Communicating/Communities

After wrapping up my initial research period in the south of Kyrgyzstan, I managed to return to Bishkek for a few days to reconnect with some friends and colleagues. There, I met with a few more informants before making a long trip westward, over my old homes and on to the Pacific coast of the United States. Last week, I attended the annual meeting of the Society for Applied Anthropology and presented my work on the repercussions from the Osh Events at a double panel devoted to research on refugees and displacement.

Now I’m back in Philadelphia, where I am working on two papers for publication, and preparing for another conference in Europe. I will get back to Central Asia sometime in mid-May, and am looking forward to being there when all the ice has melted, and people are on jailoo, or in yurts in the mountains for summer pastures.

By means of both the conferences, meeting with the professors and students at UPenn, and through publication, I am glad to connect and communicate my findings with the scholarly community. At the same time, I am maintaining my relationships in Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan, learning from and sharing ideas with them. This has led me to reflect on the way that trans-local actors disseminate information to groups in different places, and how ideas circulate between small and large scale communities. While there has been extensive analysis of the media in anthropology, particularly film/television and social media on the internet, I am less aware of studies of a globalized word-of-mouth transmission of information. Outside of Appadurai’s initial musings on globalization, most of the work on these matters have focused on virtual communities or diasporas, not frequently-flying nodes of information. Please leave me some references in the comments if you know of any people working on this, as it’s inherently interesting given the nature of recent scholarship.

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