Ep #76 The Sounds of Fieldwork & Choosing Your Field Site: This Month on TFS

This week we’d like to introduce a new Familiar Stranger, Jarrod Sim! Jarrod is a PhD student at the school of Archaeology and Anthropology at the Australian National University. His current research is an anthropologically-led study of how landscape has shaped the auditory cultures of a Paiwanese community in Taiwan. He investigates and comprehends sound as layered and is interested in its role in contemporary understandings of culture. Welcome Jarrod! 

This week’s panel centres around the various sounds of fieldwork. Jarrod’s work with the Paiwanese community got us thinking about how our respective field sites sounded and how sound is a really integral part of fieldwork. We also dive into the difficulties of conducting ethnomusicology online due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

We then discuss a question sent in by a listener! They wanted to know what kind of considerations the strangers made when choosing a field site and what were some of the practical constraints that had to be considered. 

Check out More of Jarrod’s Work here 


”The old school vision of the anthropologist is you will go and you will be there forever and by god that Woman will wait” 

“I thought I could always go back again, and then COVID happened” 

“When you’re Whatsapping people, people aren’t necessarily in a mode to be interviewed” 

“Zoom… it feels like more of a business, a place where things get done” 

“The entire ethnomusicology discipline is in shambles right now, we’re all trying to figure out what to do, how to conduct ethnomusicology in a digital age” 

“You need a visceral, kind of hands on knowledge of how things work, how music sounds, how to handle an instrument, how to make an instrument and you can’t do that digitally” 

“If we treat anthropology not as a necessarily a data driven…jotting down people’s important  sayings and so on, but something as more productive” 

“Having now taught students on Zoom it’s a really difficult thing to do”

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Our Patreon can be found at https://www.patreon.com/thefamiliarstrange

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 Matthew Phung
Podcast edited by Alex D’Aloia and Matthew Phung
Feature Image: “合歡山 (全景) ● Hehuan Mountain (Panorama)” by Raymond Ling (2015) 

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