2015 Profiles

DECEMBER 2015’S PROFILE OF THE MONTH: TARRYN PHILLIPS

Tarryn is a lecturer in legal studies at La Trobe University but her background is in medical anthropology.  She is interested in how socio-cultural change is shaped and constrained by institutions like medicine and the law. Her research projects include the governance of emergent occupational diseases in Australia (like Asbestos-related diseases and chemical injuries) and the governance of non-communicable diseases in the Pacific. Her PhD was about courtroom battles over new diseases, which is why she entered academia via legal studies at La Trobe.

You can contact Tarryn on email at Tarryn.phillips@latrobe.edu.au

Profile: http://www.latrobe.edu.au/humanities/about/staff/profile?uname=TPhillips


ANSA speaks to… TARRYN phillips

What first attracted you to anthropology?

I enrolled in a broad arts degree and didn’t know which subjects to choose. I travelled to UWA’s Open Day (from my small country town to the big city of Perth – with my Grandma, bless her). The people at the anthropology stall told me what the subject was about, and made it sound vibrant and interesting, so I enrolled in it. Then I loved it. (As a consequence, I now love talking to prospective students at Open Day stalls because I know from experience it can change the direction of people’s lives.)

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received about doing anthropology and/or ethnography?

My supervisor once said to me that anthropology is just ‘philosophy with the people in it’. I like this. Partly because it helps me understand why I always feel there’s something missing when I read or listen to philosophy! It always makes me feel a strong sense of belonging when I’m amongst anthropologists.

What resource, writing, or fieldwork tips do you have for those new to anthropology?

When you have writer’s block, sit down and write an interesting ethnographic snippet based on something you witnessed in the field. It could be something funny or sad or unexpected, but definitely curious and engaging. This is usually much easier to write because it has less pressure attached than the weight of trying to sound sophisticated.  Then give it to your supervisors, and then you can have a useful discussion about the fascinating social questions it raises and the relevant literature. For me at least, this always helps me get started and maintain enthusiasm.

What book are you currently reading (academic or otherwise)?

I’m in between books at the moment, trying to decide which one I want to read out of the pile next to my bedside table. In the meantime, I’ve been reading ‘That’s not my plane!’ over and over and over again, to my son (who is still not quite sure if it actually is his plane or not).

What’s your favourite saying, phrase, or quote?

Well, I’ve always liked that glib phrase ‘approach love and cooking with reckless abandon’. It’s usually attributed to the Dalai Llama or Ghandi or someone, which is spurious. I still like it though.

What’s your favourite thing to do outside of uni/academia?

Hang out with my husband and friends, who are musicians and tennis coaches, locksmiths and engineers, social workers and policy-makers. They keep things in perspective and help me laugh about some of the ridiculous, sitcom-esque things that happen in academia and about funny things that happen in their worlds. I also love playing indoor soccer and reading the Saturday paper and going to the beach with my kids. All those good things.


November 2015’S PROFILE OF THE MONTH: Yasmine MUSHARBASH

Yasmine studied anthropology at the Free University Berlin and at Monash University, and went on to ANU for her PhD. Her main fieldsite is Yuendumu, a Warlpiri community in Alice Springs, where she has been conducting participant observation-based fieldwork since 1994. Her research focusses on the everyday, social practice, space and place, the emotions and embodiment and she has published on themes such as sleep, the night, Indigenous/non-Indigenous relations, boredom, fear, dogs and monsters. From 2004-2008, she held a UWA Postdoctoral Fellowship and in 2009, Yasmine took up a lecturing position at the University of Sydney, where she currently holds an ARC Future Fellowship. She has also worked as an applied anthropologist for the Torres Strait Regional Authority and the Aboriginal Areas Protection Authority

ANSA speaks to… YASMINE Musharbash

What first attracted you to anthropology?

As an undergrad, I changed subjects every semester, I studied everything and anything until I one day accompanied a friend to an anthropology lecture. I had never even heard of anthropology before and had no idea what it was. Well, everything fell into place for me during that lecture, even though it seemed crazy at first, actually being able to study and get a degree in all the things I was interested in: other places, other people, other worldviews.

What resource, writing, or fieldwork tips do you have for those new to anthropology?

Best fieldwork advice ever: if something bugs you, study it! Not only do you come up with great insights through things you never even thought were important, but, you stop being annoyed, too. This is how I ended up writing about ‘hithering and thithering’ and boredom.

Best fieldwork tip I was ever given: take copious notes. Of everything. As often as you can but at least once a day. And save them in multiple ways. That goes for writing, too: save everything. As often as you can. Save it on your hard drive, save it on a cloud, and save it on an external drive. Actual writing: ditch the notion that you can write a perfect piece from beginning to end. See writing as process and start as early as possible. Work with the text: turn it inside out, reorder points, crop bits, add others, turn conclusions into intros, etc etc. This might sound painful but it will strengthen your argument, narrative flow, and the text overall. Find writing/red inking buddies.

What book are you currently reading (academic or otherwise)?

Nils Bubandt’s The Empty Seashell and The Foretelling of Georgie Spider by Ambelin Kwaimullina.

What’s your favourite saying, phrase, or quote?

Trust in Allah but tether your camel first.

What’s your favourite thing to do outside of uni/academia?

road tripping, going out in Berlin, sitting around a fire yarning, generally: hanging out with lovely people


 OCTOBER 2015’S PROFILE OF THE MONTH: KAREN CONNOLLY

After completing her honours degree at Monash in 2012 and wondering what she would do next, Karen saw an advertisement in an issue of ANSA news looking for a doctoral student to be part of the Australian Research Council funded Cyber Racism and Community Resilience project and decided to apply. As Karen’s honours research was on Fijian political blogs, she had a good understanding of the growing importance of social media and somehow convinced the head of the research team at UTS that she could conduct research that would contribute meaningfully to the project! There are many people on this project focusing on many different aspects of cyber-racism such as cyber-racism experiences, attitudes to cyber-racism, cyber-racism discourse, how cyber-racism is spread, legal aspects of cyber-racism and how Australian target communities resist cyber-racism.

Karen’s focus is on how racism on social media influences Australian cultural perspectives and how these perspectives are challenged by target communities . She has been lucky enough to so far co-author one paper with Andre Oboler of the Online Hate Prevention Institute about the challenge of identifying and removing hate speech on social media, and has had an abstract accepted for Sites Anthropology Journal (New Zealand) that explores how cosmopolitanism in Australia is undermined by racism on social media.

You can contact Karen at: Karen.j.connelly@student .uts.edu.au


ANSA speaks to… karen connolly

What first attracted you to anthropology?

After attending my first Anthropology lecture I was intrigued to think there was other ways of viewing the world that were very different to my own (very White) view. I was particularly lucky to have some passionate lecturers along the way that kept my enthusiasm alight.

What resource, writing, or fieldwork tips do you have for those new to anthropology?

Don’t be too hard on yourself – doing research is a process and there will be good days and bad. Just go with the flow!

What book are you currently reading (academic or otherwise)?

Other than every book on racism that I can get my hands on, I’m looking at furniture magazines as I have just moved house.

What’s your favourite saying, phrase, or quote?

A small group of committed people can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has” Margaret Mead.

What’s your favourite thing to do outside of uni/academia?

Apart from spending time with my family I love yoga


SEPTEMBER 2015’S PROFILE OF THE MONTH: Kristine van Dinther

Kristine’s research seeks to explore the ethics of end of life decision-making from the perspective of families and friends accounts of a loved one who has died in a clinical setting.Through these accounts, it also seeks to discover what part the patient played in this decision making and how they responded to care within the clinic.

Utilizing the normative model of ‘the good death’ and acknowledging the temporal pressures on decision making, I seek to demonstrate how the moral reasoning process when dealing with death is unique.

Decisions to ‘care’ or to ‘cure’ and how decisions are justified will reflect our contemporary values with respect to suffering and the need to control the timing of our death. In response to the call for further research from the field of medical ethics for more qualitative approaches and for the need for more research in the area of patient self-determination, this study will be the first of this kind to investigate moral reasoning and the ethics of end of life clinical care within the paradigm of moral anthropology.

You can contact Kristine at: kristine.vandinther@my.jcu.edu.au


ANSA speaks to… kristine van dinther

What first attracted you to anthropology?

To be frank, it sounded interesting in the handbook. I took archaeology in my first year and then dropped it in the second to pursue history /anthropology/philosophy subjects. It wasn’t until my final year that I had to choose which one to take up in honours.What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received about doing anthropology and/or writing an ethnography?That reflexivity is not just necessary, but can become a vital ingredient in the process. Also, that ethnography is an evolving journey which can branch into areas you didn’t expect and uncover things you never knew.What resource, writing, or fieldwork tips do you have for those new to anthropology?

Get to know the classical texts, not all of them, just the greatest hits of the main players who have been influential in anthropology. Don’t be scared to carve your own path and swim against the stream. If you find a particular anthropological theory, method or approach interesting, dig deeper and see where it takes you. With respect to fieldwork, have a great plan, be structured and organised. However, also be prepared to be flexible if you must change direction slightly. And finally, always keep ethical considerations in mind.What book are you currently reading (academic or otherwise)?
Moral Anthropology: A Critical Reader (2013) Edited by Didier Fassin & Samuel Leze. Also, Foucault, Aristotle, Zigon, Mattingly, Robbins, and any books or articles regarding morality I can get my hands on.What’s your favourite saying, phrase, or quote?“The widespread willingness to rely on thermonuclear bombs as the ultimate weapon displays a cavalier attitude toward death that has
always puzzled me. My impression is that…most of the defenders of these weapons are not suitably horrified at the possibility of war in which hundreds of millions of people would be killed…I suspect that an important factor may be belief in an afterlife, and that the proportion of those who think that death is not the end is much higher among the partisans of the bomb than among its opponents.”

Thomas Nagel (1986) The View From Nowhere“I’m not afraid to die – I just don’t like the hour”
– Woody AllenWhat’s your favourite thing to do outside of uni/academia?

Be with friends, take the dog to the beach, and eat out. Also, I love to switch the brain off with some shallow television programs.


AUGUST 2015’S PROFILE OF THE MONTH: Kathleen Openshaw

Kathleen is a first year PhD candidate in the Religion and Society Research Centre at the University of Western Sydney. She has a Master’s degree in Anthropology and Development Studies from Maynooth University, Rep. of Ireland. Kathleen is an Editorial Assistant at the Irish Journal of Anthropology and Social Media Co-Ordinator for the Irish Medical Anthropology Network. Her main research interests are the globalisation of Pentecostalism, diasporic Pentecostal “home-making” and local expressions of global “Spirit Missions” as they play out in everyday lived religious experiences.

You can contact Kathleen at: 18265587@student.uws.edu.au or kathleen_openshaw@hotmail.com


ANSA speaks to… kathleen openshaw

What first attracted you to anthropology?

I took anthropology in the first year of my undergraduate degree in order to make up credits for the semester. To be honest, when I signed up I did not know what anthropology was but it suited my timetable and a couple of my friends had signed up too. After the first class I was hooked. It was not long into my psychology degree I realised I could not imagine working as anything else but an anthropologist. After my psychology degree I completed an Honour’s degree in anthropology and it just opened my mind to what an exciting discipline anthropology is.What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received about doing anthropology and/or writing an ethnography?Always be writing, even when you are reading you have to write! Also, speak to whoever will listen about your research, this will help you form and solidify ideas in your mind and get feedback from various perspectivesWhat resource, writing, or fieldwork tips do you have for those new to anthropology?

Write up your field notes straight away; make sure to take your sense of humour to the field; try not turn down any invitations in the field; take time to yourself during fieldwork – being in “anthropologist mode” for long periods of time can be tough physically, mentally and emotionally; and trust your gut; and do right by your research participants, your discipline and yourself. During my MA I read The Innocent Anthropologist: Notes from a Mud Hut by Nigel Barley, it is a fun and encouraging book for those negotiating fieldwork for the first time.What book are you currently reading (academic or otherwise)?Academic:Studying Global Pentecostalism: Theories and Methods Edited by Allan Anderson, Michael Bergunder, Andre F. Droogers, Cornelis van der LaanOtherwise: The Bang-Bang Club: Snapshots from a Hidden War by Greg Marinovich and Joao Silva (for the second time).What’s your favourite saying, phrase, or quote?“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” – Ferris, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. What can I say I am an 80s kids?What’s your favourite thing to do outside of uni/academia?I really love sitting on my balcony with a freshly brewed coffee watching the sunrise over the city. It is my quiet time before the day begins. I have recently moved to Australia and love exploring Sydney – it is such a vibrant city! When I am not working on my PhD I am being a tourist.


July 2015’S PROFILE OF THE MONTH: Ruth Constantine

Ruth is currently completing her doctoral dissertation at the University of Melbourne. Her work investigates the migration and trafficking experiences of illegal migrants along the northwestern Thai-Myanmar border and intersects with critical trafficking studies, the new mobilities turn, and Deleuze and Guattari’s work on rhizomes and nomadic action. Ruth’s broader scholarly interests are linked to the types of security and social issues demonstrated in the Thai-Myanmar border region, including irregular migration and mobilities, children and armed conflict, and health care provision in areas of instability.

You can contact Ruth at: ruth.constantine@unimelb.edu.au


ANSA speaks to…ruth constantine

What first attracted you to anthropology?

I very much fell into the field of anthropology rather than deliberately pursuing or aligning myself within it. I came from a varied disciplinary background into my doctorate, and would define myself as an academic refugee who found a home in anthropology. I enjoy the qualitative research methods, which I suspect are most effective when based on the development of relationships and in fostering compassion. Rather than the more archival and book-based knowledge of my previous studies, I’ve found the emergence from the ivory tower of academia into the anthropological field an enriching and rewarding experience.What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received about doing anthropology and/or writing an ethnography?Michael Herzfeld comes to the University of Melbourne on an annual basis to teach across a few subjects. He shared his thoughts with a group of first year students that good anthropology is largely about two things: serendipity and flexibility. His words resonated with me as I looked back over my own research experiences. The uncomfortable truth, for us organisationally-bent students first flung into fieldwork, is that anthropological research is not an exercise in control and preparation. It is, at its core, about embracing and relaxing into the serendipity of human relationships and connection.What resource, writing, or fieldwork tips do you have for those new to anthropology?

Coming in to a new discipline is always a challenging and daunting transition. I thought I was fairly prepared for fieldwork from reading methodology papers, considering ethnographic techniques, and all the while clutching my groomed list of anticipated questions for semi-structured interviews. It wasn’t until I arrived in the field that comprehension dawned on me. In this discipline, we work with the trickiest of data – human beings.My advice to new anthropologists is very simple. Don’t be afraid to be the asker of obvious questions. I’ve found you can learn a lot more by presenting yourself as knowing less than by pretending to be an expert.What book are you currently reading (academic or otherwise)?Academic: The Breakup 2.0: Disconnecting over New Media, by Ilana Gershon. I noticed the emergence of these forms of new media even while on my fieldwork in the remote border regions of Thailand. Gershon’s book, while drawn from a very different ethnographic field, provides a framework for a discussion around the uses of these media.Otherwise: Quiet, by Susan Cain. I’m really enjoying this book. While I’m reading it for interest rather than work, I have found myself considering the applications of Cain’s research in the practice of fieldwork. I think coming to an awareness of communication styles that may be beyond culture (is an anthropologist even allowed to say that?!) could be helpful to develop an ability to fluidly adjust to the individual needs and nuances of some participantsWhat’s your favourite saying, phrase, or quote?If I were allowed to recommend only one book in my life, it would be A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf. This little gem is one of the many sentences underlined in my well-read edition of her excellent essay: “One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.”What’s your favourite thing to do outside of uni/academia?Doing anything that happens away from my computer or desk ranks pretty highly these days! I am a big fan of outdoor walks, indoor yoga, and attempting to subliminally influence my young nieces to grow up to be anthropologists.


June 2015’S PROFILE OF THE MONTH: Amanda Gilbertson

Amanda’s research is broadly concerned with intersectionality, explored through fieldwork with middle-class people in urban India. Her doctoral research focussed on the co-construction of class and gender in suburban middle-class Hyderabad in contexts ranging from high school education to dating, fashion and marriage. Amanda’s postdoctoral project looks at young peoples work around gender issues in New Delhi. Although class and gender are the most prominent categories in her research, she is interested particularly in how these categories are produced through other, often highly moralized, distinctions such as Indian and Western, modern and traditional, public and private, individual and society, progressive and conservative.

You can contact Amanda at: amanda.gilbertson@unimelb.edu.au


ANSA speaks to…amanda gilbertson

What first attracted you to anthropology?

I stumbled across anthropology, rather than seeking it out, as I tried to figure out what I wanted to do via a rather eclectic BA. I can think of many reasons why it appealed lots of strangerexperiences (growing up in a tiny village in Swaziland, going to a posh British boarding school in Johannesburg age 11, moving to New Zealand age 14) along with general nosiness, eavesdropping tendencies and a penchant for story-telling. But on a more intellectual level, I think anthropology copes better than most with the messy complexity of human life and the situated-ness of all knowledge, and it allows me to approach research as a shared process of knowledge production rather than an attempt to fit people into pre-constructed categories and hypotheses.What resource, writing, or fieldwork tips do you have for those new to anthropology?

This is not anthropology-specific, but the first thing that comes to mind is referencing software. While I realise few people get as excited as I do about filing systems, getting good systems in place early on saves much time and angst in the long run. If you use it to its full extent, something like Endnote doesnt just save you time constructing bibliographies, it allows you to keep track of what youve read and what you need to read, and to keep all your articles/scanned book sections and notes in one easily searchable place.Also, keep in mind that at some point you are going to have to clearly describe who you talked to, so be as systematic as possible in collecting demographic information from your participantsWhat book are you currently reading (academic or otherwise)?

Academic: I am currently immersed in articles on education for global citizenshipfor a paper Im writing on cosmopolitan cultural capital and social reproduction in Indian schools, but Im very much looking forward to re-visiting Lauren Berlants Cruel Optimism for my next paper on education, aspiration and the future.Otherwise: I just finished NoViolet BulawayoWe Need New Names which includes some guffaw-inducing lines like these: If you are stealing something its better if its small and hideable or something you can eat quickly and be done with, like guavas. This way, people cant see you with the thing to be reminded that you are a shameless thief and that you stole it from them, so I dont know what the white people were trying to do in the first place, stealing not just a tiny piece but a whole country. Who can ever forget you stole something like that?What’s your favourite saying, phrase, or quote?

I am terrible at favourites, much to the disappointment of my young participants in Hyderabad who would like to know my favourite colour, food, cricket player, etc. Instead, I will use this forum to shamelessly promote a music video released this week by some people I know in Delhi (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fRnQz4uRsZk), that showcases some of the amazing posters made by Jawarhalal Nehru University students.What’s your favourite thing to do outside academia

See above re favourites. Swimming in the ocean and getting lost in new cities rank pretty highly (possibly even A*).

 MAY 2015’S PROFILE OF THE MONTH: NATASHA FIJN

Natasha Fijn is an anthropologist based at The Australian National University. Natasha Fijn’s research encompasses the environmental humanities and within anthropology, the exciting subdisciplines of visual anthropology and human-animal studies. Her multispecies ethnography has been based in the Khangai Mountains of Mongolia and Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory of Australia. Natashas recent postdoctoral research explored the connections between Yolngu and significant totemic animals, such as crocodiles, honeybees, dogs and snakes through both  and observational filmmaking.

You can contact Natasha at: natasha.fijn@anu.edu.au


ANSA speaks to…natasha fijn

What first attracted you to anthropology?

I switched from the sciences to the humanities, or from animal behaviour to anthropology, for my doctoral research. I was interested in the processes of animal domestication and whether it involved co-adaptation between humans and other animals. I wanted to research how humans engage with and relate to other animals, rather than leaving humans out of the picture. In a I came to research as an anthropologist through an interest in the world beyond the human. It is the methods of participant observation through filmmaking that is basedwithinanthropology but I expand this to a multispecies context.What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received about doing anthropology and/or writing an ethnography?

Write a thesis as a book for publication right from the beginning. A thesis should not be written solely for your supervisor and two to three markers. The aim should be to communicate original concepts and ideas to a broad audience, rather than just a select few who have the specialist knowledge to decipher what you mean.What resource, writing, or fieldwork tips do you have for those new to anthropology?

A fellow student gave me some sound advice prior to heading into the field. Spending a year or more in the field is not always going to be stimulating every minute of the day, particularly if it is remote. In other words it can sometimes be boring. Make sure you have access to books. Before I left for the countryside I opened a post box in the Mongolian capital and asked family and friends to send me books. This was great, as it meant I would periodically receive stores of new books whenever I returned. In the middle of the herding day, when families would rest and nap, I used the time to read (and re-read) books that I had not had the time to read previously, such as Anna Karenina by Tolstoy.What book are you currently reading (academic or otherwise)?

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. I am currently traveling overseas and have a chance to read a novel for a change, rather than reading research-related texts. The Book Thief is marketed as a book for young readers. Im interested in what makes a book for a younger audience work and how ideas and concepts may be conveyed in a novel way.What’s your favourite saying, phrase, or quote?

In Graham Harveys Animism (2006) he describes a new kind of animism that is a strong version of personalism, a relational ontology and epistemology. It is about people working to improve ways of relating to other persons, not all of whom are of the same species. Its leitmotiv is respect…In other words If there are turtles all the way down, theres also hedgehogs (or some other persons) all the way around.What’s your favourite thing to do outside academia

Walking in the bush, mountains and on the coast. As well as traveling to other countries, although this often ends up being combined with academic-related elements. I recently just spent time as a visiting fellow at the Laboratoire dAnthropologie Sociale in Paris for a month, at Aarhus University in Denmark, followed by the University of Aberdeen in Scotland. This trip then extended to further travel in the Czech Republic, Austria and Italy!

APRIL 2015’S PROFILE OF THE MONTH: Catie Gressier

Catie Gressier is a McArthur Research Fellow at the University of Melbourne and a cultural anthropologist specialising in human-animal relations, settler societies, tourism and the anthropology of food. She holds a PhD from the University of Western Australia and is an Editorial Board Member of Anthropological Forum. Her doctoral research explored emplacement and senses of belonging among the white citizens of the Okavango Delta, Botswana, while her current research examines the values, practices and beliefs surrounding the consumption of native and feral meats in urban and rural Victoria and Western Australia. She is Co-Convening the 2015 AAS conference, Moral Horizons, to be held at the University of Melbourne.

You can contact Catie at: cgressier@unimelb.edu.au


ANSA speaks to…catie gressier

ANSA: What first attracted you to anthropology?

At the age of 18, after my first year studying psychology at Macquarie Uni, I went to visit my Mum who was working in a voluntary capacity as a biology teacher in northern Namibia. I fell in love with Africa and soon found myself living on a tiny jungle island in the Zambezi River, where I threw myself into local life, learning to speak siLozi and as much about local ways as I could. Extensive travel in Africa, South America, India, Southeast Asia and Australia followed, which I funded through a variety of jobs, from a year on a production line in a Sydney factory, to scooping ice-cream in Cairns, and any number of bars and restaurants in between. Three years later when I returned to uni, I was drawn to anthropology to try and make sense of it all.

ANSA: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received about doing anthropology and/or ethnography?

When I was freaking out about going to the Okavango Delta in Botswana to conduct fieldwork for the first time, one of my supervisors told me to just to ‘go with the flow’. I wanted to punch him at the time for making such a seemingly glib comment, but of course he was exactly right.

ANSA: What resource, writing, or fieldwork tips do you have for those new to anthropology?

Regarding writing, know when to stop. You don’t need to cover every possible angle, and everything you’ve ever read, in whatever it is you are writing. In the competitive environment of academia today, what counts is getting it (and you) out there, and two extra thesis chapters, or 2000 additional words in a paper, in many cases hold things up for months, without necessarily adding commensurate value.

ANSA: What book are you currently reading (academic or otherwise)?

Purity and Danger, by Mary Douglas. I love the breadth of her ideas; the amazing abstractions that are so applicable in so many contexts.

ANSA: What’s your favourite saying, phrase, or quote?

Whenever I’m stressing out about something, I calm down by thinking of my grandma Buzzie saying ‘it will all be the same in a hundred years’.

ANSA: What’s your favourite thing to do outside of uni/academia?

I love cooking big feasts and enjoying them with my husband, baby girl, friends and a glass or two of wine.


March 2015’S PROFILE OF THE MONTH: Kara Salter

 

Kara Salter is in the last stages of writing her thesis and hopes to submit in the next couple of months. Her research focus is on intentional communities and conducted fieldwork at a eco-community in northern Italy. Her thesis has ended up being about communal sustainability with a focus on how intentional community groups can foster communitas. Kara would love to hear from other postgrads looking into similar topics.

You can contact Kara at: kara.salter@research.uwa.edu.au


ANSA speaks to…Kara salter

ANSA: What first attracted you to anthropology?

My anthropology 101 lecturer, Philip Moore. He made anthropology exciting and funny. Humour was important during the more challenging times and I still feel that anthropology is one of the greatest adventures.
ANSA: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received about doing anthropology and/or ethnography?

Write everything down. Everything. Keep three notepads on the go at all times, one for the end of the day recount, another for carrying around with you and a small one that can fit in a pocket where you can write quick notes in moments where the more lengthy ones are not possible.

ANSA: What resource, writing, or fieldwork tips do you have for those new to anthropology?

s okay if you get disappointed. At some point you may find that reality doesnt meet your expectations, wether during fieldwork or in how your thesis pans out. I think most of us go through something like this. Look closely at why, it could be here there you find your most valuable insights.
ANSA: What book are you currently reading (academic or otherwise)?

Communitas: The Anthropology of Collective Joy by Edith Turner

ANSA: What’s your favourite saying, phrase, or quote?

Good enough is almost always good enoughmore of a mantra for me at the moment as I go through the last stages of writing.

ANSA: What’s your favourite thing to do outside of uni/academia?

To be honest, almost anything at this point. I am close to submission and can easily become infatuated with any activity that is not my thesis. Its when Ive done something wholly consuming though, something totally different that takes all of my energy, that I really feel like Ive had a break.


 February 2015’S PROFILE OF THE MONTH: NINA HARDING

Nina is a PhD candidate at Massey University, Palmerston North. Her PhD explores the process by which the New Zealand Army turns civilians into soldiers. Nina was embedded with a group of new riflemen through the first year and a half of their military careers, from the first day of basic training to their first international peacekeeping deployment.

You can contact Nina at: n.j.harding@massey.ac.nz


ANSA speaks to…Nina Harding

ANSA: What first attracted you to anthropology?

I meant to be a historian, but saw a vaguely interesting presentation on anthropology at a University open day, and added it as an interest paper on a whim.

ANSA: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received about doing anthropology and/or ethnography?

My supervisor told me to stock up on chocolate to take to the field. I wasn’t convinced that it was necessary, so she forced me, thankfully.

ANSA: What resource, writing, or fieldwork tips do you have for those new to anthropology?

You will inevitably make a fool of yourself at some point during fieldwork- just use it as data. What cultural value did you breach, and what can this tell you about your topic of study? At least then you didn’t embarrass yourself for nothing.

ANSA: What book are you currently reading (academic or otherwise)?

Culture in Conflict: Irregular Warfare, Culture Policy, and the Marine Corps, by Paula Holmes-Eber.

ANSA: What’s your favourite saying, phrase, or quote?

Laura Nader in Up the Anthropologist: Perspectives gained from studying up (1969, p.289): “Anthropologists might indeed ask themselves whether the entirety of fieldwork does not depend upon a certain power relationship in favor of the anthropologist, and whether indeed such dominant-subordinate relationships may not be affecting the kinds of theories we are weaving. What if, in reinventing anthropology, anthropologists were to study the colonizers rather than the colonized, the culture of power rather than the culture of the powerless, the culture of affluence rather than the culture of poverty?”

ANSA: What’s your favourite thing to do outside of uni/academia?

Watch TV, a lot.


January 2015’S PROFILE OF THE MONTH: Ainslee Hooper

Ainslee is an Anthropology PhD student at Deakin University. She completed her Honours in Anthropology in 2014 with a thesis entitled “Stereotype, Stigmatise and …Exit?: The interplay of negative stereotypes in First Australian social welfare and public policy” which examined the Northern Territory Intervention through the lenses of dynamic nominalism, deviance studies and settler colonialism, to demonstrate that the NT Intervention is yet another form of perpetual colonialism. However, this time, the Indigenous Australians in the NT are stereotyped as deviants as opposed to the previously thought ‘doomed race’. Her PhD research is examining the presentation of self in online worlds and is interested in examining how indigenous Australians navigate around a sometimes ambiguous identity in online worlds.     

Ainslee is also the Web Officer for ANSA as well as co-student representative of ANSA at Deakin University.

You can contact Ainslee at arhoo@deakin.edu.au


 ANSA speaks to… Ainslee Hooper

ANSA: What first attracted you to anthropology?

It was serendipity. I was doing a Bachelor of Arts with a major in philosophy. When having to choose the 16 other credit points I chose an anthropology class because the description looked interesting. After one class I fell in love with the field.

ANSA: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received about doing anthropology and/or ethnography?

To be careful that I am not inserting my own opinions/beliefs etc into what I am writing. Also to not allow my emotions to seep into what I am writing. Emotions are good in writing, but they need to be kept in check so that your material does not come across in the wrong light or gets brushed aside.

ANSA: What resource, writing, or fieldwork tips do you have for those new to anthropology?

Nail the introduction to your writing, and the rest flows. Topic, thesis, outline is my mantra. The rest flows from there. The Thesis Whisperer is also a great source of material, even at undergrad level, the earlier you get this stuff right, the further you will go.

ANSA: What book are you currently reading (academic or otherwise)?

I am in the middle of reading several books on writing a PhD and just looking at tips of how to get the most out of my PhD experience. On my desk I have my trusty “Thinking Anthropologically: A Practical Guide for Students” by Salzman and Rice. Was suggested to me in undergraduate and I refer back to it all the time to keep my mind focused.

ANSA: What’s your favourite saying, phrase, or quote?

I have two: “You are not your grade” that a lecturer said and has always stuck with me.

“Never stop learning” that my high school principal said at our graduation speech. That was in 1995 and I’m still learning and love it J

ANSA: What’s your favourite thing to do outside of uni/academia?

There’s a saying “Do something you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.” For me, this is anthropology. This is my favourite thing to do, to read anthropological material, to talk to people about anthropology, If I had to choose something outside of anthropology though, it would be to go for long drives on sunny days. Nothing more relaxing than driving through quiet areas, taking in the scenery to rid the body of anxieties/stress.