This week we have the lovely Liz from Anthropology Major Fox. You can also find over at siuilaruin.tumblr.com.1. What are you studying and at what level?I have just finished my first year of university at the University of Toronto, in Toronto, Ontario. I had completed a semester of college prior to that, so I came into my first year with some credits, making me kind of a 1st year and a half. I am currently waiting to hear back about approval for my entrance into the Archaeology Specialist program at U of T (we have Minors, Majors, and Specialists, and a Specialist degree requires more credits). I am working towards a BA in Archaeology, as well as minoring in Women and Gender Studies.2. How did you get involved in studying anthropology? What were your initial influences?If it was not for tumblr, I never would have ended up studying archaeology at U of T. In my senior year of high school I was taking two courses from a local community college for matriculation credit, one was a history course, and the other was Introduction to Cultural Anthropology. I picked them randomly. But I soon discovered that I really loved anthropology. I began looking into what it would be like to study it in college, and looking online for information, and I just started falling in love with the discipline. So this was in March of 2011, which was when all of the “Major Memes” began infiltrating tumblr and the internet at large. English Major Armadillo, Art Student Owl, Science Major Mouse, etc. I loved them, but couldn’t find one for anthropology. So I messaged the Science Major Mouse moderator and asked if they would be posting any anthro-related memes. They brushed me off and said that they only posted stuff from the “hard sciences”. Obviously I was a little annoyed, and just decided to make my own. I created Anthropology Major Fox, even though I wasn’t even in college yet, and the rest is history on that front.Anthro Fox is how I became connected with the anthropology and archaeology communities on tumblr. People began messaging me wanting to follow my personal blog, I followed them back, we became great friends. Two people I met through Anthro Fox and the anthropology community on tumblr are now two of my best friends, and part of the reason I ended up at the University of Toronto. Probably close to a quarter of the people I follow on my personal tumblr are from the anthro community, and they are some of my greatest online friends. I’ve even met a few of them in real life, and exchanged post cards with people. So because of the amazing people I found in the tumblr anthropology and archaeology communities, I decided to actually become an anthropology major for real. Despite a few setbacks (like my first college not having a major, and then getting rid of the anthro minor halfway through the first semester) I ended up applying to U of T, and, like I said before, just finished my first year there studying Archaeology. My focus has shifted from anthropology to archaeology over the past few years because I’ve found I’m more interested in going on digs and analyzing lithics than ethnology and contemporary societies.3. What do you enjoy about studying anthro, and what do you like about the discipline in general?I love mind games and puzzles, and I like approaching archaeological analysis like a puzzle. I enjoy analyzing theories and seeing how people arrived at their conclusions based on the evidence found, and I enjoy drawing my own alternative conclusions. The possibilities for discussion and debate are a big draw for me, and I like the academic interaction I’ve been having in my studies. One of my favorite things about anthropology and archaeology in general is that its a discipline that attracts so many different people for so many different reasons. I have interacted with and become friends with so many people from all over the world from all different positions in society, but we all have things in common with our interest in anthropology and archaeology. I especially love the dedication to decolonizing the discipline that a lot of the younger generations of anthropologists and anthropology students, like myself, have. Its such an necessary step forward, and the fact that so many people make themselves conscious of the need for decolonization, and actively change their approaches to the discipline because of that awareness, makes me really happy.4. Is there anything you don’t enjoy about studying anthro, or anything you dislike about the discipline?Well, I’m not fond of Indiana Jones jokes.But on a more serious note, I do sometimes get frustrated with some of the strict adherence to flawed and problematic methodology that some anthropologists and archaeologists have. That kind of ties in with my focus on decolonizing the discipline. Because some anthropologists are still reluctant to admit that the discipline was founded as a tool of white imperialism and has led directly to the oppression of people from a lot of the cultures that were “studied”. So appropriation via anthropology, and a lack of recognition for the need for decolonization bothers me, but I have a good outlook on the way the discipline is moving forward with the help of the younger generations.5. Do you have a favorite ethnography you would recommend reading?Well, I haven’t read many, since I am focusing on archaeology, but I did enjoy “Nisa: The Life and Words of a !Kung Woman” by Marjorie Shostak. I read it on my own the summer after I took that first cultural anthropology course, because we had a reading from it in the course materials. I enjoyed the subject matter, and it was my first introduction to reflexive anthropology.6. What are your goals for the future regarding studying and working in anthropology?Had you asked me earlier in this past school year about what my interest in archaeology was, I would have said Sub-Roman British Archaeology, but as a result of taking a class with Dr. Michael Chazan I’ve discovered a love for paleoarchaeology, especially African paleoarch. Dr. Chazan works at Wonderwerk Cave in South Africa, and his lectures on his findings made me realize how much I loved paleoarchaeology. So next year I’ll be taking more specialized courses in archaeology, with a focus on paleoarchaeology and field methods.I’m not going to field school this summer, because I’m actually taking a full-year field school course that U of T is offering next year, but I will be applying to go to South Africa with Dr. Chazan next year. As for working, well, everyone knows how hard it is to predict what you’ll end up doing for work in anthropology and archaeology. I can just as easily see myself lecturing as a professor (but being that cool professor who swears and occasionally throws pencils at sleeping students), or working in the field for a long time. Whatever I end up doing, I just want to be enjoying my work.
Hey Anthro Foxes, the Massey University Anthropology blog did a spotlight on your shitty moderator!
Have fun reading about my boring life! And feel free to follow my personal blog, which is listed at the beginning of the post :]