65 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
    • 4.6, 25 Ratings

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.

    End of Season Message: June 2020

    End of Season Message: June 2020

    Just like that, we have already made it through half of what can only be described as a crazy year. To bring this season to a close, we recorded a short message from our homes (hence the differing audio quality ... we are KEEN to get back to the podcast studio soon) as we are still in the midst of corona virus restrictions. But despite the challenging times that 2020 has brought, we've loved bringing you content this season.

    This season we welcomed many guests onto our panels, including Kirsty Wissing, Sophie Pezzutto and Saidalavi P.C., and Yasmine Musharbash, and released interviews with Amita Baviskar, Robert Borofsky, Baptiste Brossard and Sophie Chao. We've talked about many topics on the podcast, from the meaning behind Maggi 2-minute noodles to imagined communities during a pandemic, from walking the line between 'friend' and 'researcher' or 'anthropologist' and 'activist' to the social dimensions of Alzheimer's Disease. And that's just on the podcast! We also released many incredibly, thought-provoking blogs about Shaligrams, emojis, cross-cultural perspectives on Covid-19, studying religion as an 'outsider' and racism reproduced through conversations about ice cream. If you haven't checked them out yet head over to https://thefamiliarstrange.com/blogs/

    We also wanted to say a fond farewell to Jodie, as she is stepping down from her roles at TFS. During her time at TFS, Jodie has had a variety of roles, including Managing Editor, Social Media Manager, The Familiar Strange Chats Facebook Group Host and Moderator. We can't imagine TFS being as it is today without Jodie. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you.

    TFS will be back with more content on July 27, until then make sure to follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, and if you're interested in writing for us head over to www.thefamiliarstrange.com/writeforus to see our style guidelines. We can't wait to keep talking strange with you soon.

    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

    • 2 min
    #59 The Palm Oil Frontier: Sophie Chao & Walking the forest with the Marind People

    #59 The Palm Oil Frontier: Sophie Chao & Walking the forest with the Marind People

    “Because for a few hours, maybe sometimes a few days, you can shed your human skin and you can take on the body of a creature that will allow you to fly, to swim through the rivers, to glide across the canopy”

    This week we bring you an interview with Dr Sophie Chao, who won the 2019 Australian Anthropological Society's PhD Thesis Prize with her thesis titled "In the Shadow of the Palms: Plant-Human Relations Among Marind-Anim, West Papua”. Dr Chao is a multispecies ethnographer who utilises the ontological turn in her work. Broadly, The Ontological Turn"is a movement whereby we don't just consider if people have a different perspective on the world, but live in a different world.
    If that sounds confusing, don’t worry, because Dr Chao does an excellent job in describing how ontology is used in her work. Dr Chao has published multiple writings about her time spent in Western PNG such as In the Shadow of the Palm: Dispersed Ontologies Among Marind, West Papua and The Plastic Cassowary: Problematic ‘Pets’ in West Papua among many others. Dr Chao’s research interests include dreams, medical anthropology and environmental anthropology.

    Dr Chao sat down with Familiar Stranger Alex D’Aloia in Sydney University’s podcast studio to discuss her experiences with the Marind-Anim people and their relationship to the growing palm oil industry. Dr Chao details the conflict between the native Sago palms and the introduced oil palms. She discusses how the introduction of these oil palms is damaging the community in more ways than imagined. Dr Chao makes constant reference to ontology and how it has informed her experience of “walking the forests” with the Marind-Anim people.


    Quotes

    “Practically everyone I knew had at some point or another been eaten by oil palm”

    “This idea of taking seriously a dream for instance, the idea of taking seriously the possibility of someone being eaten by a plant really really mattered for ethical as much as political reasons”

    “The idea of ontological anthropology is not that I necessarily have to believe what these communities are telling me is their reality, but I should at least allow myself the possibility of believing that it may be true”

    “It is less me going into the field as an ontologist, than me trying to understand Marind themselves as ontologists of their own changing worlds”

    “I suppose my stance as an anthropologist, first and foremost my commitment is to the people I work with. And it's their perspectives their making, their fashioning of reality that for me takes precedence”

    If you want a full list of links and citations, head to our website!

    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 Alex D’Aloia and Matthew Phung

    • 42 min
    #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

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5
25 Ratings

25 Ratings

PaulChan24 ,

Insightful discussions on intriguing topics

As a student of anthropology, this podcast keeps me thinking about various topics that I encounter in academia in a more humane and dialectical context!

ChatteringBklyn ,

Provocative thought pieces

We’re not anthropologists but after every episode my husband and I discuss the topic for another hour. So much to think about — that we never thought about before!

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