Week 8: In Sight of the Finish Line

This week has been a whirlwind of emotions from going down to Edmonds despite a cancelled interview into an outstanding response from the community via a survey. I am truly fascinated by the scope of our project and how much it has been evolving in the short week. The visit to Edmonds was in particular very interesting because we ran into our research partner while walking in downtown Edmonds. It was a very interesting experience that we were able to get from looking into the situation we were given and we were able to achieve context from the neighborhoods, most glaringly the fact that a sidewalk never finishes on one side of the street and from early data we have gotten, this seems to be a common concern.

This week is completely reserved for analysis and the formation of our research paper, and turning it into a viable and informative guideline for the future of our work. I truly think there will be some good information to come out of this experience, but many ways for us to look back and improve on the location and the subject by which we address the project.


Week 7: Communication is Key

This week brought with it one of the most stressful experiences of my life as my research team thought that all of our work up to this point was moot. There was a period of miscommunication among our group members as we worked through are limited and hard to schedule interview. Confusion about the status of our IRB as well as what pertains to our research project become incredibly confusing. One of the key things to remember in research is to not overreact and stay calm until everyone knows what is going on, which is one of the most frustrating things in the world. Fear of the unknown not only rocks the boat, but creates a situation by which people get defensive and want to defend everything they’ve done up to that point. One of the key point is that now everything has been handled and we are making our first field visit down to Edmonds tomorrow to work with an interview and to go take pictures. I am excited, yet cautious because I still am a little uneasy about the events concerning our group’s work and communication.

To work through this project and provide anything of value will be incredible, but do I wish that we had significantly more time. I feel that even on a semester schedule this timeline would be pushing it. That is an important consideration to bring up when talking to the people who organize the programs, while something like this could be achievable, the shortened timeline combined with the complexity of the project makes this one of the hardest things I have ever done.

War and Human Rights: Accountability

             “One of the things that a president needs in the face of genocide is resolve.”                               -Samantha Power

Resolve is defined by Google as to “decide firmly on a course of action.” Now, most of the time a president is praised for their resolve for how they act in the face of tragedy. Some may think that LBJ’s resolve broke from the stress of Vietnam, but he possibly showed the strongest resolve of any president by refusing to run for a second term, knowing that he had failed. Bill Clinton’s inaction in foreign affairs highlights his lack of resolve.

Samantha Power was an investigative Journalist who was in Bosnia at the time of Srebenica and watched as thousands were killed due to inaction from Washington and Brussels. While Clinton’s lack of resolve was notable, the lack of resolve from the EU was even more concerning who were allowing genocide to occur on European soil after the Holocaust.

Maybe this is because of the idea of the Balkan Powder Keg or the “ethnical impurity” of the Southern Slavs. George H.W. Bush made it clear that the 1st kept him out of the collapse of the former Yugoslavia, but Bill Clinton advocated for supporting Bosnia while on the campaign trail. Yet, he stood by not taking action until well into his first term. Yet, when the Kosovar Albanians were beginning to be attacked by the Serbians in Belgrade he became a warhawk. In 1998. With no fear of re-election.

Clinton’s resolve finally showed, years too late.

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Week 6: Ready, Set, IRB

This week we are entering the real period of our research. More importantly, we will be able to do our work with IRB approval of our work, even though it has minimal risk to all involved. One of the most important aspects to this research is the narrow window of research for which we have to conduct all our work. 3 weeks may seem like a short time for many, but it can be one of the most important and stressful times in our careers. I am excited and ready to do this research, but the time allotted is not only incredibly tight, but incredibly short. 10 weeks seems like a tremendous timeline for some projects, but when it comes to transportation over an hour, a class, and a partnership thins can get messy. However, it is truly outstanding that we as students are able to make this jump into the Edmonds project and turn it into an incredible project. If only we had more time.

Nevertheless, our real in-depth research will begin in this upcoming week, including with us possibly going down on a Friday to observe and learn about what is going on. I am particularly interested in getting to speak about what we fully expect from not only our contacts, but from some of the individuals dying to talk to us about their own assessment of the area. This week has mostly served as a transitory period into the research cycle. I am ready to get some work done.

War and Human Rights: Complicit in the Face of Genocide

One of the most recent and most unknown genocides in recent memory was that of Bosnian Muslims during the collapse of the former Yugoslavia. Genocide had happened in Europe after the Holocaust which all vowed to never be repeated. The world stood by and watched while genocide was occurring a 4 hour plane ride from Berlin.

This genocide is very particular when it comes to its appearance to the outside world. These people dressed like westerners and acted like westerners wearing American Football gear and their Adidas brand shoes. Sarajevo had just hosted the Winter Olympics in 1984 and represented the appearance of a modernized Western City. However, this masked the uprising of religious and nationalist separatism between the Yugoslav Republics. Serbian nationalism was rising in the absence of Josip Tito and had reached a boiling point in the former Yugoslavia. The rich and modernized Slovenia was able to separate without much resistance by the Serbian government. However, the separation of Croatia and then Bosnia-Herzegovina led the the violent bloodbath that was the Bosnian War and Genocide. I chose the image below because it symbolizes the rise and fall of Sarajevo as the War took its toll. The bullet-ridden Olympic rings are symbolic of the broken and destroyed unity and the now broken Bosnia.

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Week 5: Muffled Voices in Quantitative Data

One of the things that bothered me this week was the creation of our research proposal. This document is a culmination of out work as a group and presents what we expect or wish to see. I was responsible for the literature review for our group and it was almost unnerving. There is so much data in preventative medicine, planning, and transportation, so the data is highly quantified. Surveys are compiled among the many different disciplines, but it is heavily quantified. The best way I can explain it is that there are thousands of voices, but they are muffled. There are hugely important qualitative points that are shown in the data, yet there is no proof or expansion. Their opinions and voices are muffled by the limiting structure of the survey.

That is why mixed methods are so important to contribute to research. The integration of both quantitative and qualitative approaches are immensely important in capturing the whole picture of the community. Quantitative data is incredibly useful when it comes to the development of policy at a governmental scale, but often muffles the voice of the community whereas qualitative data makes their voices flourish.

War and Human Rights: Inertia and the Holocaust

This idea of inertia was particularly fitting for this week’s prompt because this week seems to be intended as a feeling of inertia. I think it is a proper way to address the violations of human rights by anthropologists in the 3rd Reich, but also the lack of a response of the United States for years in both Rwanda and Bosnia. I have added in the prompt below from which I will be responding to. Since I looked at Rwanda last week, I thought it would be better for me to look at some of the Holocaust material.

The first thing I want to address is a poem written by Primo Levi. Levi was an Italian Jewish chemist, writer, and Auschwitz survivor. He wrote some incredible poetry in response to his time in the Age of Fascism that is both endearing and chilling. His piece, If this is a man follows:

You who live safely
In your warm houses,
You who, when you come home in the evening,
Find hot food and friendly faces:
Ask yourselves if this is a man
who works in the mud
who knows no peace
who struggles for half a loaf of bread
who dies for the flimsiest motive.
Ask yourselves if this is a woman,
hairless and nameless
powerless to remember
Empty eyes and cold womb
Like a frog in winter.
Ponder that this has taken place:
I entrust you with these words.
Chisel them in your heart
at home and abroad,
lying down and getting up;
repeat them to your children.
Or may your house crumble down,
may illness paralyze you,
may your children turn away from you

Levi challenges us a readers to listen to his message. He writes this as a response to his arrest and internment at Auschwitz. The poem asks us to look at what happened to individuals in these camps. The man who dies from the flimsiest motive is a reflection on the worthlessness of the Nazi attacks on individuals and using the manufactured attacks against the various groups to cause their suffering. He follows this with the woman, “empty eyes and cold womb/like a frog in winter.” His specific use of the idea of cold and empty is the opposite of what women are often described as. Women are often described as warm and full, but this has stripped her of any part of her identity.

However, the most crucial part that Levi addresses is the damnation if these people are forgotten. “Chisel them in your heart/ at home and abroad… Or may your house crumble down,/ may illness paralyze you./may your children turn away from you” Levi fears the people would forget the Holocaust. I mean, Nazis have become the rhetoric for absolute evil in the United States. Yet, the people who died in the Holocaust are forgotten because of time moving further and further away from the events. How many people remember the Homosexuals, Gypsies, Disabled, or even the Jews? I remember, and I know, and I talk about these situations to remember the destruction and support Levi’s request.

Secondly I want to address the actions of the 3rd Reich concerning their archaeological support for the Aryan superiority. The immense workarounds of the Aryan archaeologists specifically constructed the narrative for the pureness of German people , following the works of Tacticus. Yet, I find it ironic of the dismissal of Charlemagne.  Charlemagne ruled the 1st Reich, but as a Frankish King who took his seat in Aachen. The great uniter, but enemy of the ethnically German tribes in Saxony. It almost seems foolish. This entire discussion was built on the ideas of poorly conducted research looking to create a narrative to fit the nationalistic intentions of the Nazi Party and Social Darwinism. It is truly a dark stain on anthropology, yet it shows why the collaborative process is so important in academic works.

The inertia in this situation is that when learning this information, you stop in your tracks and have to wait for inertia to bring you back. This information is so brutal that it requires a inertia response in the mind. This is incredibly important information to look at, and it should never be forgotten.

I would like to end this post again with the inclusion of a wonderful piece of music. This piece was written by Hungarian band Omega and the piece is Gyöngyhajú Lány / Pearls in her hair. While the English translation is hotly contested on YouTube it has a wonderful sound, despite not knowing a word of Hungarian.


Link to the Assignment/Prompt – Added with permission by Dr. Kathleen Young