29 March 2010


if you get to Philadelphia at some point, go to the Penn Museum. yesterday we went to see the exhibition, "Righteous Dopefiend: Homelessness, Addiction and Poverty in Urban America". It is a small presentation of some of the photographs, field notes, and analysis of the co-authored book of the same title.

The project reminds me of the ethnography Vita: Life in a Zone of Social Abandonment, which is about places in urban areas in Brazil where the mentally ill are cast off, invisible to the public eye. Righteous Dopefiend reminded me of similar themes, specifically in clandestine, "off-the-grid" nature of the communities. Both communities contain traces of abandonment, whether prompted through social pressures of economy, family, or the individual.

The anthropologists wanted to consider drug addiction and homelessness while avoiding spectacle as part of a "public anthropology" approach. According to the website on public anthro, the book series' goal is to "[address] important social concerns in an engaging, non-academic manner. Public, in this sense, contrasted with traditional academic styles of presentation and definition of problems."

"Righteous Dopefiend" at the Penn Museum

Righteous Dopefiend book (Bourgois and Schonber)
Vita: Life in a Zone of Social Abandonment book (João Biehl)

public anthropology

24 March 2010

i ALMOST put a sign on her door

“One of the very nicest things about life is the way we must regularly stop whatever it is we are doing and devote our attention to eating.”
-Luciano Pavarotti

that quote never gets old. even the overcast days are pleasant because the air is warmer in the spring and my ankles were jonesin' to feel the breeze. aiyana's making me schlep a turnip to philadelphia but it'll be worth it. plans include getting the garden ready, eating tasty things as usual, supporting aiyana with her participation in a viking parade at the printmaking conference.
the good life as usual.

my brother's wife is going to have a beautiful bilingual baby in the fall.