Anthropology is a way of understanding the world. It is a way of making visible the otherwise unseen ocean in which we swim, the ocean called ‘culture’. Culture is everywhere, it permeates every moment of our lives. It shapes the way we think.
I once had a wonderful teacher who’d majored in anthropology at ANU. When planning my own university degree, and teaching young kids myself in an after-school and holiday program, it seemed the obvious choice. I knew that ANU has a world reputation in anthropology and archaeology. And as a small but cosmopolitan city, Canberra has a relaxed yet focussed atmosphere that is perfect for study.
My first year anthropology course was amazing. It gave me a new way of looking at the world that makes the commonplace both extraordinary and interesting. Culture is everyday life ... we talk about it as something grand, but it’s everyday people living everyday lives of incredible variety, complexity and difference.
Since then, I’ve completed courses on food and hospitality, the relationships between animals and humans, on religion as a system that produces a particular kind of knowledge, on gender and personhood. I’m currently writing an Honours thesis exploring the role that food plays in religion.
I’m not really sure what’s next: that’s at the other end of 20,000 words. Regardless of my future career, anthropology will always inform the way I view the world, my writing, and my teaching.