Allgemein Research Updates

What Even is 2020?

In the strangest year we've seen in a very, very long time, I reflect on how Anthrospin has been impacted, and what to expect going forward (hint: it's a lot)

I think we’re all on the same page here. 2020 is a bunch of nonsense.

In some personal respects I’m having a pretty good year. But beyond that, the world is kind of falling apart. Quarantines and isolation have us all kinds of loopy, and while I am the poster-child for introverts, even I’m feeling it at this point.

Anthrospin has been pretty well hit by all this, and while there would normally have been a State-o-Things post by now, my brain has essentially been Playdoh and I’m very much working to rectify that.

Screenings are impossible to book, for good reason. I have one that’s been postponed until June 14, but I’ve no idea if that’s going to happen, be rescheduled again, or be cancelled. Screenings were kind of the bulk of Anthrospin’s income and so it’s been hard to expand my content by way of expanding equipment.

Or to expand my content by way of making this my job as well as my career.

That’s kind of ok, in some ways. I’m fortunate enough to have a job that pays well enough to exist otherwise and so I can work with it. But being an essential employee in a job that “pays the bills” while your career that was finally building its own momentum is put on hold indefinitely has an emotional cost. And I burned out.

I’m rekindling now, and so here I am. And not only am I here, I’m here with updates on the state of things, and projections for what’s to come. Some of which I would appreciate feedback on, if you’re so inclined.

The first is the podcast. That thing is well underway. Three episodes are published, and then I caught the plague, and after reinserting myself into the world I’m once again working on new guests and fun content. The format is still a bit of a work in progress. I’m way too official for my own good. I’ve gotta work on loosening up.

But in the first episode I spoke with Angie Achorn about her work with Sulawesi crested macaques. In the second I spoke with Justin Soares about his archaeological work in Portugal. And in the third I spoke with Taryn Johnson about her work with paleofeces, which I then wrote about in my last blog entry.

The next episode should be with a First Americans archaeologist who focuses on paleoenvironments in Alaska. I don’t know about you but that sounds super exciting to me. Several others are queued up and once one has a date set, the next gets underway. Before you know it I’ll have 10 million episodes and we’ll all be experts.

Around the World In 30 Breads started morphing into a much more comprehensive cultural project than anticipated. So that’s on hold until I can devote to it the time it deserves (and until it’s easier to meet with humans face to face).

I’m not entirely sure what’s up with the Hawaiian Language Revitalization Project. It was going strong, I was blogging every week, my wife and I were planning a monthly podcast to go with the weekly blog entries. And then I think everyone involved just kind of spontaneously combusted with the tall order that is learning a language. I haven’t written it off, but it’s back burner for now.

And as far as back burners are concerned, Scrimshaw now inhabits the largest back burner known to Earth. Originally slated to be completed this summer and premiering this fall…there is no way of knowing when it will be back in production. All interviews that I need are complete, as well as filming at several locations. But we were going to be spending some time on Nantucket, at their whaling museum and with their historical society. That simply cannot happen.

And so while I can edit and piece together what I have so far…it kind of feels like doing a puzzle face down and which is missing pieces anyway. It’s hard to know where it’s going when you don’t have it all in the first place.

Now onto some of the more exciting things going on.

Pedal for Pongo has been broken into four episodes which are available to stream for free on the Anthrospin YouTube channel. It’s still for sale at the web store (and in person!), but has been reduced from $30 to $25, because why not?

I wound up writing a book based on a blog entry based on my journal and field notes from field school. It is an autobiographical account of my experience with the Koobi Fora Field School and sort of my anthropological origin story as a whole. It’s not just science, though. It’s a lot about who I am and why scientists and researchers aren’t anything but people with different interests. A lot of behind the scenes stuff.

It’s being published first as an e-book (which you can pre-order here!!!!!!! please do it please do it please do it) on Amazon for the comfy price of $8.99. I’m working on a print version of it but I have yet to be able to format it in a way that will make it affordable. If you’re paying $25 for  a book I don’t think is worth more than $15, and out of that $25 I’m seeing about $1…I’d rather not do it.

But I’ll figure it out and get it to you eventually.

I am currently drafting out a new episode of Pedal Powered Anthropology, this one on the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment to be published by the end of June. Sure to be a feel good favorite! I’m also going to be putting together a video on the Hawaiian Alphabet, which I promised to the language revitalization group but then dropped every ball I have and so I’m just now getting around to conceptualizing it again.

I’ve also been very into photo colorization lately, but that’ll be talked about in its own blog later this week.

That’s everything for now! Anthrospin is still alive and kicking. Despite the emotional damage we’ve all sustained, public anthropology is still super important and y’all have responded by becoming patreon patrons! I got a few more patrons last month and am now just $9/month away from my first funding goal! That helped get my fire lit again, and if you are able, please consider helping fund Pedal Powered Anthropology with literally any amount monthly. If everyone who followed the Anthrospin Facebook kicked in $2 per month, I could afford to do this full time.

I have a degree in anthropology from Rhode Island College. My focus was in biological anthropology but I also have a broad interest in cultural anthropology, archaeology and linguistic anthropology. Pedal Powered Anthropology is an anthropological educational initiative that seeks to bring profound travel experiences to a local level while encouraging others to get out and explore the world around them. This blog details all aspects of my work as Anthrospin, including my take on topics within four fields anthropology as well as bits about a lot of different aspects of culture, primarily race, gender, privilege, the environment and my own personal relationship with anxiety.

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