Talking Anthropology: Podcasting for the Public (Part 1) authored by TAL

This Anthropological Life has joined the blogosphere! This article is a glimpse into where we see anthro podcasting today and in the future. Stay tuned for part 2 soon!

Talking Anthropology: Podcasting for the Public (Part 1)” on Teaching Culture blog from the University of Toronto Press just out!

Here’s an excerpt from the blog, check out the rest in the link above!

This Anthropological Life (TAL) is a professional experiment. Our aim is to promote anthropological thinking to the public through enjoyable and entertaining conversations. We’ve been making podcast episodes at TAL for over two and a half years, and have produced over 60 episodes, each around 45 minutes. The format is an unscripted, roundtable conversation supported by weekly research.

One main goal of TAL is to demonstrate and practice anthropological thinking in a publicly accessible way (with no homework, no jargon, no extra reading). Podcasting provides a natural medium through which to do this because open conversations don’t easily allow for footnotes, extensive quoting, or even hard-to-say sentences. It sounds simple, but as any academic anthropologist knows, trying to explain Bourdieu’s habitus or Marx’s labor theory of value in conversation without confusing your students is a learned skill. However, TAL isn’t intended to explain anthropological theory, nor is it to highlight anthropologists and their work. Rather, we use podcasting to break down anthropological research into an easily digestible format promoting holistic thinking.

We see TAL as somewhere between academia, design anthropology, public anthropology, and entertainment. Since podcasting is not (yet) an accepted academic format like a thesis or peer-reviewed journal it hovers on the fringes of academia. Its roots as a form of alternative, democratic radio production put it for many in the entertainment/news/informally-learn-something-new camp. Couched between these two forms we saw an opportunity to raise public consciousness about anthropology. In 2013 podcasts were a relatively new medium and applied anthropological communities like the National Association of Practicing Anthropology (NAPA) and Ethnographic Praxis in Industry Conference (EPIC) hadn’t gained huge traction in anthropological worlds (I’m glad to see this changing). Podcasting is a great medium for sharing knowledge that follows on the heels of classic radio, the move towards more audiobook consumption by the general public, and the need to stop privileging the visual for information consumption. As someone who struggles with reading, this last point is particularly important to me.

Check out the rest: Talking Anthropology: Podcasting for the Public (Part 1)

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