More Publicly-Engaged Anthro

I just received the notice of this Anthropology Now publication, which looks great. Many of my friends and I have discussed and debated the ways in which to make Anthropology a more publicly-engaged and meaningful discipline. Anthro has a lot to offer, and it's unfortunate, as the editors describe on their "about" page, that our work gets so readily dismissed (see every rant on this blog, I fear).

A number of the articles don't seem to be available yet. There's a great short article by Tom Strong (who is often on Savage Minds), debunking an article by Malcolm Gladwell about emotions-theory. Having taken an entire class on "emotions" -- and having found it particularly dismissive of cultural influences on people's experiences -- Strong's criticism of how Gladwell accepts the emotion theorists' interpretations of behavior and attitudes is really well-conveyed and an important challenge to emotions research. Gladwell often has this problem, of doing an amazingly good job at making everyday phenomena seem complex and worthy of inquiry, but he often fails to substantiate his claims or really ground his interpretations in anything other than his own personal opinion. (Yes, yes, I do this too, but I have yet to be published in the New Yorker or had two books out.) Strong's challenge points out that we have to go beyond what researchers tell us and think a little more critically about how information and knowledge are shaped. And I obviously love that.

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