About this Site

On Fieldnotes
On Translations
On Comments

Having spent several years working in my own clumsily hand-coded format (http://quotha.net/fieldnotes), I've decided to move to a real blog for my fieldnotes and general observations. Writing fieldnotes has traditionally been a very personal, private experience for anthropologists, and there are a number of good reasons for that, primarily the need to protect subjects. I take this issue very seriously, and use the same measures here that I use in my formally published material to protect the vulnerable people I work with, employing pseudonyms and other measures to mask the identities of my friends and informants who do not wish to be exposed- in fact, I take greater care with that here, since it is an ongoing process with the potential to expose my interlocutors to danger.

However, there are a number of other reasons for the traditional secrecy surrounding fieldnotes that are suspect to me, including the desire to protect one's own ideas and material for publication, fear or awareness of inaccuracies in judgment, a belief in the need for scientific remove, and so on. I firmly believe that openness makes us better scientists- or more properly, since science is but a muddled category of modernism- better and more honest thinkers. I would rather that my readers help me catch my errors in analysis or fact here, before I put things in official fancy academic publishing form. I am not so invested in an academic (or any) career that it overrides my desire to overthrow the structures of violence in our world right now. My written work would be meaningless to me carried out in isolation; I ask for your questions, insights, and suggestions as you read the entries I post here.

Since the Honduran military coup of June 28, 2009, I have been posting frequent translations of articles, official statements, rants, accords, blog posts, and other sundry notes. I have focused my blog posts these past months on first-hand accounts of the coup, because with all of the brilliant analyses coming from Hondurans (and from a few particularly astute outside participant-observers in Honduras), I feel at this stage it would be narcissistic and premature to privilege my own. Of course, that hasn't kept me from opining, as you know if you've been reading. But my approach to the work of anthropology derives from my labor roots; I translate the Resistance as militant solidarity anthropology, not as an academic exercise. I have done many of these translations myself; others are reposted from diverse websites; and still others have been done by an extraordinary group of volunteers, most of whom I know only virtually. In posting translations, I am motivated by the dearth of information available in the English-language press. Most of the pieces that I and the other volunteers have chosen to translate, we have translated because either our contacts in the resistance have requested it, or because we felt they needed to be read, in particular by a U.S. audience. I also believe that these documents will be invaluable for the historical record. It may appear here that I am acting academically, but as Rodolfo Pastor Fasquelle has repeatedly pointed out, and as the military threat to the Honduran archives and IHAH makes crystal clear, the writing of Honduran history is an incredibly important part of the fight against fascism at this moment. A final note: my posting of translations does not imply my complete--or in some cases even partial--agreement with the arguments contained therein.

UPDATE: sadly, because of the increased volume of SPAM, I've had to go back to an unmoderated register-to-comment format. PLEASE register and comment. I still reserve the right to remove violent comments, but all others will remain up.

Previous policy explanation: Originally this was a register-to-comment site to prevent viagra sales, but nobody commented. Then I made it a no-barriers site, and it became a virtual viagra supermall. I have since settled on a moderated comments policy. My policy is this: you write it, I approve it. The one exception is verbally violent attacks on other posters that, in my judgment, carry no substantive argument. For example, I recently deleted the comment "Are you an asshole all the time or do you get to have a day off?" Anything more substantial than that will most likely be published. I am particularly fond, in fact, of posts by the lunatic fringe, since they pretty much speak for themselves. For example, a recent comment, "Good - pity the police didn't arrest or shoot ALL of you!" in response to a translated article about the serious injuries inflicted by police on peaceful protesters in Honduras, demonstrates openly and clearly the position of so many supporters of the Honduran military regime, a position that needs to be heard and engaged.