In the first tiny quarter of the notoriously tough row to hoe that is grad school, I was doing the whole “cloud of utter confusion and misery and doubt” thing. Not that the feeling is too much out of the ordinary, but hey, life choices had happened and now, here I was, poring over esoteric literature based on a theory based on a study based on some really important dude whose name I had never heard (but of course I behaved as if it was as familiar as the name of my mother).
Survival in such an environment requires some really fine Googling. It was during one such all-too-innocuous search of names, rock typologies, and dates that I came across The Subversive Archaeologist.
Rob Gargett’s prolific and sassy blog about the problems (and wonders) of archaeology hit the intellectual spot in all the right ways. A little cheesy, a lot bone-to-pick-y, with a healthy dash of eye-roll to academia, it aired a lot of my own carps, and gave me a bunch of new ones to chew over, constructively. Gargett is no novice archaeologist, and though they don’t have an academic job (gasp!), they’re employed by The Ronin Institute, a little upstart that funds independent research from PhDs through grants and magic $$.
Folks whose work is discussed in the blog routinely join in on the discussion in the comments section—who doesn’t want to see bearded profs forward their arguments with “IMHO”? [side note, can everyone from now on replace as many words in their academic articles as is possible with internet abbreviations? Maybe throw in some emoticons too :3 ].
Gargett’s updates have dwindled somewhat over the past year, but as of a few days ago, they posted an explanation involving mental health, feels, etc. Awesome! (well, suffering=not awesome, but non-academic scholarly work in which that kind of thing is okay=awesome).
Of course, I don’t agree with everything Gargett espouses, and some of it I don’t even really know enough about to have an opinion on, but overall, it’s a solid blog that is big on both fact and opinion, but Gargett makes it clear which is which—and that’s the most important thing.
(also it’s kind of ugly please don’t typeset yer blog in futura bold thank you yes)