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.
Teaching anthropology through serendipitous cultural exchanges
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
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
“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.
An Exploratory Study of Degree Choice
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.
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.
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
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
Counter-Ethics of Gender and Sexuality in an Indian Dream Analysis
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
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