by Lana Lynne on December 31, 2012
|Keep taking the road less traveled...|
photo by douglas reeser
Following is a short reflection on some of our stories from 2012.
Since douglas spent most of the year in the field for his dissertation research, many articles he wrote for his “Views from the ANThill” column centered on his experience as a field researcher. Among other things, he wrote about knowledge and trust among his research participants, how language affects research and fieldwork, applied anthropology at work with the development of language classes, going through research slumps, and the positive experience of working with a local research assistant.
Similarly, the Maya and other indigenous people of Belize were a frequent topic of conversation, given doog’s research interests, including a fun video of Maya Day 2012; a not-so-fun look at the creation of a new Belizean ministry that lumps together Forestry, Fisheries, Sustainable Development and Indigenous People; and how the decline of the ancient Maya compares to today’s environmental destruction and concentration of wealth.
The “Consumption Junction” column continued to examine consumption in its various manifestations, including an article on agency and panopticism in a digital world, pursuing meaning instead of money, and the state of literature in our self-centered “culture of me.”
In addition to our monthly Picture Shows, we had two guest writers this past year: anthropologist Federico Cintrón Moscoso wrote an article on the implications of anthropologist Reichel-Dolmatoff’s Nazi past, and librarian Lana Brand wrote a piece on the Open Access movement and how the internet can be the savior of scholarly communication.
The internet and digital media occupied a fair share of 2012’s story-time. We talked about the shelf-life of the print newspaper, internet as a human right, and creating a socialist social network through user profit-sharing. In one particularly thought-provoking piece on censorship and SOPA, dooglas asked, “If we seek a truly democratic world, we need to consult the people. We may not have had much say on how the internet was developed or on how it turned out. But now that it has become such an integral part of our lives, do we not have a say in its future? Should we not protect those powers that the internet offers to the people? The powerless? The voiceless? The exploited?”
As you can see, intellectual health is one of our priorities (as evidenced by our fondness for the Mr. Rogers Remix), but 2012 also showed our concern with physical health. We pondered the implication of the decline in seed varieties and how a less diverse food system is more vulnerable; the fascinating idea of plant communication; the economic value of honeybees; as well as more research-based pieces on medicinal plant knowledge and migration, how U.S. immigrants utilize traditional systems of healing as a complement to biomedicine, and how a person’s beliefs can be the driving factor in the use of available health resources.
So, while we may ruminate on the death of academia, Recycled Minds continues to assure us that the pursuit of knowledge is alive and well. We hope you’ve enjoyed and taken something from the writings and art we’ve collected in 2012. Here’s to a healthy and enlightened 2013!