Thursday, December 11, 2014

Not Your Average Lit Anal

Recently my brother gave me a book he said I'd enjoy reading. Since I'm not the greatest at picking books myself I eagerly reached for the book and read the title, "Annual Editions Anthropology: Thirty-Seventh Edition." To my surprise he handed me an Anthropology text. I gave him a puzzled looked, but still grabbed it knowing I would still read it being the low key nerd I am. He explained that it was pretty interesting and said to just read it cause I'm "into that kinda stuff." At the moment I had no idea what he meant because I knew as much about Anthropology as a biochem major knew, but I trusted him because if my brother, who absolutely hated everything about school said a book was interesting, it must have been really interesting. So I went to my room and began reading this text that might have just added another possibility to my career paths.

With that said I decided to adopt the literature analysis assignment and remix it as my own. I was originally going to use the Poisonwood Bible because I actually read (and enjoyed) that book over summer, but I really didn't feel like BSing another assignment and I wanted to actually learn something in the process like we're "supposed" to. And personally, I learn more about a book if I can read it fully through then write down my own thoughts without having to stop every few pages to "briefly summarize blah blah blah." It's like switching from my applied brain to my school brain, which should be the same but is unfortunately not. Therefore, for my literature analysis I'm not going to "analyze" the book, but I will explain why I was interested in this book, what I learned from it and what it's about in general.

"Anthropology: Thirty-Seventh Edition"
What's An Anthropologist and their role:
According to the text, an anthropologists "studies in a variety of settings and situations, ranging from small hamlets and villages to neighborhoods and corporate offices of major urban centers throughout the world." One of the many goals strived for is the ability to describe and compare/contrast the many diverse societies across the world. Research includes living among each society for a period of time, taking in the life of the people and observing the roles each person plays and their behavior towards everything around them. The anthropologists serve as a "participant observer" gaining an insider perspective while being cautious as to not compromise their scientist objective.

What Is It About:
This text contains 7 units explaining how anthropologists learn to keep an unbiased perspective, cultures, communication skills, gender/status, religion, etc.. Each unit contains a series of different accounts by anthropologists while in the field studying a wide variety of cultures. The stories range from a Christmas dinner in the Kalahari to walking the streets with prostitutes in order to attain real, raw truths of individuals themselves not the stereotypical views. Each anthropologists are different in their ways of thinking, but the same in their research techniques. This allows for each story to be told through different perspectives only they are more in-depth and unbiased when it comes to analyzing the societies from their anthropological perspective.

What I learned:
While reading this text, I learned how anthropologists acquire an unbiased view in different situations and absorb different personalities without becoming too attach to personal affairs. It's important for anthropologists to connect with the people, but maintain their scientific objective. This has been a shared conflict among many researchers; over time they learn a better understanding of why societies behave the way they do creating a more compassionate character out of the researcher. I've also learned that this profession requires physical and mental stamina to endure the hardships of the societies researched. For example, in the story "Tricking and Trapping" the author, Claire. E Sterk, describes situations in which she found herself struggling to gain trust with the prostitutes, pimps and neighborhood in general. She also dealt with violence and disrespect as she walked the streets with these women. On the other hand, she acquired a level of respect as she became knowledgable as to who she could trust and who to not associate with. One pimp in particular came to respect Sterk enough to protect her from the harassments of other pimps and prostitutes. Compassion played a role in the interview process. Since many women weren't comfortable enough to speak intimately about their lives in their streets, Sterk found her most in-depth interviews while buying groceries, dining at a restaurant or just sitting in her office or car with the women. As the reader can conclude, Sterk had to create those close connections but put the emotional toll aside when conducting an unbiased written work.

Why I enjoyed it:
The reasons behind each society's beliefs, way of life, behavior and actions are all revealed to the reader through the stories, making learning a more interesting and quite retainable way of acquiring knowledge. It's like reading a story for pleasure and something all of a sudden clicking in your brain because a character or scene helped you realize reasons for things you didn't previously understand. It's easier to come to the realization of solutions when it occurs spontaneously without even trying to look for the tone or mood of the story; rather it just occurs as you imagine the events in your head like a movie rather than a text book. Overall, it helps mesh your school and applied brains into one making it easier for "school work" to be applied in our daily routines and conversations.

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