Most people still consider me crazy or irresponsible for having “forced” my wife and infant son to live for three and a half years with me in an East Harlem tenement. They often joke that my research sites are a product of a risk-craver’s character flaw. In short, one is made to feel bizarre, stupid, loony, and perhaps even unethical - or at least irresponsible - when one insists on taking the inner city seriously enough to conduct participant-observation in it. It becomes worse if one engages the neighborhood respectfully enough to actually enjoy and learn from living and studying on the streets.
I have a lot of thoughts about ABW’s final presentations on Wednesday in terms of expansion into larger projects in the coming months. Here are some:
Some photos from Monday while audio guru Professor Lankford stopped by to check in with ABW members and their final projects.
Each philosopher is a node in the network and the lines between them (or edges in the terminology of graph theory) represents lines of influence. The node and text are sized according to the number of connections. The algorithm that visualises the graph also tends to put the better connected nodes in the centre of the diagram so we get the most influential philosophers, in large text, clustered in the centre.
First of all, the blog itself paves the way for a different relationship with the reader than anthropologists have been used to. Readers can—and are expected—to reply, ask questions, and begin debates. The participatory process is a key component of blogs. Multimedia therefore questions the very vertical relation that seems to be common in academia. As Chrisomalis writes, academic blogs can be seen as a “modern, egalitarian equivalent of literary salons- the sort of place where like-minded (and not-so-like minded) people, regardless of status or profession, can talk about ideas informally and get to meet one another.
More photos of transcription, editing, and finishing up final presentations.
Some long-overdue photos from Sharp Leadenhall audio interviews which ABW participants conducted with longtime residents of the area. Unfortunately, I had to take these with my personal camera, so the quality isn’t the best.
I caught an extremely interesting discussion on NPR today during the program Fresh Air about the documentary “Endgame: AIDS in Black America” by Renata Simone, which also featured Dr. Robert Fullilove of Colombia University. The discussion covered topics such as behavioral models of HIV/AIDS incidence rates; the role of religious institutions in stemming or abetting (which Dr. Fullilove theorized was caused mainly by homophobia within churches) rising infection rates; social conditions such as incarceration and poverty as causal agents of infection; and what effects the recently-declared Constitutional health care overhaul from the Obama Administration will have upon those living with HIV and AIDS.
I highly recommend listening to the talk, and tuning in to the documentary this upcoming Tuesday, given their parallels to topics covered in ABW. Perhaps these will spark some discussion leading up to final presentations on the 11th, or inspire new perspectives…