Bilingual Blues

A few days ago, I was thrilled at how things were progressing here.  I had scored a few helpful interviews, found a few restaurants with decent vegetarian food, and—most importantly—progressed in my Spanish enough to be able to make my self understood, albeit in a broken and grammatically incorrect fashion. Half a week later, not… Continue reading Bilingual Blues

Promises I Can Keep

When I embarked on my thesis project on freeganism, I envisioned myself as following the model of some of my favourite professors—Patricia Fernandez-Kelly, David Graeber, and Peter Singer come to mind—in combining genuine academic inquiry with a strong commitment to social change.  Ít wasn’t enough to just be a neutral observer of a group confronting… Continue reading Promises I Can Keep

Good Intentions and Unneeded Courtyard Fountains*

I’ve been telling everyone that this is my first time in Latin America, but it’s not quite true, since I’ve gone with my family a few times to gringo-filled destinations in Mexico.  Without a doubt, our family vacations inevitably found us staying in places with some borderline-catastrophic flaw.  There was, for example, the apartment in… Continue reading Good Intentions and Unneeded Courtyard Fountains*

Sink or Swim

There was a time, I imagine, when doing field work in developing countries was legitimately scary.  Anthropologists studying remote islands or indigenous tribes might be cut off from contact with their home countries for years.  Without the internet or television, their immersion in their place of study was total and non-stop, even in the worst… Continue reading Sink or Swim