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HOW I FEEL WHEN GRADING UNDERGRAD PAPERS

 

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Whenever someone asks me how I am

 

When I try to maintain the perfect balance of domestic yet sexual

 

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I think there’s a huge fear of good writing in anthropology—the assumption being that good writing has a tendency to be precious, to be too full of itself, to be self-indulgent (always a no-no in our discipline), to be a distraction from the pressing reality at hand that needs to be analyzed rigorously. A stringent work ethic got established in anthropology from its earliest days, disdaining the idea that ethnography as a literary form could be a source of pleasure. Good writing in our discipline is associated with frilliness, with caviar and champagne. The mission of ethnography required that we sacrifice such privileges. A certain moral righteousness ordained that we not spotlight the ethnographer carrying out the work, but rather those heroic people at the margins of capitalist development who could be assisted in their quest for cultural survival through our attention, activism, and publications. Ethnographic writing had to be as pure, unadorned, and unscented as Ivory soap, and go in and get the job done.  
When I unexpectedly run into my best friend in public

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(Source: whatshouldwecallme)

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