from about page:
ANTHROPOLOGY FOR KIDS IS A SERIES OF BOOKS, WORKSHOPS AND CONVERSATIONS EACH FULL OF PICTURES AND STORIES ABOUT WHAT IT MEANS TO BE A HUMAN.
WHAT ARE WE DOING
The promise of anthropology is one of opening up our sense of human possibility. In a thousand ways we are taught to lower our expectation, to accept that the world we live in is the only possible world. But thousands of other ways of organizing homes, cities, schools, societies, economies, cosmologies, have and could exist..t The series is designed – in the spirit of Borges, Eco or Lem – to play with possibility, to overcome the suspicion, subtly inculcated in every day, that life is necessarily limited, miserable, and boring.
This series is spinning the anthropological history of every continent, helping us to discover both the points of diversity and unity in how people have lived around the globe and throughout the times.
Pointing on examples coming from the wide spectrum of different cultures it researches the existential and universal question of what it means to be human – as a kid and as an adult – in order to discover the huge diversity of how differently people live around the globe and throughout the times.
WHO WE ARE
We are Nika Dubrovsky (artist) David Graeber (anthropologist). producing politically challenging children’s books for adults (children too). We have discovered something interesting: no one will publish books like that. Even if you’re a famous author, great artist, etc.. But we want to change the culture. And the culture needs to change.
adding page this day – via museum of care fb share:
notes/quotes to come:
intro to a4kids (22nd): https://allegralaboratory.net/aisforanthropology-introduction/
In Nika’s words, the project “started partly by way of in-between conversations – emails mostly – and Skype talks with David [Graeber] (…) It bridges two worlds: academia, and children. We are not supposed to talk to children about the questions accademia asks itself – such as what death is, what money is, or just even what is family. Rather, the parents tell their children what these things are, hence reproducing their own models. But anthropology is about something else.”.. t
Through children’s workbooks and workshops, A4Kids provides a framework for children to think through what Dostoevsky’s calls the ‘cursed questions’ (проклятыевопросы) – questions about life and its meaning we all ask ourselves during our lifetime. We all come to form our own understandings of wealth, death, sovereignty, nations – and more often than not, these are shaped by the cultural biases we inherit.
The aim is twofold: to show children that the value systems we inherit are far from natural, and to encourage them to jointly reflect over values – and dare to come up with alternatives..t
Consider this book that we did with David about kings. It’s like an offspring of his book with Marshall Sahlins, On kings. And so it contains really, really complex questions, you know, like “what is sovereignty?”.
As any academic subject, anthropology is limited because it’s designed not to be public. It’s very rare that people like Graeber exist, who is at the same time a very serious scientist and produces content that is accessible for many. And children’s literature is a really good framework for being public because if you can explain something to a 7-year-old, you can explain it to a 55-year-old as well
nowadays anthropology is the most emancipated discipline. It’s just showing us very clearly that whatever we think is just because our value system is ourvalue system, and many other societies could think very differently from us.
Education is political. Especially now, it’s important because we live in times of climate change, which necessitates us to come together. And it’s only solvable if we are able to talk to each other. We don’t have a good way of talking because, our educational systems stem from the 19th century, from these industrial times when kids were trained to become either workers on the assembly line or somebody who manages the assembly line. It’s not that useful now, but something else is very much needed.
David is famous, very famous. And he was working with top literary agents and publishing houses. And none of them would help us. None. It’s always started the same. They would say, ‘Oh my god, this is such a great idea. It’s amazing. Oh, I know so many people who would love it … blah, blah, blah’; and then, they would say, ‘Oh, yes, it’s so good. But you know, children’s literature is very, very regulated territory.
Children’s books are basically censored. Everybody’s censoring them. Government, businesses, parents themselves, you know. So that’s an almost impossible task for this for this project, to survive.
how it all got started (24th): https://allegralaboratory.net/aisforanthropology-how-did-it-all-start/
My husband, who is an anthropologist, once told me that he thinks that all immigrants are anthropologists. After all, our work is much the same as that of the anthropological fieldworker: to study an alien culture through immersion, to decode new cultural concepts, and learn new languages. But where fieldworkers try to gain knowledge for academic purposes, for immigrants the stakes are higher – they have to recreate a life in a new place. A failed adaptation can end tragically.
Anthropology for Kids feels like a natural extension of what I have been doing all my life. Originally, it was born out of an attempt to find books for my 6-year-old son that would be accessible and clear in broaching the “grown-up” issues which truly interested him, such as power and servitude, death and immortality, beauty and ugliness.
Children’s literature in the West (at the time I was living in New York) is the most regimented and censored area in publishing.
Kids are, in a way, the radical Others that we compare ourselves to as adults. Children embody the very possibility of another world and another future for all of us – a future in which almost anything is possible: a world of peace, flying cars, interstellar travel and a long, happy life for everybody – that is, if only they manage to accomplish it when they grow up.. Children are our yet unrealized Utopia..
not yet scrambled ness
Living in an expat paradise – the Dominican Republic – I understood how complex colonialism is, how it destroys us from within. And how it begins with cultural appropriation, which nowadays manifests itself to a large extent in children’s literature.
Anthropology for Kids is one of many projects experimenting with a new set of educational tools that attempt to change the status quo in education and the way it shapes our society.
what we need is cure ios city..
imagine if we just focused on listening to the itch-in-8b-souls.. first thing.. everyday.. and used that data to augment our interconnectedness.. we might just get to a more antifragile, healthy, thriving world.. the ecosystem we keep longing for..
space for experimentation (25th): https://allegralaboratory.net/aisforanthropology-workbooks-and-workshops/
After all, isn’t this what anthropology promises us, demonstrating how people in different countries and times can live in radically different ways while remaining humans?
Here’s how it worked. First, we prepared city plans in advance on large (2×2 meters) sheets of paper. The plans were intentionally unfinished. As with the books, there was plenty of space for kids to draw and write.
city sketchup ness
Many participants were genuinely shocked. We had to devote a considerable amount of the time allotted for our workshops to un-schooling them. We first had to ensure the kids truly believed us when we reassured them that we genuinely were interested in learning what they thought and weren’t using the exercise as a trick to test them in some way.