We have an interview at the Telegraph with Nigel Barley, the anthropologist and novelist, best known for his funny The Innocent Anthropologist: Notes from a Mud Hut. Here’s one great quote: “I’m not saying anthropology isn’t fiction,” [Barley] replied, “but fiction’s more fun. It lets you look inside people’s heads in a way you wouldn’t dare to do if you stuck to anthropology.”
Tim Parks at the Guardian writes Everything Is Connected on the anthropologist Gregory Bateson. Bateson’s collected essays Steps to an Ecology of Mind should be required reading for every aspiring neuroanthropologist. Parks provides us a biography of Bateson, and speaks directly to how Bateson’s research, life experience and writings apply to art in today’s changing and challenged world:
Dreams, religious experience, art, love – these were the phenomena that still had power, Bateson thought, to undermine the rash/rational purposeful mind. Of these four, art enjoyed the special role of fusing different “levels of mind” together: there was necessarily consciousness and purpose in the decision to create, but creativity itself involved openness to material from the unconscious, otherwise the work would be merely schematic and transparent.
Over at Somatosphere, the medical anthropology blog, Ann Kelly writes of Mosquito Huts, Wundercabinets and Cultural Models, a wide-ranging reflection on her work in Gambia and Tanzania as part of a mosquito and malaria control project. How does anthropology intersect with public health and local architecture in a living space intermediary between a home and a laboratory? Go find out through combined entomological and ethnographic analysis…
And those are just the three pieces from Around the Web that really caught my attention. If you’re looking for culture in the suburbs, the lost tapes of Osama bin Laden, and what evangelicals really say about gays, then go find out!
I also like Haraway. She seems to engage ideas in the same way a dog might play with a dead animal: sniffing it, placing it our mouth, playing with it, rolling on it, barking at it, offering it to our master only to run away with it again. But I could tell my owner was as frustrated by this kind of play as he is when I do it. He likes to play boring, repetitive, games like fetch. He seems to prefer the easy popular style of Patricia McConnell to Haraway’s challenging prose.