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Francisco Martinez

Is fieldwork as anthropologists do it simply a method among others? This article disagrees, drawing on the concept of “serendipity” as introduced by German scholar Ina-Maria Greverus. Beyond the prescribed way of any method, anthropology’s specificity articulates as “discovery”, in this case: an unexpected discovery of remains of the Soviet past in Estonia, through the author’s family life.

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Minestrone Stories

Teaching anthropology through serendipitous cultural exchanges

Regnar Kristensen

serendipitous indirect cultural exchanges. I frame this teaching and learning experience within the notion of ‘serendipity’. We have become used to thinking of serendipity as an explanation for accidental scientific discoveries (e.g., penicillin, Velcro

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Penny Welch and Susan Wright

In this issue of Learning and Teaching: The International Journal of Higher Education in the Social Sciences , authors from Denmark, the United States, Taiwan and the United Kingdom analyse serendipity in anthropology teaching, the use of lecture

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Coincidences as connections

“Reading across” disciplines while “reading from” anthropology

Jane K. Cowan

What makes our projects “anthropological”? What is that anthropological twist that we bring and what does it add to any given empirical or substantive field? These are the key questions that the editors of Focaal asked me to consider; intrinsically compelling, they hooked me into adding my own contribution to this Forum topic. The questions intrigue me because I see myself both as a keen advocate of certain ways of doing interdisciplinarity, and as deeply grounded in the history, practice, and thinking of my own discipline of anthropology. I start my reflection from the interdisciplinary end, via the theme of serendipity; somehow, these are linked.

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Encountering Anthropology

An Exploratory Study of Degree Choice

David Bennett

Social anthropology in the U.K. is largely absent from the pre-university curriculum, contributing to the discipline's marginal status within higher education. My paper reports a small-scale empirical study of the transition to undergraduate anthropology as a socializing process that begins with the choice of discipline, continues as a learning experience and enables students to acquire elements of the discipline's 'culture'. The study identified 'chance' factors, serendipity and opportunism as important influences on choice of degree. These factors reflected the availability to applicants of cultural and economic capital. Students demonstrated varying degrees of socialization in identifying with anthropology's epistemological and social norms and values. My findings justify current attempts to increase the visibility of anthropology among pre-university students. They also support teaching initiatives that promote deep learning at undergraduate level. Both developments are necessary to sustain anthropology as a university discipline.

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Documenting Impact

An Impact Case Study of Anthropological Collaboration in Tobacco Control

Andrew Russell and Sue Lewis

In this article we consider the 'impact case study' (ICS) as a specific kind of document, one which, as part of the U.K.'s Research Excellence Framework (REF), enforces a common template for the description and measurement of the social and economic effects of research in U.K. higher education. We track the development of an ICS describing anthropological research in tobacco control which, after many iterations, was not submitted as part of the REF. We ask 'what is impact?' in cases where anthropological research is based on principles of collaboration and serendipity rather than the mechanistic 'research > translation > impact > measurement' model which an ICS is expected to follow. What is included and what excluded by the strictures of such a model? We are generally supportive of the impact agenda, feeling that university resources and activities have a vital role to play in progressive social change. However, the way 'impact' is recorded, appraised and measured in an ICS only captures a small proportion of the effects of anthropological research, and encourages particular forms of public engagement while discounting others.

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Koen Stroeken

birth of our discipline with these historical events that changed the world and have marked the history of ideas ever since. The story reaches a climax, one in a series of serendipities, when Robins stumbles upon a discarded box in his Department of

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Andrew Dawson and Simone Dennis

so re-oriented their own research accordingly. Additionally, the serendipities of lockdown extended also into the area of research design. Responding, we imagine, to health advice during lockdown, both authors took daily walks (see also Skinner in

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Singularity and Uncertainty

Counter-Ethics of Gender and Sexuality in an Indian Dream Analysis

Sarah Pinto

serendipity. The double standards of an ethic juxtaposing emplacement and domesticity with movement and the public sphere condense in the figure of the loiterer: where men are free to enjoy hanging out in public with little purpose, women must demonstrate

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Paula Booke and Todd J. Wiebe

Searching as Strategic Exploration (SSE) frame describes the act of ‘searching’ as being more than just Googling a topic. Students who demonstrate awareness and skill in this area understand that searching ‘encompasses inquiry, discovery, and serendipity