For some of us, climate change is something we worry about for our kids or grandkids, that global warming will make this planet a hard place to live 50 or 100 years from now. But for some people around world, climate change is having an impact on their lives right now. On this episode of VandyVox, we feature a short audio documentary by Vanderbilt undergraduate Tanya Tejani that takes the abstract threat of climate change and makes it relevant and personal. She uses Bangladesh as a case study, a country where two-thirds of the land has an elevation of 5m above sea level or less, a country where people are already being displaced from their homes due to rising oceans. Tanya uses the stories of climate refugees in Bangladesh to shed light on the impact climate change is having right now around the world.
Tanya produced this piece as a class assignment in a course on culture and climate change taught by Vanderbilt anthropology professor Sophie Bjork-James. We featured another piece of student audio created by one of Sophie’s students back on Episode 1 of VandyVox. In this episode, we feature the audio documentary “Local Impacts” by Tanya Tejani.
Back in March 2018, VandyVox host Derek Bruff interviewed Sophie Bjork-James about her audio assignments for the other podcast Derek hosts, Leading Lines. Listen to Sophie talk about her work with audio assignments in Episode 56 of Leading Lines.
What comes to mind when you picture an anthropologist? Kellie Cavagnaro is a doctoral student in anthropology and comparative media analysis and practice (CMAP) at Vanderbilt, and she’s preparing to launch a new public anthropology podcast called Dispatches from the Field. The podcast will explore intersections between Kellie’s fieldwork in an Andean highland community of Peru and a mysterious 70-year-old ethnography produced by a Harvard anthropologist who claimed to have been bewitched. In the 1940s, Harry Tschopik, Jr., studied shamanism among indigenous people 14,000 feet above sea level along the shores of Lake Titicaca in Peru. In her new podcast, Kellie will revisit Tschopik’s work and connect it to today through conversations with the grandchildren of community members who participated in his research. Kellie told me that these cross-generational conversations will explore the adventurous but also problematic past of anthropology, while also demonstrating contemporary approaches to navigating and understanding cultural differences.
Here on VandyVox, we’re happy to share Kellie’s pilot episode, “What Pachamama Can Teach Us about #Feminism.”
For more on Kellie’s work, visit her website or follow @KellieCavagnaro on Twitter. For future episodes of her podcast, bookmark the Dispatches from the Field website. Kellie is producing her podcast with Adam Gamwell of Missing Link Studios, which produces the long-running public anthropology podcast, This Anthro Life. And for more about Vanderbilt’s comparative media analysis and practice (CMAP) program, visit the CMAP website.
In this episode, we feature a short audio documentary by Vanderbilt law student Joshua Minchin called “Well Founded Fear.” Joshua produced this piece for an assignment in a refugee law course taught by Vanderbilt professor Karla McKanders. The assignment called for students to take some challenging legal issued related to refugee and immigration law and to convey it to a non-specialist audience through audio stories. Joshua’s motivation for this piece came from his personal experience working as an employment specialist for a refugee resettlement agency before he started law school. In writing about this audio piece, Minchin said it’s important not to lose track of the people who are most affected by immigration law.
Joshua’s piece first aired on the long-running podcast Life of the Law. For more information on Karla McKanders’ collaboration with Life of the Law, as well as other student pieces that aired on that podcast, listen to Episode 136, “New Voices Series: Law Students Take on Immigration.”
This episode features an audio peice called “The Panizzardi Telegram” produced by Vanderbilt undergraduate Charlie Overton. Charlie was a student in podcast host Derek Bruff’s first-year writing seminar last fall, a course on cryptography. The course is a busy one, with mathematics and codebreaking, history and current events, and, as of recent offerings, a podcast assignment. Derek asks his students to explore the history of codes and ciphers for a class podcast called One-Time Pod. Charlie’s contribution on the Panizzardi telegram deftly combines historical storytelling and technical explanations. It also communicates an enduring understanding about cryptography: If you don’t know how a message has been encrypted, it’s really easy to make up a decryption method that makes the message say what you want it to say.
For more student-produced pieces on the history of cryptography, check out Derek’s class podcast, One-Time Pod. And for those interested in using audio assignments in their teaching, see Derek’s podcast assignment and rubric for ideas.
Last fall, Vanderbilt student Layla Shahmohammadi interned at Conexión Américas, a non-profit whose mission is to build community and opportunities for Latino families, particularly immigrant families, in Nashville. Layla’s internship was part of her capstone experience as a major in Human and Organizational Development (HOD). When Layla started working at Conexión, she noticed that staff members, who were mostly Hispanic, preferred others in the organization use the Spanish pronunciations of their names. She thought this was interesting, so she talked with her co-workers about their names and identities and produced a short audio documentary as part of her HOD capstone experience. This episode of VandyVox features that documentary, titled “The Name: Names, Identity, and Self-Perception at Conexión Américas.”
For more audio from HOD students, check out the HOD Capstone Learning podcast, available on SoundCloud.