56 episodes

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

    • Society & Culture

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.

    #51: Newsworthy Stories, Becoming Projects, Ethics Of Danger, Balancing Values: This month on TFS

    #51: Newsworthy Stories, Becoming Projects, Ethics Of Danger, Balancing Values: This month on TFS

    Jodie [1:26] begins our panel this month with a recent incident in Canberra, Australia, where a woman was shot by a 'random' gunman. Luckily her wound was not life-threatening. This story was HUGE here, but at the same time the story was released, Australia was (and currently still is in some places) on fire. Jodie asks us whether we should care so much about one person being shot, when the world is – literally – burning. How do we decide what stories are “newsworthy”? Should we be focusing on the local stories or should we be broadening our focus to the bigger picture, or global-focus, particularly in times of crisis?

    Kylie [6:13] then reflects on something she's noticed during these early stages of her PhD - that she is becoming her project. That is, it is becoming a part of her identity, in a way that she had not anticipated. She asks, particularly in instances like this, "how can we as researchers draw the line between life and work; what you DO and who you ARE?" Jodie shares from her own experience that “If you are somebody who identifies strongly with your work – irrespective of whether or not you’re doing a PhD – then I think the longer you spend with a particular type of work, the more you’re going to embody that work and draw that into your identity.” Simon suggests that it comes down to commitment, and that PhD's themselves are transformative. Where do you draw the line? Is there a line that can even be drawn?

    Next Simon [12:16] questions the ethics of doing anthropological research in a place or context that is considered "dangerous". If you don't know, Simon did his fieldwork in Iran, where there has been recent attention given to the arrests on dual citizens. Kylie suggests that we should not shy away from researching these places, especially for anthropologists, otherwise we limit the knowledge that could be gained about them. Alex suggests that maybe we need to re-frame our question of "should we research dangerous places?" to "to whom are we ethically responsible to and why when doing this kind of research?" Is the fact we are even discussing this question a sign of privilege?

    Lastly, Alex [17:40] ends our conversation with a touch of institutionalisation - or rather, he questions the reality of ANU's recent announcement to cap numbers of undergraduate students coming into the university. According to Alex, Brian Schmidt, Vice-Chancellor of ANU, said that this will allow ANU to focus on the strong link between research and teaching, however ... in practice is this how it will really play out? If we look closer, does academia really value education equally to research?

    Links and Citations can be found at thefamiliarstrange.com
    Support us on Patreon 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
    Podcast edited by Matthew Phung and Kylie Wong Dolan

    • 24 min
    #50 An Anthropology of Universities: Jodie Trembath on Selling Academia

    #50 An Anthropology of Universities: Jodie Trembath on Selling Academia

    This episode, Kylie interviews a very familiar guest ... Dr Jodie-Lee Trembath (aka Jodie from TFS)! Now, Jodie's no stranger to qualifications, but this year she completed her PhD - which is a MAMMOTH achievement - so we thought it was about time to pick her brain to understand more about universities and fieldwork. They start off by discussing Jodie's research in Vietnam, about 'authenticity' and the perpetuation of an authentic image, about the navigation of being both an 'insider' and an 'outsider' in the field, and finally they talk about us - that is, The Familiar Strange project.

    This is also Kylie's first interview on TFS!

    "Is this food authentic? Well, that depends on whether YOU think that authentic food needs to be from a particular place, whether it needs to have a particular flavour, have specific ingredients that come from a particular place? If you don't think all of those things are necessary for authenticity, then you might think that a particular food is perfectly authentic, and vice versa."

    The full shownotes with all quotes, links and citations can be found at thefamiliarstrange.com

    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
    Podcast edited by Matthew Phung and Kylie Wong Dolan

    • 40 min
    Faire une anthropologie multilingue, avec Monica Heller et Émilie Urbain: TFS in French

    Faire une anthropologie multilingue, avec Monica Heller et Émilie Urbain: TFS in French

    Monica Heller est professeure en anthropologie linguistique à l’Université de Toronto (Canada). Émilie Urbain est professeure adjointe de linguistique au département de français de l’Université Carleton. Elles sont bilingues (français/anglais). Elles ont grandi et travaillent dans des zones périphériques des marchés linguistiques dominants de production du savoir anthropologique que sont les États-Unis et la France (le Canada francophone – aussi bien le Québec que l’Ontario et l’Acadie; la Belgique, la Louisiane). Leur discipline est périphérique et floue: l’anthropologie linguistique n’existe qu’en Amérique de Nord, dans un rapport difficile avec l’anthropologie socioculturelle. Ailleurs ça s’appelle la sociolinguistique; complètement évacuée de l’anthropologie, elle existe dans un rapport difficile avec les sciences du langage. Leur conversation examine les différents aspects de ce point de vue des marges.

    Every so often, The Familiar Strange will bring you bonus episodes in languages other than English. In today's episode, Monica Heller, professor of linguistic anthropology at the University of Toronto, and Émilie Urbain, assistant professor of French at Carleton University, discuss the work of building knowledge across national, linguistic, and disciplinary boundaries.

    This podcast was recorded at the annual conference of the American Anthropological Association in San Jose, California, on November 14, 2018.

    CITATIONS
    Basque, Maurice (2008) "Minorités de langue officielle: Réflexions personnelles." Canadian Issues, , 20.

    Frenette, Yves (1998) Brève histoire des Canadiens français Montréal, Éditions du Boréal.

    Heller, M and B McElhinny (2017) Language, Colonialism, Capitalism: Toward a Critical History. Toronto: University of Toronto Press

    Heller, Monica (2011) Paths to Post-nationalism: A Critical Ethnography of Language and Identity. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

    Project website: http://www.uncanadienerrant.ca/"

    Urbain, Émilie (2016), « Towards a “Bilingual American Citizen”: language ideologies, citizenship and race in 19th Century French Louisiana », Language and Communication, 51: 17-29.

    This anthropology podcast is supported by the Australian Anthropological Society, the schools of Culture, History, and Language and Archaeology and Anthropology at Australian National University, and the Australian Centre for the Public Awareness of Science, and is produced in collaboration with the American Anthropological Association.

    • 54 min
    #49: Intolerable Ads, Introvert Anthros, Irrevocable Ties & Indigenous Symbols: This Month on TFS

    #49: Intolerable Ads, Introvert Anthros, Irrevocable Ties & Indigenous Symbols: This Month on TFS

    This month, Kylie [0:50] kicks off our conversation by reflecting on our blog about racism in sport and asks us about the ethics of ad targeting on social media. This comes after we decided to try boosting the blog post through a paid Facebook advertisement, since we felt this was a topic that needed to be discussed in the broader community. “What happened when we did that was a number of people commented on the blog, [but] they continued with all the racist narratives that the blog was trying to negate” – effectively normalising these kinds of comments. Since we are still digesting this situation, we are left asking many questions: given our founding goals at The Familiar Strange to engage in a public anthropology, should we be pushing into audiences that result in uncomfortable conversations? Should we really expect people to read our content if they find it through advertisements rather than organically, or when they know their values are different to ours at TFS?

    Next, we move onto Jodie [6:15] who’s been thinking about a comment we received on our website that was along the lines of "it would be great to hear more about introverted anthropologists". Jodie mentioned her own experiences in this situation, where she needed to find strategies during her fieldwork to recharge and give herself 'space' from her research. Alex suggests being realistic about yourself and the circumstances under which you are doing research. Simon reminds us that fieldwork IS tough – regardless of whether you are introverted or extraverted – and that getting to the “hanging out” stage of fieldwork takes time to reach, but there are some strategies we can implement to help us cope during these tough times. What coping mechanisms work for you?

    Simon [11:49] then draws us to Kurdistan, which has been given a lot of attention recently following the American withdrawal from the region and the political ramifications of this decision. Simon asks us to think anthropologically about what happens when relationships, like this one, are torn apart, what is the nature of social change that goes on and what are the end results of such a sudden split? Jodie shares “I think that the relations that have been entangled in a context like that are so much more than just human to human relations; there are ideas that have gotten tangled up that kind of require the relationship space in order to be kept alive … it’s a really complex web, it’s not just, you know, you remove the bodies from the space and then it’s all over and done with."

    Lastly, Alex [16:00] ends our conversation by looking at a different political situation: the mass protests in Ecuador, where Indigenous people are being used on a very symbolic way, as defenders of the country (at least this is the case on social media and as depicted in news articles). Alex asks: what does it mean for a people, particularly an Indigenous group, to become symbolic leaders of a movement, where often throughout history they have been delegated to the periphery?

    Links and citations can be found at thefamiliarstrange.com

    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.

    Make sure to follow us on Twitter and Facebook and subscribe to our mailing list to stay up to date on our new content. You can head over to our Facebook group The Familiar Strange Chats and tell us what you thought of the episode, the topics discussed, and ask any questions you have – we’d love to keep talking strange with you! Finally, if you’d like to help support TFS further, check out our Patreon page – every donation helps us to keep The Familiar Strange g

    • 19 min
    #48 Nature of Anthropology: Andrew Kipnis on China, Funerals, Conferences & Ethnographic Socialising

    #48 Nature of Anthropology: Andrew Kipnis on China, Funerals, Conferences & Ethnographic Socialising

    "I think you’d be crazy to go into something like anthropology if you want to learn how to say whatever other people tell you to say - you know, maybe you should become a lawyer!"

    This week we bring you a special treat – an interview between our good friend Zoe Hatten and her PhD supervisor Professor Andrew Kipnis. Andrew Kipnis, Professor at the Australian National University and author of multiple books, most recently From Village to City: Social Transformation in a Chinese Country Sect, spoke with Zoe at the AAA Conference in San Jose last year. They spoke about the way academics speak at conferences and the divide between younger and older generation anthropologists, about funeral ceremonies in China and how to navigate the intricacies of social relationships when doing fieldwork, and discussed the evolution of methods and ideas in action, reflecting on Andrew’s career.

    QUOTES and LINKS can be found at our website thefamiliarstrange.com

    And if you haven’t already checked it out, head over to our Facebook group The Familiar Strange Chats. We’d like to keep our discussions going from this podcast episode, so let us know your thoughts: what was most interesting? What was most surprising? Did the episode remind you of something else you’ve read, seen, or heard lately – if so, what is it? Let’s keep talking strange, together.

    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
    Podcast edited by Ian Pollock and Matthew Phung

    • 29 min
    #47 Meaningful Declutter, Local Activism, Managing Fire & Writing Up This Month On TFS

    #47 Meaningful Declutter, Local Activism, Managing Fire & Writing Up This Month On TFS

    Firstly, we’d like to introduce you all to Alex D’Aloia, who is managing our Facebook group TFS Chats – you might remember the blog post that he wrote for us at the start of this year: "Anthropologists and Dragons". Make sure to check out the chat group after listening to this episode and let us know what questions you have and what you found most interesting.

    Julia [1:19] starts off our conversation this month by turning our attention to things – specifically, things that we have an emotional attachment to that are in our home environment. From an anthropological perspective, we could turn to Daniel Miller, who writes about material culture and attachment; but there’s also a rise in minimalistic households formed around Marie Kondo’s example of, essentially, if it doesn’t spark joy, then you don’t need it, which creates a new understanding of what the material household environment should be. How do we deal with stuff and the emotion of stuff in the home environment?

    Kylie [6:54] then moves our conversation towards activism, asking us: what is it that insights social action, especially when the social action is for things bigger than us? For instance, in Australia we have seen social support of this kind recently regarding the introduction of the extradition bill in Hong Kong as well as the case against the deportation of the Tamil family. Alex thinks of Benedict Anderson’s imagined communities and navigating our sense of belonging while Jodie questions how much is social action about the organisation of communities and how much is it about the way that social action builds momentum?

    Next Jodie [11:42] talks about another topic very close to home for those of us from Australia – bushfire season, which has started much earlier this year than it usually does. We have to think carefully about what a bushfire means in order to manage it, and Jodie tells us that to different people, fire means different things – to a firefighter it means one thing, to an anthropologist it means another, particularly in Indigenous contexts. Touching on Tim Neale’s paper, about the increased inclusion of Indigenous people in fire management discussions (not only in Australia), Jodie asks us about the meaning of fire and how we know when it’s dangerous.

    Alex [15:58] wraps up our conversation with some questions about anthropological methods - specifically during the early writing up stage. “Where I’ve been having difficulties is … trying to connect this to theory … my reluctance of imposing my own thoughts and models on my data and my informants”. Julia offers an alternative viewpoint, suggesting that you could approach the task from the opposite end – start with the theory and then find examples where the things your participants have said helps to back up the theory. Jodie encourages researchers to ask themselves “what is it that makes me think this is what I am observing?” and to be transparent about how your thinking developed.

    LINKS AND CITATIONS can be found on our website thefamiliarstrange.com
    If you'd like to support TFS, head over to our Patreon page

    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, with assistance from our intern Sheawin Leong.
    Podcast edited by Matthew Phung and Kylie Wong Dolan

    • 22 min

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