Ep. #34 Knowledge Making: Emma Kowal talks Indigenous health care, difference & genomics

“Wherever you work, science and technology are everywhere … [and] ethnographic methods are crucial for answering the kinds of questions that STS scholars want to answer.”

In the second episode of our STS Series, Subscribe on Android Emma Kowal, a cultural and medical anthropologist and Professor at Deakin University, author of over 100 publications including Trapped in the Gap: Doing Good in Indigenous Australia and part of Somatosphere’s editorial team, and recipient of the Thomas Reuters “Women in Research” Citation Award in 2015, chats with our own Julia Brown at the 2018 4S Conference in Sydney – which Emma co-chaired. They reflect on Emma’s academic journey from medical student to social activist to anthropologist, where her guiding goal has always been to “do the most good” for Indigenous Australians, then discuss the experiences and difficulties of doing native ethnography (that is, ethnography of your own people – so for Emma this was doing work amongst “white, middle-class, left-wing people” trying to make a difference in the Aboriginal health care system) and researching marginalised groups, and finally explore the relationship between anthropology and science and how each discipline may aid the other in the production of knowledge.


“A lot of what individual white anti-racists, as I called them, but also the broader policy frameworks are struggling with is the question of how do we enact Indigenous equality; how do we make the lines on the graphs that we draw of Indigenous versus non-Indigenous; how do we make those lines converge and ‘close the gap’, while maintaining Indigenous difference?”

“Making knowledge is a morally risky exercise… Knowledge making matters to people. If you’re working in Indigenous affairs, if you’re working in Indigenous anthropology, you can’t forget that.”

“It’s arguably impossible to distinguish difference from disadvantage”

“The emergence of Indigenous genetic ancestry testing … has the potential to really change the demography of the Indigenous population, in a context where identification is increasing a lot, all the time, and without saying this a good thing or a bad thing – I really don’t have an opinion about it – it’s a thing, and it’s an important thing that is changing what it means to be Indigenous”

“If people are getting upset by what you’re saying, particularly from multiple directions, it probably means you’re onto something that’s really important”

Julia: “Why should anthropologists care about science and technology studies?”
Emma: “…my one-word answer is knowledge; that science and technology studies is really at its essence about the production of knowledge, the dissemination of knowledge, the reception of knowledge, and particularly the contestation between different kinds of knowledge and different ways of knowing. So all of these questions are also completely central to anthropology”

“This kind of question of, “are these kids going to be better off if they go to school?” does haunt people’s minds. My work is really about acknowledging that as a really important part of the experience of trying to enact post-colonial justice.”

“Ethnographic methods are crucial for answering the sort of questions that STS scholars want to answer… to understand how people are experiencing disease, using drugs, engaging with new technologies, getting their genetic ancestry tested, making robots. All of these things are really interesting ethnographic questions about what it means to be human in 2018 and beyond.”

Transcription of Ep. 34: Knowledge Making Emma Kowal talks Indigenous health care, difference and genomics

[00:00:00] Julia Brown: Hi, everyone. First off, we at The Familiar Strange want to acknowledge and celebrate the first Australians on whose traditional lands we are producing this podcast and pay our respects to the elders of the Ngunnawal and Ngambri peoples past, present, and emerging. Let's go.


[00:00:26] Julia: Hello, and welcome to The Familiar Strange. I am Julia Brown, your familiar stranger today. Welcome to the podcast, brought to you with support from the Australian Anthropological Society, the Australian National University's College of Asia Pacific and College of Arts and Social Sciences, the Australian Center for the Public Awareness of Science, and produced in collaboration with the American Anthropological Association. Today's interview is with Professor Emma Kowal, a cultural and medical anthropologist at Deakin University. This is the second episode in our special STS interview series, and we encourage you to get onto our TFS chats group on Facebook, if you haven't already, to chime in as we take you through this exciting series of interviews on all things science, technology, and anthropology.

We recorded this interview last September in Sydney on Gadigal Land at the International Society for Social Studies of Science 4S 2018 conference, which Emma Kowal was co-chairing. Now, just to back up, as you were about to hear, Emma is a pretty impressive and courageous kind of anthropologist. Not only has she received loads of grants and authored over a hundred publications, i.e. a few more than most anthros do in their lifetime, she has pushed disciplinary and knowledge boarders. Having pursued a career in medicine before turning to Indigenous public health and anthropology, she brings to the table a good mix of perspectives.

I was delighted to hear last week that she has now joined the editorial team at Somatosphere which, for those of you who don't know, brings together critical writings across medical anthropology, STS, and cultural psychiatry. As for today's conversation, Emma and I begin by discussing the career path and passions leading up to her PhD study on "white anti-racist health workers" living in Indigenous communities in Australia. This turned into her 2015 ethnography called Trapped in the Gap: Doing Good in Indigenous Australia. Which I did cite in my thesis and which anyone interested in health gaps within and across cultures should absolutely get their teeth into.

Emma also carefully explains in this interview the relationship between anthropology and STS in these contexts, and we delve into her more recent work involving the racial politics around genomics. I'm glad I asked Emma towards the end of our interview, how early career researchers can be a little bolder if they are inclined towards the sorts of research that she is, because she's another advocate for Australians to not be so cursed by this tall-poppy-syndrome-thing, which seems to have come up time and time again in a few of our TFS episodes. And with that, here's my interview with the fabulous Professor Emma Kowal.

[00:03:06] Julia: So you did a liberal arts degree in conjunction with medicine at Melbourne University, and then you became involved in Indigenous activism at the time, and then eventually did a PhD in public health and anthropology. So, I'm really curious as to how you decided to make that transition from medicine to anthropology.

[00:03:29] Emma Kowal: Well, it's so wonderful to be here on The Familiar Strange, Julia, to start with. So, I had a foot in either camp really from nearly the very beginning. I went and started and did medicine as an undergraduate when I was 17, because medicine was an undergraduate degree at that time at the University of Melbourne. After the end of first year, I missed English literature from school. I just felt too didactic to be just told all these facts about the world all day, so I picked up just one subject, English literature, in second-year medicine, and then I thought, "Oh, well, I may as well do a whole degree." I realized it was possible.

So, I took a year off medicine after third year and overloaded hugely with my arts subjects, and then I took another year off medicine between fifth and sixth year, because it's a six-year course as an undergraduate course, and I did honors in medical anthropology in Papua New Guinea with Professor Martha Macintyre, which was a wonderful experience, very formative. Then, as you said, yeah, during university, I was very much an activist on a range of issues but ended up really focusing on Indigenous solidarity issues. So we formed a student group called Students for Land Justice and Reconciliation or SLJR [pronounced ‘sledger’] was a very clunky acronym.

[00:05:01] Julia: Powerful.

[00:05:02] Emma: Powerful. Yep. That was formed in 1997, which was like really the height of the reconciliation era leading up to the walk over Sydney Harbour Bridge, the Walk for Reconciliation, the Royal Commission into stolen children. So, all of this was really heady times, and we were very passionate about educating ourselves, educating our fellow students. People like Gary Foley were very much our mentors and he told us that we shouldn't really bother about trying to so-called help Aboriginal people, but just to look after our own mob, to educate other non-Indigenous people.

I finished medicine, went off to the Northern Territory to work as a doctor because I wanted to work in Aboriginal health. Then I wanted to work in Aboriginal public health because that's more big picture, structural, where you try to prevent disease. Then I wanted to work in Aboriginal health research because it's where you figure out how to do public health better. I was on this journey, this teleological journey to do the most good. After doing that for a few years and working in communities across the Northern Territory, I thought maybe I'll do a PhD.

You have to figure out something that you want to do, something that's going to really capture your imagination for such a long time. Wake up in the middle of the night, in I think about 2002 and thought, "Oh, I'll do a study of this place where I'm working, this research Institute where I'm in, where there's all of these white people who are trying to help Aboriginal people, but not by imposing anything, but by supporting them to do things for themselves." It seemed like quite a really interesting social situation. That brought me really into anthropology. That was not a short- I'm really bad at telling short stories. I've got to tell all the listeners that right now.

[00:07:03] Julia: No, it's wonderful to have you elaborate properly. In terms of the white health workers, your colleagues at the time, do you think that they were on board with the types of inquiries that you wanted to make, or was it all a little bit radical?

[00:07:20] Emma: No. I think the short answer is they were on board, and it was the kind of study that would be really hard to do if you weren't an insider. So, I think of myself as a native ethnographer in that I was studying my own tribe of white middle-class left-wing people who had come from their Southern metropolitan homes to work and try and help the Aboriginal people. That's what was driving everybody.

My field work was really having the corridor conversations, dinner party conversations that everyone was already having, but that was basically my bread and butter for my year of ethnography- was really trying to work through those questions. I think it was very much a para-site in that sense of working with my informants as really co-thinkers. Of course, I'm the one that's doing the PhD and writing it up, but I was definitely in conversation with many of them who are still friends.

[00:08:16] Julia: When you talk about white anti-racist health workers in your ethnography, Trapped in the Gap, were you also referring to yourself then?

[00:08:25] Emma: It's a real challenge and I think that the goal of anthropology is to get to know and identify people who are not your people previously. That's how it usually goes. I think that when you are a native ethnographer, as I deploy the term, it is maybe more difficult to then separate yourself because you weren't separated beforehand, but it's the challenge, that's participant observation—being part of it, but also having some kind of objective distance.

Potentially, it's the case wherever you’re- whoever you're studying that there are people, maybe a proportion or maybe many of the people amongst the group that you're studying, that are asking meta-questions, that are now prompting you, and have already been thinking about the questions that are of interest to you. I think that's the case for many ethnographers, certainly not all.

We're always a part of the social group. Maybe there's people in the social group that we identify with more who are asking the same questions that we are, and it's difficult then to write about those people, definitely, and particularly difficult in the context of Aboriginal research where Indigenous ethics and the role of the white anthropologist is well and truly critiqued and interrogated, and Indigenous health research is perhaps the most ethically difficult area to work in. I certainly had to make decisions that, in retrospect, I don't feel as good about in my book in not going as deeply into individual stories but maybe using a composite story or changing potentially identifying details which I had to do in terms of the ethics that was expected and maintaining my relationships with the people. It certainly comes at a cost, hopefully not too big a cost.

[00:10:23] Julia: You were talking about how anti-racist health workers engage in this process of over-structuration, which downplays Indigenous agency, because these health workers are disturbed by the notion of Indigenous agency, because then health behaviors and outcomes are no longer a remedial difference. Can you talk a little bit more about that?

[00:10:46] Emma: Yes. What I talk about is the enduring tension of Indigenous affairs, really going back at least since the '60s when the idea of equality for Indigenous people and equality for all Indigenous people, whether they were so-called ‘assimilating’ or whether they were ‘living on remote communities’, the idea that all Aboriginal people should be equal to non-Indigenous people in terms of their social conditions. This idea only goes back to the early '60s and really since then the tension between, in the simplest terms, difference and equality has really animated a lot of what we do.

My analysis was that a lot of what individual white anti-racists, as I call them, but also the broader policy frameworks are struggling with the question of how do we enact Indigenous equality? How do we make the lines on the graphs that we draw of Indigenous versus non-Indigenous, how do we make those lines converge and close the gap while maintaining Indigenous difference, while maintaining Indigenous people as essentially different to non-Indigenous people?

[00:12:03] Julia: It's such a big question. I have to say it cuts across a lot of my own research on another marginalized group, people with serious mental illness and the fact that people who have more contact with the healthcare system, that's not translating to better health outcomes. I guess in a lot of the Indigenous communities you've worked with as well, people are having frequent contact with health workers there.

What do you sense is something that has been useful or not useful? Or this is a moral question? What should we be trying to do anyway? And whose right is it to say “What is health?” I'm just wondering if you have any more thoughts on how to address this gap in Indigenous life expectancy more productively given the policy failings so far in Australia.

[00:12:56] Emma: Well, there's a couple of things to say there. I think it's important to acknowledge and understand this tension. Another way of putting it is: it's arguably impossible to distinguish difference from disadvantage, and that's a big problem. The same would apply for people with serious mental illness. Is their refusal to take medication, for example, is that an expression of, in this case, disease or lack of education or a self-harming streak that needs to be addressed or- [crosstalk]

[00:13:32] Julia: Or resistance? And that's not always a productive way of looking at agency either.

[00:13:37] Emma: Yeah. Oh, is it just difference? I mean, resistance, I suppose, is one way to think about difference but any kind of difference more broadly. Is it just a different neurodiversity, a different way to live that we need to respect? It can create the same dilemmas for the people that are trying to intervene in their lives. That's really my point. I can't help distinguish between difference and disadvantage. I don't know. I think at the extremes it's really obvious. If children are in situations where they are in houses where they can't get any sleep, where they're exposed to sexual abuse, where they don't have anyone caring for them.

I think that's uncomfortable to say that's disadvantage and something should be done about that. Others might disagree with me, but I'm willing to have that conversation. But there is a really, a massive gray area. Issues like schools on outstations for Aboriginal kids. Should the government provide teachers at a cost that the government can't really afford but maybe it could if it just prioritized that, or is it actually a choice to be remote, to be separated from Western education in order to prioritise Aboriginal knowledge education?

For some people, that's also a no brainer. They would think no, kids have to go to school. That's certainly the direction that we've been going more recently. I think for others, particularly those on the ground, working in communities, this question of “Are these kids going to be better off if they go to school?” does haunt people's minds. My work is really about acknowledging that as a really important part of the experience of trying to enact post-colonial justice, of being a white anti-racist person who is trying to make up for the sins of colonialism and the ongoing oppressions of the structure that is Australian settler colonialism.

[00:15:38] Julia: I guess, a question that might come up a bit, and I think you were perhaps criticised for this, if I recall correctly in your book, of providing white therapy for workers in this space by putting forward these claims. Now, what can you say to refute that critique?

[00:16:00] Emma: Well, there is a chapter called Studying Good, which really addresses the experience of studying a benevolent situation. I think it's common across people that study development or study any group that does something that most people would think is inherently good. So, trying to address Indigenous disadvantage. Of course, there's people that would critique that and you shouldn't be involved in the colonising state, which is fine, but that aside, most people would say, "Okay, you're going to go and work in the Northern Territory as a nurse or whatever.

That's a good thing.” To actually study that anthropologically raises difficulties because there's a lot of suspicion. Why do you want to study this? “Are you trying to make us”, as in my informants, “are you trying to make us look bad?” “Are you trying to say that we're actually racist?” Which I'm not trying to do. Or maybe I'm trying to do like a right-wing argument and say, "Well, the whole effort of trying to help Aboriginal people is a total waste of time because they're never going to be helped."

I wasn't trying to do either of those things, but I got interpolated that way at various points. Sometimes I'd give a talk and after the talk, there'd be people who are upset because I was being too hard and too critical of white people and there'd be other people upset at the same talk that I was being too nice that it was white therapy that I should be more critical of white people.

Of course, it's hard not to get like knocked around by these various critiques. I think the fact that they come from both sides means that this is an important area to study. If people are getting upset by what you're saying, particularly from multiple directions, it probably means that you're onto something that's really important, that's important to people. I would say, keep on going with that.

[00:18:04] Julia: Okay. Why should anthropologists care about science and technology studies? Which is why we're here at this conference this week.

[00:18:12] Emma: That is an excellent question. My one-word answer is ‘knowledge’, that science and technology studies is really at its essence about the production of knowledge, the dissemination of knowledge, the reception of knowledge, and particularly the contestation between different kinds of knowledge and different ways of knowing. All of these questions are also completely central to anthropology. I've actually been reflecting with other people at this conference how STS, science and technology studies, and anthropology have gotten closer in the last 5 to 10 years, for example. Indications of that institutionally are that the current president of the Society for Social Studies of Science (4S) Kim Fortun was the editor of Cultural Anthropology journal for five years.

The woman that was the program chair of last year's conference, Heather Paxson, is now the current Cultural Anthropology journal editor. I'm an anthropologist. This is a lot of anthropologists more and more involved with STS and with the society. I think that there's a couple of reasons for that. I'd say one is the general turn to anthropologists working in more diverse field sites and more so-called Western field sites, but really wherever you work, science and technology are everywhere, whether that's medications or mobile phones or bicycles. It's really hard to think of any field site or any issue that doesn't involve science and technology, especially when we think about infrastructures and systems and policy circles.

STS has a lot to say about a lot of things that anthropologists need to explain. Certainly not the only direction you can go to explain things, but a lot of anthropologists find it very productive. I suppose the other answer would be theoretical, that people like Bruno Latour, like Donna Haraway, like Karen Barad, who are STS scholars, have produced theoretical frameworks that have traveled incredibly far across so many different disciplines, and are compelling and useful to scholars all over the place. I think it comes back again to thinking about knowledge, thinking about being ontology, how do we understand the world, what is out there? The big questions.

[00:20:46] Julia: The big questions. How do we reconcile that with ethnographic methods as well? I mean, science doesn't have to be just about quantification, does it? In terms of working with technology and very subjective interpretations of what observations we make, how can we think about STS as being applicable to fieldwork in the immediate?

[00:21:10] Emma: Well, ethnographic methods are crucial for answering the kinds of questions that STS scholars want to answer and, of course, I'll say that because I'm an anthropologist. But to understand how people are experiencing disease, using drugs, engaging with new technologies, or getting their genetic ancestry tested, making robots, all of these things are really interesting ethnographic questions about what it means to be a human in 2018 and beyond.

I'm thinking also of my colleague at Deakin, Eben Kirksey, who is one of the founders of multispecies ethnography, which is not something that I can really speak to, but just to say that another feature of STS is really to decenter the human and to look at all the non-human actors, whether that's non-human animals, objects, air, atmospheres, sound. I think it adds ethnographic depth and maybe gives us the tools to bring more and more into our ethnographic analysis.

[00:22:17] Julia: Maybe anthropology needs a new name, although I guess a lot of it is an extension of human.

[00:22:22] Emma: Disciplinary labels, I think, are really good. They're necessary in terms of institutions. I think they're good social boundaries to help people socialise and be in scholarly communities, but I think there's a real convergence of quite a few different disciplines right now.

[00:22:38] Julia: Indeed. Your current work on racialized genomic knowledge in regard to Indigenous Australians, what can you tell us about that?

[00:22:48] Emma: When I was actually writing up my PhD, that eventually, after many iterations, became my book, Trapped in the Gap, I realized that I would run out of scholarship and I needed to pay the rent, and I thought I better apply for a postdoc, which I did. During my PhD, I'd spent a year at the University of California, Berkeley as a visiting scholar, being a pretend grad student, and socialized as a grad student there, which was very enlightening. Just at that time, the so-called first ethnic drug was released.

This was a drug that was first patented and then licensed for use with African Americans. It was a drug that lowered blood pressure. This was a brand-new thing in the world, an ethnic drug. Social scientists in the US, who I knew and were hanging out with at Berkeley and also at UCSF, were in a total spin like, "How can we possibly have an ethnic drug?" We believed Richard Lewontin, a famous geneticist, who said in the early 1970s that there was more genetic variation within groups than between groups, probably something that you've heard around the traps.

[00:24:07] Julia: Yes.

[00:24:08] Emma: That comes from Richard Lewontin. This has been the dogma of the social sciences—that there's no such thing as race, we're all the same under the skin. How could we then have an ethnic drug in 2005, when it came out? This seemed really interesting to me and to my colleagues, and I decided that I would watch the emergence of genetics at that time and now genomics in Indigenous contexts in Australia. When I started my first postdoc on this in 2007, there was almost no genetic research happening with Aboriginal people in Australia.

It was very much a stigmatised science, which made it extra interesting for me because I could see that with all the investments going into genetics and genomics all around the world, eventually, it would collide with indigeneity. What would happen, given the baggage of biologized identities in Aboriginal history with the whole history of physical anthropology and head measuring and blood quantums and a whole plethora of legislation that your life was basically whether you could vote, who you could marry, where you could live depended on whether some government official decided you were so-called quarter-caste or half-caste? With all of this baggage and history, what would happen when genomics becomes a regular part of everyday life? That was my question.

[00:25:42] Julia: I guess this is an area that-- Well, it is an area that I don't know much about at all other than the difficulties around the fears and political correctness that comes with even just trying to conceptualize something like Indigenous DNA. Does that scare you getting into this field?

[00:26:01] Emma: Well, look, I think it attracts me rather than scares me, and people might think that's a bit horrific, and I accept that criticism. I suppose I've come to this with a 20-year history now of engagement and working with Indigenous people around the place and engaging with Indigenous scholars and writing with Indigenous scholars. I stand by my track record and in what I've written. I've written about critiques, for example, Welcome to Country ceremonies and acknowledgment of country rituals, and I believe that my work is useful. I believe that I have the ability to talk about really difficult things in a way that at least a lot of people find useful, not everyone.

These are important questions. These are important demographic questions. They're important policy questions. For example, one of my projects with Elizabeth Watt is about the emergence of genetic ancestry testing for Indigenous Australian genetic ancestry, which is happening right now, and has the potential to really change the demography of the Indigenous population in a context where identification is really increasing a lot all the time.

Without saying that this is a good thing or a bad thing, I really don't have an opinion about it. It's a thing and it's an important thing that is changing the experience of what it is to be Indigenous for quite a few Indigenous people. I think someone should study it. Luckily, the Australian Research Council agreed that someone should study it, and here I am.

[00:27:44] Julia: What would your advice be to other early career researchers who are taking on these kinds of topics, but anything that is likely to be contentious? I think with your medical background and the wealth of experience that you brought to the project, not all ACRs would have that, so where would they begin?

[00:28:09] Emma: I'd answer that by talking about something that I've had to talk to, I think, every one of my research students who are engaging with Indigenous topics of some kind, who are non-Indigenous scholars themselves, will say, "Can I really do this? Is this something I should do? Is it appropriate for me to even look at this?" My response is that making knowledge is a morally risky exercise. No matter who you're making knowledge about or what the topic is, knowledge-making matters to people. If you're working in Indigenous affairs, if you're working in Indigenous anthropology, you can't forget that. You really need to be aware of that all the time.

What are the stakes of what I'm saying? Who might be affected by what I'm saying? Who will be affected by me not saying it? What are the consequences of me remaining silent? You really have to weigh that up and be confident in the conclusion that you come to because it is an open question. Is there a place for non-Indigenous people to be contributing to scholarship about Indigenous people? I think there is. Of course, I'm biased. I'm a non-Indigenous person myself but I have engaged with a lot of Indigenous scholars who agree that these are big problems, big questions, and we want the best minds to be looking at these issues and we want the best scholarship possible.

It's important to have outsiders, non-Indigenous people, looking at these issues. Because, as I've said, with my previous project of being an insider, a native ethnographer, it does affect what you can say and how you can enact your knowledge. I tell my students, just be clear about what you're doing and why you're doing it. People will criticise you, inevitably, but be self-reflective all the time. Always revisit why you're doing it, but you can't necessarily give up because one person has a problem with it.

[00:30:14] Julia: Speaking of being clear, I just want to quickly touch on this issue of science communication but anthropology communication as well because conferences like these are really important in terms of testing anthropologists’ ability to make their ideas and really convoluted theories sometimes more accessible to an interdisciplinary audience. Do you have any tips on being a better communicator because that's something else that I think you've excelled at really well?

[00:30:49] Emma: Well, I think it is really difficult for junior scholars because there is this pressure that you have to sound fancy and you have to have all the right terminology and you have to show that you're building on a theory, which all these things, of course, we should be doing, but it- often that translates into speaking in a way that's hard to understand, even just outside the immediate discipline, or you haven't read that particular genealogy of theoretical debates.

There is a place for that. When you write a journal article, you need to have that very close engagement and very precise definitions of the concepts that you're using and where it differs or conforms to other people's use of it. Hopefully, innovate the concept and make it do exciting things and do some conceptual work that then others can draw on and build that way. But particularly, for an oral presentation, even if it's amongst your own people, your own anthropological audience, I think reading your presentations out loud to your housemates, or whoever, to your cat, is really important. And say, yeah, “Can I understand myself?”

[00:32:09] Julia: Yes, absolutely, and then how can ECRs who are sitting in the audience of someone else's presentation ask better questions that will draw people into the anthropological thinking and debate in a productive way? Because sometimes silence just falls and then it's on to the next question.

[00:32:31] Emma: Well, that's true, but in that silence, there might be other people in the audience internally nodding. I would just keep on asking questions. We're here at big international conference, 1,100 people from all around the world who are engaged in critiquing and understanding science and technology. They are from different disciplines but asking questions at these international conferences.

Yes, it's tough to do especially for Australians. I think a lot of scholars say particularly from the US are really trained as grad students to stand up and speak their piece in front of a whole room of people. It's quite hard, often for Australian scholars, to muster the words and the confidence to do that, but it's one of those things that you just have to do in order to get better at it. I've had some massive fails in my time. I've thought, "Oh my God, I've totally humiliated myself by asking this question that people didn't quite understand” at some big international conference, but no one else will remember three minutes later.

[00:33:35] Julia: And hey probably didn't interpret it that way at all.

[00:33:37] Emma: That's right. You just give it a go, put yourself out there, email your academic stars beforehand, ask them to meet you for coffee, take advantage of the opportunities.

[00:33:50] Julia: Thank you, Emma, that's very positive energy, and thank you again.

[00:33:54] Emma: Thank you.

[00:34:12] Julia: That was it, me and Professor Emma Kowal. Today's episode was produced by me, Julia Brown, with help from the other familiar strangers: Jodie-Lee Trembath, Ian Pollock, and Simon Theobald. Our executive producers are Deanna Catto and Matthew Phung. Subscribe to the Familiar Strange podcast. You can find us on iTunes, Spotify, and all the other familiar places.

Don't forget to leave us a rating or a review with your likes and dislikes. It helps people find the show and it helps make us better. You can find the show notes including a list of all the books and papers mentioned today, plus our blog about anthropology’s role in the world at thefamiliarstrange.com. If you'd like to contribute to the blog or have anything to say to me or the other hosts of this program, email us at submissions@thefamiliarstrange.com, tweet us @tfsTweets, or look us up on Facebook, and Instagram.

Music is by Pete Dabro. Special thanks to Nick Farley, Will Grant and Maude Rowe. Thanks for listening. See you in two weeks and, until then, keep talking strange.

[00:35:09] [END OF AUDIO]


Emma Kowal, 2015, Trapped in the Gap: Doing Good in Indigenous Australia, Berghahn Books, New York/Oxford.

You can find the book here:

You can read more of Emma’s articles here: https://deakin.academia.edu/EmmaKowal

Read more about the 4S Conference 2018 here: https://4s2018sydney.org/program/

For an explanation on the Aussie term ‘tall poppy syndrome’ see:

You can find Julia’s interview with 4S President Prof Kim Fortun here.

This anthropology podcast is supported by the Australian Anthropological Society, the ANU’s College of Asia and the Pacific and College of Arts and Social Sciences, and the Australian Centre for the Public Awareness of Science, and is produced in collaboration with the American Anthropological Association.

Music by Pete Dabro: dabro1.bandcamp.com

Shownotes by Deanna Catto

[Image sourced at: https://unsplash.com/photos/pgfWIStWIfs]

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