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Since Saturday, I have written a ten page paper, put together an entire application for teaching a new course, which included writing my teaching statement, and have revised a paper for publication. That's not counting all the "work" work that I do every day, and the website that I manage.

So... why do I have this nagging feeling that I am not doing enough?? It's very strange!

I have also realized that if I am trying to concentrate on one thing, and try to do another, neither one of them gets done in a timely fashion. I have to finish something completely before I can have enough focus to move to something else. Transitioning between tasks is still very difficult to me, but it's worse if I am trying to do two things at once that require concentration.

So, now I have finished all the writing I needed to do (which in itself a procrastination from actually writing a grant proposal). I just have to bite the bullet, so to speak, and just get to it. Mentally, I'm prepared. Just have to do it.

Tomorrow, I will write about my rant about the ASA. Right now, however, I need sleep. My brain is exhausted!


I just signed on to (see link on the right). It's the ultimate tool of self-indulgence. Why would ANYONe care what the hell I'm doing at any point in time? Although, it is a neat snapshot into a daily life, because it archives all twitters in one profile page.

I don't have time to read the public timeline, but it's fun to know it's there if I want to read anything...

And, I have to say... Why would anyone on earth leave their wireless connection insecure? I'm working from the kitchen now, and connected to the net because someone left his or her connection WIIIIDE open!

Silly people.

Definitely adding this to my calendar. It's in Boston!


Call for Papers

The Wormy Corpus: Worms, Parasites and the Body in Religion, Medicine, and History

Boston University Department of Religion American Academy of Religion
April 19th and 20th

Across cultures and disciplines, worms and parasites are a source of revulsion and fear that reflects a deep-seated association with death and decay. The fear of worms (helminthophobia) or fear of worm infestation is visceral, for worms pose a threat to personal identity and boundaries as lowly but powerful invaders-the extreme other. As a topic of inquiry, worms and parasites invite an interdisciplinary discussion between Religious Studies, History/ History of Science, Literature and the Fine Arts, Anthropology, Sociology, and the Medical Humanities. The goal of this conference is to gather together scholars from diverse disciplines to discuss not only worms and parasites but also their role in the development of culture, history, and
religion--and thus illuminate the semi- permeable boundaries between academic disciplines, religion, and medicine, as well as between the body, soul, environment, and cosmos.

We welcome presentations from individuals across the disciplines on religious, literary, and medical texts, the fine arts, film studies, sociology and health studies, anthropology, and the healing arts and sciences from cultures across the globe.

For more information, visit our website at or email the conference organizers, Brenda Gardenour at and Misha Tadd at

For the first time, in a very long time, actually like how things are. Except for my health which is completely and utterly bonkers right now, I feel somewhat calm.

I don't have twenty different meetings to run to, or four classes to attend with their twenty books to read and ten papers to write. And, to top it all off, I don't have to work three jobs just to make ends meet. I like being alone during the day. I find that the hardest part of working at home is actually knowing when to stop. It's funny how there's this idea that if you work from home, it's easy to goof off. I think it is to a certain extent, but once I sit down to do work, I am "in the zone", until I make myself stop.

I find myself more in control of my time, my eating, my energy level.

But... I know this is probably not going to last. My temp contract runs out at the end of October. The company is slashing jobs, and have closed all recs. My boss really wants me to stay, and we're putting together an "offer they can't refuse", so that I get to stay on, and work from home. But, I don't know how likely that is right now.

Also, there's just so long I can put off my fieldwork before I start freaking out. I need to get on the ball ASAP and get things lined up. I told Dr. S. that I'm having an existential crisis (mainly about school). She asked me to write to her about it, and we can talk about it when I see her at the conference next month. So, I'll process some more, and send her a letter and we take it from there.

In the meantime, I am reading an excellent book, and... ahem... I do have to write a paper for it. It's the last of a DIS that I took over the summer.

Okay, now time to go read.. This is probably one of the most brilliant books I've read in a very long time. It's "A Colonial Lexicon: Of Birth Ritual, Medicalization, and Mobility in the Congo" by Nancy Rose Hunt

Meanest fortune cookie

What the hell??? This is probably the meanest fortune cookie I have ever gotten. How mean!

As the name of this blog implies, I am an anthropologist. And, I consider myself an activist. The two sometimes butt heads, and sometimes leave me with quite a headache. I've been feeling a headache for the last few months which was prompted by a comment during my prospectus defense for my PhD. It's amazing how one off-the-cuff comment can generate such a crisis of discipline.

I have my MA in applied anthropology. It's something which I am actually quite proud of, and I have published about how I felt that applied anthropology has finally solved the paradox between being an academic, and being an activist (Note to self: reread that paper). For my current PhD program, I wrote a prospectus that I was quite proud of. I finally got it to a point where I thought that it was what I wanted to do. During my prospectus, the two non-departmental committee members commented on how much they loved it. One departmental committee member fell asleep, and the other one text-messaged. But... the gist of it is that at the end of the presentation and the Q&A period, one of the members said, "This is very good. But where is the anthropology?" Needless to say, that took me quite by surprise. If the whole thing is not anthro, then what the heck is it?? The follow-up comment was "it reads like a very applied project. There's no theory in it." This was followed by another comment by my major advisor with "if you're hoping to graduate from this program, then you need to make it more theoretical."

Those two comments struck me as "funny", since when I was studying for my applied MA, I was told I was "too theoretical", and now I'm told I'm "too applied." I can't seem to win.

So, the topic I am engaged it, morally and ethically, I cannot be disengaged from. I can't merely "observe", but I have to find ways of creating change both in practice, and in policy.

I just read three papers written by colleagues about active engagement. But how? How is that even possible, when I feel like my back is against the wall sometimes. Yes, I can be "objective" and "relative" (and boy, have i been trying to be relative!). But, there are two distinct reactions to my doing so. One is to receive death threats and hate mail. I've actually learned how to live with those. The second is to be constantly reminded that as an anthropologist, I must remain "detached" and "objective" (well, as close to it as I can, anyways). I have a very difficult time looking at particular practices "symbolically", while I know that some women are actually suffering physically, psychologically, and emotionally from it. It's not something that's "out there", that I need to document and try to understand symbolically. It's people's lives that are at stake. There's so much work to be done, and I just can't see myself sitting somewhere in the ivory tower contemplating the symbolic aspect of it.

This dilemma is really not new. It's something that I thought I dealt with in the past, but apparently, I haven't. It's also something that many anthropologists, especially people like Nancy Scheper-Hughes and others, have had to deal with on a daily basis. They were ridiculed for it. They were told that what they are doing is not "real" anthropology. But, what is "real" anthropology? Certainly, I hope we are past Malinowski's, Radcliffe-Brown, and EE Pritchard's detached observations.

So, where does this leave me? At a crossroads, it seems. I have to keep reminding myself that it's not a black and white thing. There are grey areas, and there are plenty of other anthropologists out there that I can look to for inspiration on how to reconcile my dilemma.

More pondering time is in order.

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