Biography

I am currently a PhD student in cultural anthropology at Brandeis University. My work circulates around food, food security, agricultural science, and economic anthropology. Geographically, I work in Peru and Bolivia.

Like the anthropological quest to tell a fuller, more complete story, I was drawn to digital broadcasting as a way to create and bridge conversations between academic and public realms. Currently I write, produce, and cohost This Anthropological Life Radio Show and Podcast and Blog and have a few other digital projects up my sleeve. 

It is my goal with this media project to draw upon the everyday, quotidian experiences of life as I and others see it and to offer some anthropological reflections on how we live, to perhaps expand our understanding of one another, to share human stories that get to the center of, as Paul Stoller says, what matters most in social life, and to keep alive a sense of what it means to live in the world one struggles to understand. Anthropology is the study human possibility and creativity. Our work is to document and analyze the many ways people live with each other on this planet (and perhaps one day in the future, off this planet). But it is more than this, too. Anthropologists have a unique capacity to make a difference in this world. We travel the world as outsider-insiders, and we live amongst the people we study with. We share their stories, go to weddings, watch economic fluctuations, mediate violence, laugh with friends, and share meals. Trained in the arts of patience, close attention, openness, acceptance, and critical thought, we share in the project of making the world a more open place – open to possibilities of peace and justice, open to shared knowledge and practices that help people in culturally sensitive ways, on their own terms. Perhaps more than any other discipline, anthropology documents many different ways of being in the world. Inspired by Michel-Rolph Trouillot’s words here, we owe it to ourselves, as humans, to loudly share these alternative views of humankind. This task is particularly imperative today as entrenched economic and political policies are largely damaging to our planet and to the well-being of the diverse inhabitants of this planet.

About The Broadcast

“Promoting social consciousness through digital media”

Here’s the deal. This Anthropological Life is different from your typical current events or news program or pop culture talk show. But we’re legit. (Our listeners told us). We bring a lot of pieces of one picture to the table and assemble them in various ways, but do not attempt to configure one ‘correct’ way of seeing things. We don’t tell you what to think, but we do share ways of how to think more holistically. What news program can claim that? We use our training to show how complex our world truly is and how that’s a beautiful thing. We expose injustices by revealing often hidden assumptions in everyday language, technology use, or body gestures. We are driven by the values of increasing social consciousness, acceptance and promotion of diversity, honest inquiry, and promote these in an inclusive, entertaining way.

Instead of a ready made radio show, we bring you a weekly in-formation program drawing upon a blend of current events and news, pop culture, Anthro-speak (to help us think a little differently), and good old fashioned listening skills. But we give you more. Your hosts bring you a raw, unfiltered (except for curse words) take on this blend through our special mix of anthropological training and individual expertise (see our bios). We are formulating the story as we collect the pieces and as we tell it (and soon enough as you tell it too).

Weekly topics include anything from coffee and beer to the environment to light to technology usage to violence and memory. Anything that involves humans. It’s a massive world to explore and unpack, and we’re glad you’re along for the ride!
This Anthropological Life radio show broadcasts through Brandeis University and WBRS, co-hosted by the authors of this site. The radio program airs Tuesdays 1-2 pm (Eastern) on WBRS 100.1

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  • The surprising truths wild horses teach us about the power of ritual, social durability, and surviving the Anthropocene with John Hartigan Jr.

    May 05, 2021

    In today’s episode Adam Gamwell and Astrid Countee are joined by multispecies anthropologist John Hartigan jr. John is an anthropology professor at the University of Texas at Austin. In his latest work, Shaving the Beasts: Wild Horses and Ritual in Spain, John studies the social lives of wild horses in Spain and Catalonia and the Spanish ritual dating back to the 1500s of “Rapa das Bestas”- in which villagers heard wild horses together into public ceremonial rings and shave their manes and tails. Why is an anthropologist studying horses you ask? John’s work dives into the complex social lives of these horses, what happens with human ritual causes violence and social breakdown - in this case amongst horses - and asks the question of how we can learn about human culture from other species?

    In this episode we focus on:

    • What studying nonhuman species like plants and horses tells us about being human
    • How to do rapid ethnographic fieldwork
    • How the sociality of humans shapes and is shaped by other species
    • Why ecology needs anthropology and vice versa

    Where to Find John Hartigan:

    John Hartigan Jr. is an anthropology professor at the University of Texas at Austin who focuses on multispecies ethnography, media, and race. He has done fieldwork in Spain, Mexico, Peru, Colombia, and Detroit, Michigan. Hartigan’s latest book is Shaving The Beast: Wild Horses and Ritual in Spain, in which he explores the ritual of rapa das bestas in Galicia, Spain where villagers heard wild horses together to shave their manes and tails. Through multispecies ethnography, Hartigan tells the story of this ritual through the horses’ eyes, experiencing the traumatic event as he tells the story of the horses and their society. Hartigan has also authored Care of the Species: Cultivating Biodiversity in Mexico and Spain (2017), Racial Situations: Class Predicaments of Whiteness in Detroit (1999), Odd Tribes: Toward a Cultural Analysis of White People (2005), What Can You Say? America’s National Conversation on Race (2010), and Aesop’s Anthropology: A Multispecies Approach.

    Twitter: https://twitter.com/aesopsanthro


    Music: Epidemic Sounds

    Tilden Parc - The Weekend (Instrumental Version)

    Nebulas [ocean jams]

    Episode Art: Sara Schmieder

    Leave a Review for our Book Give Away!

    This Anthro Life - Anthropology Podcast | Podchaser

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  • The Ghost in the Machine is Not Who You Think: Human Labor and the Paradox of Automation with Mary L Gray

    April 08, 2021

    BOOK GIVEAWAY!! Leave a Review of This Anthro Life for a chance to win a copy of Ghost Work! Leave us a written review on Apple Podcasts or Podchaser by May 8, 2021, and email us a screenshot (so we know it's you) at thisanthrolife@gmail.com.

    We'll randomly pick four winners out of the group from anyone who submits a review by May 8th, 2021.  Now just a heads up: We're only counting serious reviews where you write something thoughtful. We'll take five stars of course if you want to just help out, but please no writing "I'm just doing this to get a free book." Feel free to share what you love about the podcast, why you find it valuable, How long you been listening or what keeps you listening? Remember, reviews help others discover the show and help us shape the content based on what you find valuable, so thanks for participating, we can't wait to hear from you!

    Podchaser: https://www.podchaser.com/podcasts/this-anthro-life-216403

    Apple Podcasts: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/id871241283

    Mary Gray is an anthropologist whose work explores how technology informs work, a sense of identity, and human rights. Gray applies these concepts as the Senior Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research and as the Faculty Associate at Harvard University’s Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society. Additionally she remains in a faculty position at the Luddy School of Informatics, Computing, and Engineering. Gray has also authored books such as In Your Face: Stories from the Lives of Queer Youth and Out In the Country: Youth, Media, and Queer Visibility in Rural America but her most recent book, coauthored with Siddharth Suri Ghostwork: How to Stop Silicon Valleyfrom Building a New Global Underclass focuses on how task based work is being utilized by bigger businesses and how this represents a change in the way we conceptualize work.

    In this episode we focus on:

    • What is Ghost Work?
    • The gap between what a person can do and what a computer can do
    • Algorithmic cruelty
    • The future of work and what that means for contract labor
    • Tech not as devices, but as conduits for social connection
    • How to bring empathy into the workplace

    Where to Find Mary Gray:

    Website:https://marylgray.org/

    Twitter:https://twitter.com/marylgray

    Linkedin:https://www.linkedin.com/in/marylgraymsr/

    Music: Epidemic Sounds

    • Dylan Sitts - Ice Cold Beverage
    • 91 Nova - Lushwork
    • Blue Steel - Up Here

    Episode Art: Adam Gamwell

    Photograph in Episode Art: Adrianne Mathiowetz

    Episode Production: Elizabeth Smyth, Sarah McDonough, Adam Gamwell

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  • Becoming a Business Anthropologist and Mastering the Tools of the Trade w/ Oscar Barrera

    March 05, 2021

    Oscar Barrera is a Business Anthropologist based out of Veracruz, Mexico who brings a global mindset to helping businesses turn hurdles into opportunities for positive change. He is an expert in innovation, change management, and strategy. In this episode in partnership with Experience By Design podcast cohosts Adam Gamwell and Gary David dig into Oscar's story to learn the steps he took in moving from academia to business. We also dig into

    • follow along case stories of how Oscar used the social sciences to help businesses see and solve organizational problems, find new marketing opportunities, and help people craft new narratives that empower them to be the heroes of their own stories
    • why we believe it is not only ethical to bring the social sciences into business, but why it is fundamentally necessary to do so
    • how to get started learning the world of business

    This episode is jam packed with great stories and advice!

    Connect with Oscar on LinkedIn

    Oscar's website (Spanish): Antropología Corporativa

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