One Does Not Simply…Write About Anthropology

My Time as a Graduate Student

Wordless Wednesday – Video games and Agency

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Historical Documents – Maps & Census

Historical Documents has been a great class this semester because I can use the methods that we are getting from the class and applying it. I posted earlier the transcribing exercise that I applied to the original handwritten manuscripts of Tolkien. This inspired me to use these skills of transcribing, census recording, and building a timeline of events to LOTR once again as a final paper/project. I am really excited to be doing this.

The two projects that I am posting today are the working with maps and census/working with numeral data exercises.

For the maps:

Item17I used four maps of Virginia, specifically around the Chesapeake Bay area and Jamestowne settlement from the years 1612 to 1755 and they are all printed maps. The first map is John Smith’s 1612 map of Virginia from his expedition in 1606-1607; second is John Farrer’s map of 1677 of the coast of 1650farrerVirginia for both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans; third is a 1640 nautical map of parts of Virginia and parts of Florida written in Latin; and fourth is 1755 map of Virginia that includes North and South Carolina, Georgia, and Maryland with boundaries and properties marked to indicate territory possession.

The artwork is what interested me the most between these four maps. In John Smith’s map he has his artwork on the Natives, one a single Susquehannock man and a scene with Powhatan and other 1640b55individuals which are original drawings and contrasts from what it seems to be illustrations of Native from the 1640 map. Smith’s map is also has elaborate drawings of the plant life, building structures, and sea creatures in the Virginia Sea and the Chesapeake Bay. Farrer’s map follow suit with the drawings of fantasy sea creatures, as wells ships, plant and animal life, and there is also a picture and biography of Sir Francis Drake at the top. In contrast to the English maps, the 1640 map has differing images of angel babies, images of what is believed to be Natives, and ships. 1755virginiaThese three maps are thus contrasted to the 1755 map that does not have any expressive images, just terrain images and names of rivers and mountain ranges. It can be concluded that the early colonial maps were not just to map out the landscape, they were also works of art that was used as a way of storytelling to describe the fantasy aspect of the New World, almost to draw interest to come to the New World. As time progressed and the New World was being established, there wasn’t any need to draw interest to populate the area. The New World itself was not some idea and fantasy, it was an established land and very much real. Maps, in turn, were used more for political reasons to mark boundaries between the colonies, mark property of England, show the locations of Native tribes, and show the terrain of the landscape.


For Census

1910UnitedStatesFederalCensusForRobertLClareI used two censuses, the 1910 and the 1930, from King George County, the Potomac District in Virginia. I specifically chose these two censuses because my family on my father’s side, the Clare’s, have been living in this area of Virginia since the late 1880s and continue to live in the same area generations later. I am also currently working on my family’s genealogy on both my parent’s sides of the family and my husband’s. Choosing these two censuses, I was able to compare and contrast various variables over a twenty year timeframe of the same area.

Comparing these two censuses, one can see that the 1930’s census has more detail than the 1910 but they both have very much the same categories. 1910 censuses have nine family households while the 1930 census has seven family households. One of the key differences that I saw between these two was in the ‘place of birth’ sections where in the 1910, almost half of the section is handwritten and the other half is stamped. In contrast, the 1930’s census, this section was all 1930UnitedStatesFederalCensusForMaryLClarehandwritten. There is also a difference in the record of where Robert L Clare was born. In the 1910 census, he is recorded incorrectly to have born in Virginia and in the 1930 census he is correctly recorded to be born in Maryland. Another change that is evident is the growth of the family size that is seen in both censuses from 1910 to 1930 with the birth of children during the twenty year difference. For example, the Clare family in 1910 had four individuals and in 1930 there are ten individuals. In the 1930 census, the Clare family does have a black man that is described as family servant at the age 85. I did not see any other families with a servant in either census. The last major difference was the occupation changes with specifically Robert Clare from blacksmithing working at an auto shop to farming. Both of these occupations were true and the family still owns the auto shop and farm that are recorded. The 1910 had more detailed specialties of occupations than the 1930 and there is a lot more farming occupations in 1930 than in 1910. There are a couple of families that also on both of the census besides the Clare’s, these families include the Fines and the Washington’s.


I really enjoyed doing these projects. As I stated before, my plan is to take these methods and apply them to LOTR to reconstruct culture histories of the various races.

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Wordless Wednesday – Culture and Body Language

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Grad student living in FL

This semester, time has really gotten away from me. I know I keep saying I am going to be better about my blog, and then BAM! I have a ton of reading and writes up….and a mid-term (for some awful reason). This past week and weekend, I have been working on the Evolutionary Theory mid-term and my time and life has been sucked into doing just that, while my other work had to be put off. My time management skills have really been put to the test and that is one of my traits I take pride in. I often feel like I am not able to accomplish all I want

AnthropologyI created this yesterday in the angst I was having trying to catch up my work that I had put off due to the  mid-term. Living in Florida and only living 30 minutes away from the beach, it would be great to go, read, and do homework. Reality doesn’t allow me to do that.

My day starts at 5:30am and ends around 11:30-midnight (usually). I either have classes during the day or I am up working on homework.

I figured this reflected the past year being an anthropology grad student living in Florida.

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Transcribing Tolkien

I feel this semester that my studies focus around evolutionary theory because it takes up most of time.  My time management has allowed me to focus on all my studies equally, I am thankful for that is one of my strengths. But some times time gets away from me and I tend to focus much of energy on things that I don’t understand the longest, hence evolutionary theory which seems to go over my head most of the time. 

However, I am really enjoying my other courses. I finally have some time to post some of my work that I have been doing. Today, I am posting a project that I did for my Historical Documents course. This is project focused on transcribing documents. I decided transcribe original manuscripts of Tolkien from The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings. I didn’t realize how difficult it was going to be. Tolkien had horrible handwriting. I will show the images of the writings that I decided to transcribe and describe them.

tolkien-manuscript (1)

The first document is from The Two Towers. I know what you are thinking…why didn’t you just find the section of the book it was written for? This is the original manuscript and Tolkien rewrote the Lord of the Rings series several times until he thought it was perfect. Bits and pieces are in the book but not word for word that Tolkien had written in this document. 

 In this document, Gollum disappears while the trio is climbing up  The Stairs of Cirith Ungol.  and Sam is expressing his distrust for Gollum to Frodo while Frodo tries to defend Gollum because he is a product of what the Ring does to an individual. 

The first paragraph of this document is transcribed as: 

“That’s that!” said Sam. While in [illegible word] But I don’t like it )  I suppose then we are just exactly where he wanted to bring us. Well, let’s get / moving away as quick as we can. The headwinds have [crossed out] worn [?]! Head / land over cliff wasn’t pure joy at getting end of the tunnel. It was pure / wickedness of some sort. And what sort we’ll soon know. / Likely enough said Frodo. But we could not have gotten even so far /without him. So after even manage our errand. Then Gollum and all his / wickedness unveils part of his plan/


The second document is a letter Tolkien wrote critiquing someone’s work. I used this document to compare his handwriting to the first document. This allowed me to fill in the blanks in the first document. Tolkien in general, had horrible handwriting. He sort of admits in his letter, but he says it is scribble due to being rushed. 

The first paragraph in this document is I transcribed:

Well, this uscenitatis [?] survival of female [crossed out sentence] / Then you want you final check in the explanation of how [illegible word] that / Barber [?] thoughts could be known. The Barber who has survived / All right, but my criticism is that in that case your weakness / your last 8 lines of the story [dash line] far as the summary, rushed, and uncon / sistant. That see you see challenge criticisms by ending “the / majors [?] stories are always so unconvincing.” You can use say that / of [illegible] are [illegible word] (an near impossible basis) unconvincing. It’s no good / may [?] to make a story faster or more snappy [happy?]. Now is inherent nature will allow ** [marginal note: Every story has a maximum speed if you want a Mechanism of Man fast moving stories, you must select thesis that go to that pace. You can tell any story up to its maximum speed, but beyond that – it just remains unconvincing” (in a literary sense)./

Tolkien-ManuscriptThe third document is another original manuscript from the Fellowship of the Ring. This manuscript describes how to decipher the elvish writing to enter the Mines of Moria. The handwriting is a little more legible in this document, or it may have been me looking at it for so long it started to make sense. 

The first part of this document I transcribed as:

“What does the writings say?” asked Frodo, who was try [ing?] [cut off] / [sentence crossed out] /decipher the inscription on the arch. “I thought I knew elf letters, but/ [crossed out: these are all entangled] cannot read these.”/

   ”These are in the elf-tongue of [crossed out words] the West/ Middle-earth in the Elder Days,” said Gandalf. “But they do [page cut off] / say any thing of importance to us. [sentence crossed out] / [sentence crossed out] They say only: The Doors of [underlined] / Durin Lord of Moria. Speak, Friend, and enter [underlined]. And under [neath?] [page cut off] / small and faint is: I Narvi made them. Celebrimbor of Hollin [underlined] / drew these signs.” [underlined]/ 

The final document is the original opening to the Lord of the Rings. This was the easiest of the all the documents to transcribed. 

The first couple of sentences are transcribed as:485px-The_original_opening_page_of_The_Lord_of_the_Rings

When Bilbo, son of Bungo of the family/of Baggins [cross out word] prepared to celebrate [crossed out: d] his sevenith / birthday there was for a day or two some talk in the / neighborhood. He had once had a little fleeting / fame among the people of Hobbiton and Bywater [dash line] / [crossed out word] he had disappeared after breakfast one April 30th / and not reappeared until lunchtime on June 22nd in / the following year. 

For a perfectionist, J.R.R. Tolkien had pretty bad handwriting. In order to decipher most of his writing, I had to compare and contrast his handwriting with other documents. I really enjoyed this exercise and it is a good skill to have whether it is transcribing documents from the 18th century to Tolkien. I also found it really interesting to see the differences and the edits Tolkien made from his original ideas to the end product that we read. 


Wordless Wednesday – Evolution



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Disease and Culture – Glioblastomas

This week in Disease and Culture, I presented my disease project on glioblastomas, brain tumor. My father was diagnosed with this type of tumor almost 2 years ago this month. It was an emotional presentation and I tried not to be upset while presenting it. I have always found that personal experiences verifies the knowledge that is being presented.  In my case I know it all too well.

Front of Handout

Back of handout

I have included the handout that I created to go along with the Prezi presentation.

This handout includes the background information about the disease, symptoms, terms, and cultural aspects that have effected and been effected by this disease.

We often forget how much of our culture is shaped by various disease, how diseases have shaped our culture, and how we treat diseases.







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