I’m very excited to be attending and presenting a work-in-progress paper at the Oxford Ethnography and Education conference this coming week at New College, Oxford University. This conference is a highlight of my year: It’s a chance to workshop and improve a paper while also…
As Sonya Atalay writes in the introduction to our collaborative, creative collection in American Anthropologist, “In our hypervisual culture, presenting research in a visually engaging way can have a powerful and democratizing impact. Visual methods, such as comics and animation, aid us in telling engaging,…
The only thing better than being invited to the University of Pittsburgh is being asked to speak in the Cathedral of Learning, and the only thing better than that is to know that there will be tea and cookies! Come one come all!
At long last, I am an actual, bonafide, legit, published poetess! I am over the moon. My poem, Mouse Nest, is an example of ethnographic poetry. As Cahnmann and Maynard (2010) write,
Poetry is one important place where ethnographers can explore tensions that
emerge between the outside researcher and the community. By demanding
swift associations and evocative language, poetic craft allows the anthropologist
to name and claim subjectivities and contradictions experienced in “the
field.” (p. 7) Full text here.
You can read the brief ethnographic context statement that is appended to the poem as it appears in Anthropology and Humanism, but I am including a bit more backstory below for those who might be interested. To be an anthropologist of childhood in the modern moment is to be unrelentingly vulnerable and on the brink of tears, yet charged with the most fragile of daily hope, that thing with feathers.
Galman, S. C. (2018). Mouse nest. Anthropology and Humanism, 43 (2), 249-250.
I am a preschool ethnographer. On my most recent project, I spent three years and over 1,000 hours as a participant observer in a small, rural New England preschool classroom. In this public multi-age setting I got to know children and their families and community very well, and became a part of classroom life. I set out to explore young children’s pretend play, such as Molly and the narrator in this poem might undertake in the little pretend kitchen, and by doing so sought to understand one location of children’s culture. In the words of James, Jenks and Prout (1998) this was also a project aimed at affirming rural children’s agency and intentionality to continue to “provide the tribes of childhood … with the status of social worlds’ ensuring that such a form of child life can begin to receive detailed annotation” (29–30). About halfway through my time in preschool there was a shooting at another elementary school, just a short drive away. A group of 1st graders were murdered, and my research site was palpably altered. Bulletproof glass was installed, along with flashing lights. We began doing “lockdown drills” of a heightened sort. I watched as the children picked up on changes in the teacher’s voice, changes in practice (we used to just sit in a circle on the carpet, but now we turned out the lights and huddled in the bathroom and had to be completely silent) and changes in urgency. As Graue and Walsh (1998), Henward (2015) and other preschool ethnographers will attest, children’s culture is so much richer and more nuanced than a mere function of adult culture, but it does keenly take the temperature of adult joy, anger, sadness and fear. The children (and, to be honest, the adults as well) believed that danger was near that day, but as the narrator describes, they were unable to put to words what form it might take. My ethnographic involvement at this site is over, but the lockdown drills continue. As they do everywhere. I have requested that my own children no longer participate in lockdown or “active shooter” drills or similar and I strongly suggest that you do the same. Until the government can protect children in school in meaningful ways no child should be made to rehearse for death like fish in a barrel. No more upping the ante. Draw the line today.
James, A., C. Jenks, and A. Prout. 1998. Theorizing Childhood. Cambridge: Polity Press.
Graue, M. E., and D. J. Walsh. 1998. Studying Children in Context: Theories, Methods and Ethics. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Henward A. S. 2015. “She don’t know I got it. You ain’t gonna tell her, are you?” Popular culture as resistance in American preschools. Anthropology & Education Quarterly 46(3): 208–223.
It is often difficult to find just the right place to publish critical, interdisciplinary work in childhood studies. However, I am lucky enough to be one of the editors at Jeunesse, where we publish a wide variety of pieces from the humanities, social sciences and…
Anthropology and Education Quarterly Call for a new editor or editorial team The Council on Anthropology and Education (CAE) calls for proposals to provide editorial stewardship for its journal, Anthropology and Education Quarterly (AEQ) for a three-year term to begin on January 1, 2020 and…
I promised you all not one but two separate NEW books this fall and I did NOT disappoint. The second edition of the one and only original SHANE is out! You can find out all the information here on the publisher website.
The first Shane book, which I published in 2007, was a labor of love and of learning, and I wrote it in graduate school, when I was a much better cartoonist and storyteller than I was an ethnographer. When I was approached to update the beloved classic edition, I had mixed feelings– on one level, it needed updating, but on another, it was an absolutely massive job that was intimidating as a scholar, artist, fieldworker and creative person who is– like so many creative people– so in love with my character and the world I have made for her. But, needs must when the devil drives and I sat down and got it done.
The new edition is fantastic and completely, totally new. Longer, better, sharper and updated for a new era of ethnographic learning and fieldwork, this volume shines. I honestly think it may be my finest work yet. I hope you all love it as much as the original. I think I do. If you want more details about what is different, what is the same, and what is brand spanking new, check out the website or peer squinting into the tiny screenshot below. 🙂
I am so pleased to have work appearing in Christine Kray, Tamar Carroll and Hinda Mandell’s (Eds) powerful volume, Nasty Women and Bad Hombres: Gender and Race in the 2016 US Presidential Election. This book, quite frankly, names names and pronounces swift and clean judgement on…