63 episodi

The Familiar Strange is a podcast about doing anthropology: that is, about listening, looking, trying out, and being with, in pursuit of uncommon knowledge about humans and culture. Find show notes, plus our blog about anthropology's role in the world, at https://www.thefamiliarstrange.com. Twitter: @tfsTweets. FB: facebook.com/thefamiliarstrange. Instagram: @thefamiliarstrange.

Brought to you by your familiar strangers: Ian Pollock, Jodie-Lee Trembath, Julia Brown, Simon Theobald, Kylie Wong Dolan; produced by Deanna Catto and Matthew Phung, and with support from the Australian Anthropological Society, the Australian National University’s Schools of Culture, History and Language and Archeology and Anthropology, and the Australian Centre for Public Awareness of Science, and produced in collaboration with the American Anthropological Association.

We acknowledge and celebrate the first Australians on whose traditional lands we record this podcast, and pay our respects to the elders of the Ngunnawal and Ngambri peoples, past, present, and emerging.

The Familiar Strange Anthropology PhD students Ian Pollock, Julia Brown, Simon Theobald, and Jodie-Lee Trembath

    • Cultura e società

The Familiar Strange is a podcast about doing anthropology: that is, about listening, looking, trying out, and being with, in pursuit of uncommon knowledge about humans and culture. Find show notes, plus our blog about anthropology's role in the world, at https://www.thefamiliarstrange.com. Twitter: @tfsTweets. FB: facebook.com/thefamiliarstrange. Instagram: @thefamiliarstrange.

Brought to you by your familiar strangers: Ian Pollock, Jodie-Lee Trembath, Julia Brown, Simon Theobald, Kylie Wong Dolan; produced by Deanna Catto and Matthew Phung, and with support from the Australian Anthropological Society, the Australian National University’s Schools of Culture, History and Language and Archeology and Anthropology, and the Australian Centre for Public Awareness of Science, and produced in collaboration with the American Anthropological Association.

We acknowledge and celebrate the first Australians on whose traditional lands we record this podcast, and pay our respects to the elders of the Ngunnawal and Ngambri peoples, past, present, and emerging.

    #58 Individuals, Whiteness, Gendered Fandoms and Picking Field Stories to Tell: This Month on TFS

    #58 Individuals, Whiteness, Gendered Fandoms and Picking Field Stories to Tell: This Month on TFS

    This week we bring you another from home Zoom panel! This week we are joined by Senior lecturer Dr Yasmine Musharbash. Dr Musharbash is currently based in the Northern territory and has research interests in monsters, sleep and death.

    Alex [1:44] starts us off this week by returning to a topic touched on in the last panel. He dives further into Saba Mahmood’s work in the feminist space and asks, where does the individual exist in society? What does the conception of “individual” mean in other societies?

    Then, Jodie [8:13] takes us into the realm of vampires, teenage girls and fandoms. Jodie recently watched How Twilight Saved a Town: Fandom Uncovered, which is a documentary about the Twilight series. One particular quote stuck out: "We have a tendency as a society to absolutely hate, revile and treat with vitriol, anything that has to do with teenage girls. We hate their music, we hate their icons, we hate their fashion, we hate their behaviour, we hate everything about them." Through this quote, Jodie asks the strangers, why are some fandoms more “acceptable” than others? Does gender have a role to play in that acceptability or disdain?

    Next, Simon [13:53] references a conversation that happened over in our Facebook group. In the discussion, Ruby Hamad’s book White Tears/Brown Scars whipped up questions of what constitutes whiteness? What is the nature of whiteness? Is it simply a skin colour? Or is it something much deeper and has much more far ranging effects in society today? What do you think?

    Finally, our guest this week, Dr Yasmine Murshabash [17:46] discusses how researchers have “hard” stories from the field and where the researcher fits into the stories they collected. Dr Murshabash had come up against this knotty problem when she was invited to a writing exercise. Dr Murshabash asks us to consider, how do you choose a story to tell? What makes a story “hard” to tell?

    Head over to our website to check out the links and citations from this episode!

    Don’t forget to head over to our Facebook group The Familiar Strange Chats. Let’s keep talking strange, together!

    If you like what we do and are in a position to do so, you can help us to keep making content by supporting us through Patreon.

    Our Patreon can be found at https://www.patreon.com/thefamiliarstrange

    This anthropology podcast is supported by the Australian Anthropological Society, the ANU’s College of Asia and the Pacific and College of Arts and Social Sciences, and the Australian Centre for the Public Awareness of Science, and is produced in collaboration with the American Anthropological Association.

    Music by Pete Dabro: dabro1.bandcamp.com
    Shownotes by Matthew Phung
    Podcast edited by Simon Theobald and Matthew Phung

    • 25 min
    #57 Narratives of Loss: Baptiste Brossard talks Alzheimer’s Disease & Social Dimensions of Ageing

    #57 Narratives of Loss: Baptiste Brossard talks Alzheimer’s Disease & Social Dimensions of Ageing

    “I’m giving mundane examples here, but it can be a matter of life or death in a sense. Whether people are believed or not, it changes their destiny”

    In this episode, we bring you an interview with Dr Baptiste Brossard. Dr Brossard is a sociologist and lecturer currently based at Australian National University. He has an interest in mental health, sociological theory, qualitative methods and utopias. He has authored two books:Why Do We Hurt Ourselves?: Understanding Self-Harm in Social Life; and Forgetting Items: The Social Experience of Alzheimer's Disease, which is the focus of our interview today. This interview was captured during last year’s AAS conference held in Canberra, at the ANU.

    Dr Brossard spoke with our own Julia Brown about what sociology and anthropology can bring to the study of Alzheimer’s Disease, and how ethnographic practice informed his time spent with French and Quebecois Alzheimer’s patients. He discusses how he applied some key theories from philosophy and sociology such as Erving Goffman’s Interaction Order, Deference and Ian Hacking’s Looping Effect to his ethnographic observations. He also reflects on narratives of loss, selfhood and social inequity in the context of being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease.

    Quotes, Links and Citations can be found on our website thefamiliarstrange.com

    Don’t forget to head over to our Facebook group The Familiar Strange Chats. Let’s keep talking strange, together!

    If you like what we do and are in a position to do so, you can help us to keep making content by supporting us through Patreon.

    Our Patreon can be found at
    https://www.patreon.com/thefamiliarstrange

    This anthropology podcast is supported by the Australian Anthropological Society, the ANU’s College of Asia and the Pacific and College of Arts and Social Sciences, and the Australian Centre for the Public Awareness of Science, and is produced in collaboration with the American Anthropological Association.

    Music by Pete Dabro: dabro1.bandcamp.com
    Shownotes by Matthew Phung and Julia Brown
    Podcast edited by Julia Brown and Matthew Phung

    • 41 min
    #56 Imagined Communities, Freedom, Death And Not Blaming Capitalism This Month On TFS

    #56 Imagined Communities, Freedom, Death And Not Blaming Capitalism This Month On TFS

    Given the recently instigated social distancing rules in Canberra, this week we bring you a special “online” episode! For the safety of everyone, and especially in line with our own efforts to flatten the curve, we recorded this panel from the comfort of our own homes using the increasingly popular online video conferencing tool: Zoom. For this reason, the audio quality will be a little different to our usual studio sound.

    This was our first experiment with this kind of podcast recording, and we look forward to exploring new possibilities and avenues for connecting with each other, other anthropologists, and anyone who is keen to talk strange with us in the future.

    For now, though, Jodie [1:30] starts off this episode by discussing how Covid-19 is changing the ideas of what nationhood and identity mean in this new, largely online, world. Drawing on Benedict Anderson’s work on ‘Imagined Communities', she asks us about our own experiences, and how things have changed or not over these past few weeks. What do you think?

    Next, Simon [6:30] reflects on the concept of freedom (and unfreedom) and how it has been tied to being human, especially in relation to the physical distancing measures put in place during Covid-19 pandemic by numerous governments around the world. Quoting Rousseau that “man is born free but he is everywhere in chains”, Simon questions how people see their freedom now, and, more importantly, what does freedom mean in the Covid-19 crisis?

    Then, Julia [12:22] tells us about her recent work in palliative care and asks us to reflect on how the crisis has caused us to think more deeply about death and our relationship with it in our daily lives. How have our conversations changed around death and “moving on”? Alex shares that his family is quite open about death, possibly because they are a secret family of zombies? Simon discusses the findings of a study by Jong and Colleagues in 2015, which suggests that people who are agnostic are the most afraid of death. Has the Covid-19 crisis changed your thinking about mortality in any way?

    Finally, Alex [17:23] ends our panel this week by turning our attention from the on the ground personal experiences during Covid-19, to a more macro issue: capitalism. Specifically, the criticisms of capitalism he has seen online throughout the coronavirus pandemic. He has been grappling with the notion that something so large, and pervasive, can be a detriment to our own reflexivity and self reflection. Julia uses Australia as an example, which currently has a conservative government but is also participating in more ‘socialist’ activities, such as seeking to provide financial aid to those who need it and enacting protocols of physical distancing for the 'good of all'. Simon suggests that certain aspects of capitalism, like the “Free Market”, have been somewhat challenged in the current state of affairs that come with a pandemic.

    Links and citations for this episode can be found at our website thefamiliarstrange.com

    Let us know what you thought about this episode and any of the questions we asked on Twitter @TFSTweets or on Facebook in our group The Familiar Strange Chats.
    Our Patreon can be found at https://www.patreon.com/thefamiliarstrange

    This anthropology podcast is supported by the Australian Anthropological Society, the ANU’s College of Asia and the Pacific and College of Arts and Social Sciences, and the Australian Centre for the Public Awareness of Science, and is produced in collaboration with the American Anthropological Association.

    Music by Pete Dabro: dabro1.bandcamp.com
    Shownotes by Matthew Phung and Deanna Catto
    Podcast edited by Jodie-Lee Trembath and Matthew Phung

    • 23 min
    #55 Doing Right By Others: Robert Borofsky On The Value Of Anthropology

    #55 Doing Right By Others: Robert Borofsky On The Value Of Anthropology

    "Realistically there's many people - maybe most anthropologists - are caught up in their own world, like many people are, trying to just get ahead. That’s irrelevant. What’s relevant is that I try and do [good]. I try and move forward with it."

    Content Warning: This interview has mention of addictions and the rehabilitation process.

    In this episode we bring you an interview with Professor Robert Borofsky, Professor of Anthropology at the Hawai'i Pacific University, Founder and Director of the Center for a Public Anthropology, editor for the California Series in Public Anthropology, author of Making History: Pukapukan and Anthropological Constructions of Knowledge, Yanomami: The Fierce Controversy and What We Can Learn From It, and most recently An Anthropology of Anthropology: Is It Time To Shift Paradigms?, and one of the keynote speakers at the AAS Conference last year, where this interview was recorded.

    It is quite fitting that the theme of the AAS was 'Values in Anthropology, Values of Anthropology', since he, along with our own Kylie Wong Dolan, unpack how to do meaningful anthropology. They explore questions like: who is anthropology serving? If we want anthropology to do good, how do we decide what that 'good' actually is, and how do we measure it? Rob also shares his own fieldwork experiences, emphasizing the importance of longevity and reciprocity in fieldwork relationships, and how to find ways to reach beyond the discipline and ensure that the work anthropology does matters.

    Quotes, Links and Citations can be found on our website thefamiliarstrange.com

    If you like what we do and are in a position to do so, you can help us to keep making content by supporting us through Patreon.
    Our Patreon can be found at https://www.patreon.com/thefamiliarstrange

    This anthropology podcast is supported by the Australian Anthropological Society, the ANU’s College of Asia and the Pacific and College of Arts and Social Sciences, and the Australian Centre for the Public Awareness of Science, and is produced in collaboration with the American Anthropological Association.

    Music by Pete Dabro: dabro1.bandcamp.com
    Shownotes by Deanna Catto and Matthew Phung
    Podcast edited by Kylie Wong Dolan and Matthew Phung

    • 41 min
    #54: Social Duties: This Month On TFS

    #54: Social Duties: This Month On TFS

    This month on TFS, we are joined by special guests Sophie Pezzutto and Saidalavi P.C., two PhD candidates from the Australian National University. Sophie's research interests are on social media and the gig economy in relation to the transgender community, while Said is working on caste among Muslim communities in Southern India.

    Sophie [1:24] starts us off by reflecting on a fight she had during her fieldwork which centred around her being there as both an ethnographer AND as a friend, saying "I think those two roles often conflicted with one another". In this instance, as an ethnographer, we can find conflict when trying to balance those boundaries. As a researcher, you need to take notes to give your research claims evidence, but as a friend you want to establish a kind of sacred trust of confidentiality. Sophie asks us how do we, as anthropologists, balance our duties as researchers and our duties to give back to the community? Where does trust and loyalty come into the equation?

    Next, we turn to Said [7:00] who has just returned from fieldwork in Kerala, Southern India. Here, he researched barbery and the gradual shift from home-services to established barbershops, considering how that reflects the status of barbers in Islamic society. In this instance, Said was asked by some barbers: what can you do with this research to change the community? Sophie shares her experience when this situation is reversed, where a researcher feels like they want to advocate for a community, but that isn't reciprocated. Alex tells us that in his field, he had to "keep promising less and less" since he didn't have the level of power that his informants perceived he did. Simon suggests that anthropology has the power to increase understanding and awareness of niche communities or subgroups of a community, and perhaps it is the responsibility of an anthropologist to share knowledge, as Ruth Benedict (*not Margaret Mead) says: "The purpose of anthropology is to make the world safe for human differences."

    Alex [13:09] steers away from the fieldwork reflections and to the thing everyone is talking about right now: corona virus. "[T]he other day, when I was just checking out at Woolworths, and I noticed everyone around me had two twelve-packs of toilet paper... and I gathered that was the ... maximum amount that was socially acceptable to buy at that moment." He asks whether toilet paper and 'panic buying' habits - 'to hoard or not to hoard?' - reflect an individual's perceived social responsibility to the wider community?

    Finally, Simon [18.20] ends our panel with the thorny issue of criticism in the academic world. This was brought forth upon learning his thesis was passed with minor corrections - CONGRATULATIONS SIMON! But despite the good news and accepting that the criticisms of his work are valid and constructive, he feels a sense of burnout, like he just doesn't "have the power to keep going”. He asks: what do you do when faced with this situation? Sophie suggests taking a holiday, Alex has found getting some distance from the criticisms can help - so do something else for a while and come back to it - but that is tricky when you are limited by a time constraint. There are different ways to respond to criticism, so how do you respond to criticism?

    Links and citations can be found on our website.

    This anthropology podcast is supported by the Australian Anthropological Society, the ANU’s College of Asia and the Pacific and College of Arts and Social Sciences, and the Australian Centre for the Public Awareness of Science, and is produced in collaboration with the American Anthropological Association.

    Our Patreon can be found at https://www.patreon.com/thefamiliarstrange
    Music by Pete Dabro: dabro1.bandcamp.com
    Shownotes by Matthew Phung and Deanna Catto
    Podcast edited by Simon Theobald and Matthew Phung

    • 25 min
    #53 Making Meaningful Anthropology: Amita Baviskar on Maggi Noodles and Anti-Dam Movements

    #53 Making Meaningful Anthropology: Amita Baviskar on Maggi Noodles and Anti-Dam Movements

    “It was a really difficult dilemma for me, because I felt that I needed to stand by my work, but at the same time what was more important was the social movement, because you know, what am I writing for?”

    In this episode (which is our first interview of 2020!) we bring you our interview with Dr Amita Baviskar that was recorded at the AAS Conference last year, which Amita was one of the keynote speakers at. Amita is currently based at the Institute of Economic Growth in India, with interests in food, social inequality and ecological politics, author of multiple books including 'In the Belly of the River: Tribal Conflicts over Development in the Narmada Valley', recipient of the 2010 Infosys Prize, and is a visiting fellow at several universities, including Stanford, Cornell, Yale, The Paris Institute of Political Studies (Sciences Po) and UC Berkeley.

    Amita spoke with our very own Alex D'Aloia about her work on the anti-dam movement in the Narmada Valley, India, discussing the controversy that arose among other activists after publication, her tips for early career anthropologists looking to make meaningful anthropology, and wrap up by unpack(ag)ing the meaning behind Maggi 2-minute noodles and how this relates to caste distinctions in India.

    We should also mention that this is Alex’s first interview! Let us know what you thought about the interview, or any questions you have about the episode, certain topics you'd like us to tease out more, or just anthropology in general, at either @ TSFTweets on Twitter or search for The Familiar Strange Chats group on Facebook.

    For full list of quotes, links and citations, visit our website thefamiliarstrange.com
    Our Patreon can be found at https://www.patreon.com/thefamiliarstrange

    This anthropology podcast is supported by the Australian Anthropological Society, the ANU’s College of Asia and the Pacific and College of Arts and Social Sciences, and the Australian Centre for the Public Awareness of Science, and is produced in collaboration with the American Anthropological Association.

    Music by Pete Dabro: dabro1.bandcamp.com
    Shownotes by Matthew Phung and Deanna Catto
    Podcast edited by Alex D’Aloia and Matthew Phung

    • 38 min

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