From Round to Square (and back)

For The Emperor's Teacher, scroll down (↓) to "Topics." It's the management book that will rock the world (and break the vase, as you will see). Click or paste the following link for a recent profile of the project:

A new post appears every day at 12:05* (CDT). There's more, though. Take a look at the right-hand side of the page for over four years of material (2,000 posts and growing) from Seinfeld and country music to every single day of the Chinese lunar calendar...translated. Look here ↓ and explore a little. It will take you all the way down the page...from round to square (and back again).
*Occasionally I will leave a long post up for thirty-six hours, and post a shorter entry at noon the next day.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Erlangen 91052—Introduction

Click here for the "Erlangen 91052" Resource Center—All Posts Available 
One year ago on Round and Square (2013 02-01)—Asian Miscellany: Sacred Mountains
Two years ago on Round and Square (2012 02-01)—Seinfeld Ethnography: Dunkin' Joe (Dimaggio)
[a] Path RF
I am fortunate in my line of work. I get to travel a fair bit (as we say back home on the farm). I spent a good chunk of last summer on China's southern sacred mountain (衡山), returned to Alexandria, Virginia (my home), and then to Beloit, Wisconsin (where I teach). Even then, I "was able" to spend every other weekend in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, coordinating a research project on a world famous traveler named William Edgar Geil (1865-1925). It was exhausting, and the last details of the complex accounting for a five person project are still rolling in. 

Fun stuff. I love my job.
[b] Minor bustle RF

And now it begins anew, and that is the reason for this shiny new topic on Round and Square. You see, I spent a month at Beijing University in December-January, giving a long series of lectures and seminars on anthropology, history, sacred mountains, and that strange world traveler I have already mentioned. I raced back to the United States, where I spent seventy-two wonderful hours at home in Alexandria, Virginia. Alas, I spent much of that time packing and, by mid-January, I had settled into my new home at Carl Thiersche Straße N. 5 in Erlangen, Germany 91052. 

This is the story of the Prairie Ethnographer spending six months in central Germany. I know some German, and my goal is to become relatively fluent in the linguistic and cultural matters that, well, matter in Germany. Through it all, I hope to forever bust the ridiculous assumption that there is anything that can be defined as a "Western culture." Both words are so flawed, so ridiculous, that we need to move on. We'll start, instead, with very basic things, such as getting grocery carts out of locked metal lines...of locked grocery carts...and words in the supermarket that bowl one over with their ubiquity. 

We'll be little Bourdieuvians (trust me), strategizing and negotiating our way(s) through life in a place that seems familiar...but resists easy comparison.

This series will be about "culture" (whatever in hell that means), "language," and a good dose of personal idiosyncrasy. Let's get started. For those of you who recognize the reference in the topic title, just know that I am old. When "90210" began, I was already getting gray hair. 

Let's explore central Germany. Whether or not you speak German, this will be a trip. 
[c] Trip RF

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