Skip to content

Posts from the ‘Training’ Category

Fall Conference #5: SIMA Board Meeting and the AAA Annual Meeting #AAA2010

Last week I went quickly to New Orleans. I had not planned to go to the American Anthropological Association meetings this year, but my friend Candace Greene called a meeting of the Advisory Board for the Smithsonian Institution Summer Institute on Museum Anthropology. Candace direct’s this important NSF-funded summer training program (more about it soon) and I have been involved in its development since its formative stage. This coming summer will be the program’s third year of providing a month-long intensive training program in the use of systematic museum collections for advanced research in cultural anthropology and neighboring fields. The program attracts graduate students from across the United States and really fills an important need.

I arrived in New Orleans in time for an all-afternoon SIMA advisory panel meeting.  The program is preparing plans for its next three year cycle and our conversations focused on assessing what has been accomplished and building out for the future.  The meeting ended in time to catch up with fellow Oklahoma-ists Dan Swan, Michael Jordan, Jessica Walker and John Lukavic.. After dinner, I was able to attend one of many solid museum anthropology and material culture studies panels on the conference program.  John was a presenter on this panel (Making Meaning with Objects: Community Processes and Museum Practices) and presented a talk titled “Circulating Property and Knowledge: Intellectual Property and Cultural Knowledge Systems of the Southern Cheyenne.” John’s paper was one of many fine contributions to this panel.

The next day, before heading home, I was able fit in several meetings and a couple more excellent panels.  Two of my meetings were with journal editors eager to trade notes on the changing world of scholarly communication, including the practical possibilities of shifting to open access strategies.  The paper panel was “Museum Ethnography in Theory and Practice” organized by Jennifer Shannon and Christina Kreps.  I was not able to hear all the papers, but all that I did hear were excellent, as was the commentary provided by Eric Gable and Ann McMullen.  I also went quickly to see the poser session organized by Dan Swan–“Applying New Theories to Old Things: Museum Research Today.” The posters (and the projects that they represent) were all great.

Getting caught up in open access talk, I had to race to catch my plane with a real sense of anxiety.  I took the most impressive cab ride of my life.  The driver had no choice but to take me into some terrible rush hour traffic on I-10 going to the airport.  He used so many tricks to get there fast that it was mind boggling.  On many occasions, he bypassed long stretches of gridlock by exiting and then creatively cutting from off-ramps to on-ramps thereby getting back onto the interstate ahead of big blocks of stopped and slowed cars.  Had I been a driver in the vicinity I would have been out of my mind with irritation at his antics, but as a passenger worried about missing a flight, I was full of admiration.  It really was movie-quality cab driving.  It took an hour to get there and I know that he saved me 30 or more minutes.  NOLA has flat rates from downtown to the airport and this instance was the first time in which I thought that a taxi rate seemed way too low for the work done.  Needless to say, I was a generous tipper.  This cab ride may be the thing I remember most about the trip.

I left way early in the meeting and missed tons of promising panels and missed seeing scores of friends and colleagues.  Perhaps I can make a longer trip of it next year.

Congratulations to Virginia Luehrsen!

Congratulation to Virginia Luehrsen on the successfully passing her folklore M.A. oral exams today. While a student at Indiana, Virginia pursued the joint M.L.S. degree in our School of Library and Information Science and M.A. in folklore in the Department of Folklore and Ethnomusicology. Her thesis project, which was discussed extensively in today’s exam, is a study of intangible cultural heritage issues in libraries. She builds upon work undertaken in ethnographic museum contexts (by museum anthropologists, indigenous activists and others) carrying the insights and experiences found in this domain into the neighboring–but less well developed–domain of library collections, including library special collections and archives. Virginia is already a doctoral student in the School of Information at the University of Texas at Austin. At UT, she is studying with my friend and collaborator Patricia K. Galloway and is the co-organizer of the recent Engaging in the Preservation of Cultural Heritage (EPOCH) conference. Well done Virginia!

All But Dissertation

It is not quite over, but this academic year was one in which a large number of students with whom I work have undergone the rite of passage known as the Ph.D. qualifying exams.  All of the following folks have experienced great success in this process and are now moving onward into their dissertation research.

Nicky Belle (Anthropology)
Gabrielle Berlinger (Folklore)
Zilia Estrada (Folklore)
Jill Hemming-Austin (Folklore)
Hsin-wen Hsu (Ethnomusicology)
Suzanne Ingalsbe (Folklore)
Selina Morales (Folklore)
Jodine (Jody) Perkins (Folklore)
Jim Seaver (History)

In just over a week, Sarah Gordon (Folklore) will complete her own exams and join this platoon of distinguished colleagues traveling into dissertation land. Congratulations to each and all.

New M.A. Program at Texas A&M

Copied from a H-Folk posting by Harris Berger:

The Department of Performance Studies at Texas A&M University announces a new Master of Arts degree in Performance Studies. This interdisciplinary program emphasizes the ethnographic study of vernacular culture. The Department of Performance Studies has strengths in Africana studies, dance and ritual studies, ethnomusicology, folklore, performance ethnography, popular music studies, religious studies, theatre and media studies, and women’s studies. Application deadline for Fall, 2010 is January 15, 2010. Assistantships are available.

Summer Institute in Museum Anthropology

From a Dear Colleague Letter from Candace Greene, Director of the Smithsonian Institution Summer Institute in Museum Anthropology (SIMA):

Dear Colleagues – I am pleased to announce a new research training initiative being launched by the Smithsonian Department of Anthropology with support (pending) from the National Science Foundation.

The Summer Institute in Museum Anthropology is an intensive four-week training program that will teach graduate students how to use museum collections in research, incorporating Smithsonian collections as an integral part of their anthropological training. Support from the Cultural Anthropology Program at NSF will cover full tuition and living expenses for 12 students each summer.

Please help us get the word out on this program, which will begin in June 2009 and is already accepting applications. Full information including application instructions and dates is available at http://anthropology.si.edu/summerinstitute.

Candace Greene
Director, Summer Institute in Museum Anthropology
Ethnologist, Collections and Archives Program
Department of Anthropology
National Museum of Natural History
Smithsonian Institution

%d bloggers like this: