Why Fieldnotes?

Fieldnotes are jottings, thoughts, and captured scenes.  Anthropologists rely on their fieldnotes.  We take them when you aren’t looking (and sometimes when you are).  We use them to make sense of worlds – of the details, dialogs, colors, tones, affects.  We use them to record minutia (and also the bigger stuff).

This blog helps me to decipher my own fieldnotes.  More importantly, it enables me to put my own thoughts on disability as an anthropologist in conversation with current events, innovations, policy shifts, and public debates and anxieties.  I hope to use it as a platform – albeit a modest one – to draw attention to disability issues in contemporary America and also to illuminate them as an area in which scholars can have an incredible impact, both theoretical and applied.  The anthropology of disability is a small, but growing, field.  We need voices, stories, and scenes to enrich what we know, to shape our future objects of inquiry.

During fieldwork, anthropologists are supposed to collect clippings from newspapers and magazines.  Any mention of something relating to one’s research is fair fodder.  Lacking the patience, office space, and organizational zeal for a pile of clippings on all things disability in the contemporary U.S., I rely instead on a steady stream of Twitter action and also on this website.  I use these platforms as a central repository for my (digital) clippings, and I hope that other scholars – formal and otherwise – can benefit from the collection of links, thoughts, and notes.


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