Sunday, October 20, 2013

Linda J. Seligmann

Linda Seligmann is Professor of Anthropology and Director of Graduate Programs in Anthropology at George Mason University. Her research and analysis has appeared in national newspapers and journals, including The Washington Post and on National Public Radio. She is the author of Between Reform and Revolution: Political Struggles in the Peruvian Andes, 1969-1991 (1995) and Women Traders in Cross-Cultural Perspective: Mediating Identities, Marketing Wares (2001).

Seligmann's latest book is Broken Links, Enduring Ties: American Adoption across Race, Class, and Nation.

A few weeks ago I asked the author about what she was reading. Seligmann's reply:
I’m a browser. I’m reading Fred Myer’s edited volume, The Empire of Things. I find myself thrilled to be pushed to think in new ways about material culture and to pay renewed attention to how the simple transactions of people giving gifts, and trading, and buying and selling things carry with them all sorts of complex economic, political, and symbolic values.

I’m also reading Khaled Hosseini’s And the Mountains Echoed. It’s hard to put down and it’s equally hard to keep reading it because it is so full of pain and beauty that wrench me from my comfortable surroundings.

In between, I’m reading Nicholas Carr’s The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains. I’m reading it on my iPad so I’m wondering what that is doing to my brain. It’s an elegant argument about the systematic yet subtle ways in which major technological breakthroughs historically transform all aspects of our lives for better or for worse. Carr thinks the Internet is making us unable to focus, to carry through with anything or to gain deep understanding, even as it proves astounding in all sorts of “thin” ways.

And early in the morning, especially, I read a few poems from one of my poetry anthologies. This morning, I read one by Walt Whitman and another by Seamus Heaney. When I’m working very hard doing research and writing, I find myself thirsty for fiction. When my brain is tired but I am seeking simple clarity, I often read about the workings of the brain. And when I want to return to my roots, I turn to poetry.
Learn more about Broken Links, Enduring Ties at the Stanford University Press website.

The Page 99 Test: Broken Links, Enduring Ties.

--Marshal Zeringue