Depending on how you count it, its been a three or five year journey (gap year and a reset of subjects and change of school for A levels) but I am pleased to say that my daughter now has a BA (hons) in Anthropology from the University of Sussex. The picture shows her with proud father and subsequent photos are more sentimental and I will not embarrass either of us by sharing those however. At times yesterday I was not sure I would make it. The bug that hit me in Burkina Faso a month before had been coming and going with disabling effects ever since. My original plan had been to spend the day on a section of the South Downs Way, but this was not physically possible and I ended up sleeping from 1400 yesterday until 0800 today in a hotel room, with some interruptions from Brighton revellers outside. I should probably have done this before and there would have been more posts to this blog in consequence!
Either way, back to the main event. Its been a lot of fun for me having Eleanor study one of my own areas of interest. Its resulted in many a late night skip chat and emails around essay subjects and I've done my fair share of proof reading and commentary over that period. I have fond memories of driving down to Brighton to bring her and books back home to create some space for her to work. She generally occupied the kitchen, which is within easy shouting distance of my study and the social obligation to make tea ended up with many a fascinating conversation. I've enjoyed seeing her transform from a naive but enthusiastic approach to her subject, to one with academic rigour and language. I'm also pleased to say that will continue as she has been accepted for a MA in Development Anthropology with a focus on eco tourism; I am less pleased at what it will cost me but that is another matter. I hope there will be no more call for me to drive at high speed from home to Brighton to make an essay deadline, but I doubt it. Eleanor like her father is deadline driven …..
On a negative side however, I am discouraged by the lack of originality allowed at under graduate level these days. This seems to be linked to the need for easy marking and/or doctrinal orthodoxy and worries me as conformance leads to higher marks. Sussex Anthropology is in social sciences, while at Durham it is group with biology. Now that is all well and good, but it should not create a barrier. But introducing aspects from the fascinating fusion of anthropology and biology, the social science version thereof appears to be somewhat more protective than it should be. I hope the MA is somewhat more open to originality.
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