More Trekkies

In case you’d like a break from finals, here’s the trailer for the follow-up to the documentary we watched.

And the whole film appears to be on YouTube, too.

Hoop Dreams Update

Here is the update that a few of you mentioned, explaining what has happened with the people in Hoop Dreams since the film.

Structure and Agency

Here is the clip from The Devil Wears Prada that I used in lecture to demonstrate structure and agency:

Ethnography on the Radio

We recently listened to a clip from a radio show called “This American Life.” Although the reporters are reporters and not ethnographers, the show regularly includes ethnographic elements and is often really interesting. You’re welcome to check it out here --

They have a podcast that iTunes says is the most popularly downloaded in the country.

Sporty Religious Pluralism

Logan sends this in, referencing our conversations about religious pluralism --

I have the Eagles-Steelers game on and I just saw this commercial and thought of what we learned a few weeks ago in ANTH 1010. Superstitions and/or religious pluralism in action in America!  

Example Fieldnotes

I imagine many of you are busy studying for the exam, but I wanted to share an example of very strong fieldnotes. With permission from the author, I've added it to the website, here. Your first set of fieldnotes aren't due for another ten days, but I thought this would be helpful as you start to imagine what you'll do.

More Sperm and Eggs

A few clips, with which you can compare American attributions of gender onto biology:

Religion and Fertility

Sarah sends in this message and article --

I found this New York Times article last week right after I read the article for class about the maternity dispute in the Jewish religion.  It is not quite on the same topic, but was still an interesting read that I thought you would enjoy!  

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The full article is here.

Randomness and Justice

I understand a number of you have already encountered this article in section, but I wanted to send it out to everyone. As we reflect on "Benge," and the intersection of magic, randomness, and complete conviction in legal processes, it's helpful to have perspective on the ways in which American "crime labs" are perhaps more fallible that CSI suggests. In general, American popular culture certainly represents crime scenes as clearly quantifiable -- not just CSI but Dexter, Bones, etc. -- and producing clear obvious knowledge. On of my favorite little factoids about this is that apparently American juries are now less likely to convict people based on "DNA evidence" that only puts the chances of the guilt in the 1 in 1,000s. Because many people on American juries are used to seeing crime dramas on TV that represent DNA evidence as leading to 0% doubt -- something absurd like a video still of the killer reflected in the victims eyeballs -- now people are less like to find real evidence convincing.

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Full article is here.

Celebration of "Their Eyes Were Watching God"

Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God turns 75 next week and the Carter G. Woodson Institute of African American and African Studies, in conjunction with the Virginia Festival of the Book, will join in a national celebration of this legendary novel. First published in 1937, Their Eyes was written during a seven-week period when Hurston was conducting anthropological research in Haiti. Please join faculty and students from the University of Virginia—and bluesman, Victor Cabas--for a wide-ranging discussion of the novel and its impact on American literary and cultural history. Topics include but are not limited to Hurston as anthropologist, her interpretation of vernacular culture, language and dialect, the politics of gender and sexuality, food ways, folklore, black community formation, blues music, the history and legacy of slavery, labor and migration, and the politics of natural disasters.

Professor Lisa Woolfork--Department of English
Professor Gertrude Fraser--Vice Provost for Faulty Recruitment and Retention
Professor Victor Cabas--Department of Rhetoric, Hampden-Sydney College
Professor Sabrina Pendergrass--Department of Sociology/ African American and African Studies
Kwame Holmes--Carter G. Woodson Institute, Post-Doctoral Fellow
Jason Saunders--Department of English Doctoral Student

Tuesday, September 18, 2012
125 Minor Hall

Light refreshments to follow in Minor Hall Lobby

Yanomami in the News

Margy sends this in, in relation to our recent reading about Yanomani people --

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The full article is here.

UVA Anthro Society meeting

From: Richad Becker rzb4fe [at]

Hey all,

Virginia Anthropology Society (VAS) is putting on an info session for potential Anthropology majors on Monday, September 10 at 7 PM in Brooks Commons. 

Brooks Hall is the out-of-place looking building behind the Rotunda, which is encountered as you walk towards the Corner, and also home to the Anthropology Department. Brooks Commons is the main room on the first floor, and quite hard to miss as it contains a giant cardboard mammoth inside.

Hope to see some of you there!


The Myth of Ownership: An Anthropologist Looks at the Corporate Share

Ira Bashkow
Associate Professor of Anthropology
University of Virginia
August 31, 2012
Brooks Hall 2nd Floor Conference Room
1:00 P.M.-3:00 P.M.
Reception to follow in Brooks Hall Commons

Given the scale of attention paid to the stock market and the importance of stock investment in the economy, it is surprising how much mystification attaches to the question of what corporate stock is. The predominant view is that companies are owned collectively by the owners of the shares of their stock, and this principle forms the foundation of norms of corporate purpose that are widely taken for granted. But there is in fact no strong legal case for this view, and the evidence from the economicstructure of corporations is drawn solely from early stage firms and is contradicted in the case of the later stage public companies whose shares are traded on the main stock exchanges.
In this talk I explain the significance of our society's "mythic" construction of corporate share ownership. Its academic support comes from finance economics and reflects flawed, individualistic presuppositions regarding property ownership and the nature of corporate entities. An anthropological perspective, attuned to the specifics of social form and the historicity and reality of social formations, is needed to demystify the nature of corporate equity as a form of property, and to reveal the essentially political construction of its role in contemporary capitalism.