Tag Archives: anthropology

New Directions in Research

Okay, so I’ve been teasing along with this for months now, dropping hints about a return trip to Uganda.  At first it was simply hopeful (as in someday), but it’s been more than that for weeks now.  The truth is, two weeks after I got back from the last trip, I received a Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad (DDRA) Fellowship.  I haven’t exactly kept this a secret or anything.  It’s just that this is a windfall that I had written off as so unlikely it would never happen.  It’s humbling to know how many more deserving applicants could be out there.

One of those applicants comes from FSU’s beleaguered Anthropology Department.  I claim Anthropology as a kind of disciplinary home away from home on campus, and I have great respect for their students and faculty.  So it is with bittersweet admiration that I congratulate  Bryan Rill.  Bryan works on issues that are very close to home for me, and I can think of no more deserving candidate for this fellowship.  Congratulations, Bryan.  While we’re at it, congrats to your colleagues on three NSF Dissertation Improvement Grants.  Maybe FSU will see fit to reconsider some if the more unfortunate budgetary decisions of the past few years in light of your achievements and those of the distinguished anthropology faculty.  Maybe.

FSU has done well in the past few years with national and international fellowships at the undergraduate level, thanks in no small part to the Office of National Fellowships (ONF).  There are, however, strong graduate students at FSU winning other awards.  Jason Hobratschk in the College of Music and Victoria Penziner in the History Department both snagged Fulbright IIE grants this year.  Kimberly Leahy is among 22 others to do the same since 1985, but it’s interesting to note that a disproportionately large number of those have come since the ONF opened.  BTW, I’ve had the privilege of knowing both Jason and Vicky for a few years, and I know both of their projects will yield fascinating results.

These accomplishments and others across campus in the past few years have started to make FSU look more like a Carnegie Doctoral Research Institution, and it seems the university is starting to take that role seriously.  After a tremendous success rate with the pilot of the ONF,  The Graduate School announced the opening of a new Office for Graduate Fellowships and Awards (OGFA)  this semester.  It’s about time.  ONF was really gracious about helping graduate students with fellowship applications (my own included), but even their staff recognized a major gap between their own undergraduate focus and the faculty-only nature of the Office of Research.  I applaud FSU’s efforts to help more graduate students secure outside funding through the new OGFA.  In fact, its sole staff member has already been very supportive as she administrates these new Fulbright-Hays and NSF awards.  Having watched similar programs help generate thousands of research dollars for students at other institutions, I am confident that the OGFA will be a successful project for FSU.

I offer a few critiques here even as I champion FSU’s recent efforts to make graduate research a priority, and I do so at the risk of soiling the extraordinary sense of gratitude I feel for having been selected as a Fulbright-Hays Fellow.  This is the most honest brand of school spirit: ONF is great, but OGFA is proof that we can do better at the graduate level.  The next step must be to support the academic programs and professors that foster bright students and award-winning ideas! (Ahem: ‘Noles Need Anthropology)


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Tragic is an Understatement

In my last post, I mentioned the tragic cuts proposed by FSU’s budget crisis committee. In addition to the abandonment of a piece of Americana in the Ringling Museum and plans for a new Performing Arts Center, that particular link mentions “program closures.”  Well, leave it to the Booster club to keep things diplomatic.  It turns out that German and Anthropology are on the chopping block.  Tell me, President Wetherell, apart from the notion of classical Greek education, where did we inherit our academic tradition from?  Oh yeah, the GERMAN system!  Also, can you please explain to me how a top-tier research institution justifies cutting its program for the study of human life?

Maybe I should be happy.  I mean, without anthropologists around, maybe the ethnomusicologists will have less competition for the International Dissertation Research Fellowships, and more lucky winners will come out of my program.  But wait: that won’t fix the gaping hole in their required curriculum for anthropology electives.  It won’t make up for the loss of wonderful colleagues that we have in the students and professors of that department.  It definitely won’t make up for the loss of amazing opportunities for meaningful cross-campus discourse that we have enjoyed with Anthropology for the entire life of the Ethnomusicology program (over thirty years).  Tell me, what good does it do for the Office of National Fellowships to help students with their DAAD applications for wonderful undergraduate and graduate programs in Germany if they won’t be able to speak the language when they get there?  What good is a Global Pathways Initiative if you no longer care about understanding the people we encounter around the world?  Where do you leave that fledgling Initiative when you abandon the students and professors doing ethnographic research in over sixty-five countries around the world?

Luckily, these cuts have not been finalized and cannot be finalized by the Budget Crisis Committee, who are clearly in such a state of panic that their concern for the bottom line has impaired their ability to think straight.  It’s up to the legislature to either give the university what it needs or really foul things up.   With a track record of deep lasorations into the education budget, we might not have much reason to believe that the state legislature will put the university back on track.  However, that’s no reason not to let them know that they need to try.  Please find the contact information for individuals below who still have power to stop these senseless cuts.  Write to them.  Tell them to invest in education in Florida.

Jeff Atwater 1-561-625-5101
Senator Jeff Atwater
Room 312, SOB
404 S. Monroe Street
Tallahassee, Florida 32399-1100

JD Alexander 1-863-298-7677
Senator J. D. Alexander
Room 412 SOB
Tallahassee, Florida 32399-1100

Evelyn Lynn 1-386-238-3180
Senator Evelyn J. Lynn
Room 212, SOB
404 S. Monroe Street
Tallahassee, Florida 32399-1100

Stephen Wise
Senator Stephen R. Wise
Room 220, SOB
404 S. Monroe Street
Tallahassee, Florida 32399-1100

Don Gaetz
Senator Don Gaetz
Room 320, SOB
404 S. Monroe Street
Tallahassee, Florida 32399-1100

Steve Oelrich
Senator Steve Oelrich
Room 314, SOB
404 S. Monroe Street
Tallahassee, FL 32399-1100

Nancy Detert
Senator Nancy Detert
Room 318, SOB
404 S. Monroe Street
Tallahassee, Florida 32399-1100

Larry Cretul 1-352-873-6564
Representative Larry Cretul
Room 420, CAP
402 S. Monroe Street
Tallahassee, Florida 32399-1300

Marti Coley 1-850-718-0047
Representative Marti Coley
Room 319, CAP
402 S. Monroe Street
Tallahassee, Florida 32399-1300

Bill Proctor 1-904-823-2550
Representative Bill Proctor
Room 223, CAP
402 S. Monroe Street
Tallahassee, Florida 32399-1300

Faye Culp
Representative Faye Culp
Room 1102, CAP
402 S. Monroe Street
Tallahassee, Florida 32399-1300

Dean Cannon
Representative Dean Cannon
Room 422, CAP
402 S. Monroe
Tallahassee, Florida 32399-1300

Anitere Flores
Representative Anitere Flores
Room 422, CAP
402 S. Monroe Street
Tallahassee, Florida 32399-1300

John Legg
Representative John Legg
Room 1101, CAP
402. S. Monroe Street
Tallahassee, Florida 32399-1300

David Rivera
Representative David Rivera
Room 223, CAP
402 S. Monroe Street
Tallahassee, Florida 32399-1300

Will Weatherford
Representative Will Weatherford
Room 223, CAP
402 S. Monroe Street
Tallahassee, Florida 32399-1300

Greg Evers
Eddy Gonzalez
Rich Glorioso

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