One Does Not Simply…Write About Anthropology

My Time as a Graduate Student

Academic Genealogy

UWF anthropology genealogy - culturalWhen we think about genealogy, the first think that  usually comes to mind is kinship tree of family. Which is all well in good, but have you ever thought about you academic genealogy? Who your professors studied under? And who those professors studied under and so forth? In anthropology, we talk about so much the “gods of anthropology” that it seems so far off in the past when we read about them. But in reality, we are not that far away if we map it out.

For this week’s Avant-Garde Challenge in Presenting Anthropology, a fellow cultural anthro student and I came up with the idea to do an academic genealogy of our professors. This project went from just focusing on the cultural professors to the whole department. The idea originated from t-shirts that my undergrad created with the genealogy of the Anthropology Department of UMW and one of our professors fro UWF had been thinking about putting a department genealogy together. We also were Amanda L genealogygetting sick of just talking about archaeology in the class, so we wanted to come up with something that would present cultural anthropology. Although it pertains mostly to the student at UWF, you can realize how closely academically related you are to Boas or some of the other big names in anthropology. As anthropologist, we do pride ourselves on our academic lineages and it’s cool to know that you may be just a generation or so away from some big names in the discipline.

In addition to the cultural genealogies, Amanda and I mapped out our personal genealogies. We decided to just focus our genealogies on our Masters Thesis Committee. Amanda did her bachelors at UWF as well, so her professors remained pretty much the same. Mine, however, has the addition of my undergraduate mentor on my thesis committee, Dr. Margaret Huber. Dr. Huber was a studenttina genaelogy of Rodney Needham which makes my lineages from both sides of oceans, Bronislaw Malinowski and Franz Boas. Which is pretty good. Through Dr. Huber I am the great great granddaughter of Malinowski and the great great granddaughter of Franz Boas. Amanda is the great, great, great graddaughter of Boas through Dr. Robert Philen’s lineage. (I think I got that right) Overall, it is just pretty damn cool.

It is important to keep in mind with genealogies that the vertical lines are decedents to/from and the horizontal lines are relationship to. Not everyone is an academic sibling to the other, but there are many who are because they studied under the same individual. For example, Amanda and I are academic siblings of each other because we are both studying under Dr. Robert Philen and Dr. Kristina Killgrove. But we are not siblings when it comes to Dr. Huber, I was her student. Hopefully that makes sense.

What do you think? Do you think that it is important to know your academic lineage? I believe it is important to know where you came from personally and academically. This heritage that we have in anthropology allows us to calm an identity within the discipline that many other disciplines do not have the pleasure of. Genealogies also allows us to remember those who have pasted and have made an ever lasting impression upon us. Although many of us have similar lineages, but it is the experiences and influences from our academic elders that defines who we are. For instance, my undergraduate program had 3 very different anthropological perceptive (structuralism, post modern, and functionalist) and although I loved and was influenced by all 3, the most influential was Dr. Huber and her structuralism. Regardless, it is important to know where we came from and to be proud that you may be a decedent from Franz Boas. I challenge you to construct your own academic genealogy and see who you are related to.

This is UWF Staff genealogy.  If you are the student, you are EGO.

UWF staff-anthropology

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Looking for a Grad School?

UWF-ArgosGraduate school can be a big decision financially as well as the next step towards a career. As many of us know, it is getting harder and hard to find a job in a career that involves anthropology. If you are considering graduate school, you must be able to be prepared with everything that comes with it, financially and the work load. I have my own personal reasons for grad school, but an individual should be going to grad school because they want to not, as a need to. An individual should have an interest and a love for what they want to study and anthropology. (It should be for any graduate student for any field) It is rewarding to get through each graduate semester. It is important to work hard and not be lazy.

If you are looking into graduate schools, UWF has a great program for Anthropology. The program is divided into two focuses: General Anthropology that includes Biological and Cultural focuses and Historical Archaeology. Within the Historical Archaeology it includes Marine Archaeology. Here, the program is heavily archaeology based and there are very few cultural but that shouldn’t deter an individual. The program is looking to build especially in the biological and cultural subfields. And I do encourage looking into UWF as a possible graduate school. Being 30 minutes from a beach and living warm weather isn’t too bad either. The school provides some funding as well.

I am a Cultural track grad student, we are very few but that is what makes it excellent. I came from a small undergraduate university that allowed me to have a very close relationship with my professors as well as peers. And I feel like I can have that same experience here as well. I was looking for a graduate school that was small enough to be able to talk to a professor and be remembered than just a number. I was lucky enough to get that as an undergraduate and I still have a very close and good relationship with a professor of whom I was able to work with on a research project as a colleague than just a student. UWF is not only looking for cultural but those interested in biological anthropology as well (one of the subfields I had never experienced before). There are many archaeologist in the program with various interests and background, many of whom are doing research on marine archaeology in the Gulf. In a nutshell – the program is looking to grow and build, to reach out to anyone who is interested. I have also found that the professors here are also very open minded on many of the student’s thesis ideas.

As a general rule of thumb when looking into graduate schools, be sure to like the program. I have many fiends in various graduate schools across the US as well as around the world and are enjoying their experiences. (Boston, England, Georgia, etc) It is always enjoyable to talk and compare the classes that we are in and the projects/research we are doing at our institutions.

Being a grad student is tough, but in the end it is rewarding and well worth the hard work in the end. I have already had some possible  offers for when I am done with my degree.

If you are interested in the school, you can visit the UWF website or I will be happy to help in any way I can.

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