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Breaking Bubbles Anthropology for Our Future 1st National Anthropology Undergraduate Symposium

3rd / 4th March 2012 University of Kent, Canterbury

  Information All presentations took place on the 3rd-4th of March 2012 at the University of Kent. This is an online version of the programme with clickable links to navigate to video recordings and materials from the offline event. Not all events were recorded or applicable to be placed on here, however in such cases they have been included without links to give you a feel for the offline event. The timings have also been left in to get a grasp on how it took place in offline. Please ask at the online reception – If you need any help.

Hosting & Study This online resource will be continuously hosted from the 23rd of April to the 7th of May, and intermittently after that. In this first two week period a small study will be conducted to compare the two day offline event with the first two weeks of this online space. It would be much appreciated if you would participate in a short dialogue with the researcher to add to their research. Aside from that your activity here will be used anonymously.

Welcome to Breaking Bubbles, We are very please to see you here and are looking forward to sharing, debating and learning together. Although we had the initial idea of trying to bring as many undergraduate students together to share their enthusiasm for anthropology, this idea’s shape and substance was created through the involvement of every one here present. This is a platform that belongs to us all. As this event is the first of it’s sort, it is in an embryonic stage, plagued by the archaic mechanisms of formalized education. We therefore ask all of you to critically and constructively assess its design and experience of it, as a mark in time. This is so that it can dynamically mould to its future. We also invite you to use the discussion forums as a field diary, to write and draw as much as you want, and to use it to reflect on the discourses within and enveloping us. The aim of this event is to break bubbles together.

The Symposium Team 

Sponsors: We are a group of students who decided that our studies would not simply be another package of ‘degree’ with the label of anthropology; we were going to live them. We think that hierarchy and rules should be at the service of education and enhance the flows and propagation of knowledge, rather than hinder them. This is why we wish to deepen the sense of community within our school, to create a space within which discussion and questioning can happen. This would help bring different stakeholders of education together in their joint quest in a way that promotes respect between the different individuals and makes newcomers feel welcome and important. In collaboration with other engaged students, we make up the Symposium Team playing playing host to this event and also provide financial support. Please see our blog for more: 
 The Symposium has been very fortunate in gaining public and financial support from the RAI (Royal Anthropological Institute) for this event. To stay involved with RAI it is very useful to become a member, carrying many benefits such as access to their photographic archives:

A marker in a Journey This event is designed as a marker from which people who couldn’t attend, people who could, presenters and organizers can go away and carry on the conversation and action. This maybe to gather more feedback on a presentation, widen the audience to those online, get tips on how you might take this event further and mould it etc‌ For this purpose we are collaborating with the Open Anthropology Cooperative, the biggest online anthropology social network. Here videos of all the events that take place, extra information and a platform exist to share and carry on the conversation. Please visit here: (You will be notified by email when videos have been uploaded)

Other Sponsors Generous support has also been given by the following:

A message from across the pond, The future of anthropology seems poised to break more bubbles. Of course, such is not new to our field. Figures like Bronislaw Malinowski and Franz Boas challenged people to think about anthropology in new ways, as have a great many others. Our most recent bubble breakers have encouraged us to reach across disciplinary lines and to critically reflect on issues like society and culture; sex and gender; colonialism; authority, voice, and representation; dialogue and collaboration— among a great many other things. And as a result we now do an anthropology increasingly unencumbered by older divisions such as that between fields, and between theory and practice, object and subject, "pure" and "applied" research. Our critical, interdisciplinary perspective—one that unapologetically spans the humanities and sciences—is partly responsible. But so, too, is our constant and regular engagement with other human beings in a wide range of researches and actions, which have, in turn, opened up the field to even greater possibilities for actual and authentic dialogic and collaborative practice between anthropologists and the people with whom we work. Indeed, much has changed in anthropology; but more change is needed. A great many forces would have us retrench to an "objective" and "detached" anthropology that keeps bubbles intact— that's easy, and well, not really anthropology (at least not anymore). We need bubble breakers—perhaps more than ever—those thinkers and actors who are willing to do the hard work of yielding an anthropology of lasting significance, one that makes an actual difference in our world. The project of bubble breaking, as I see it, is far from over. Good luck with your symposium!

Luke Eric Lassiter, PhD Professor of Humanities and Anthropology Director of the Graduate Humanities Program Marshall University (USA) Co-editor, Collaborative Anthropologies

SATURDAY 3RD MARCH 10:30 – 11:10


Welcome Breaking Bubbles Team 5min – A brief introduction to the event, its background and how the day will pan out.

Royal Anthropological Institute RAI

20min – An overview of RAI’s work and involvement, particularly in education.

School of Anthropology & Conservation (UoK) Glenn Bowman

15min – An introduction to Anthropology at Kent, how it works and where it envisions going.

Full session -

11:15 – 12:15

Efforts in Learning

Fresh Perspectives: Anthropology for Junior and Secondary Schools Sian Jones, Amapola Burr and Gareth Breen

15min - We will be presenting a three-pronged syllabus we have designed and piloted at a junior school. We are looking for critical reflections and opportunities for expansion to other schools.

Does Anthropology need to resolve the problem of the individual? LSE & Cambridge

10min – summary of inter-university debate held the night before between LSE and Cambridge students to break institutional boundaries through sharing each others. Furthering Questions A Zuppi & A Heinemann

15min – drawing on a compilation of feelings and thoughts, based on studying anthropology at undergraduate level, to reflexively bring out questions from the mangle of being impassioned students. Questions & Answers with Panel -

12:15 – 12:25


12:25 – 13:20

Student Societies

Tribe – the Anthropology Society (UoK) 15mins – a timeline of events tracking why and how Tribe was born at the School of Anthropology & Conservation, how we work and some of the things we have done.

CUSAS – Cambridge University Social Anthropology Society 15mins – Using the CUSAS blog, looking at how CUSAS runs and what it does. LSE Anthropology Society

15mins – Looking at how the society works, in particular the Outreach program to send undergraduates on fieldwork.

13:20 – 14:30


During the Lunch break you can visit a variety of exhibitions:

Powell-Cotton Museum Rainforest Art Student Video Reel Comments & Doodles Board

14:35 – 15:05

Schooling the World

Abbreviated film screening of documentary 20min – a film that takes a challenging look at the role of modern education in the destruction of the world’s last sustainable indigenous cultures, and calls for a “deeper dialogue” in which we realize we have as much to learn as we have to teach. -

Skype Q&A with the Director Carol Black

10mins – a discussion with the director. See website for info@schoolingtheworl full film.

15:10 – 16:10

Tangling Identities

Development, Film and Constructed Identities Saskia Baer

15min - Is aid dead? - A filmed ethnography on the effects of prolonged development work on cultural identities in Northern Ghana.

Impact of Population Control on Gender Roles and Family Dynamics in Rural China Natasha Robinson

15min - China’s ‘One Child Policy’ is arguably the largest scale attempt at population control that any nation has undertaken. While female infanticide and “Little Emperor Syndrome” have commonly been cited as the social impacts of such a policy, this paper argues that we must view the policy’s many repercussions in the context of China’s economic growth and development strategies… "If you give, we eat": Youth and the meaning of crisis in Kinshasa Isaac Stanley

15mins - an account both of 'kuluna' as their meaningful practices as ethnographic subjects, considering their leadership discourses, sports and music and consumption practices. I will also explore "phenomene 'kuluna'" as a discourse about them, looking at the different representations of Kuluna in popular discussion, media, and state discourses. Questions & Answers with Panel -

16:10 – 16:25


16:25 – 17:25


Cultural preservation and 'The Ancient Tea Horse Road' in Deqing Autonomous Prefecture Tess Sadatian (Presenter),

15min - Experiences during ethnographic work and aims of small charitable organisations in 'Shangri-La' aka 'Zhongdian' will be discussed, focusing on; eco-tourism, cultural preservation of ancient traditions and Jeff Fuch's journey along 'The Ancient Tea Horse Road'. With additional contributions from Dakpa Kelden (Founder of SACP) & Tse Rang ( Founder of SFMPA and Tibetan musician).

The Spatialisation of Knowledge: Cities, Buildings and Statecraft Charles Beach

15min - How the Spatialisation of knowledge relates to statecraft and architecture, How Architecture relates to anthropology and statecraft and how anthropology relates to the Spatialisation of knowledge. Questions & Answers with Panel -

17:30 – 18:30

Performance & Politics

Theatrelandscapes - Understanding and Alterity at the 'Theater an der Ruhr', Germany Jonas Tinius m

15min - a specific theatre project about bringing together artists from all over the world to engage in a productive dialogue with each other. This paper explores its anthropological implications.

Constructing tunable bodies; Becoming Performer in Physical Theatre Ragnhild Freng Dale

15min - This paper considers how body technique and tactile meanings entangle in the discourse of ‘becoming performer’, and examines the ontological premises of constructing the performer-self.

The Political Lives of Living Saints: authority and ritual among the Sufi orders of Northern Sudan. Ibrahim Mukhayer

15min - Following a long and complicated relationship between both the pre- and post-colonial Sudanese state, I look to see how the authority of Sufi sheikhs is founded within the zikr rites of three popular sects in Sudan.

Questions & Answers with Panel -

19:00 – 22:45


Arrive from 19:00 Food Served from 19:30 – 21:00 Glitoris Communion with Raga Live Music from 20:30 – 22:30 Buddha Triangle Sam Moore Triskele Kojak Brothers

SUNDAY 4TH MARCH 10:00 – 11:40


Decoding myths & Fairytales - Workshop Radical Anthropology Group

60min – A dynamic workshop on early human kinship, approached through mythology.

Cranial traits in Medieval human remains Jenny Hughes

15min - Comparing the remains from two medieval cemeteries and looking for any non-metric variation that may be present. Whether there's any patterns, differences between the two sites or if there is any similarities.

The Long and Short of it: variance in stature associated with enamel hypoplasias Lucy Donaldson

15min - An exploration of the effect growth disruptions, as indicated by enamel hypoplasias, have on adult stature in a medieval Canterbury population.

Questions & Answers with Panel -

11:40 -11:55


11:55 – 12:55

Lived Futures

Communes: potential offered by alternative living projects Tim McDwyer & Ollie Seary

20mins - personal experiences gathered in various places. A French countryside squat, a Swiss political commune, a polish social reinsertion farm and a 60's commune deep in the Northern California mountains. Covering the study of alternative community second generations and the role they play on different geographical scales. Occupy anthropology? A sideways look at the Occupy movement Ragnhild Freng Dale

10mins - As small and ephemeral groupings of tents and individuals across the globe, Occupy has made a significant mark on our time. How can anthropology be useful to make sense of the movement and its impact? Noam Chomsky & the Tower of Babel Radical Anthropology Group

20mins - an anthropological de-coding of the twentieth century. As part of the 'occupy' movement, exploring the possibility of synchronizing a global insurrection in time to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Russian revolution in 2017.

Questions & Answers with Panel -

12:55 – 13:40


During the Lunch break you can visit a variety of exhibitions:

Student Video Reel Comments & Doodles Board

13:40 – 14:40


Imaging India: Reflections on Recording, Archiving and Presenting Visual Anthropological Experiences. Katherine Clough

20mins - issues of recording, collating and presenting visual information from India, specifically in Hazaribagh and Varanasi. Additionally, they have recently been questioning what it means to be an undergraduate researcher and are interested in how preparatory research shapes the sensory fieldwork experience.

Talking through the machine: text messaging and social activity Adam Kirk-Smith

10mins - A presentation of my dissertation, exploring the relationship between text messaging and social activity. It investigates links with personality and dependency in a comparative framework for interpreting the data and encouraging reflexivity. Dwelling, Thinking, Building Ben Macfadyen

15mins - A phenomenological case study into the construction of a home and how building can bring about social cohesion, environmental awareness and a deeper experience of 'dwelling' in the world. Questions & Answers with Panel -

14:45 – 15:45

Working It Out

Anthropology and Anthropologists beyond textbooks Oana Ivan

15mins - Fieldwork is at the very core of anthropology and there is an entire literature on how anthropologists should approach this important part of their research. However, this presentation is an attempt of going beyond the usual issues found in the textbooks. Relying on a study case, I am broadly discussing “how life is in the field” and some of the issues that often occur in maintaining the objectivity, having a detached attitude, etc. Because anthropologists are humans too, after all, if not first of all.

The Development Interface Caitlin Hicks

15min – Researching communication within the development ‘interface’, in which different cultures meet and interact, often forming a recipe for misunderstandings and conflicting interests. In this study of clashes, contradictions and compromises, I ask, what is the significance and implications of these largely inevitable issues for the implementation of development initiatives. We are Anthropologists (Film) Christian & Joshua

15mins - Come on a self-indulgent journey into the minds of two young aspiring anthropologists, as they set out on a self-appointed a mission to bring anthropology to the masses. This short film addresses the difficulty in expressing the reflexive nature of ethnographic study through the medium of intellectual debate, dance and electronic music. Questions & Answers with Panel -


Summary by Professor Roy Ellen

Breaking Bubbles Programme  

Guide to the 1st National anthropology undergraduate symposium, Canterbury UK.

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