, if you could e.g. access who in your field of research has more badges then you identify "open science champions" more easily.

Nima Madjzubi's picture
August 12, 2020

Thank you, Cheri. This spoke to my related concerns around ways of juxaposing (comparing, contrasting, confronting) ways of knowing and ways of living and existing with symmetry in mind (#symmetric anthropology) and the challenges involved here and in the light of (Western) power disbalances. Here I expose my associations with regard to the topic of "beyond academia" in reading your Annotation, likely just stating the obvious. In a second review I will try to engage with the two very interesting questions asked.

Here "beyond academia" figures, for me, in ways that help us get beyond theory-practice/application dualism. It is not only about taking knowledge here and making it useful somewhere else. It is about a pertinent set of relations, bi-directional, between academia and things outside it--here military institutions as well as communities of Indigenous peoples. First there is the ethnographer who has worked outside academia, or has had experiences that are unrepresented within academia, and now she comes in, and brings insights, questions, viewpoints. She arrives from beyond, to a place where she can pose questions. I think of the Greek meaning of "school", free time, the place to tinker and to ask questions, which are always related to what is outside the school. The academy should be such a place (and arguably it is lacking in that respect)! It speaks to the value of welcoming students from every possible walk of life, and should moreover accomodate their experience, rather than washing over everything with 'Western science'.

Then there is the will to go out, in the other direction, to translate the insights gained after the questions, try them, profess them. This is much focused upon in our times. (E.g. how many universities produce graduates who leave for the industry and never read another academic paper!)

And thirdly there is a view of the (non-)relation between military institutions and Indigenous communities between which our ethnographer also travels. This relation forms a third axis, where academic action sees a possibility for intervention and mediation, for change. Here there are at least 3 parties, 3 sets of practices and ecologies that could learn to engage each other (academy/military/Indigenous community). I think this is (potentially) exemplified in this artifact. I also think this is a more fruitfull, albeit immensely difficult, way of thinking of "beyond academia"--the difference might seem slight, but can be a little wedge that makes a big difference later on. It can direct us towards (setting up) negotiation tables and other confrontations, and ongoing engagement and intervention, whilst realizing that knowledge is never final, that the academic is also just one of those parties involved, with a specific value to deliver. It helps the academic to insert herself not anymore as an expert, whose advice can then can be adopted or ignored, but as someone who is able to help confront power/knowledges in a constructive way. This is what I think of when reading the preface to the questions in this artifcat.