Archive for gender

Episode 27 Politics of Greek Cooking with Dr. David Sutton

Anthropologist on the Street
Anthropologist on the Street
Episode 27 Politics of Greek Cooking with Dr. David Sutton
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Dr. David Sutton hiking in Kalymnos, Greece

Dr. David Sutton collecting wild herbs in Kalymnos, Greece

Dr. David Sutton returns to AOTS, this time to talk about his long career’s work on the anthropology of food. Dr. Sutton explores the politics of food and commensality, or eating together, on the Greek island of Kalymnos at a time when international debt has increased outside pressures on Greece to transform their economics and culture to better suit neoliberal capitalism. For folks in Kalymnos, food and cooking are ways to connect the present to the past, whether it’s through telling stories of food eaten 40 years ago, eating foods today to evoke memories, or cooking using specific techniques and tool choices that emphasize cultural and kinship connections.
As people eat together, Dr. Sutton explains, there is an intimacy and materiality to food that correlates to social relations, the senses, and the political. Food becomes a metaphor for criticizing some of the more abstract elements of neoliberalism, such as the conscious use of food in discourse that opposes concreteness and intimacy of eating with abstract coldness of money and rational economics.

*NEW* Transcript available below!

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Episode 15 Steampunk Archaeology & the Anthropology of Science Fiction with Gail Carriger

Anthropologist on the Street
Anthropologist on the Street
Episode 15 Steampunk Archaeology & the Anthropology of Science Fiction with Gail Carriger
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Gail Carriger by photographer Vanessa Applegate (Photo courtesy of www.gailcarriger.com)

Gail Carriger is a remarkable example of an anthropologist whose training informed a creative career shift. A former archaeologist (who still occasionally gets called to the field), Carriger’s expertise in ceramic analysis and technological transitions means that she can determine how a piece of pottery was designed and produced, simply by looking at a small fragment of it. From that tiny piece of material culture, she can read how populations were coming together and sharing technological styles, and how knowledge moved across the ancient landscape.

On the cusp of completing her dissertation in archaeology, Carriger’s life took an interesting turn as she was awarded a book contract for her steampunk fantasy novel, Soulless. Now she is a much awarded, best-selling author whose books mix “comedies of manners” with paranormal romance. But this shift into literature is still greatly informed by her training in, and critiques of, anthropology and archaeology. The world of steampunk Victorian England allows her to explore the role material culture plays in everyday life, as well as how and why technologies arise or fade thanks to their unintended consequences. Her careful research into elements of the past, such as the cuisine of each particular time and place, brings to life the material experience of worlds that live in the historical and fantastical past. In addition, Carriger’s multiple series explore the remarkable diversity of past cultures, which, ironically, are often depicted in nonfiction as far more homogenous than they actually were.

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Episode 8 Understanding Transgender Health & Identity with Brett Nava-Coulter

Anthropologist on the Street
Anthropologist on the Street
Episode 8 Understanding Transgender Health & Identity with Brett Nava-Coulter
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Brett Nava-Coulter (photo courtesy of Mr. Nava-Coulter)

Transgender politics have been everywhere lately, from North Carolina bathrooms to Presidential tweets, yet many are still confused about what exactly it means to be transgender. It’s not surprising there is confusion, as the category of transgender is both diverse and complicated. To help unpack these issues and politics, Brett Nava-Coulter joins the podcast to discuss his research with transgender youth. Mr. Nava-Coulter is a doctoral candidate at Northeastern University in sociology, researching LGBTQ community centers as well as hospitals that reach out to transgender youth and adults. In addition, he is an active member of the Massachusetts Commission on LGBTQ Youth, where he helps identify issues and needs specific to the transgender community. Read More →