Starting a blog

"The distinctive feature of our age is that mankind as a whole is on the way to becoming fully conscious of itself." (C.L.R. James).

I saw a Nora Ephron movie the other night, about a young New Yorker who starts a foodie blog based on working her way through Julia Childs' French cook book, with Meryl Streep as Childs writing the book in Paris fifty years before. I realized that I had never done a blog in that sense, bang out something short often enough to attract a regular readership, however small. I have something that calls itself a blog, The Memory Bank, but it has always been a vehicle for publishing my occasional papers and still is.

I recently started a thread on the Forum. It was an invitation to discuss how we might start pulling together some of the things the OAC is about. Ryan Anderson had some useful things to say, based partly on an analogy with the Daily Kos. Fran Barone followed up with a lot of ideas and now Justin Shaffner and Valerie Feria Isacks have come up with some concrete suggestions.

I felt that I ought to raise the matter with the Admins team as a policy issue and did so yesterday. But this morning I woke up with the thought already formed: I can do a personal blog on the OAC myself, not just an occasional posting, but something more frequent. I soon realised that if it took me (who founded and now help to run the OAC) that long to figure out that I needed no-one's permission to start anything here, how many others are out there who would do something similar, if encouraged?

So here we are. I am starting a blog on the OAC. We will find out what it is about as we go along. But the quote I started with is my guiding theme. I believe that humanity is in the process of making a world society and that anthropology, in one of its many senses, might be about helping to raise consciousness of that fact, even about informing how it should be done or better how each of us might relate to that.

I have never been part of a network or association as spectacularly diverse as the Open Anthropology Cooperative. We could conceive of ourselves as a microcosm of that world society. Maybe that is too much of a stretch for some. In the meantime, I hope to report regularly on what I find interesting here (and everywhere else). Like the heroine in Ephron's movie, I eagerly await my first comment.

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Comment by Lucas on March 24, 2010 at 5:06pm
Dear Professor Hart,

As it happens, I just signed up for the OAC RSS feed over the weekend, and upon seeing your blog, I am now making my first post to OAC (although I just have a moment before I run to a seminar).

Your characterization of anthropology's possible contribution to humanity's process of becoming conscious of itself is compelling, and the quote from James is dynamite. This is a theme to which I have given a lot of thought, although it can be challenging to articulate it in the context of an anthropology that is often skeptical of such narratives. Anyway, thanks for starting the blog, and I very much look forward to continuing the conversation.



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