Posts Tagged ‘New York’

veronica Lunch with Veronica Slajer at Sonoma restaurant on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, was as much about getting caught up as it was about moving forward.

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4/15 Epilogue: I recall sitting at Frida’s Cafe on 78th Street and Columbus, yesterday, Manhattan’s upper west side, working on my third margarita, chatting, reaching over Suzana Sawyer, Leigh Johnson, and Octavia Shadowz to get at the guacamole and chips. Then, I awoke in Berkeley, as if I have never left this big leafy town.

My ears are ringing. My throat is sore, probably from yelling in the bar. We covered every topic, anthropology rivals, who is working on what. Things I can think of and more. It was the end of a furious several days. We walked through all the book chapters, giving each author 3 minutes to have their say, turning to a designated critic to provide 10 minutes of rigorous discussion, then opening it up for group discussion. 16 papers in all.

Everyone, we said, would receive a memorandum of comments with the aim of having a second version of chapters ready by end of summer deadline. September 1.

One of my favorite photographs. On the first day, Hannah Appel, Michael Watts, and I planned to meet at Joe’s coffee, on the corner of 120th street to strategize before getting underway. So fun to see those two folks after such a long time. I came in, immediately recognized Hannah, and before we could hug, I had to take a photograph.

I love this shot.

I had not seen Hannah in 8 months. Can you imagine? The last time we were hanging out was in August in Berkeley, writing to NSF program officers about a new project we had in mind to examine off-shore drilling in Ghana.

I am an absolute nutter for keeping notes, and I have started collecting images of folks who keep notes, where they keep them, with what special pens they write, et cetera. For this reason, I had to distract Peter Hitchcock to get a view of his note taking procedures.

Peter–provided me with fabulous comments on my chapter, gentle genius that he is. There were so many facets we went over:

Transparency and secrecy. Nature of oil archive, assemblage, boundary lines between corporations, states, et cetera. A critical ethnography of infrastructure. The question of expertise, science, security and securitization. Multi levels of time, and temporality.


We left with a feeling that we were bringing together something important, and that we probably need to turn up the temperature on each of our chapters. Maybe go through one more version.

4/14: Gosh, I meant to blog yesterday, but we did not have internet access. Writing a few notes and need to transfer them and will do that soon enough, but right now I am in the lobby of our hotel, The Lucerne, sitting with Saulesh Yessenova, waiting for Octavia Shadowz to hop a cab to Columbia U. for the second day.

Everyone had a good time yesterday. Of course, we talked, talked, and talked, which is what academics do, but it was good to see old friends as well, like Mani Limbert.


Actually, I have a confession to make. In fact, I know some of the attendees for quite some years. Let us start with Suzana Sawyer. Well, she and I attended a weekend retreat as part of another workshop that took place “decades ago” as she put it when we greet each other yesterday with a hug and a laugh over that period. On that previous ocassion, David Zanton, who has since retired, invited us to work on our proposals at a retreat in Sonoma County. It was when I was completing my comprehensive exams as a PhD student at UC Berkeley, and when Suzana was just hired as Assistant Professor at UC Davis, Department of Anthropology.

But-then there is some history with Mani Limbert. Some years after I completed fieldwork and was writing my dissertation at UC Berkeley, Mani came to town on a postdoc fellowship, having just completed her PhD at Michigan Department of Anthropology.

Boy. Those were some grad student evenings. That is all I can remember. But we had fun.

What can I say about Saulesh Yessenova. Good Grief. Well, for starters, Saulesh works as Assistant Professor at University of Calgary. And I happen to have spent a year at U Calgary, as a US-Canada Fulbright Fellow!

I have since gone to Calgary a few times, and Saulesh has proven to be an immaculate host, taking me out for a steak dinner and whatever kinds of side dishes they have in that town, the Houston of the North as they all refer to it up there.

4/13: New York City. 7AM, just starting the day, heading over to Columbia University soon, to chat with Michael Watts and Hannah Appel about the workshop which begins at 9AM. I plan to blog away today, catching the fleeting conversations and photos of folks.

4/6: Okay. At this moment, I am pretty much holed up in a Norwegian hotel room going over these book chapters. I do not think I am going to be doing much more in the next couple days, other than revise a chapter for another edited volume, attempt to write an article revision for a journal, and re-write a grant for the Norwegian Research Council. But all of this tomorrow, hopefully.

3/7: A workshop organized by Hannah Appel, for a co-edited volume by Michael Watts and myself, fifteen contributors, all gathering at Columbia U, to chew the fat.

We put up materials for contributors on a designated website, restricted at this point, but with screen shots of the participants and titles of the chapters below.

I had the opportunity to share a coffee with Mona Damluji, who studies in the architecture department and is contributing to the volume. We met at Babette, a coffee house in the Berkeley museum. We talked about the discipline of anthropology.

Actually, Michael Watts and I have been working on this project for exactly one year (Yay!) so it is a good feeling to see that things are coming together…

Apparently, David Hughes, another contributor, received his PhD from UC Berkeley at around the same time that I was coming into the program. We talked briefly about his tenure there and some of his advisors.

Matt Huber is someone that I came to meet recently. He is very knowledgeable about energy development in the United States, and knows much of the separate histories of the fuel arenas, in addition to specializing on oil.

Mona is excited about reading the papers for the upcoming workshop.

I plan to post all the news of the event here on StudioPolar‘s paparazzi ethnographic site.

Here are the participants in Oil Talk. Yay!

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