College of Arts & Science at Miami University
Tibetan Studies Semester Program
Anthropology in the Making
(with Nathan Devore, March 2010)
A full text transcript of the video is available below.
(In this video, Nathan Devore discusses his experiences while conducting medical research in India. Nathan is a recipient of the 2011 President's Distinguished Service Award.)
"By far, the most academically pertinent thing that I did in India was my research into medicine in India. Not only because I collected good data and I'm going to be able to write that up, but because all of the training that I've done in my courses at Miami really kind of culminate in that experience.
So, the importance of taking good field notes: I didn't really appreciate that until I was in India looking at my field notes and saying to myself, 'Oh, I'm really glad that I wrote this down and, gee, I really wish I'd written that down.'
Different theoretical approaches to understanding culture and understanding people, it really comes alive. It really makes sense when you have a real personal context right outside your door. And every day I'd wake up and I'd walk to the field site and I'm thinking, 'Okay, this is what I've found. This is what I'm looking for.' This is anthropology in the making, in the field.
Personally, living in India, particularly living by myself for a lot of it when I lived there in the summer, it really expanded my horizons, my interpersonal skills. I would go to a café to write my field notes and I could either sit by myself or I'd have to go talk to somebody. And a lot of times it was in my, at that point, not particularly good Hindi. So, it was constantly networking, constantly talking to people, constantly fending for yourself.
I know I have to be here at this time and I've got to figure out how to get there. I want to get this person to talk to me for my research, how am I going to approach them and convince them that they should talk to me? So, personally that was the most pertinent thing."