Archive for fieldwork

Episode 21 Antarctic Anthropology with Dr. Jessica O’Reilly

Dr. Jessica O’Reilly (Photo courtesy of Dr. O’Reilly)

Dr. Jessica O’Reilly works in the least populated continent on earth by far: Antarctica. Working with an array of scientists, she turns the anthropological gaze on science itself and the culture of the scientists who spend months, if not years, gathering data in an exceptionally challenging environment.

The process of doing science is complex, and anthropologists of Science and Technology Studies like Dr. O’Reilly can help demystify it, showing the general public how scientists come to know what they know.

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Episode 17 The Folklore of International Adoption with Dr. Patricia Sawin

Anthropologist, folklorist, and professor of American Studies, Dr. Patricia Sawin pays close attention to the stories we tell. Focusing on international adoption, Dr. Sawin examines how these stories weave together new families while sometimes over-simplifying difficult issues of race, privilege, and the power and limits of love.

Adoption is a culturally and historically complicated process that we like to envision as purely altruistic, yet usually involves moving children from less- to more-advantaged communities. Dr. Sawin discusses how international adoptive parents, who are usually white and financially secure, navigate the complicated emotional and social terrain of integrating children into their families who have been given by less powerful communities of color. Language plays a critical role in refashioning ideas about family, downplaying guilt about possible exploitation and others’ losses, strengthening bonds in the new families, and increasing comfort in a sense of larger purpose and design.

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