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Friday, February 08, 2008
Finally Recovered
So after running the first of two extra-curricular study sessions for the Freshmen, I went home and crashed last night. For some reason, I haven't been sleeping really well lately, but last night made up for it. I'm finally a little more coherent than I have been, which means I get to make up for the lack of thesis reading I've done in the past few days.
Book on Deck:

Singing the Master: The Emergence of African-American Culture in the Plantation South

Basically this is one of those that I wanted to check out, and see if it would serve as a model for research. I'm a little into it now, and I'm not liking the writing as much as I do from

Roll Jordan Roll: The World the Slaves Made

I really liked the depth Genovese went into about the system of slavery (and the culture that was created from it), as well as the academic writing style. As far as an academic model goes, the Genovese wins right now......things could change, but I really liked the book and I'm not liking the Abrahams right now.

I'm still scheduled to do some primary fieldwork over Spring Break. The closer I get to fieldwork the more excited I get. On the other hand, I also get more nervous. Ethnomusicological (or really any type of anthropological) fieldwork is tricky. You want to meet your informants. You want to build strong lasting relationships. And in a field of music where outsiders have been typically either exploitative or only interested in the barest facts (tell why your music's cool so I can go home), you want to communicate that you have more than just a passing interest and that you respect their expertise. And on top of all of that, you want to communicate this to your informants without verbally saying it or acting like a complete blundering moron.

Here's what I have figured out. You're going to screw up. You don't know all of the rules, that's why you're doing fieldwork. You can, however, limit the expansiveness of your screw ups by 1) keeping your mouth shut as much as possible, and letting your informants do the talking/teaching/playing, 2) observe before acting, 3) doing your scholarly homework beforehand, and 4) coming to the situation with a beginner's mind (you don't know anything yet, don't pretend you do, or as my Soo Bahk instructor used to say: Empty your cup).

It's a process I guess, just like everything else we do. And we take it one step at a time. If grad school has taught me anything, it's that you can pretty much do anything you set your mind to, if you take it one step at a time.

Geek-out of the day (If you're not a harry potter fan, just skip the following ;) ):


Sort me!

I'm usually either sorted by these quizzes in Ravenclaw or Gryffindor. Usually I sort myself into Ravenclaw. Coincidentally, on of my favorite scenes in Deathly Hallows was when the reader finds out that to enter the common room, you have to answer a riddle. Consequently, if you get it wrong, you have to wait until someone comes along who can actually answer the question.

"... Or yet in wise old Ravenclaw,
If you've a ready mind,
Where those of wit and learning,
Will always find their kind ..."

"Wit beyond measure is Man's greatest treasure."

Peace, Love, and Tunes,

posted by Mac Tíre at 12:37 PM ¤ Permalink ¤