Globalizing anthropological education and forensic anthropology in action were a few of many topics discussed by panelists at the Anthropology Exposition at the University Student Union in the Grand Salon on April 3.
The exposition, which lasted from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., consisted of groups of speakers of graduating anthropology students and five different panels comprised of CSUN alumni. Poster exhibits, which had topics ranging from “Famous Women Anthropologists” to “Anthropology and the Military,” were also included at the event.
The first speaker at the expo was Elizabeth Chin of the Department of Anthropology at Occidental College. Chin’s discussion, “Anthropology and Real Life,” encompassed a gamut of issues and correlated events that ranged from race relations to the Duke University incident involving the Lacrosse team to sexuality among adolescents in Iran.
The bullet point message in Chin’s speech revolved around anthropology as an everyday weapon to utilize and to better help people understand the world around them. Chin used many examples, such as the Duke University incident, to outline that certain questions are not asked, and as a consequence, people become more isolated from one another.
“The thing that I wanted to convey to people is that the thing that anthropology has to offer is an openness of perspective,” said Chin. “What we do is look at people that (others) may be afraid of, or people we may think we don’t understand and kind of make sense of them.”
The second group of speakers consisted primarily of graduates of the anthropology master’s degree program at CSUN. The title of the panel itself was “Anthropology in the Work World.” This panel served as a way for professionals of a particular
field to extend a guiding hand to students with the same professional aspirations.
Kelly Fischer, who graduated with a master’s degree in 2005, said, “I figured the most useful thing I could do for students is to give a little practical advice on what it’s been like working for applied anthropology.”
“It all depends on what you make of it, and it takes some work to find out where the opportunities are and what you can do with what you’ve learned and what you are interested in,” said Fischer, who works for Vital Research, a research and evaluations company.
The panel group was meant to enlighten students to the many facets and possibly problematic situations that may occur while working in the field of anthropology.
Maria Teresa Fiumerodo, a CSUN alumna for more than 10 years and tenure professor at Ventura Community College, used her experience in the field of anthropological academia to help students understand that an anthropology degree can be applied in more than just a traditional sense.
“Oftentimes, as student, you’re so focused on getting a degree and getting your field work done,” said Fiumerodo. “If you’re expanding and thinking about a career in academia or teaching at the end of getting your graduate degree, it may not be that bad of an idea to think about when you have so much experience.”
The exposition features a series of other panels and panel speakers as well to discuss such things as Africa and personal narratives based on fieldwork there, the sub-fields of anthropology, such as shell analysis, and the sub-fields of physical anthropology, such as forensics, with correlating topics such as politics.
Participants and attendees looked at ongoing poster exhibits in-between the panels that focused on topics ranging from Margaret Mead to the connections of chimpanzees and bonobos. The contributors to the poster exhibits ranged from Masters Candidates to students in “Primatology,” an upper-division anthropology class at CSUN.
Finance major Seffi Von Massenbach, 21, said, “The most interesting part for me was to see how the panelists had applied their anthropology degree.”
“I was actually glad that it was a class requirement to attend, otherwise I wouldn’t have known about it, ” said Massenbach.