April 1, 2014
"People who take a strict binary view of culture (“culture of privilege = awesome; culture of poverty = fail”) are afflicted by the provincialism of privilege and thus vastly underestimate the dynamism of the greater world. They extoll “middle-class values” to the ignorance and exclusion of all others. To understand, you must imagine what it means to confront algebra in the morning and “Shorty, can I see your bike?” in the afternoon. It’s very nice to talk about “middle-class values” when that describes your small, limited world. But when your grandmother lives in one hood and your coworkers live another, you generally need something more than “middle-class values.” You need to be bilingual."

Ta-Nehisi Coates in The AtlanticOther People’s Pathologies

Black culture and the culture of poverty are not the same thing.

April 1, 2014
"Historical record aside, who can resist the deliciousness of having both the upper hand of power and the righteousness of the oppressed?"


March 27, 2014
"[P]ushing endangered language archives, their depositors and their contributors towards Open Access represents a serious confusion of (i) a worthy challenge to large commercial publishers’ distribution monopoly of publicly funded research, with (ii) unmoderated access to recordings which may contain personal, identifying, or sensitive content. However, there is no moral or scientific equivalence between challenging distribution monopolies and revealing of personal or sensitive information provided by language community members. An across-the-board policy of Open Access to endangered languages recordings is a new form of pseudo-scientific colonialism."

David Nathan at Endangered Languages and Cultures. The Access powers: Open Access and Language Documentation – David Nathan

March 24, 2014
"Make and enjoy culture that is true to where it comes from, not to what color it is supposed to be."

Adam Rothstein at The State. how not to be white on the internet

March 19, 2014
"The most interesting thing about cultures may not be in the observable things they do—the rituals, eating preferences, codes of behavior, and the like—but in the way they mold our most fundamental conscious and unconscious thinking and perception."

Ethan Watters at Pacific Standard. We Aren’t the World

Joe Henrich and his colleagues are shaking the foundations of psychology and economics—and hoping to change the way social scientists think about human behavior and culture.

February 4, 2014
""Our cup is broken. Those things that had given significance to the life of his people, the domestic rituals of eating, the obligations of the economic system, the succession of ceremonials in the village, possession in the bear dance, their standards of right and wrong–these were gone, and with them the shape and meaning of their life” (1934/89: 21-2)."

Ruth Benedict quoted in an article at Reading Anthropology.  I’m Ruth Benedict, and I’m listening….

The whole passage can be read on Google Books.

February 2, 2014
"[T]he tactics that Brand deployeed in the Catalog—peer production, aggregation, and curation—became models for digitized processes that have dramatically enlarged and diversified membership in the public sphere. At the same time however, the Catalog and community it served should remind us of the hidden costs of putting our hopes for social change in the technology-empowered, expressive individual and ideology of holism."

Fred Turner at his Web site, paper (PDF) from an exhibition at Haus der Kulturen der Welt. The Whole Earth: California and the Disappearance of the Outside.

January 4, 2014
"Freire’s writings embody a mode of discursive struggle and opposition that not only challenges the oppressive machinery of the State but is also sympathetic to the formation of new cultural subjects and movements engaged in the struggle over the modernist values of freedom, equality, and justice."

Henry Giroux at his Web site. Paulo Freire and the Politics of Postcolonialism 

December 24, 2013
"Because at the end of it all, that’s what’s truly exceptional about America — that we have not one but two of them. And after all these years, one America is still all about sticking it to the others who doesn’t look like them. I guess that’s our nation’s real “Duck Dynasty” — and it shows no sign of relinquishing its grip on us."

Will Bunch at Philly.com. The exceptionalism of our two Americas

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December 5, 2013

Indigenous law is the body of law that defines the reciprocal obligations between human beings, animal and plant beings, spirit beings and the land.

Language is central to the reclamation of Indigenous law because translation fails us — not only because so much is lost in translation, but also because so much is added. It is nearly impossible for me to use the English term law and not have you immediately form images in your head of what law is.


Chelsea Vowel at âpihtawikosisân. The reports of our cultural deaths have always been greatly exaggerated

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