Studying Anthropology in Practice
The blog below was written by one of our Anthropology students, Stephany Aymerich:
Well this being my first post I guess I should start by introducing myself. I am Steph, a second year student of Ancient History and Anthropology at UWTSD Lampeter. Today I am going to talk (write) about one side of my degree
I guess I could define what the word means, I could tell you what modules the university offers and simply go with the standard answer of: It is a comparative study of humans and their environment! The truth is that if you ask any anthropology student what exactly they are doing, if you have been studying it for a while, then you will probably receive an awkward answer followed by the standard reply. It is not that we have been wasting our time but we have simply picked at the word so much that it can no longer be explained in a simple way.
I should probably tell you about my experience so that you can understand what exactly I am trying to explain, and what better way to do that, than with a couple of comments from my last lecture:
*“Just remember guys: If you are going to kill a guinea pig, make sure you give it a good death!”- Emma-Jayne Abbots, Anthropology lecturer.
**“So, if we are looking at the foot, what are we not seeing?” Emma-Jayne Abbots in our last lecture on fetishism.
I know, it sounds strange (it was)…
If someone had told me that I was going to learn about water and how it creates/limits interactions by standing in a river, trying to collect water with an ostrich’s egg, while being asked: “What is the water trying to do?”–thanks Luci Attala! Work with clay in order to understand objects and connections… (I was trying to make a vase but the clay did not want to be that). Use a teddy bear as the example and topic of a presentation, learn how to give a guinea pig a ‘good death’ (No worries, we did not get to use the knowledge that we acquired, at least I hope not), etc. I would have simply ignored them and left the room awkwardly. But, there is something about these unorthodox lectures, we do not simply learn about theories but we actually get to experience, first hand, what we are studying.
During my first year, there were plenty of odd moments that raised some eyebrows, made us think twice about our course and made us leave the room with more questions than answers. Second year? Well, we still have a lot of questions but now we are confident enough to give them our best answer, we discuss and criticise authors till we destroy their whole take on a topic. There is still the odd moment here and there, but what can I say? I guess that we just stopped trying to fit everything and everyone in an ‘ideal concept’ and learned to not try to answer the question: What is normal? (Do not even try!)
All in all, anthropology is an extremely interesting subject, it is intellectually stimulating but what makes it so worth it, is how passionate our lecturers are about their fields of study, you cannot help but to join the madness and simply enjoy every single moment of it!
Oh, as for the question about feet… the answer is not the ankle!