Pulp Culture @Vermont Folklife Center

I am so honored to have been invited to appear at the one, the only, the amazing Vermont Folklife Center’s Pulp Culture Comic Arts Festival and Symposium. I’m simply beside myself with joy to be a part of this event. If you find yourself in the area on what will surely be a gorgeous stretch of fall weather leaf peeping goodness, comic art learning and reading and drawing, and all around good times, please do drop in and come visit me and the other ethnographers on our panel, Ethnography: Comics and Culture.  I can’t wait! 

The Artist as an Ethnographer

I’m going to be speaking about some of my work as an artist and ethnographer of childhood this coming Wednesday in the UMass Anthropology Department. I promise tales of wonder and terror and joy, and hope to impress upon all present that — in all its forms– art heals.

AND, here I am CAUGHT in the ACT! Thanks to Dr. Krista Harper for adding me to the honor roll of those colloquium speakers she has sketched herself!

Tales of Comfort

I’m so honored and delighted to have my work appearing in this brand new volume from Ethnography and Education, edited by Yaliz Akbaba and Bob Jeffrey.

My chapter, titled “Stealth practice: Early Childhood and Elementary Teachers Supporting Gender Diverse Children in the Context of Right-Wing American “Zoetrope Populism” appears in the first section. The abstract is below.

“Much research on transgender and other gender diverse children suggests that school contexts have the potential for the highest level of trauma and the lowest educational outcomes for that population. In the United States, the Obama administration issued guidance for implementing robust trans protections and inclusion in schools. However, the incoming Trump administration rolled back these protections within a matter of weeks after
taking office. Drawing from an ongoing ethnographic study of the school and home experiences of American gender diverse children ages 3-10, this paper explores their teachers’ stressful and resourceful experiences in the context of post-election right wing ‘zoetrope populism ” (West 2016). Many teachers responded to these stressors
by developing an array of practices designed to support gender diverse children in relative secret. While teachers were certainly afraid of being ‘caught’ providing these hidden supports, they persisted. This chapter presents two examples of supportive, but hidden, classroom practice in just such circumstances. Discussion of teachers’ practice and the transformation of the nature of teachers’ work– as both public intellectuals and
careworkers– in the current political context concludes the chapter.”

Everything we write, every story we tell, is another way we speak truth to power. As Tavis Smiley says, “Speaking truth to power means comforting the afflicted, and afflicting the comfortable.” I hope to provide comfort by telling these stories of teachers and families who themselves provide comfort every day, often at great risk to themselves.

You can learn more about this timely, incisive book, and order your own copy, here: http://www.ethnographyandeducation.org/?page_id=411

Brand New AEQ

As the summer winds to a close and the academic year hovers over us, take a moment to check out a brand new hot-off-the-presses volume of Anthropology and Education Quarterly. In this issue, we focus on gender, with pieces from Ayesha Khurshid, Catherine Ashcraft and Colleagues, Quaylan Allen, Sarah Winkler-Reid, Morghan Vélez Young‐Alfaro and more. The issue also includes Reflections from Joe Tobin and Akiko Hayashi and the CAE Presidential Address with commentaries. The issue may not be officially out until September, but thanks to Online First, you can read it now. Hooray!


Barcelona 2017! See you there!


The very nice people at the Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona have invited me back, ten years later, to give another opening keynote at The International Conference on Ethnography and Education. I’m so honored and excited to see old friends and make new ones over three brilliant days in sunny Cerdanyola de Valles, talking ethnography and slaying dragons. Read more about all the fun here: http://www.cieye2017.cermigracions.org/en


Research in Pain

I’ve written in lots of other places about how difficult it has been to be a researcher in childhood and a parent since the ugly events of November 2016, and what the new American populism has meant for me personally and professionally. However, thanks to the supportive editors and reviewers at Anthropology News I’ve been able to explore that pain in pictures and words, here: http://www.anthropology-news.org/index.php/2017/05/08/research-in-pain/

This is one of my few comics that are not funny, and do not feature Shane. This one is serious, and is about subjectivity, reflexivity, research, meaning, identity and most of all pain. It’s very personal. I have been very public about my writing process, so I’ll admit here that I wept the whole time I drew this piece. While I am used to a certain degree of vulnerability as a scholar-artist, and producing this kind of work does push one somewhat into the historical margins, I feel strongly that wading off the page and into the margins is an act of bravery for these times. We make new meaning when we expand our scholarship beyond what is smooth, knowable and digestible. Further, we defy fascism when we name its evils in pictures and words, with bright colors that say, unequivocally, we know what you are. Artists came to name names. Mind our swath.

Galman, S. (2017). Research in pain. Anthropology News, 14-17. http://www.anthropology-news.org/index.php/2017/05/08/research-in-pain/


Preschool, dress-up, adult fears, and pregnant boys

Hi everyone! I have a brand new hot-off-the-presses, so-hot-it’s-only-online-first-right-now publication! This comes out of my multi-year ethnography of preschool, and develops one themes and ideas I’ve talked about in a few lectures up until now. Here’s the abstract:

This article presents analyses from an ethnographic study of a rural preschool and the pretend play occurring there. While many studies in childhood have sought to understand children’s play from the perspective of the child player, these analyses focus on understanding adult constructions through the children’s play. By focusing on children’s pretend play and adult reactions to it, this article seeks to explore children’s play as a lens for understanding the tensions between social constructions of “good” adults and “proper” children.

And link to the whole thing, so you can read about gender, childhood and ontological insecurity. For those of you following the saga of The Pregnant Boys, they’re in this one too.

Call For Papers: AEQ Special Issue on the 2016 Election and its Aftermath

Consider contributing to a special issue on the US election and its aftermath. I know everyone out there has something they really want to say about the 2016 US Elections, and here is the PERFECT venue for your work: Short essay, reflection, creative work, testimonial, poetry, short play, you-name-it this is your chance. Anthropology and Education Quarterly has long been at the forefront of championing creative, cutting edge scholarship and this special issue promises to be particularly powerful. Here is the Call: Call for Submissions updated 2017 4-1

Cultural Anthropology: The Shattered Echo Chamber

madres-symbolMy colleague Carlos Martinez-Cano and I were both struck by the mood at the American Anthropological Association’s annual meeting, by the conversations we were having with colleagues, and by the desperation, sadness and hope of this particular moment. After our session, we wondered if other people also felt what we were feeling. What happens when a conference full of people doing our particular brand of justice work convenes in the tragic, painful, tumultuous aftermath of the 2016 presidential election? We asked some of the most resonant voices in contemporary cultural anthropology to weigh in, in 1000 words or less. Read it here in Cultural Anthropology and be troubled and inspired: https://culanth.org/fieldsights/995-the-shattered-echo-chamber-experiences-of-amanth2016-in-the-wake-of-the-election

(I also had a bit to say about art and its power (and your power, and mine, and everyone’s) at this moment: https://culanth.org/fieldsights/998-light-struck-on-stories-art-and-work-among-the-broken-pieces) Go out and make some art.

#lovewins #artfightsforus #riseup #loveislove

Naming sexual violence

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I recently reviewed Maria Stoian’s beautiful and chilling Take it As a Compliment at Women’s Studies International Forum. It is, as I wrote in the review, a beautiful book about a terrible subject. Like many people, I read the book nodding my head, “Yes, this happened to me too.” 

When I read the book and wrote the review some months ago, the revelations about the republican presidential candidate’s admitted serial sexual assault had not yet been reported in the press. However, since the timbre of the presidential race has changed since my writing, I would suggest that Stoian’s work–which is appropriate for high school students and up, and also possibly mature middle schoolers– be considered timely and essential reading. Not only does it address the topic of sexual violence unflinchingly and honestly, it also offers up powerful tools and testimony to interrupt sexual violence wherever we find it. Stoian has done what artists do best, and what art is for: to give our better selves tools to awaken, to advocate, to resist, to fight, and to support one another. You can read my review here.