I opened my big mouth again

Me to my supervisor: I should have most of a full draft to give to you by the end of March.

Me to myself 5 minutes after sending the email: Eeeeaaaagghh!!

But there’s two weeks!  That’s not so bad, right?  I would have killed for two weeks when I was writing my proposal.  I’m sure I have more finished than I think.  I’ve been keeping my writing in separate files because I’m incapable of seeing my thesis all at once, for fear that the hideous sight will turn me to stone.

Well, nothing for it but to do it.  See you all in April.

Wanted: Sugar Daddy (inquire for details)

After reading this post, I have come to the realization that I would make a totally kickass housewife.  I already spend most of my days indoors in a state of living death, constantly thinking about my next meal.  With a working man to support me, I could live the life of luxury I’ve always wanted.  Let me outline my qualifications for the position of Stepford Wife:

First, I’m very demure and soft-spoken in person.  Why, it takes me months before I feel comfortable enough with new acquaintances to start calling them by their first names.  I remember once in Home Economics in high school I had scalding hot jam accidentally poured over my fingers.  It must have taken me a good 20 or 30 seconds  before I started screaming “FUCK FUCK FUCK!!” at the top of my lungs (actually, it was more like “FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK!!!!”).  Clearly, my self-control is inhuman.  Who else but the perfect hausfrau could push down their emotions so well?

I’m also quite vain and would almost definitely start shaving everyday again if I had a caveman to appease.  Ever woken up in the morning, taken a look at yourself in the mirror and said, “Holy god, I’m good looking”?  I have.  I also enjoy getting and putting on new clothes, so I’ll fit in with the other housewives at the beauty salon.  And guess what?  I have a relatively fast metabolism, so I can eat until I’m stuffed and still not look fat.  Freshman fifteen?  Pshaw!  I actually lost ten pounds my freshman year, none of it from dieting.

Furthermore, I’m experienced at doing household stuff like ironing and cleaning.  I went to a Catholic high school and used to iron my dress shirts and uniform pants myself, you know.  And cleaning?  Why, as long as there’s something on tv for the next couple of hours I don’t mind washing, drying, and folding the laundry.  I’m equally-versed in dishwasher use and in washing dishes in the sink, and I will almost never mistakenly use the toilet bowl to wash stuff in.  And speaking of the bathroom, I can get one clean lickety-split.  As for the kitchen, I’m a compulsive neat freak, so I’ll almost always keep the stove clean.

Finally, I think I make a decent cook.  I have a reasonably-sized repertoire of dishes I’m comfortable at making and which I’m constantly adding to.  None of it is typical white North American fare, either, and hardly any of it is to be found in restaurants.  Meatloaf?  I don’t even know how to make that.  I admit, I don’t know how to bake, but I’m thinking of learning how to do that soon, and I’m confident I’ll have no trouble in my education at all.

So you see, as long as I’m kept in bon-bons and tv series dvds, I will never leave your side.  You won’t have to worry again about being alone in the cruel world (unless you lose your job).  Also, I will totally let you borrow my porn if you get horny.  I ask you, reader, is this not wedded bliss?  What more could a man ask for?  What more?

PS

Sugar mamas are also acceptable.

How to be a modern Major General (Part I)

For someone writing his thesis for a Master’s in social anthropology, I don’t actually have as many anthropological readings in my references as you’d expect.  Look at all the disciplines represented in the books on my bookshelf:

  • Sociology.  This is partly because my department is a combined sociology and social anthropology department, which I rather like since I’m exposed to stuff I normally wouldn’t be.  Quite a lot of my migration readings were authored by sociologists, as in, for example, Stephen Castles and Mark Miller’s The Age of Migration (2003), which I’m using quite a lot.  However, the subdiscipline of migration studies is equally indebted to anthropology thanks to anthropologists’ work with diasporic populations.
  • Women’s studies/Gender studies.  I actually don’t have too many works from this discipline, but the fact that my supervisor is a Neomarxist feminist and the fact that I’m also quite partial to Women’s Studies means that such works inevitably are included in my reading list.  And, of course, the particular way migration from the Philippines is gendered also enters into why I’m reading Women’s Studies stuff, since maids and female nurses form a majority of the Philippines’ exported labour (and not to mention the mail-order brides).  So, que sorpresa, I have on my bookshelf Working Feminism (2004) by Geraldine Pratt, a Neomarxist examination of the context in which female Filipino migrants work in British Columbia.
  • Sociolinguistics and anthropological linguistics.  I’ve got this because I explicitly examine how language enters into the expression of identity.  Sociolinguistics is actually a rather marginal field of study in linguistics proper, as is also anthropological linguistics in anthropology.  Still, the intersection of politics and language interests me, so I’ve been digging into readings like Codeswitching: Anthropological and Sociolinguistic Perspectives (1988).  It’s kind of nice to be participating in the project of keeping anthropology holistic (or inventing it to be so), but more on this issue in a later post.
  • History.  This discipline should pretty much be on almost any reading list, since it’s hard to imagine a subject in social science research that doesn’t deal with history on some level.  In my case, I’m mostly dealing with the history of US colonialism in the Philippines and the history of international migration.  The most heavily historical text I’m reading right now is The American Colonial State in the Philippines: Global Perspectives (2003).  I’d forgotten how annoying footnotes can be when there isn’t a bibliography in the back of the book and you’re only looking for one specific reference, but ah well.
  • Area Studies, more specifically, Southeast Asian Studies.  I’ve only got a handful of readings from this (semi-?)discipline, but they’re all really useful in situating the Philippines within its regional context.  However, my foremost text from Southeast Asian Studies, Imagined Communities (1991), is such a classic examination of nationalism that I would still be using it if I were, for example, studying Trinidadians instead.  And let’s not forget that Anderson’s theory of print capitalism has implications for how community is manufactured online as well.
  • Internet Studies.  I don’t know if that’s even an actual name for the discipline, so new is it, and in fact I’m not sure if it’s even considered a discipline yet.  This (ahem) thingy can also be called Sociology of the Internet, but that’s kind of a misnomer since economists, anthropologists, psychologists, and people trained in other disciplinary backgrounds also contribute to the literature about the social context of the Internet, as well as reading and discussing each other’s work.  Perhaps this might all be called a sub-discipline of Media Studies, though I think situating the social study of the Internet under such immediately closes certain fruitful lines of research, or at least makes such investigation less likely to occur.  But whatever discipline it’s filed under, Lisa Nakamura’s Cybertypes: Race, Ethnicity, and Identity on the Internet (2002) is very prominent in my thesis write-up.
  • Cultural studies.  Boy howdy, I definitely draw from this discipline.  Stuart Hall’s work on identity is central to my thesis.  Questions of Cultural Identity (1996) is the number 1 book in my reading list, especially the Introduction written by Hall.

Now that I’ve listed everything so forthrightly, I would have to say that the majority of my readings aren’t from anthropology at all.  I don’t feel like doing it right now, but stay tuned and I will perform one of the rituals people in anthropology regularly engage in: the reflexive dance of disciplinary disciplining.

Today’s paragraph

It is important not to succumb to the “giddy presentism” inherent in many studies of globalization, but instead keep in mind that what can be called “globalization” has occurred in other historical moments (Graeber, 2002). However, one must also note that the expansion of global connection in the modern era often coincides with the expansion of imperial domination by new and already-existing empires. The last period of heightened global interconnection, the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, when massive numbers of people and goods crossed borders, was also the period of “high imperialism”, when the great powers such as England and France seized new colonies and when new powers such as Japan and Italy entered the race for colonies (Go, 2003, p. 17).

Go, J. (2003). Introduction: Global Perspectives on the U.S. Colonial State in the Philippines. In J. Go & A. L. Foster (Eds.), The American Colonial State in the Philippines: Global Perspectives (pp. 1-42). Durham NC: Duke University Press.

Graeber, D. (2002). The Anthropology of Globalization (with Notes on Neomedievalism, and the End of the Chinese Model of the Nation-State). American Anthropologist, 104(4), 1222-1227.

I just need to write 2000 more of these and I’ll be done.

I fear to look, yet I cannot turn away

This is just one massive train wreck of a  theory-bashing post:

Dear academics,
Have you ever ran across something academic (paper, book, lecture) that you thought was complete and utter bullshit? And yes you can include postmodernism 🙂

Why did it have to happen when I was offline?  Now it’s too late to join in the snarking.  And look at this:

I personally have found that “theory” usually is shorthand for “jargon-laden writing,” and that “jargon” is quite often shorthand for “words I don’t know and can’t be bothered to look up.”

BURN!  That’s gotta hurt.  And what about this exchange?

M: People hate what they don’t understand [i.e., postmodernism].

S: Hold on. Hate what they don’t understand? I understand completely, and I think it’s bullshit.

R: You completely understand postmodernism? . . . Alright, I’m done now.

G: Oh please god explain it to me.  I think I might have an orgasm.

Really, it’s easy to forget that there are people out there who think theory is bunk when one’s bookcase is in danger of collapsing from the weight of the cultural studies books stored there.  But then some undergrad comes along shooting their mouth off and wackiness ensues.

Great bumper sticker quotes

[They] are prevented by diversity of language from conveying their sentiments to one another, so that a man would more readily converse with his dog than with a foreigner.  But the Imperial City has endeavored to impose upon subject nations not only her yoke, but her language, as a bond of peace . . . but how many great wars, how much slaughter and bloodshed have provided this unity?

St. Augustine, The City of God (c. 413 AD)