Get to Know Your Colleague Through Writing

This is a project in learning about our colleagues through our writing. Each of the profiles that I write are based upon articles shared with me by colleagues.  Each participant has been asked to share one to three blog posts, journal articles or book chapters that they have written.  Participants might provide an older piece, or something more recent.  The criteria being used is that these are pieces that they feel shows the nature and scope of their work and/or focuses on some aspect of their work they you would like others to pay attention to.

I am starting this project with a selection of three of my own articles.  The first two articles that speak to the nature of my current work over the last few years. The third piece is an older one  that reflects a longstanding interest published while I was a graduate student.

  1. Putting Words into Action: Negotiating Collaborative Research in Gitxaała.  Canadian Journal of Native Education.   Volume 28, 2004, Numbers 1/2. http://www.ecoknow.ca/journal/menzies.pdf
  2. “Sea Legs: Learning to Labour on the Water.” Anthropology of Work Review. 2019. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/335400384_Sea_Legs_Learning_to_Labor_on_the_Water
  3. “Between the Stateroom and the Foc’s’cle: Everyday Forms of Class Struggle Aboard a Commercial Fishboat,” NEXUS: Vol. 8:1. 1990.  https://journals.mcmaster.ca/nexus/article/view/87 

Much of my career at UBC has focussed on Indigenous reserach, primarily collaborative project with my home community of Gitxaała. This early paper highlights methodological concerns and documents the early stages of a formal UBC/Gitxaała collaboration in research.  Subsequent papers explored indigenous labour history, traditional ecological knowledge, and whitestream society’s response to Indigenous authority and sovereignty.  Bracketing and underlying my Indigenous focused research has been a concern with labour processes, struggle, and class formation. “Sea Legs” draws on an autoethnographic method to examine how notions of masculinity are enmeshed in become a fisherman. “Between the Stateroom and the Foc’s’cle” is one of my earliest papers and it explores the micro-structures of class struggle on a commercial fishing boat drawn from my personal experience.

My writing has always involved a personal aspect where I draw from my direct experience, not simply as an ethnographer, but as a participant. By participant I mean that I do in fact draw from my own life’s experiences to guide and inform my scholarly work.  I am interested in what motivates and constrains us as people, not as a simply matter of curiosity, but becuase I very much would like to change our world to remove the inequities of class, gender, and colonialism (etc).

Anthropology has tended to study the other to understand self.  It seems to me that we would do a better job understanding ourselves if we were more often the subject of our own anthropological gaze.


Readers are invited to join in by sending examples of their writing to me and I will write blog post based upon them. Or, even better, send me a blog post modelled after my own above for publication here.