Introduction // Blog Configuration(s)

Title screen from Detroit: Become Human (2018, Quantic Dream)

Most video games start by asking players to configure their screens and controllers to optimize these for the game to ensure the best possible gaming experiences for the player. I wanted to start this blog in a similar way by writing the first blog post as a “blog configuration(s)” of sorts; helping readers to become more familiar with the look and feel of the blog, to understand the hoped for configuration of this blog, and explore potential ways readers might interact with it.

<run_authorprogram> I’m Avery Delany, a PhD candidate in Anthropology at Goldsmiths College, University of London in the UK. My thesis examines how ideas about personhood and the body – of what it means to be “human” – become co-constituted between single-player video games, players, and game developers. You can read more about me |here|. </end_authorprogram>

<run_blogprogram> As a white disabled, queer, trans and working-class student who has been studying anthropology at university for 6 years, I have been keenly aware of (and have felt) how both anthropology and academia routinely produce knowledge which draws on and extends colonialism, and actively works to keep such knowledge firmly within the ivory towers of academia. Though I regularly speak at “fan” conventions and see this as one way to contribute to decentering anthropology and academia, these spaces are only accessible to a small group of people who can afford to and can physically attend them, and who feel safe being in those spaces . One of the aims of my PhD has been to continue to learn about decolonizing and decentering anthropology and academia, and experiment with different ways of doing this. This blog is one of those ways.

Though I have been a diverse book blogger for over 2 years, academic blogging wasn’t something that had entered my mind until recently. It is through becoming more familiar with anthropological blogs like Fathermen by Dr Adom Philogene-Heron, Robot Anthropology by Dr Kathleen Richardson and anthrodendum, and other kinds of academic blogs like feministkilljoys, The Thesis Whisperer, and Field Notes from a Feminist Researcher, which have inspired me to start an academic blog of my own. These blogs opened my eyes to the rich potential of academic blogs due to their capacity as an informal digital space where readers can interact with engaging academic content for free, which (hopefully) allow for ongoing dialogues and debates, and which offer a sense of freedom for academics to write both personal and professional pieces. Being a diverse book blogger has been a fantastic way for me to network with other book lovers, contribute to discussions around diversity in books and it played a key role in helping me build confidence with my writing. I’m excited to see what experiences fieldnotesfromthefuture brings, the types of discussions it might generate, and the potential audience that I look forward to meeting.

Potential topics to expect from this blog:

  • Demystifying the process of “fieldwork” – Despite 6 years of studying anthropology, I am still mystified by the process of anthropological fieldwork and I know that many others are too. I am about to embark on 12-15 months of fieldwork for my PhD and aim to use this blog as a way to capture insights into and reflect on my fieldwork experiences, and share them with others.
  • Engagement with decolonial, disabled, feminist and queer literature – Again, despite having both a BA and MRes, my academic learning has been mostly restricted to research produced by white, cis-het, able-bodied men. Embarking on a PhD has allowed me to start engaging with the rich and nourishing work of decolonial, disabled, feminist and queer academics, and I am hoping to use this blog to practice working with their literature and share their work widely with you all. This may also involve creating an expansive reading/resource list which both myself and others can use.
  • Engagement and experimentation with futures, science-fiction and video game literature – Another thing I am incredibly excited about with my PhD is the opportunity it’s given me to engage with new anthropologies and ways of doing anthropology. At the moment, I am hoping to spend more time with literature on anthropologies of the future, digital anthropology, anthropology of video games and science-fiction research, and use this blog to develop my thinking on/around these.
  • Honest reflections on anthropology and academia – Being a marginalized student and academic can be a lonely and isolating experience, especially if you are a feminist killjoy (Ahmed) and/or space invader (Puwar, 2004). I am incredibly fortunate and grateful to be surrounded by a loving and supportive community at my institution though I know this is not the case for everyone. It is my hope that this blog can be a place where we can share experiences as marginalized students and academics, where we can connect, and where we can know that we are not alone.

Finally, fieldnotesfromthefuture also serves as a way for me to collect and share my academic work, news, and academic CV. As this blog is a work in progress these areas do not currently have any content in them though I will be working over the next few weeks adding information to these areas. </end_blogprogram>

I look forward to sharing this adventure with you as we foray into fieldnotesfromthefuture.

References:

A, D. (2020) [blog] Field Notes from a Feminist Researcher. Available at: <https://fieldnotesfromafeministresearcher.wordpress.com/>
Ahmed, S. [blog] Feminist Killjoys. Available at: <https://feministkilljoys.com/>
Anthrodendum [blog] Available at: <https://anthrodendum.org/>
Detroit: Become Human (2018) PS4. Quantic Dream
Mewburn, I. [blog] The Thesis Whisperer. Available at: <https://thesiswhisperer.com/>
Philogene Heron, A. (2018) [blog] Fathermen: A Conversation on Men and Kinship in the Caribbean Cosmos. Available at: <http://fathermen.blogspot.com/>
Puwar, N. Space Invaders: Race, Gender, and Bodies out of Place. Oxford: Berg.
Richardson, K. [blog] ‘robotanthropology’. Available at: <https://robotanthropology.wordpress.com/>

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