19Jun07

This is, in part, a response to Megan’s Morose June 7th Entry re: motivation.

I assumed at one point that I really would miss School, after I graduated successfully and had settled into a mediocre routine of a day-time retail job and nightly feel-good hangouts with the friends that I neglected for the last two months of my undergrad career. I thought, “I’ll get back into it! Come August, I’ll be ready to do something scholarly and at that point I’ll be in Egypt doing something scholarly, so I’ll be ok, right!?” Wrong. Motivation level, still Zero, plus I’ve started reading fiction again, for the first time since my last vacation [December?], and so of course, being only in my 22nd year, I think, “School? I’m not cut out for more of that! It is my God-given calling to be a fiction writer! What have I been doing? Why Anthropology?” So, in a matter of maybe three days, I decided to move to a more literary American city than Washington, DC.

So, I’ve been looking for jobs in the Boston metro area, at colleges and things [because I have a BACHELOR’S DEGREE now! which means: Nothing.], including the Hallowed Halls of Harvard, and suddenly I’m remembering why I stuck with Anthropology [at AU, specifically] in the first place. Because I’m reading descriptions of Harvard’s Anthropology Department because, hey, maybe I’d like to work for them? and suddenly, there’s a little voice in the back of my head, like a collective voice of my team members [Megan, Sean, Sven] and our advisors on this project [David, and more or less Brett], telling me that this view of Anthropology [e.g. Harvard’s legacy of ethnology, and the Peabody museum, and La-di-Da..] is not right. I mean, there’s no outright ethical dilemma here, but this is the pinnacle [no pun intended!] of the Ivory Tower mentality that I was cussing out at any given free moment two, three months ago. For example, one of the Harvard faculty members in their department of Anthropology lists “Chinese kinship and social organization” as an area of study. Kinship? Really? KINSHIP? I fear that this could deteriorate into a bitchy and sarcastic critique of Ivory Tower Academia, but seriously. SERIOUSLY. I’m not one to criticize the traditional and old-fashioned [I mean, I wear vintage dresses. I like cocktail parties.] but kinship seems so dated. Am I wrong? Am I spoiled by a progressive department that honed my critical thinking skills and encouraged a move toward a more public anthropology? Am I spoiled by my professors who encouraged my [our] exploration of the Open-Access world? SHOULD I BE IN SHOCK THAT NOT EVERY UNIVERSITY HAS AN ATTITUDE LIKE OURS?

This, I guess, is the “Real World” [caveat: a term I resent.] of Academia. There is still such an aura of hierarchy, and snobbery, and, most present in my mind, still such a sense of Other-ness projected onto the subjects [objects?] of research [who uses ‘ethnology’ as a legitimate study anymore? apparently it’s ok at HARVARD.]

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3 Responses to “”

  1. The hierarchy gets me down to; you ought to be a fiction writer in Boston, Massachusetts where the city only sleeps on socialist-inspired holidays (Christmas, for example). I mean it. First, you ought to read the 7th Harry Potter for inspiration. Then, you should find a place to live in Boston. Lastly, you should write after a nice cool glass of Nestea.

  2. 2 Sven

    Annie, I admire your ability to express your disdain for doing scholarship through our last bit of scholarship. Seriously, I still think about this project, but I have not built up enough confidence to write anything on here.

    Additionally, if anyone wants to know what I’m doing, I’ve moved to China for a year and I’m teaching AP English to Chinese students, and couple Koreans. I think that I might be inside the Ivory Tower’s East Wing, given that this is a private boarding school. The Turkish toilets (porcelain hole in floor) definitely have an ivory color. But, the upside is that I am being paid to live on the other side of the world while getting to try my hand at learning Mandarin and meeting people I never would have met otherwise.

    Oh, and I honestly began to consider doing some scholarship while I’m over here. I need to figure out how to teach a culturally biased exam to students who live twelve time zones from the place where the test is written. Perhaps, I’m just a conductor on a train to the Ivory Tower.

    Much love,
    Sven

  3. Somehow i missed the point. Probably lost in translation 🙂 Anyway … nice blog to visit.

    cheers, Premium!!


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