Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Abstract Distraction (and a photo)

After much humming and hawing, I've finally mashed together an abstract for an upcoming paper. I'm never terribly fond of putting together conference abstracts because I don't have the paper written yet (obviously!) and I worry about writing something either too specific and limiting what I'll be able to write about when I write the paper, or writing something so generic that it's useless. Generally, though, I'm presenting after all the work is done, so I have *some* idea of what I'll be talking about.

This time, I'm presenting on the starting end of a project -- what we know, what we don't know, previous work, research questions. It's hard to write a paper (or abstract a paper) when it's not about having the answers, but about the process. Or thinking about the process.

If I don't have the answers, what am I doing? Well, I'm trying to introduce people to the site, and put the impending research into context, geared towards the contexts associated with the session I'm in.

And that right there is the clearest I've been about this thing. I'm going to go re-write my abstract. Again.

This is what abstract writing feels like.
Ausable Chasm, New York, October 2009.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Linky Goodness (and a Photo)

Today's post: a jumble of really good or interesting links, and a photo.

Bitch or Bathmat?
Over at Historiann's is a really wonderful discussion about Gender and Performance in grad school. As ever, H'ann's comments section is worth a careful read. In this particular instance, profs and students give examples of their own experiences as well as deconstruct the issue and offer alternate approaches. I'm reading very closely myself, with grad school seminars looming.

This Season's Fieldwork Brought To You By A Whole Bunch of People
Announced over at Middle Savagery, the Maeander Project, a group of folks doing archaeology in Turkey, are looking to fund some fieldwork using a crowd-sourcing/micro-financing model. I'm very interested in how this pans out, as I've considered a similar approach to funding portions of work at OMGSuperCoolSite. While you're there, and if you can, kick them a couple of bucks. If they don't meet their goal, they don't get any of the money (no one's credit card gets charged unless they meet their $$ goal by the date given).

Skulls on the Internets
For the physical anthropologists: Kristina Killgrove over at Powered by Osteons announces the University of Michigan has digitized their human skull reference collection and made it available online. This is a big deal; usually this kind of data is a pain in the ass to access. Kristina's blog is, IMO, one of the best resources for announcements and analysis of cool and interesting stuff in the world of biological anthropology. Don't believe me? She followed up the internet skulls with the plot to exhume William Shakespeare to see if he was a pothead (nope, don't need to make this stuff up).

The Goal of Your Conference Paper
Academic coach Jo VanEvery frames the conference paper in a way I've not seen explicitly spelled out before. And made me feel better and more focused about an upcoming paper I'll be giving.

Being Constructive
The folks at Daily Writing Tips have posted 10 Tips for Critiquing Other People's Writing. Good to know, and filed for future reference!

Sunrise over Lake George, New York. Fall, 2009.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


OMGSuperCoolSite vicinity. May 29, 2011.

The Board of Directors at OMGSuperCoolSite have approved my proposal to do my dissertation research there! *happydance* I will try not to freak out about logistics for a while, and just enjoy the elation/relief of a yes :)

Having a nosh near OMGSuperCoolSite, May 29, 2011.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Embedded and Implicated :: Responsibility

As archaeologists, we pride ourselves on the long view, but if we train our view only on the past, we neglect our present. And, if we have come to understand that our work is embedded and implicated in social and political context, then we cannot present that such was true only in the past, only during periods of acknowledged colonialism, or only true for earlier generations of archaeologists. It’s true right now.
-- Barbara J. Little*

* Reintegrating Archaeology in the Service of Sustainable Culture, Patty Jo Watson Distinguished Lecture in Archaeology, December 4, 2009, American Anthropological Association annual meetings, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

We're Modern Now, Put On Pants

The Fabulous Historiann had a recent post on The Intellectual Value of Being Wrong, where she argues that conferences should be places of playing with ideas and trying out new things. I agree entirely, though I've not yet had the gumption to do it. I have, however, committed myself to a conference at the dawn of 2012 where I just might, by necessity, if nothing else (I won't have actually done any sub-surface fieldwork by the time I present...).

The post is worth a read, as is, as ever at Historiann's, the comments section. Good, insightful, and crazy-knowledgeable. And funny. I had to share this one from Rustonite; in addition to making me laugh out loud (for realz), Rustonite makes a really good point about periods and timeframes that I think we'd all do well to remember:
I don’t get why there’d be controversy about applying the word lesbian back, any more than there is about periodisations like modern and medieval. Nobody in the middle ages though they were living in the middle (of what?), and it’s not as though somebody came out at new years 1600, ringing a bell and yelling “we’re modern now, put on pants!” Everything we say is a bit anachronistic. It’s important to be aware you’re doing it, but if we tried to write non-anachronistic history we’d find it impossible.
You'll just have to visit Historiann to find out what that lesbian comment is all about!

PS: I highly, highly recommend Judith Bennett's book History Matters: Patriarchy and the Challenge of Feminism. I can't recommend it enough; it should be required reading for historians and historical archaeologists.