A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘anthropology

[WRITING] “Journey between Two Languages”

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At Savage Minds, anthropologist Asmeret Ghebreigziabiher Mehari writes about the writing process for her, a multilingual person working in at least two very different cultural realms.

As a non-native learner and speaker of Amharic, English, and Swahili, I have taken several journeys between these languages and my mother tongue, Tigrinya. Considering geopolitical domination and subordination, the passages between Amharic and Tigrinya or Swahili and Tigrinya are fewer than between English and Tigrinya. However, all crossings have similar purposes: to improve my comprehension, speaking, reading, and writing skills of these languages. In writing this post, I have taken a journey that merges Tigrinya and English in the service of two critical questions: 1) what role would a journey between two languages play in the process of thinking and writing about decolonizing archaeology? 2) What would the traveler feel and experience?

This journey took a few days to begin answering these two questions, but the first two days make the foundation of this and any future journeys.

Day one: On a notebook using a mechanical pencil I wrote the title “ናጽነት ናይ ስነጥንቲ መጽናእቲ” in ትግርኛ (Tigrinya), a Semitic language spoken by around 7 million people from the central region of Eritrea and from the Tigray region of northern Ethiopia. The literal translation of the title in English is: “liberating the study of ancient times”. Then I switched into English, and typed on the computer the tittle: “decolonizing archaeology”.

I continued in English. I wrote:

I am invited to write about decolonizing archaeology. I can write something; I have lived experience of becoming an African archaeologist. But my body feels stiff, and my mind refuses to think anything about archaeology. My inner voice is interrogating me: why should I write about something that is not even going to help most ordinary African people? Why should I write about decolonizing archaeology when the entire process of archaeology continues to be colonial? And why should I write about decolonizing archaeology in a lingua franca that still exhibits imperialism? For whom do I write it anyway? As my inner voice interrogates me, I feel numbed and frustrated. I also feel fear of judgement by my colleagues and probably jeopardizing my career. I feel lack of energy because I feel the systemic trap. I feel worthless. I have no source of income. If I can’t afford my basic daily needs, why should I care about archaeology? My passion for African Archaeology and my doctoral degree in Anthropology could mean nothing if I cannot earn a living from them.

I couldn’t take the negativity. I stopped there!

Written by Randy McDonald

August 29, 2016 at 6:00 pm

[BLOG] Some Monday links

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  • Beyond the Beyond notes some anti-drone activists’ efforts to get drones controlled.
  • blogTO reports on the history of the strip mall in Toronto, looks at the abandoned Whitney Block Tower by Queen’s Park, and reports from the attic of Queen’s Park.
  • Discover‘s Body Horrors notes the possibility that global warming might lead to the reemergence of anthrax from the Siberian wastes.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze notes the discovery of exocometary gas in the debris ring of HD 181327.
  • Far Outliers notes the brutality in the Japanese naval academy and reassesses Admiral Yamamoto.
  • Noel Power at The Power and the Money looks at inequality in American history, after Piketty’s arguments.
  • Peter Rukavina reports on an interesting art installation in Charlottetown, of floating tents.
  • Savage Minds describes the “silo effect” besetting organizations.
  • Torontoist reports on the first game of cricket in Toronto.

[BLOG] Some Tuesday links

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  • blogTO shares some photos of Toronto in the gritty 1980s.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze links to a paper examining the habitable zones of post-main sequence stars.
  • Far Outliers notes the ethnic rivalries among First World War prisoners in the Russian interior, and examines how Czechoslovakia got its independence.
  • The Map Room Blog looks at the mapping technology behind Pokémon Go.
  • pollotenchegg looks at how the populations of Ukrainian cities have evolved.
  • Savage Minds considers anthropology students of colour.
  • Transit Toronto notes</a the end of tunnelling for the Eglinton LRT.
  • Window on Eurasia suggests the post-Soviet states built Soviet-style parodies of capitalism for themselves.

[BLOG] Some Wednesday links

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  • From last month, Charlie Stross imagined how the Laundry of his ongoing fiction series would have reacted to Boris Johnson as their superior.
  • The Big Picture shares photos of winning Olympians.
  • blogTO celebrates the Leslie Street Spit and south Etobicoke.
  • Centauri Dreams notes a study of some of the smallest and most planet-like brown dwarfs.
  • The Dragon’s Tales considers the possibilities of relatively recent supernovas affecting Earth.
  • Far Outliers looks at the fur trapper culture of the American west in the early 19th century.
  • The Map Room Blog links to a study of the Brexit vote in maps.
  • Marginal Revolution’s Tyler Cowen links to two columns, one on the end of economic miracles and one on what Danish-Americans do better than Danes.
  • The Planetary Society Blog notes Russia’s plan to drop the number of its astronauts on the International Space Station.
  • Peter Rukavina wonders who are the 25 subscribers to The New Yorker on the Island.
  • Savage Minds has a couple of posts noting the way the skills of anthropology can be made to apply outside the discipline.
  • Window on Eurasia looks at Russia’s interest in non-citizens in the Baltic States.

[BLOG] Some Tuesday links

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  • blogTO notes that Yonge and Dundas will soon be hosting a Zimbabwean meat pie restaurant.
  • Beyond the Beyond links to a report regretful of past optimisim about geopolitics.
  • Centauri Dreams considers extraterrestrial life and red dwarfs.
  • Marginal Revolution looks at rent in Puerto Rico’s public housing system.
  • pollotenchegg maps economic change in Ukraine.
  • Savage Minds calls for a decolonization of anthropology.
  • Towleroad notes that the roommates of a gay Syrian refugee murdered in Istanbul are also receiving threats.
  • The Volokh Conspiracy wonders what liberals will think of American Jews’ religious freedom when the majority of practising Jews are Orthodox.

[BLOG] Some Friday links

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  • The Big Picture shares photos from Rio in advance of the Olympics.
  • James Bow remembers Mel Hurtig, the recently dead Canadian nationalist.
  • Centauri Dreams considers space-based collection of antimatter.
  • Crooked Timber examines the tyranny of the ideal.
  • Dangerous Minds looks at a charming early 1980s board game, Gay Monopoly.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze predicts future transits of Beta Pictoris b.
  • The Dragon’s Tales examines dwarf planet candidate 2015 RR245.
  • Far Outliers shares some odd placenames found in the western United States.
  • Language Hat reports on a new English/Yiddish dictionary.
  • Language Log looks at how speakers of Slavic and Turkic communicate with each other across Eurasia.
  • The Map Room Blog reports on an interesting-sounding exhibition on maps here in Toronto.
  • Marginal Revolution considers a link between slow population growth and slow economic growth, and suggests land use policy in Tokyo is ideal for a large city.
  • Steve Munro shares exchanges on GO Transit services in the Weston corridor.
  • North’s Justin Petrone shares his progress towards
  • The NYRB Daily looks at how Russia and China in particular make extensive use of doping at the Olympics, and international sports generally.
  • Savage Minds considers how writing can help anthropologists who have witnessed violence heal.
  • The Volokh Conspiracy engages with the bloody legacy of Mao.

[BLOG] Some Tuesday links

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  • blogTO looks at 1970s representations of Toronto on television and in film.
  • Centauri Dreams looks at the genesis of antimatter propulsion.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze links to a paper asking if we might be one of the first intelligent civilizations to arise.
  • Joe. My. God. notes the questioned future of Orlando’s Pulse nightclub.
  • Language Log reports on a fascinating-sounding concert of the Turkic world’s music.
  • Understanding Society’s Daniel Little considers ethnographic studies of far-right movements and their memberships.

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