Anthrodoodles Update #4: A note on literature

Potential doodle style for video 1

I really only have one goal for Anthrodoodles: to share with the world why I think anthropology is cool. I don’t have a more sophisticated way to phrase that; I simply want to give someone a glimpse of why I’m so into it, and I recognize how self-indulgent that is, but you should know I have made my peace with it. More specifically, I want someone who isn’t from an anthropological (or even academic) background to engage with the material and walk away thinking, well, that was kinda cool. I don’t expect them to suddenly ditch their life plans to become anthropologists; I just want them to know that this field exists and has something to offer.

But it’s really important to me that the videos are educational, above all else. If I’m going to be adding to the already-overflowing bathtub of flotsam content that is YouTube, I want it to have educational value. One way I’m giving the video some academic flavoring is by peppering in anthropological literature relevant to the discussion. I’m still trying to figure out the best method to do this: direct quotes in the script, citations in the graphics, or just a bibliography in the video description? Some people might appreciate having a thorough breakdown of sources, but others may be turned off by its pedantic format.

But citations also matter for this video project because of the voices I’m choosing to include in the discussion. Inspired by Dr. Zoe Todd’s article listed below, I’ve been intentional about highlighting Black / Indigenous / POC / women scholars who have written extensively about the nature-culture divide or human-nonhuman relationships, but are much more susceptible to being excluded from dominating discourses in academia. Here is a list of some of the articles that have guided my script-writing process so far:

Martin Odei Ajei (2007)“Africa’s Development: The Imperatives of Indigenous knowledge and Values”
Marisol de la Cadena (2015)“Uncommoning Nature: Stories from the Anthropo-not-seen”
Kiatezua Lubanzadio Luyaluka (2016)“An Essay on Naturalized Epistemology of African Indigenous Knowledge”
Juanita Sundberg (2014)“Decolonizing posthumanist geographies”
Zoe Todd (2016)“An Indigenous Feminist’s Take On The Ontological Turn: ‘Ontology’ Is Just Another Word For Colonialism”
Vanessa Watts (2013)“Indigenous place-thought & agency amongst humans and non-humans (First Woman and Sky Woman go on a European world tour!)”

(If you are interested in reading any of these articles and are unable to access them, please definitely do not under any circumstances message me via the contact page in the top menu because I will definitely NOT email you the pdfs).

Personally, I really like being pointed to articles in discussions, academic or not. If an idea is brought up, it helps to know the corresponding concepts and names attached to that idea, right? But relying so heavily on only the most directly relevant literature has its downsides. For the entirety of my undergrad, I only ever read anthropology journals and books. It seemed fine at the time—necessary, even, for the sake of enriching my research project—but now that I’ve graduated and have started reading other things, I see that I was severely lacking in perspective because of how selective I was in what I deemed “relevant.” Anthropology can’t exist in a vacuum, and so much of what makes anthropological reasoning valuable comes from how it interacts with other disciplines, gets interpreted through a wide range of different mediums, and comes to life through stories and experiences that exist beyond academia.

So I reexamined my reading list, and I began to read fiction for the first time since high school. And I’ve never enjoyed reading so much in my life. My newfound obsession with novels is the closest I’ve come to being hooked on anything besides, well, anthropology. Lately it’s like my hands don’t know what to do with themselves unless they are clutching onto a book, as if I owe the book an unbearable debt that can only be repaid by giving it all the time I have. I’ve been told by several friends that it’s quite common for people to get more into reading when they’re not in school; I’m happy that this is how I get to spend my time before I start grad school (though this time around, I’ll be sure to have a more diverse bookshelf while in school).

As always, thanks for reading & I’ll see you next week!

Favorites from September and October

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