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Ethnography USA [entries|friends|calendar]
US and Canadian ethnography for fun and profit

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A piece of Africa at Seattle! [26 Jan 2006|06:00pm]

Boyzie Cekwana, the great choreographer of South Africa, will present his show on Feb. 2-5 at the On the Boards performance center(www.ontheboards.org). He makes a impressive mixture of traditional dance with jazz and modern. His show is a meditation about post-apartheid male identity. AIDS, child abuse and violence.

Post-show talk with Boyzie Cekwana Thurs, Feb 2.
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[22 Feb 2005|03:12pm]

The Daily Star Lebanon: What does it mean to be Muslim in a secular society?

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Faith in a dream: Filmmakers hope to tell story of Muslims growing up in city
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Ethnography?!?! [17 Jan 2005|04:46pm]

Try Muslim/Punjabi - PUNK ROCK
Baley Baley

I'm the vocalist for the American Punjabi/Bollywood Punk band, The Kominas.
we're all desi and are trying to meet more brown kids like us...

Oi! Oi! Oi!
Here's our site with a new song PAR DESI (done in a studio for once):

or simply: http://www.myspace.com/thekominas

The song is about how I got jumped by crazy straight edge hoodlums in Boston, who left me with a dislocated shoulder... wishing I was in Pakistan. Straight Edge kids in Boston are like the Jamat-e-Islam in Pakistan

Here are the lyrics:
Of feedback I've had my fill
Within a room lodged in a wall
Somewhere in central square
where men smash 6 stringed idols

Where do I point to blame,
when men scatter like moths?
There's no time for 99 names
Midst the noise and clamour

How'd I get here,
from a land with long monsoons?
In Lahore it's raining water
In Boston it rains boots.

They tried to snuff me out
But they only fueled the flame
Boots crushing my shoulders
where Angels chose not too remain

Ab Siraf Yadeh
Mein Rehti mera Des

(Translation: My homeland only exists in Memory)
feel free to add me on LJ or us on My Space :)

~ Basim
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[30 Nov 2004|07:43pm]

So, anyway. I came to this community by clicking on various interests... I'm a grad student, studying psycholinguistics, and I'm easily distracted by this sort of thing. So a general question...

What would you put on a reading list for someone interested in North American ethnography?
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[13 Oct 2004|08:29pm]

Hum.. This looks like it could be a spectacular community! An introduction. I am a non-student who is dying to be back in the realm of academia. I graduated from the U of Florida in December 2003 with a major in history. I want to go to school for American Studies with a concentration in Museums next fall at the George Washington University in DC. ANYWHO. I'll leave you with a piece of a poem I once wrote.

"I'm a hip-hop, emo, pop, post-grunge, funk, rock, old wave, new school, jazzy rap, and the blues, classical, hard core, country punk, opera whore"
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[19 Sep 2004|04:19pm]

You're excused for not realizing it, but Connecticut had a place in the nascent world of Hip Hop, which grew organically from parties and dancing and street gatherings and began to take its own shape in the mid- and late 1970s.

...we almost lost Connecticut...
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[10 Sep 2004|10:51am]

New Spending Habits?

(From the NYT)
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[31 Aug 2004|08:41pm]

[ mood | blank ]

I'm in, if only for a moment. You need someone else posting to this comm, and being new to this whole LJ world, I'm eager enough to jump. Supporting anthropological perspectives on the world is tops on my list, too.

RE. the community's descriptions of 'what' and 'why' -- and I hope this is not construed as inflammatory -- I have to say that I have no particular problem with the 'corporate' use of ethnography (as long as they know what they hell it is). Granted, Norman Stolzoff's pic kinda creeps me out, and I wouldn't want him anthropologizing me, but if service/product corporations are going to try to target me, I'd just as soon they do it in a culturally sensitive and relevant manner.

Anyway, the body corporate has been a human construct throughout all ages and geographies, so I have a hard time getting wrapped up into the whole 'evil corporate society' thing. 

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cowboys: Black and gay. [31 Aug 2004|11:32am]

In History 102, when Mike Jacobs was telling us about cowboys, he took special care to mention that the cowboy workforce was diverse, if not mostly made up of people of color (when I say this I mean Latinos too, like the original sheep ranchers in North America), because they were willing to work for less and had a lot more experience with animals. He also posed the question "Knowing that some people estimate that 10% of the male population was gay, could there have been a gay cowboy?"

From that day on, I promised that if I ever wrote anything about cowboys, I would give it the title above. Sorry if that offends anybody.

I've been looking to do something on cowboys, but time constraints lately! Anyhow, it's interesting how many of the people doing ethnographies of "cowboys" are almost exclusively into the "symbolic interactionism" school.

I'll just do a few links since I'm pressed for time.

Who would have thought that the National Park Service had an ethnography program?

Actually, the 20th century and earlier “plantation economy” included several related economies.

Note that the paper linked above does indeed mention cowboys, under "Special Workers" and characterises them as workers "from the quarters, and others, Creoles of color."

the Cowboys of Color invitational rodeo They have shirts for sale.

This guy used to give presentations about cowboys of color, then he realized it would be more effective to be a reenacor.

Thought this was interesting.

Ethno-musicology: early US field recordings, including cowboy songs!

This place calls itself the Cowboy Hall of Fame.

A real Panhandle Cowboy

The Angola Prison Rodeo has a long tradition.

Homosexual history is even more vulnerable than heterosexual history. For most of our thousands of years in the West, we HAVE lived underground.

And finally, because it is more interesting than relevant:
Will Rogers once said--and many since have mocked--that he never met a man he didn't like. This is the claim of the qualitative researcher: Will Rogers in academic tweed.
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Ethno-Beverageology Comes to the Forefront! [16 Aug 2004|01:11pm]

Random Notes on the Ethnography of BeveragesCollapse )
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Eating Dirt: Next Big Trend or Already Passe? [14 Aug 2004|03:32pm]

Since I have done nothing to promote this community, I might as well post in it.

Today I was thinking about my rather abject addiction to mineral water, which my short-term spouse calls "rock juice".  Might it actually be that I crave the minerals in mineral water?  It turns out that a craving for minerals/sediment/dirt is common in humans (and animals, but there's more guesswork to why they're eating it, and that's probably off-topic), especially for females.

Various people have told me interesting things about dirt-eating among different social groups, which in the professional world is known generally as geophagy, with the pathological form being known as "pica".

An acupuncturist in a Traditional Chinese Medicine class once told me that dirt was an old remedy for disorders of the "earth element," particularly of the spleen and stomach, since those organs are related to the earth element.  The colors of the dirt were black and yellow, because these colors corresponded to those organs: was it yellow for deficiency and black for excess, or was it the other way around?

I can't tell you, because I've had a horrible time trying to find any information on this.  I've been told that the actual ingestion of pure dirt is no longer a common remedy, but when you look at the ingredients in patent formulas from HK and Taiwan, I wouldn't be surprised to see "yellow dirt" or "black dirt" listed as ingredients. 

It also occurs to me that there would be a *tremendous* resistance by Anglo-Americans to do anything remotely like eating dirt.  Seeing as I was in the classroom when the acupuncturist told us this, and everybody grossed out!

Now, what would Baudrillard, or a medical sociologist, tell us about fear of dirt, and our bodies being invaded by it?  Probably something similar to their theory that many allergies are psychosomatic.  (Which I don't necessarily agree with, but it's an interesting theory with some interesting consequences, especially for someone studying the American ascendancy in the Victorian era, which contributed greatly to our professional class and scientific outlook and said things like "cleanliness is next to Godliness.")

Has uptight professionalism in the dominant culture produced a nation full of mineral deficient people? 

Since the craving to eat dirt or metal tends to show up during pregnancy, and often indicates a deficiency, might it be involved in fertility issues?  I thought this article about infertile women attending guided meditation and learning to get "up close and personal" with their yin by pretending to carry dirt balls around was fascinating. 

What about past fads for eating dirt at 19th century spas?  (Another item of hearsay I've been unable to confirm-anyone?)

And current trends towards bringing back old folk remedies (one of which is geophagy)?  If you've got a subscription to Nature, don't miss Dirty Eating for Healthy Living.

And- from the ethnic geography angle- cultures in the USA and Canada who eat dirt?




If you read this about halfway down, the reviewer associates geophagy with Lynyrd Skynyrd.  Did I miss that album?

How does each culture explain or experience these cravings, depending on their current or past environment?  I once talked to a woman who said that she started craving the pipes under the sink when she was pregnant. 


 The article above gives a great introduction to the subject, and says that some people started eating the walls of their clay homes to satisfy their cravings.  It also mentions some traditional dishes (Edit: Yeah, as in food, not plates, etc.)made with clay.

In the US, the big nutrients seem to be calcium and iron.   Different cultures no doubt have geographic and dietary reasons for being obsessed with certain nutrients, but don't we all have purely cultural perceptions of which nutrients are important?   Many scientist say kaolin is actually the culprit behind dirt cravings, as mentioned in this abstract.

Also: Religious rites involving dirt?


By the way, at the acupuncture office we started to get loads of infertility patients, followed by Christmas cards with pictures of babies in them.  Do you think it's possible that the acupunturist was selling his trendy, upscale, professional patients some very expensive dirt pills?

Next:  ethnographic beverages: milk, coffee milk, and frappuccino, with a little Werner's Ginger Ale

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Welcome to ethnography_USA! [12 Aug 2004|04:55pm]

Okay, cool. Welcome to ethnography_usa. In the interest of enlightened speculation, I should probably start off by listing a number of interests I initially listed for this community that were not highlighted when I saved them (denoting that nobody else on Livejournal has listed these as an interest):

angry white men
any means necessary
baseball fans
buckskin curtain
Cuban Americans
equality feminism
Iranian Americans
lo crew
Nader phenomenon
New Englanders
Preppie Handbook
Reagan democrats
Saturn owners
sensitivity training
symptomatic meaning
tribal sovereignty
tsoya bean culture

Obviously a lot of these terms are leftovers from the 70's and 80's (I am dying to find anyone who admits to being a Reagan democrat), so noboby's going to list them. "Buckskin curtain" was asking a bit too much, when "Russell Means", "Indian Country", "American Indian Movement" and "Sherman Alexie" were all present, so I'm letting that go, too. Cornellians I suspect do not use Livejournal since they are all communicating via alumni email. "Iranian Americans" was solved by "Iranians", and Cuban Americans was sort of solved by "cubanismo". I suppose hyphens would have solved either of these problems just as well. By "Lo crew" I mean the nearly intractable streeet gang from Brownsville, Brooklyn. "New Englanders" was disappointing, since I, a Midwesterner, am fascinated by them. "Parochialism" was natch, few people who know that word realize that it applies to them. Anybody else want to take a crack at any of these?
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