Anthropology in an Hour

This class has passed
This class has passed

What’s it all about?

Are we all the same or are we different? Do we make decisions on our own, or does society make them for us? What does reality television really tell us about our culture?

Philosophers have been pondering these questions for centuries. Well, perhaps not the one about reality TV… but certainly about how we fit into society, how societies are different, or not so different, and what it all means.

We call this anthropology.

In this short session we’ll attempt to unpack the key ideas about anthropology – where did it come from? How can we use it? I’ll also show you a different side of the things in life that we take for granted. And we’ll demonstrate how teen angst and Christmas food are great examples of anthropological ritual. So come along and see the world from a different perspective!

What will we cover?

  • Class participation: write down on a piece of paper what anthropology means to you, then write down a question you’d like answered at the end of the session
  • Start with a definition of anthropology, and what it tries to do
  • A potted history of the main theories – examples of how these have filtered into popular culture
  • Case studies of ritual:  teen angst, London riots, Christmas food
  • The different streams of anthropology
  • Questions from the audience
  • Final thought: decision-making

Who will be teaching?

Simone Alesich studied for a Doctorate of Philosophy in Anthropology at the Australian National University, starting way back in 2003. Bewildered at first by the terms and concepts, she soon came to have great affection for the subject and the way it earnestly tries to understand the complexities of society and culture. In 2004 she spent a year living and researching in two villages in Indonesia, completing her thesis in 2006. She has tutored in ‘Introduction to Anthropology’ and ‘Filming Cultures’ at the ANU, and travelled to many parts of the world.