Friday, March 28, 2008

End Game Schedule

Good class as usual my anthros: all tattoos will be revealed at the final pot luck lunch (either visually or in words).

Tuesday (April 1): Class canceled for Preceptorial advising

I will be in my office from 10-12, then I have a SOCY/ANTH Faculty Program meeting for an hour, and then, back in my office at 1 or so (if you are coming by, let me know).

Thursday (April 3): BRUNCH WITH THE ANTHROPOLOGIST: 10:30 G-Wing Cafeteria
A rare opportunity to have brunch with an anthropologist who will answer all of life's burning questions.


Tuesday, April 8: Working Groups 1 and 2 (TO DISCUSS SECTION 1: "I am..." etc. Subcategories for each informant required:

Working Group 1 (10:30): Gina Roseboro, Beth R., Tim, Danielle, Jinnie
Working Group 2 (11:30): Kelly, Katherine Quick, Lauren H., Elizabeth M., Gina Maguire, Jasmina

Thursday, April 10: Working Groups 3 and 4 (TO DISCUSS SECTION 1: "I am..." etc. Subcategories for each informant required:

Working Group 3: (10:30): Gaye, Devon, Sarah, Toni, Laurie V., Jennifer, Katrina
Working Group 4: (11:30): Kait, Cassandra, Kari, Rachel, Kia

Tuesday, April 15: Working Groups 1 and 2 (TO DISCUSS SECTION 2: Subcategories required:

Working Group 1 (10:30): Gina Roseboro, Beth R., Tim, Danielle, Jinnie
Working Group 2 (11:30): Kelly, Katherine Quick, Lauren H., Elizabeth M., Gina Maguire, Jasmina

Thursday, April 17: Working Groups 3 and 4 (TO DISCUSS SECTION 2: Subcategories required:

Working Group 3: (10:30): Gaye, Devon, Sarah, Toni, Laurie V., Jennifer, Katrina
Working Group 4: (11:30): Kait, Cassandra, Kari, Rachel, Kia

Tuesday: April 22: Full class to go over Working group discussions, and to schedule individual office appointments with me.

Tuesday May 6: Final Class, Pot Luck Lunch, selected, brief summaries of final sections (Full papers due on Turnitin).

Monday, March 24, 2008

Reconnecting: Tuesday's Class

Welcome back wayward fieldworkers!

All blogs read, and 1/3 papers done (guess what--they all came in last night!)

Let's re-connect and discuss final sections/blogging, etc.

I'm going to bring several material culture papers to class to read sections for form and language to use for final sections.

We'll start thinking about working groups and meetings.

And here's a short version of the graffiti film (style wars) to discuss the attraction of this style to teens.

And anything else we need to discuss to get us back into the world for the final push.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Making My Way Through: Slowly

Hey, I'm on vacation too.

But the material culture papers that have been sent to Turnitin (lots more coming!), and commented on half the blogs--the other half either later today or tomorrow.

Have a good few more days and see you Tuesday.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Material Culture: Writing Sample

Toni Collins has graciously agreed to share a couple of pages of her paper with all of us. Note the mix of informant voice, her voice, and solid ethnographic description. We get the feeling of "being there":

Her Place and MySpace

Jessica, a smiling sixteen-year-old girl, seemed to bounce out of her front door when I rang the bell at her home. Pulling me inside, phone in one hand and her dog’s pink rhinestone encrusted collar in the other, and I was instantly jettisoned into her world -- a world of laughter, clothes, parties, and phone conversations. I instantly noticed the large yellow lab puppy that she was trying desperately to hold back, all while balancing the phone on her neck and tugging me through the door. Her white cotton shirt was under a zip up hooded sweatshirt that flowed over her dark jeans that ended at the floor with pink socked feet peeking out.
“I’ll call ya back! I know, I know, ya gotta tell me what he said! Ya jus’ gotta!” Her infectious laughter rang through the three bedroom home she shares with her mom and stepfather. Her round face was tilted to the left, blue eyes sparkling, and long ash brown hair cascading down her back. “Message me on MySpace later! Love ya girlie!”
“Sorry about that, my girl was tellin’ me bout this boy at school, he is soooo hot! I think she likes him! I know I do,” she giggled sweetly. “So, do ya want the tour, or do I jus’ hang back and let ya explore?”
“I expect the grand tour,” I exclaimed to her as she yanked on my arm babbling on about the new boy in school.
We walked quickly down the narrow hallway past the spare room, laundry area, and bathroom until we came to the door at the far end of the hall, Jessy’s door. The door was nondescript except for the chew marks at the bottom where her new puppy had been gnawing at the small crack under the door. The handle was a simple brass knob that had seen better days, but as she turned the handle I was transported into a new magical world, the world of the middle class teenager in a small town in South Jersey; I was transported into Jessy’s world.
Jessy flitted around the room like a butterfly flitting from flower to flower. As I wondered in behind her I tried to take in the entire room at once to get a feel for how she sees the space. It wasn’t hard to do. As I scanned the room, so many things begged a closer look. The scent of baby powder hung in the air, a reminder of the child that still lingered in this young woman’s body. To the left was the large closet with double doors made of oak, slightly ajar, clothes spilling onto the floor. Bright whites, pastel pinks and purples, and jeans of every description were strewn half in and half out of the closet door. Lacey button up shirts and heavy sweatshirts mingled together. Black sneakers sat propped up against the creamy beige wall next to the closet while pink and white sneakers sat neatly in front of the light oak dresser. The mirror over the dresser was framed with pictures of family and girlfriends all neatly taped to the glass or tucked under the framing. Smiling faces and young girls striking poses as they played in front of the camera peered out from the photos. A black sparkling belt draped carelessly over the mirror frame hung loosely brushing the dresser top softly. I quickly scanned the dresser top for clues to the mystery that was Jessy. Make-up in various colors jumbled together with hair ties and combs and hairspray and half empty gel containers tossed casually across the surface of the dresser area oozing slightly onto the pile of birthday cards saved from several weeks ago, all proclaiming, “Happy 16th Birthday” in beautiful vibrant print. The drawers seemed to leak various articles of underclothes and pajamas.
The far wall was a composite of three sill-less windows with elegant burgundy and gold curtains adorning them. Inches from the wall a neatly made full size bed sat decadently enveloped in the same burgundy and gold material that adorned the windows with 3 perfectly matched pillows arranged at the head leaning still against the fluffy shams. The third wall consisted of a 6 drawer chest with jewelry, CD’s, and movies strewn haphazardly on the top. T-shirts and jeans seemed to creep from the half open drawers onto the beige carpet underneath. The final wall was virtually empty save the pink and cream backpack spilling purple, red, and blue notebooks, gel and sparkle pens, and highlighter markers from its gaping mouth. Papers crumbled up, wrinkled, and folded with initials and names blazoned on the edges, and heart and geometric shapes adorned the crinkled pages of a notebook on the floor half-opened and well-used. Curiously, the light switch was decorated with animals and Noah’s Ark as if harkening to a childhood not quite left behind. There were no posters on the walls, but there were pictures of her sister and nephew taped to the wall next to the light switch.
“Well, this is ma room. That’s ma iPod…O’Ma God, isn’t it cute?” She squealed with excitement as I looked to where she pointed to see a pretty pink iPod with pink gel earphones thrown on the dresser with her makeup.
“Yeah, I love it! Where did you get it?” I tried not to influence her, but her excitement was highly contagious.
“Mommy bought it for me for Christmas. It has a 30 gigabyte hard drive and I have over 300 songs and videos on it. “
“Wow, that’s a lot of songs!” She was so excited that for the next ten minutes I listened to snippets from one song after another on her iPod. It seemed that for Jessy music was a big deal, as well as the name brand mp3 player she used to play it on. Before I had time to digest the iPod incident I found myself being pulled across the room to the mirrored dresser staring at photographs and notes with hearts drawn on them.
“This is my friend Cherish. She is a total goofball! This is Aunt Franny last Easter and Nanny on her birthday. Oh! This is Trisha (her sister) with little Aiden when they came up from Tampa!” She pointed at one picture and then another. “And this is Matt’s number!”
The next thing I knew I was being catapulted to the closet where Jessy pulled out one outfit after another. She didn’t seem to care about the designer, but the style was important. She explained how she shopped for clothes by exclaiming, “I call my friends Felicia and Cherish Boo, and we hit the mall. We like to look in all the windows to see what the stores have out, and then we go back and get what looks good on the mannequin thingies.” Her smile brightens as she talks about clothes and having just the right shoes for an outfit.

New Stockton Webzine: Very Cool!

New Student Anthropology Journal

Just got this in the email--passing it on

Hello Dr. Rubenstein,

Would you be so kind as to circulate this announcement among your students

Thank you,

Marc Hebert
NASA e-Journal Editor
PhD Student, Anthropology
University of South Florida
4202 East Fowler Avenue, SOC 107
Tampa, Florida 33620-7200 U.S.A.

Attention grad and undergrad anthro students: Please
consider submitting an article to the new anthropology e-
journal sponsored by the National Assoc. of Student
Anthropologists (NASA). The call for papers (pasted below)
is organized around the theme for the AAA 2008 Annual
Meetings. Completed manuscripts of 1000 words should be
submitted by April 21, 2008 to
See below for more information...

The National Association of Student Anthropologists (NASA)
will launch its first online publication, The NASA e-
Journal, under the banner of the 2008 American
Anthropological Association conference theme: "Inclusion,
Collaboration, and Engagement."

We seek scholarly submissions from undergraduate and
graduate students worldwide about the application of
anthropological theories and methods outside of academia or
across disciplines for the purpose of exploring,
problematizing, or addressing social problems. Have you
worked in an internship, co-op or another job as a student
anthropologist and wish to reflect on how you relied on your
anthropological training? Perhaps you collaborated with
students from other disciplines at a volunteer organization
and seek to describe the value you added from an
anthropological perspective? Is there a paper you submitted
for a service-learning class where you addressed a social
problem using anthropological methods? Have you done
fieldwork in a community where you sought to create positive
social change in the process of gathering data? Tell us
about it! Scholarly articles should be 1,000 words in length
and will be subject to a double blind review process.

We also welcome innovative commentary submissions to the e-
Journal. Commentaries are opinion or avant-garde pieces of
work which are the original work of the authors. These
submissions are to express the next generation of
anthropologists' ideas, goals and beliefs of the direction
our discipline should head, be it locally, nationally or
globally. We seek a plurality of voices on this issue and
intend to raise awareness among fellow students as well as
more established anthropologists about the direction our
discipline is heading. Commentary submissions might include
such mediums as written pieces (1,000 words in length),
photo stories (10 photos + 1,000 words of commentary in
length) and videos/YouTubeC clips (10-minute maximum in
duration + 1,000 words of commentary in length)

Submission Guidelines:
Please submit a full 1,000 word manuscript for consideration
by midnight EST on April 21, 2008 along with any
accompanying materials.
. Authors should complete their submissions according
to the AAA style guide
. Submissions should be saved in Microsoft Word ".doc"
format with the file title being the first author's last
name and first initial. (example: HebertM.doc)
. We invite authors to provide drawings, graphs and
maps to enhance the visual component of each article. These
should be included as separate attachments in the email.
Graphics should be saved as ".jpg" format. The file name
should be the first authors last name, first initial and
then the number of the photo. (example: HebertM1.jpg) Please
also include reference in your text where graphics should be
placed by inserting the above identifier in the text.
. Videos should be provided as a link (if located on a
site such as YouTube) or included as a graphics file in a
readily viewable format such as QuickTime or Windows Media
. Please send submissions to the e-Journal editorial
team with the subject heading "NASA Manuscripts - Vol. 1" at

Authors will be notified regardless if their work has been
selected for publication or not. We look forward to
publishing submissions for Volume 1 of the NASA e-Journal in
the fall of 2008 and spring of 2009.

New Study: Teen Sex

The New York Times

March 12, 2008
Sex Infections Found in Quarter of Teenage Girls

The first national study of four common sexually transmitted diseases among girls and young women has found that one in four are infected with at least one of the diseases, federal health officials reported Tuesday.

Nearly half the African-Americans in the study of teenagers ages 14 to 19 were infected with at least one of the diseases monitored in the study — human papillomavirus (HPV), chlamydia, genital herpes and trichomoniasis, a common parasite.

The 50 percent figure compared with 20 percent of white teenagers, health officials and researchers said at a news conference at a scientific meeting in Chicago.

The two most common sexually transmitted diseases, or S.T.D.’s, among all the participants tested were HPV, at 18 percent, and chlamydia, at 4 percent, according to the analysis, part of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.

Each disease can be serious in its own way. HPV, for example, can cause cancer and genital warts.

Among the infected women, 15 percent had more than one of the diseases.

Women may be unaware they are infected. But the diseases, which are infections caused by bacteria, viruses and parasites, can produce acute symptoms like irritating vaginal discharge, painful pelvic inflammatory disease and potentially fatal ectopic pregnancy. The infections can also lead to longterm ailments like infertility and cervical cancer.

The survey tested for specific HPV strains linked to genital warts and cervical cancer.

Officials of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the findings underscored the need to strengthen screening, vaccination and other prevention measures for the diseases, which are among the highest public health priorities.

About 19 million new sexually transmitted infections occur each year among all age groups in the United States.

“High S.T.D. infection rates among young women, particularly young African-American women, are clear signs that we must continue developing ways to reach those most at risk,” said Dr. John M. Douglas Jr., who directs the centers’ division of S.T.D. prevention.

The president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Cecile Richards, said the new findings “emphasize the need for real comprehensive sex education.”

“The national policy of promoting abstinence-only programs is a $1.5 billion failure,” Ms. Richards said, “and teenage girls are paying the real price.”

Although earlier annual surveys have tested for a single sexually transmitted disease in a specified population, this is the first time the national study has collected data on all the most common sexual diseases in adolescent women at the same time. It is also the first time the study measured human papillomavirus.

Dr. Douglas said that because the new survey was based on direct testing, it was more reliable than analyses derived from data that doctors and clinics sent to the diseases center through state and local health departments.

“What we found is alarming,” said Dr. Sara Forhan, a researcher at the centers and the lead author of the study.

Dr. Forhan added that the study showed “how fast the S.T.D. prevalence appears.”

“Far too many young women are at risk for the serious health effects of untreated S.T.D.’s, ” she said.

The centers conducts the annual study, which asks a representative sample of the household population a wide range of health questions. The analysis was based on information collected in the 2003-4 survey.

Extrapolating from the findings, Dr. Forhan said 3.2 million teenage women were infected with at least one of the four diseases.

The 838 participants in the study were chosen at random with standard statistical techniques. Of the women asked, 96 percent agreed to submit vaginal swabs for testing.

The findings and specific treatment recommendations were available to the participants calling a password-protected telephone line. Three reminders were sent to participants who did not call.

Health officials recommend treatment for all sex partners of individuals diagnosed with curable sexually transmitted diseases. One promising approach to reach that goal is for doctors who treat infected women to provide or prescribe the same treatment for their partners, Dr. Douglas said. The goal is to encourage men who may not have a physician or who have no symptoms and may be reluctant to seek care to be treated without a doctor’s visit.

He also urged infected women to be retested three months after treatment to detect possible reinfection and to treat it.

Dr. Forhan said she did not know how many participants received their test results.

Federal health officials recommend annual screening tests to detect chlamydia for sexually active women younger than 25. The disease agency also recommends that women ages 11 to 26 be fully vaccinated against HPV.

The Food and Drug Administration has said in a report that latex condoms are “highly effective” at preventing infection by chlamydia, trichomoniasis, H.I.V., gonorrhea and hepatitis B.

The agency noted that condoms seemed less effective against genital herpes and syphilis. Protection against human papillomavirus “is partial at best,” the report said.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Thursday's Class: Mean Girls

OK--movie's on! Bring food! And we'll watch Mean Girls--jammies optional!

Friday, March 7, 2008

New Film

Here's today's rave NY Times review of Gus Van Sant's new film about a teenage boy:

Maybe it will get down here before the term is over and we can all go.

Paranoid Park (2007)
This movie has been designated a Critic's Pick by the film reviewers of The Times.
Paranoid Park
Scott Green/IFC Films

Published: March 7, 2008

Paranoid Park is a swooping skateboarding free zone where young men learn to fly. It’s also the title of Gus Van Sant’s most recent film, a haunting, voluptuously beautiful portrait of a teenage boy who, after being suddenly caught in midflight, falls to earth. Like most of Mr. Van Sant’s films “Paranoid Park” is about bodies at rest and in motion, and about longing, beauty, youth and death, and as such as much about the artist as his subject. It is a modestly scaled triumph without a false or wasted moment.

One of the most important and critically marginalized American filmmakers working in the commercial mainstream, Mr. Van Sant has traveled from down-and-out independent to Hollywood hire to aesthetic iconoclast, a trajectory that holds its own fascination and mysteries. The Hungarian filmmaker Bela Tarr has been instrumental in Mr. Van Sant’s recent artistic renaissance — evident in his newfound love of hypnotically long and gliding camera moves — though his tenure in the mainstream has left its mark too, as demonstrated by his rejection of straight narrative. As in three-act, character-driven, commercially honed narrative in which boys will be boys of a certain type and girls will be girls right alongside them.

The boy in “Paranoid Park,” Alex (the newcomer Gabe Nevins), lives and skates in Portland, Ore., where one evening he is implicated in the brutal death of a security guard. In adapting the young-adult novel by Blake Nelson, Mr. Van Sant has retained much of the story — a man dies, Alex writes it all down — but has reshuffled the original’s chain of events to create an elliptical narrative that continually folds back on itself. Shortly after the film opens, you see Alex writing the words Paranoid Park in a notebook, a gesture that appears to set off a flurry of seemingly disconnected visuals — boys leaping through the air in slow motion, clouds racing across the sky in fast — that piece together only later.

With his on-and-off narration and pencil, Alex is effectively shaping this story, but in his own singular voice. (“I’m writing this a little out of order. Sorry. I didn’t do so well in creative writing.”) Although you regularly hear that voice — at times in Alex’s surprisingly childish, unmodulated recitation, at times in dialogue with other characters — you mostly experience it visually, as if you were watching a still-evolving film unwinding in the boy’s head. Mr. Van Sant isn’t simply trying to take us inside another person’s consciousness; he’s also exploring the byways, dead ends, pitfalls and turning points in the geography of conscience, which makes the recurrent image of the skate park — with its perilous ledges, its soaring ramps and fleetingly liberated bodies — extraordinarily powerful.

Mr. Van Sant’s use of different film speeds and jump cuts, and his tendency to underscore his own storytelling — he regularly, almost compulsively repeats certain images and lines — reinforces rather than undermines the story’s realism. With its soft, smudged colors and caressing lighting, “Paranoid Park” looks like a dream — the cinematographers are Christopher Doyle and Rain Kathy Li — but the story is truer than most kitchen-sink dramas. This isn’t the canned realism of the tidy psychological exegesis; this is realism that accepts the mystery and ambiguity of human existence. It is the realism that André Bazin sees in the world of Roberto Rossellini: a world of “pure acts, unimportant in themselves,” that prepare the way “for the sudden dazzling revelation of their meaning.”

The pure acts in “Paranoid Park” mostly involve young male skateboarders gliding and sometimes hurtling through the air. Shot in both grainy Super-8 and velvety 35-millimeter film, these bodies appear alternately grounded and out of this world, reflecting extremes of physical effort while also suggesting different states of being. The Super-8 images of young men rolling along concrete, flipping boards and attitude, have the vaguely battered quality of old home movies, as if someone had just pulled the footage from a drawer. The glossier 35-millimeter images, by contrast, look almost monumental, epic, nowhere more so than when Mr. Van Sant shows one after another skateboarder suspended in the air at the peak of his jump, each a vision of Icarus.

Closer to earth, Alex roams through his world like an alien, a zombie, a prisoner, mostly mute, his features fixed, face blank and impenetrable. He says little, betrays less. His smiles are brief, infrequent. He’s adrift in a sea of near-strangers, including his parents, who are almost as conceptual as those in “Peanuts” (Dad’s tattoos notwithstanding), and his girlfriend (Taylor Momsen), a coltish cheerleader who wants to lose her virginity to him for the sake of convenience. (Mr. Van Sant has rarely been as patient with his female characters as he is with his male ones.) Alex’s single close connection is with his friend Jared (Jake Miller), who brings him to the skate park with the warning “No one’s ever really ready for Paranoid Park.”

Mr. Van Sant has always made a home for lost boys, from River Phoenix’s wanderer in “My Own Private Idaho” to the ghostly Kurt Cobain figure who roams through “Last Days,” those downy, itinerant beauties whose words stick to their tongues and whose pain seems as bottomless as their eyes. In some respects Paranoid Park represents adulthood; the critic Amy Taubin has provocatively suggested to Mr. Van Sant that the film’s subtext is that of a gay initiation. (He didn’t disagree.) Both readings are ripe for the picking. But what strikes me the hardest about “Paranoid Park” is the intimacy, the love — carnal, paternal, human — of Mr. Van Sant’s expansive, embracing vision. No one is ever really ready for Paranoid Park, but neither do you have to go there alone.

“Paranoid Park” is rated R (Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian). There is an extremely graphic, unflinchingly brutal image of a dying man.


Opens on Friday in New York and Los Angeles.

Written, directed and edited by Gus Van Sant; directors of photography, Christopher Doyle and Rain Kathy Li; art director, John Pearson-Denning; produced by Marin Karmitz and Nathanaël Karmitz; released by IFC Films. Running time: 1 hour 18 minutes.

WITH: Gabe Nevins (Alex), Dan Liu (Detective Richard Lu), Jake Miller (Jared), Taylor Momsen (Jennifer), Lauren McKinney (Macy) and Olivier Garnier (Cal).

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Good Class (as usual!)

Just some clarification on the "Teen Speak Contest." "A" prize to 2 "winners" (assuming 4 or more entries, otherwise just one "A").

Be Creative: Use the "Teen Speak" entries on the blog to write a longish poem, a story, or an "I am..." statement. I'm looking for lots of words and phrases from our list (the fewer transition words the better), and an interesting (can be funny of course) narrative. No laundry listing---got to be saying something.

DUE: Thursday, April 24--Hard Copy in Class. Please give me a "heads-up" those of you that are working on one

Final word on the final two sections:

Section 1: "My Adolescent World": using both informants, construct a statement about them from a variety of sources: MySpace, interviews, photos/films, and your commentary. We will work on form and subsections in our meetings. The goal is to present to a reader an in-depth portrait of your informants: their voice, their identity/image, etc, and your commentary (save your methods commentary for your final blog).

Section 2: Focused "Belief/Value/Behavior." The goal here is to develop a theme in-depth: For example, "Dating and Courtship in Teen Culture: Bill and Alice," or "On-Line Lives: Bill and Alice," or "Friends: Nothing More Important," or, finally, "Being a Teen (Girl, Boy, Black/Hispanic/Asian)..." And of course lots more.

See you Thursday.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

OK---All Blogged Out...and Ready for More

Sorry for the delay. I read a few at a time. They are very good, and I don't want to just barrel through them.

Most of you have made some breakthroughs and are getting real stuff.

We are at a point where you should be saying "I want to know more about..."

Or "I need to focus on.."

We still have more exploring time--but start thinking of the final sections.

But, please, read some classmate blogs--they are excellent.

And, finally, remember where all this blogging is leading. You will be making a final statement on methods, on how your work progressed. So all of this good--don't think it has to proceed in a perfectly straight line--there are good days and bad days. Just keep plugging away--I am happy with what I have read so far--you are making a good faith effort--and that is all I can ask (well...maybe a bit more too).