#51: Newsworthy Stories, Becoming Projects, Ethics Of Danger, Balancing Values: This month on TFS

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Manage episode 246852994 series 1792878
By The Familiar Strange, Anthropology PhD students Ian Pollock, Julia Brown, Simon Theobald, and Jodie-Lee Trembath. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.
Jodie [1:26] begins our panel this month with a recent incident in Canberra, Australia, where a woman was shot by a 'random' gunman. Luckily her wound was not life-threatening. This story was HUGE here, but at the same time the story was released, Australia was (and currently still is in some places) on fire. Jodie asks us whether we should care so much about one person being shot, when the world is – literally – burning. How do we decide what stories are “newsworthy”? Should we be focusing on the local stories or should we be broadening our focus to the bigger picture, or global-focus, particularly in times of crisis? Kylie [6:13] then reflects on something she's noticed during these early stages of her PhD - that she is becoming her project. That is, it is becoming a part of her identity, in a way that she had not anticipated. She asks, particularly in instances like this, "how can we as researchers draw the line between life and work; what you DO and who you ARE?" Jodie shares from her own experience that “If you are somebody who identifies strongly with your work – irrespective of whether or not you’re doing a PhD – then I think the longer you spend with a particular type of work, the more you’re going to embody that work and draw that into your identity.” Simon suggests that it comes down to commitment, and that PhD's themselves are transformative. Where do you draw the line? Is there a line that can even be drawn? Next Simon [12:16] questions the ethics of doing anthropological research in a place or context that is considered "dangerous". If you don't know, Simon did his fieldwork in Iran, where there has been recent attention given to the arrests on dual citizens. Kylie suggests that we should not shy away from researching these places, especially for anthropologists, otherwise we limit the knowledge that could be gained about them. Alex suggests that maybe we need to re-frame our question of "should we research dangerous places?" to "to whom are we ethically responsible to and why when doing this kind of research?" Is the fact we are even discussing this question a sign of privilege? Lastly, Alex [17:40] ends our conversation with a touch of institutionalisation - or rather, he questions the reality of ANU's recent announcement to cap numbers of undergraduate students coming into the university. According to Alex, Brian Schmidt, Vice-Chancellor of ANU, said that this will allow ANU to focus on the strong link between research and teaching, however ... in practice is this how it will really play out? If we look closer, does academia really value education equally to research? Links and Citations can be found at thefamiliarstrange.com Support us on Patreon at https://www.patreon.com/thefamiliarstrange This anthropology podcast is supported by the Australian Anthropological Society, the ANU’s College of Asia and the Pacific and College of Arts and Social Sciences, and the Australian Centre for the Public Awareness of Science, and is produced in collaboration with the American Anthropological Association. Music by Pete Dabro: dabro1.bandcamp.com Shownotes by Deanna Catto Podcast edited by Matthew Phung and Kylie Wong Dolan

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