One Does Not Simply…Write About Anthropology

My Time as a Graduate Student

Finally a Post!

on March 26, 2013

I just realized that I haven’t posted in about a week, silly me. But life sometimes gets in the way of things. Last week I was battling allergies that turned into a head cold, that is now all in my chest. This has made it challenging to focus on school work and thesis research because I have been drugged on on anti-congestion and ny-quail. Needless to say, my work was not the best that was produced during the course of last week.

On a good note I have finished my zoo observation project which required me to learn excel to produce charts and tables to explain the amount of time each individual used sections of the enclosure, time spent performing activities and behaviors, postures, and locomotion. I am pretty pleased with it, lets hope the instructor is as well.

In regards to my thesis, I have been challenged by the some of the writing assignments for Research and Design. Which is a really good thing, because it requires me to think outside of the box for my topic. I am essentially studying fake cultures that do not have archaeological evidence or any real existence within the threads of reality in the sense that we can travel to Middle Earth. But what Lord of the Rings does have are historical documents within the context of the writing (when Gandalf goes and researches the existence of the one Ring in the Fellowship or the maps in Hobbit when the dwarfs are trying to figure out how to get into the mountain), there is also languages that are specific to the an individual culture and there are languages that unit communication between all the cultures (Common Speech), and each have their own cultural traditions and rituals that are shape the identity of the cultures.

But yes, I am doing a structural analysis on Lord of the Rings
Well why not? I am interested in many things, but I wanted to focus a thesis on something fun and challenging at the same time. The challenge is that it is not real, a fake culture. But each culture within has it’s own history that has helped shape it cultural construction. Each culture has a history and language, the whole of Middle of Earth has a history and shared language that allows each of the cultures to communicate and interact with one another, whether it be for good or bad.

As I mentioned before,I am interested in the use of languages within each of these cultures and how it shapes each. Much like our own cultures and languages. The languages were constructed by Tolkien, and they are used today just like Trekies who learn Klingon.

I am also interested in comparing it to the construction of myth.
I love theory and I love reading, so why not? They may be fiction but that makes it just as real to the characters within the story.
In order to achieve all this I had to structurally break down Lord of the Rings…that process has begun and I am loving every moment of it. Analysis of myth has been done, so the resources are there. I am just going to apply it to Lord of the Rings.

One thing I have learned from research and coming up with a thesis topic, is that it should be fun. Does this have any anthropological value? Well that is up for interpretation. I see fiction writing as a reflection of the self. Many authors use familiar aspects from personal experience, cultural histories, and influences of one’s culture to construct these fictions.

I wanted a challenge, and breaking down and discussing anthropological concepts of a fictional culture fits that bill. As Brian told me the other day, “if you can do this with a fake culture, how much easier would be to do with an existing culture.”


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