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George Bernard Shaw (1856 - 1950), Man and Superman (1903) "Maxims for Revolutionists"
You see things; and you say, 'Why?' But I dream things that never were; and I say, "Why not?"
George Bernard Shaw (1856 - 1950), "Back to Methuselah" (1921), part 1, act 1
Don't let fear convince you that you're too weak to have courage. Fear is the opportunity for courage, not the proof of cowardice.
McCain, John (2004, September). In Search of Courage: Finding the Courage Within You. FastCompany, 51-56.
In the search for character and commitment, we must rid ourselves of our inherited, even cherished biases and prejudices. Character, ability and intelligence are not concentrated in one sex over the other, nor in persons with certain accents or in certain races or in persons holding degrees from some universities over others. When we indulge ourselves in such irrational prejudices, we damage ourselves most of all and ultimately assure ourselves of failure in competition with those more open and less biased.
J. Irwin Miller, Chairman of the Board (1951-1977), Cummins Inc. From 1983 letter about diversity at the company.
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November 16, 2005
Historical Ethnography, NCA Pre-Conference
Today was the NCA Thematic Pre-Conference, Historical Ethnography: Bringing Cultures from the Past into the Present through Archival Resources sponsored by the Ethnography Division of NCA. I've been looking forward to this preconference and the presentations were as good as I had hoped. I don't have tons of notes from the presentations but gathered lots of short phrases to work and think through.
Peter Christopher Pehrson, Written By Hand Manuscript Americana Yale
Nick L. Trujillo, California State University, Sacramento
Harold Lloyd [Bud] Goodall, Arizona State University
Robert L. Krizek, Saint Louis University
Robin P. Clair, Purdue University
The first presenter was Peter Christian Pehrson, who provided the attendees with a hardcopy of his paper. I'm very glad he did so as he included some very substantive quotes I want to investigate. I will share first one the quotations he read that resonated with me. Taken from - Ames, Kenneth (1992). Death in the Dining Room and Other Tales of Victorian Culture. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.
All people have, to varying degrees, outer lives and inner lives. Outer lives are objective facts and, like most facts, have limited meaning by themselves. Inner lives are subjective realities, difficult if not impossible to access. But within these subjective realities lie the keys to interpreting and making meaning of the outer life. The critical point is that ...[no] objects have fixed meaning. People make meanings - both knowable and unknowable - with, through, and about things... Cultures are not organic or natural. They do not flower and die. They are artifact products of artifice. They are constructed by people, and after a time, they are demolished and abandoned by those people or, more likely, those who follow them. Sometimes, the end of the culture is catastrophic. More often, it is gradual and prolonged and so, historians have difficulty determining when one culture eclipsed another. (pp. 183-184)
My other notes from the paper are fragmentary as I mentioned earlier, but here they are:
- Worlds that have past [as part of the discussion on what is 'historical']
- Everyday history [a great phrase for diaries that I have read before but not heard discussed]
- Historical ethnography is the area between 'is' and 'was.'
- "Owned or harbored by" [a phrase from a 1900 Dog Registry from Muncie Indiana]
Then we heard from H. L. (Bud) Goodall discussing the methodology and historical hunt that lead to his upcoming book A Need to Know (March 2006). The work hinges on his search for the truth of his father's life as a CIA spy, a life he didn't know about until after his fathers death. I heard Bud present some of this material at last years NCA in Chicago and I was fascinated. Part of the work is undergirded by the secrets that families keep and the communal lies they tell, as the child of a family that has many secrets and more than a few lies this is a topic to which I can relate. Bud talked about the process of gaining access to information about his father, including the variety of channels that had to be accessed, and the roadblocks he reached and how some of them were circumvented. It is a fascinating story that I can't wait to read...wish Amazon had pre-order available for this one.
My fragments for Bud's presentation include:
- The codes we apply [used in reference to the idea that all coding is selection and selective]
- Preoccupation with meaning [a phrase that certainly sums up much of my thinking life]
Next we Nick Trujillo who discussed his book In Search of Naunny's Grave: Age, Class, Gender and Ethnicity in an American Family. He also told us about his current work which looks at his wife Leah's death, in December 2004, from ovarian cancer. Leah is the co-author having provided a series of audio tapes discussing her experiences.
I have one note from Nick's presentation which has to do with the family discussions he shared that had grown out of the publication of the book about his grandmother. Discussions on the construction of "grandmother," and the place of women in Hispanic families.
Robert (Bob) L. Krizek talked about his work in "non-routine public events" such as baseball stadium closings. In some ways his work is most similar to mine, of this group of presenters. Bob talked about "people as archives" something I have thought a lot about in connection to diaries and diary keeping. He calls this "excavating narrative." And he said his personal interest is in the "pure story," something I can totally identify with.
Bob also mentioned that he was introduced to some of the methods he uses from an article he read in grad school, citation follows:
- Snow, D. A., Zurcher, L. A., & Sjorberg, G. (1982). Interviewing by Comment: An Adjunct to the Direct Question. Qualitative Sociology, 5, 285-311.
Finally Robin Clair ended the panel discussing her fictional/ethnographic work with the Cherokee of North Carolina. In particular she looks at her families hidden narratives related to her Cherokee great-great-grandmother. Robin's work is interesting to listen to because of the fictional dialogue. A very different format than my research or actually any of the internet research I have run across.
Posted by prolurkr at November 16, 2005 09:00 PM
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