Letters to My Tutor…

My dearest Simone,

I imagine that it’s common with Anthropology and others areas of social research that when one studies at a certain level it may give rise to sensations of out-of-body experience. Concentrated study of how we live and think and interact can create such a disconnect with the sense of self. In this way I think study in areas such as math and physics may be easier… at least for me. At the moment, working math problems is calming for me in a way that reading anthropology is not, but I could see this changing. I enjoy the anthropological perspective, the vast scope of the field, the natural appeal to interdisciplinary approaches… but I fear serious study might be a quick road to insanity.

I think that press coverage of anthropology adds to my anxiety when thinking about further study in the field. I believe anthropology (along with sociology and psychology) suffers a lot more from poor coverage in the popular press. Unfortunately, a lot of culture commentators with no background in social fields get billed as culture experts and a lot of “experts,” people from top schools, put out crap research (for financial gain?) that gets top coverage because of the hotness of the topic. Sometimes it’s hard to keep even the obviously bad stuff separate when thinking about the field generally. At times it’s hard to distinguish whether seemingly reputable people are being deliberately deceitful or whether the methodologies are just that faulty. I wish there were more rigorous methodology classes earlier in social study. This past year of reading in anthropology has been helpful in pointing me toward where to look for “real” anthropological research.

I haven’t come up with a plan for reading anthropology in the new year. I will likely take a few weeks off as I am cramming to hopefully take a chemistry placement test so that I don’t have to take Intro to Chemistry. It may turn out that I will want to read some anthropology to break up the chemistry study such that I will post like normal until I come up with a plan.

See you in the new year,