This Anthro Life

FreeThink #4: On Art, Creativity, and Bringing Awe back to Anthropology

As you may have noticed, TAL has been on a bit of a break from releasing new episodes. But, the good news is that we have not been idle. The other night when Ryan and Adam were out and about they got to talking about TAL and their perspectives on public anthropology. What does the future hold? What inspires change? Realizing they were on to something good, they pulled out a phone and hit record. This episode is what came out. We hope you’ll enjoy! This episode was recorded live and near a kitchen so please forgive the extra noise :). In this FreeThink Ryan and Adam get a little personal, shedding light on their own stories, views on art, religion, creative writing, literature, and what it is that drives the team to do anthropology.

“Human Being is an art, and we gotta dig into that” – Adam

In this episode grapple with the questions

  • Can we bring beauty and the poetics of human nature back into anthropology?
  • How do we take criticisms about anthropology and turn them into something positive?
  • How do we be public while not bringing in jargon, but also infusing social science knowledge into our content while still keeping it accessible?
  • Should we change our name?

“Truth is always stranger than fiction” – Ryan

If you wish to further unpack the subjects we discussed in this episode check out the following links!

Let’s Start a Conversation…

Do you have a list of national or global level public anthropologists? Tell us about them through a tweet, a comment, an email, a carrier pigeon, whatever you are feeling! We want to recognize them.

What inspires you? Where do you find beauty and awe? Through art, religion or spirituality, creative writing, anthropology, or biology? What other avenues? How else might we reinfuse wonder and awe into our understanding of the human condition?

Two small corrections from the episode (FreeThinks are unscripted after all):

  • Margaret Mead’s popular influence can be seen into the 1970s, not 1950s
  • When referencing gorillas in the context of understanding human symbols and emojis, the Daily Mail piece we refer to is about our other cousins – Bonobos.

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