Why do you anthropology? We thought we’d get an early start celebrating Valentine’s Day and the Feb. 18 Anthropology Day event by sharing the #AnthroLove.
Read the responses below from AAA President Alisse Waterston and her colleagues at John Jay College CUNY. Then share your own story with us in the comments!
ALISSE WATERSTON – GAINING PERSPECTIVE
I got to anthropology the long way, and later than most. Almost 30 years old when I “discovered” the field—well after I had completed my undergraduate education—I found anthropology to be the discipline that would best help me understand the world as it exists rather than as I may have wanted it to be. Anthropology gave me the intellectual tools to step outside myself and question what I thought I knew. It helped me realize and come to terms with the human capacity for cleverness, creativity, connection as well as delusion and other dangerous capabilities.
RIC CURTIS – AN ANTHROPOLOGIST IN ACTION
I was drawn to Anthropology by the “action” that it promised. I thought that “exotic” locales and unexpected adventures might just overcome my tendency to get bored quickly.
I was right. I work in the field studying drug dealers, gang members, sex workers and other “dangerous” populations and like to find that one person who might be described as the “straw that stirs the drink.” As an anthropologist, I get to follow them around. Boring it’s not.
PATRICIA TOVAR – ANSWERING THE CALL FOR A JOB THAT MATTERS
I told my father, “I want to study Anthropology.” He said, “That’s a nice career. You’ll get to travel a lot. But I have never seen any jobs advertised for “anthropologist’.” Then I saw an ad in the New York Times: “Looking for a bilingual anthropologist willing to collect ethnographic data in the South Bronx.” I showed my father the ad and applied for the job. I landed it! For two years, I worked at Bank Street College, a position that came with paid tuition in a doctoral program. I grabbed the opportunity. Since then, I have traveled long and distant journeys in Anthropology. I’ve still got that newspaper ad, now weathered with age.
ED SNAJDR – THE VALUE OF MULTIPLE VOICES
I was attracted to anthropology as the science that dares to be different. Anthropology considers the voices and perspectives of all humans on the planet in its pursuit of understanding the human condition.
EMILY MCDONALD – ANTHROPOLOGY FOR KNOWLEDGE & SOCIAL CHANGE
I think anthropology is a good fit for anyone with a rebel spirit, those of us who like to question the status quo. I remember loving my first anthropology class because it showed me that all of the “normal” things I took for granted (what to eat, how to love, who counts as family) can be done in incredibly different ways. The idea that there is no one “right” way to organize human life opened up so many creative possibilities about how to be in the world. Now, as an anthropologist, I like to consider how we could change our current social systems to ensure that more people have access to what they need to live happier and healthier lives.