Assistant Professor of Anthropology and International & Area Studies Yidong Gong is making moves during the spring semester to engage more New College students in the study of all things anthropology. The Anthropology Commons takes place at least once a month in the Anthropology Lab, and features events about the components of anthropology, ethnography and what those two contribute towards future career opportunities.
Gong gave the Catalyst a written statement on the major motivations behind the Anthropology Commons: “Anthropology is focused on hands-on experience and exposure to the real world, and is constantly breaking the methodological and theoretical boundaries. By crafting an intellectually nurturing space like Anthropology Commons, students and faculty can work together to unleash our potential as scholars and practitioners of anthropology. We can—and should—learn from each other in a complex world like this. All this speaks to NCF’s ideals of creating a community of fearless learning and forward thinking.”
The first Anthropology Commons event was held on Feb. 15 and brought New College students from all concentrations together to learn about New College’s hard-working Anthropology Program. Between conversation and activities facilitated by former Anthropology Lab Teaching Assistant (TA) and thesis student Rocío Ramírez Castro and current TA, second-year and Catalyst co-Copy Editor Gaby Batista, the event also provided a wide variety of Vietnamese food that was available to cater to different dietary needs.
Anthropology Commons’ next event is happening on Mar. 15 from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. The event is primarily focused on showcasing the various jobs seven alumni have in fields after pursuing anthropology at New College. Each panelist works in various fields and thus will share a personalized look into what draws them to their current profession, and how their background in the study of human societies and cultures informs how they do their jobs.
The speakers that are set to share their stories work in a variety of industries from the US Fish and Wildlife Service to working in journalism and consulting. Anthropology Commons is also featuring three alumni who are currently pursuing or have already been through PhD programs, such as Anna Higgins (‘01), who has a PhD in Cultural Anthropology from University of California Santa Cruz (UCSC) and is currently conducting User Experience (UX) research in civic technology. Jessica Wheeler (‘09) who currently works in the Social Sciences Department of Sci High—a charter school of math and science in New Orleans—earned a PhD from Tulane in Archaeology. Lastly, Kira Rib (‘17) is currently pursuing a PhD in Applied Anthropology and Environmental Health at the University of South Florida (USF).
The Anthropology Commons is a fresh opportunity to share the multifaceted skills taught in the Anthropology Program at New College, and it shows all the hard work the students and faculty put into engaging new minds. The event would not be possible without the hard work of Gong and the commitment from the speakers to bring their stories to current students for this event.