Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Project Prayer - Part One

Ok. Enough procrastination.

I have been (supposedly) working on a research project for school since September. This project started out on Meditation, then kind of Yoga, and then finally (for the actual proposal) Prayer. Bless Anthropology's little heart for being so elastic as to allow me to do something as loosely defined as I am. Most people are doing ethnographies, meaning that they are going to study other people. I am doing an auto-ethnography, meaning that I am going to study me. Sounds narcissistic, and it is! Kinda. I will not only be studying myself, but I will be the main focus. I like the idea of doing it that way because it completely removes any of that traditional anthropology us/them dichotomy and it also feels like I get to be a lot more experimental about the whole thing. I have to admit that I do sometimes get irritated with the fluffiness of anthropology, as well as the simultaneous "we are totally scientists, this is totally a REAL science" and "we hate science, down with positivism!". It gets a bit tired. Let's face facts, anthropology is decidedly not a science. Don't get me wrong, I like science. I still kind of wish that I had just stuck with my high school ambitions to study zoology. But no matter how much it may want to be, anthropology isn't very scientific. It's really hard to apply any scientific principles to the study of culture (oh, when I say anthropology I mean cultural anthropology which is all that my university teaches, I realize that physical anth., linguistics and archeology all do use scientific principles). So when I started thinking about things to do for this project, and I realized just how much creative leeway we would have, I decided to fully embrace the fluff and do something as decidedly un-scientific as possible. So I decided to start praying, and to document my experiences as they unfold. Neat hun?
I was inspired by you! Well, by the internet, by the blogs I read and the books I have stumbled upon through them. Especially Eat Pray Love and The Red Book. In both cases prayer was presented in such a way that I could sort of, kind of, almost see myself doing it. At the very least I could see h
ow it was a practice that greatly benefited those women, not to mention many of the women whose blogs I read. And anyway, it got me curious, thinking, wondering and generally feeling inspired. Hence, this project.

Hmm... explaining all this is maybe going to take longer than I thought. Rather than write one long post (who has time to read loooooooong posts?) I will split it up. I want to take my time explaining it becau
se, for one thing I think it will help me get clear about what I am doing (oh the fluffiness of it all) and because eventually I am going to get you guys involved. I will be doing the thing all sociologists do, which is, survey. I would love to hear from as many people as possible, so I am going to put my survey/questionaire here and invite EVERYONE (and their dog... and their cat!) to reply. And those of you who I know in "real life" will be getting copies of it sent to them directly via email, lest they think I should let them off the hook. : ) But more to come on that later.

For now I will leave you with a couple of photos. This afternoon I spent a few creative hours playing with my new (from
Christmas) camera. I love it, digital photography is so full of instant gratification. Although those suckers do eat batteries like candy.
The photos on the top are: Griffin (of course) ... I was actually trying to photograph my favorite purple scarf, but he decided to crash the photo session and the other is of a tiny corner of my altar, and the one below is me, doing the oft -used self-portrait method of ... standing in front of my bathroom mirror.

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