I care about cultures and environments –
and what it takes to make them livable.
I am a trained cultural anthropologist motivated by questions of care, value, and intimacy, particularly in relation to rural places and the collectives of humans and nonhumans that inhabit them. My dissertation, "Dignity and Dionysus: Doing Wildness on the West Coast of Scotland" explored these themes through a sensorial ethnography of hospitality and landscape conservation in a remote West Coast community: a scenic place that needs strangers to survive, but has to jealously protect the quality of wildness that draws people there in the first place.
I have always been curious about the ways people make a home in particular environments – how qualities of space, color, and atmosphere touch us and express our inner worlds. As a child, I would fearlessly approach strangers to ask them questions like, "What color is your house?" and "What color is the rug in your bedroom?" I sensed that there was something deeply human in the choices we make to adorn the spaces we live in. And that the work of fashioning environments does something to our bodies and our selves.
These curiosities are of course classically anthropological, but they have sustained relevance in contemporary worlds outside the university too. How, for example, can we use anthropological sensibilities and sensitivities to create more livable cultures/environments within large organizations? Schools? Neighborhoods? Cities? There are infinite possibilities to scale up this thinking and do good.
Culture is a field of beliefs, values, and modes of expression that gives structure and meaning to our lives. But if culture is acquired, it is also inherently adaptable. In my research and work, I am dedicated to using anthropological insights to create worlds we want to live in.
Copyright © Mackenzie Cramblit 2018