How about that – this is the week when Allegra turns 1! We’ve made mental notes of this week’s approach for quite some time, and yet its arrival still feels surprising. This is perhaps due to some recent heat we’ve been getting on a totally different issue, which has kept us somewhat preoccupied and also slightly puzzled. This debate will continue, yet today we give it a break by focussing on celebrating all that the past year has brought with it. Now, in doing this, we’ll be setting things off with something highly ‘un-Allegran’, namely focus on NUMBERS! Yes, those good old digits that are in today’s world so often treated as the arbitrators of ‘factual’ and ‘important’.
Our criticism for this infatuation should come as news to no one, but let’s just put all that aside in favour of the good old TOP 10 list – thus please enjoy this list of our most popular / most read posts from ALLEGRA’S FIRST YEAR!
(And just how do we know all this? It’s a wonderful little program called ‘Google Analytics’ that gives us STAGGERING insights into our readers – that is, if only we knew how to read the stats & could be bothered to learn properly. We promise to fix this soon and offer you a proper analysis of all the information that website moderators can gather of us all as we surf the online world!)
In place number 10 is a piece called ‘Snapshots of Islam: Halal Dating in London’ by your humble moderator Julie Billaud. The piece is linked to her ongoing project on modern Islamic legal culture in the UK (and beyond), covered at Allegra via a series of posts last fall and also connected to our ongoing thread on #Fieldnotes. What does dating look like in a social scene where there are simultaneously vocal calls for foregoing dating all together and ‘just marrying’?
At number 9 we find a video of someone who Allegra readers obviously love dearly – as do we, the moderators – namely Tim Ingold, published almost a year ago in October 2013. No more of this as Ingold will come up again in this list, we promise.
At number 8 we find a nice little ‘no-nonsense’ piece by Isaac Morrison on anthropological job hunting – down-to earth tips for all those trained in our noble discipline & yet determined to secure employment outside the academia (not an entirely unwise goal…).
Let’s just say this much: the popularity of this post alone speaks of the need of MUCH more training on this issue in established university curricula – we hope that people are listening!
At number 7 we find the ‘hottest’ post of the moment – and perhaps Allegra’s most controversial post to date (possibly in the exclusion of our own take on Povinelli’s talk): Sylvain Piron‘s views on why Povinelli’s keynote at Tallinn EASA 2014 was a failure, published on August 22, 2014. Much has been said on this post, also on our choice as moderators to post it, and much will likely be said still. The comments section – including a postscript from Piron himself – summarises the mood of this ongoing exchange.
Curiously, perhaps, just one notch higher, at number 6 we find the post that first raised an ‘eyebrow or two’, as the matter was phrased in the interview that Savage Minds ran of us in January: our ‘Savage European’ take on AAA 2013, first published in early December 2013. Yes, reading the text in retrospect makes us wonder how we escaped more biting critique for posting at the time… Perhaps people were kinder to newcomers into the anthropological blogosphere…
Approaching ‘the top’, at number 5 we have another post by Isaac Morrison, commenting also on the post-AAA2013 discussion, namely all the hype about ‘the ontological turn‘, published in early 2014. Nonsense or not – it’s at least certain that debates instigated by the AAA do set much of the pace for current discussions in our discipline, at least in the blogosphere (with some even quick to dismiss discussions initiated by other contexts as irrelevant). Also, it is evident that people in our discipline remain keen to discuss the relevance that our hard collective work induces on the world around us.
Moving up still, in tight race for the TOP 3, at number 4 we find a delightful post – a favourite of Allegra moderators – a timeless classic called ‘flatulanthropology‘ authored by the inimitable Jon Mitchell & Gavin Weston.
This post is also a testament of how Allegra operates: it was originally inspired by some careless Facebook banter, accompanied by some Twitterish-talk of ‘anthropologists being afraid of the theme’ – and there you have it: a beautiful piece of anthropological scholarship that is the epitome of being both ‘tongue in cheeck’ and ‘deadly serious’.
And what do you know, it remains also one of our most popular pieces of all time. We continue to look forward to the nuanced contributions that this carefully crafted post offers to issues related to bodies, their limits – and cross-cultural takes on jokes & smells! Flatulanthropology was first published on May 16, 2014 as a part of our first ever thematic week on #BODY.
Moving onto the TOP 3 then. At number 3 we find another piece by a humble Allegra moderator, namely Miia Halme-Tuomisaari, and her discussion with Carole McGranahan on doing ethnography at the CIA and on seeing ‘humanity‘, first published at the end of June, 2014. Did it all happen, exactly as is written here? Difficult to say, but this much is certain:
Was it not for Allegra, it feels impossible to think of another venue for publishing a piece in such a style – let’s thus treat this post as a testament to the possibilities that the Allegra platform holds for experiments of diverse kinds.
And – TA-DAA – the TOP 2 finally. ‘Lumped’ together as they are both authored by the brilliant Antonio de Lauri: namely interviews with Laura Nader and Tim Ingold, both published toward the end of 2013. Both posts have gathered audiences in far greater numbers than the rest of our posts, whether due to mere chance of being circulated by the likes of the American Anthropological Association and Cultural Anthropology, but more likely due to their multifaceted and analytical discussions. Laura Nader discusses in particular how being an anthropologist really only requires a person to ‘think like one’, while Tim Ingold with de Lauri offers one of the most powerful recent considerations on the future of academic publishing.
Our warmest thanks to the authors of these posts – as well as all the other wonderful posts that Allegra has had the privilege of publishing throughout this first year! (And let us assure that this selection based on numbers is in NO way a reflection of our take on ‘excellence’ or ‘superiority! By contrast, we rejoice over the vast archive of ‘jewels’ that we have accumulated on the website over the past year, and will continue ‘recycling’ our treasures also in the future!).
Warm thanks for to our collaborators, supporters – and of course our fantastic editorial team! Finally, warm thanks to our shared professional field for receiving us so well – and also, for continuing to talk of us! We promise to keep up the HARD work!