Sage advice from Savage Minds

I spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about the pedagogy of anthropology. Mostly because I feel so much of it has been self-taught. My department, I think, is deeply invested in self-teaching. Sometimes I see that as active neglect (and I think it can be), but other times, it's satisfying to find one's own way. If I were being uncharacteristically optimistic, I might even suggest that it could be very individualized, and they may have quickly noted that I wasn't going to listen to them if I didn't want to, and that it was better to let me flounder and self-create. That may be too forgiving an assessment, but I guess I'm feeling generous at this hour.

Savage Minds has a short post on the near-far (or the fort-da, as I like to call it) of fieldwork. I find it challenging to figure out the relationship between my informants and me. I know the suggestion, "never turn down an invitation," is a good one. But sometimes, one finds oneself unable to go. I rarely accept an invitation and not show up. And I think I've been pretty good about following up with people when they extend invitations. Though I do have one mom, who has repeatedly invited me to stuff, and I've not gone. I feel quite lame about that... I know my other anthropologist friends have struggled with intimacy and distance in their fieldwork. It certainly came up for me in Morocco, and I still feel guilty about how I handled it.

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