Visiting Academic Addresses Anthropology Students
Social Anthropologist Dr Alan Thorold gave a lecture to first year Anthropology students titled: “Culture and Society in Africa (ANTH 102)”.
Thorold was invited to give the lecture by Dr Maheshvari Naidu, an anthropologist in the School of Social Sciences in the College of Humanities.
Naidu said in the past she had invited scholars such as Professor Francis Thackeray, noted paleo-anthropologist from the University of Witwatersrand, who gave a lecture to students in the same module.
‘Students respond well to different local and international scholars, as it allows them to be exposed to a diversity of teaching skills and teaching approaches. Given how techno savvy teaching has become, it is important to recognise that innovative teaching can also be embodied within pedagogy and not only technology’, said Naidu.
Thorold drew on his illustrations from his work among the Yao-speaking Muslim minority in Malawi and outlined the key features of the development of their identity and their current situation in a multicultural society.
Thorold also gave a Seminar to Naidu’s honours class titled: “South African Ethnography (ANTH 704)”, in which he engaged with students around the video ethnographic project that Naidu had set the students as an applied task. Thorold said he discussed the uses of film and video recording in ethnographic research.
‘The imperative here was to move the students away from pure text- based ethnographies into looking at politics of representation etc, embedded in visual texts. Alan Thorold was the perfect person to invite given his own background work in visual anthropology,’ she said.
Thorold studied social anthropology and psychology at UCT and completed a PhD in anthropology at Cambridge University in England. He has taught anthropology and development studies at UKZN, Deakin University, the University of Melbourne and the Catholic University of Malawi.
‘Overall the visit appeared to have successfully engaged students at various levels in an exchange of ideas that seemed to provoke interest and enthusiasm,’ said Thorold. ‘The trip was arranged with great consideration and attention to detail by Dr Maheshvari Naidu who welcomed me to the university and facilitated the programme.
‘Thanks to careful co-ordination by Dr Naidu I was able to engage with a wide range of students and academics and I believe the visit achieved its objectives and had very beneficial outcomes,’ said Thorold.