1. People are beginning to ask a lot, what is I am doing, and what I am.

2. Now I am embarking on my own work, it’s time to really think about what it is I want, my longer term plans etc.

3. I don’t particularly need a one word descriptor, but people I talk to seem to need it. So lets see if I can combine the above two points and make some sense.

The one word descriptor is that I am an anthropologist. An Encarta definition gives me:

The study of humankind in all its aspects, especially human culture or human development. It differs from sociology in taking a more historical and comparative approach.

Apart from the ‘human development’ and the ‘comparative’ phrases, I would largely agree with this definition. I would however have to extend it to add an emphasis on studying human being, and in particular human being in the world ( I realise that I should also explain my specific use of ‘being’, but will do so when i am not so foggy and full of flu). Similar words have been spoken recently by Tim Ingold in his ‘Anthropology is not Ethnography‘ talk at the British academy. I would also have to add the idea that anthropology studies the past, present and future (if that wasn’t already understood to be the case). Therefore, it matters little how I am defined other than this, many people would want to say that I am ‘multi-disciplinary’ or ‘genre blurring’ in my work. My own comments on how wrong this is can wait for another time, and I hope to an extent the reasons are made manifest in this post.

So, my aim and long term goals are to teach and write about people, in the myriad ways that are possible, even the fictional, and I don’t just want the talking and/or writing to be to other ‘in the know’ academics.

This is becoming a manifesto as well, isn’t it?

After all that it seems that I have distanced myself from the one word descriptor, as my definition of anthropology is different to what people usually think, and I would have to rehearse the contents of this post to people, and usually don’t have the time, or people aren’t interested, or I don’t want to do it because I sound pretend-tious (like now).

Right now I am officially doing an MPhil in Archaeology, but if the above is understood then what I am doing is not simply digging a hole.

Why cannot people ask what I do, and want more than a one word descriptor, really is it so hard for people to be interested in other people?

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