So, while I’ve been working on this blog, and making empty promises of posting all of the time, I’ve decided to be out and out about the why:
In the disciplines of anthropology and cultural studies, scholars have a very difficult time of relating their studies to everyday people (anthropologists as a whole are worse, but cultural studies has some zingers). While I’m very good about explaining my research and my views in person, sometimes I’m just not a very good writer.
As I’ve worked on grants, etc. this term, I’ve found my writing has improved DRASTICALLY- especially because I’ve been communicating my ideas on aesthetics and existential concerns in anthropology to people who could more or less give two shakes. My discovery- you can write in a way that makes them want to give three shakes. The secret is writing clearly and conveying your message in a way that seems exciting without coming off like a used car salesman.
Of course, as many of my earlier professors have discovered and have told me and I’ve ignored until I found it out myslef, the key to pulling it off is to put your ideas in bigger worlds. To be real, cultural anthropology is the most vague discipline out there. We can’t even decide in the field what it is, so why expect people outside of it to know we’re not Indiana Jones? ANYWAYS, as I was saying, the world is bigger than the things we do, and in the grand scale of life on Earth, it doesn’t even matter- no matter how hard we try, there will always be inequality, death, the destruction of art, etc. etc. So how do we get people to care?
By phrasing our research in their worlds. I’m interested in doing work outside of academia proper, and working in museums. So, that means, I have to think complex ideas and convey them in simple terms (and sometimes in a different mode of language- through exhibiting material things). That’s the point of this blog: to take the big ideas in my head and convey them to the world around me THROUGH THE WORLD AROUND ME.
The other motive, which I was hinting at before, is that it’s initiative for me to a) write more b) in a non-formal, quotidian setting. Although I’m writing for you, the reader, I’m also writing for me, so that I am better at writing to you.