from the comfort of my armchair to the convenience of your screen

“Contemporary Contempt: Nostalgia and Cultural Critique” is an exploration in anthro-lite. Instead of a feast, I offer up snacks of varying quantities and qualities. You are invited to partake of as many or few of these offerings as you wish, and to share your reactions upon digestion.

At the risk of over-generalizing, the writings on this blog explore ideas surrounding historical and contemporary culture with a focus on the United States, because that is where I am embedded. Posts focus on old things and turn a critical eye toward the often-irritating present circumstances all around us and the harmful inequalities they belie. Obviously, this brief description could encompass any number of topics. It’s good to leave yourself open.

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And now, an origin story:

Begun in early 2011, this blog was the result of an unemployed, former student of social science living in a diaspora to which she didn’t belong that was largely devoid of fellow social scientists. In desperate want of a forum to rant and rhapsodize, the former student created her own. With useless degree in hand (and a penchant for run-on sentences), this recently minted graduate vowed to make meaning out of years of higher education by exploring the world outside of the academy, both past and present.

The main aims of this blog are two:

  1. Discuss and critique contemporary (Western) society
  2. Engage with cultural history

I approach these topics largely through the lenses of the mundane and the material. Sub-topics include gender, consumerism, human relations with environment and other animals, and the politics of [insert noun here]. Pop-culture and personal experience feature strongly as jumping-off points for discussion of bigger issues. Every effort is made to make such observances relevant to larger cultural and historical contexts. (Nothing exists in isolation, after all.) It’s a little like stand-up comedy, but sitting down and with more context and citations. And probably less funny.

…okay, three. Three aims:

A third, miscellaneous category of discussion contains other things that the spirit moves the author(s) to post about, such as recommended books and movies, links to other blogs of interest, or short musings on delicious edibles. Because what’s a blog without a little opinionated fluff?

Methodology (of sorts) and the politics of engagement:

Some posts are extensively researched, while others are glib or off-the-cuff. Efforts are made to distinguish the purely editorial from more serious undertakings, and in the case of the latter, I make a point to cite my sources. Alternate opinions are expected and encouraged for purposes of lively conversation, but distasteful, rude, spammy, or otherwise offensive comments will be deleted without ceremony. No parade or anything. You have hereby been informed.

A final note:

In closing, this blog is a chance for me to think about the many disparate ideas and questions that interest me–ones I wasn’t able to devote much time to during school because of the need to stay focused on other research projects. Because of this broad purpose, the format and content of this blog will probably evolve from what is set out here. After all, life hardly ever goes according to plan.


Thanks for reading!