The University of Rhode Island’s anthropology department celebrated World Anthropology Day on Thursday, Feb. 18, by screening a special film.
“The Anthropologist” made it’s world premiere that day, highlighting the role that current anthropologists play today in addressing the effects of climate change towards indigenous communities. Â The film followed Anthropologist Susan Crate and her daughter Katie over the course of five years during their travels to indigenous communities all over the world. Â
During the course of the film, Margaret Mead’s daughter, Mary Catherine Bateson, spoke in retroflex to her own experiences of what is was like to grow up with the world’s most famous anthropologist. Bateson’s main point was that growing up as Mead’s daughter conditioned her into becoming an anthropologist herself, later in life.
This is also the case with Crate’s daughter Katie, who said at a young age that she never wanted to be an anthropologist like her mother, but decided to study linguistics and international relations in college.
Dr. Carlos GarcÃa-Quijano, a professor of cultural and environmental anthropology at URI who has come into professional contact with Susan Crate before, joked that Crate’s daughter will most likely peruse a career in anthropology as well. GarcÃa-Quijano expressed his appreciation for the film afterwards. Â
“I never thought about comparing her to Margaret Mead, but now that they put it together, I really see the connection about working with people in remote island nations and how they deal with global changes,” GarcÃa-Quijano said. Â
GarcÃa-Quijano’s wife, Dr. Hilda LlorÃ©ns, who is also a professor of cultural anthropology at URI, said that the film helped pay homage to Mead as one of the most famous anthropologists in history. The film reminded LlorÃ©ns of a time when anthropologist has more opportunities and a larger audience of people who were interested in learning about other cultures.
“At the time of Margaret Mead, anthropology was wonderful and popular,” LlorÃ©ns said. “People cared about academic subjects and what academics we’re doing. That’s kind of gone away.”
Professor of anthropology, Dr. John Poggie said that the film showed how women could often become successful in the field of anthropology.Â
“They made the point that women make good field workers because they’re less threating,” Poggie said. “I thought that was a pretty interesting point.Â Women have been prominent in anthropology from the very beginning. Women like Margret Mead and Ruth Benedict and others have flourished despite the glass ceiling.”
Professors were not the only audience members to enjoy the film, however. Â As an anthropology student, Kera Takacs said the event gave her the opportunity to view what positive effects anthropologist can have on their fields of study.
“I felt like the event and the film itself did an outstanding job expressing what it is like to be an anthropologist, and the effect that the field of study has on those around you,” Takacs said.