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What interests you in anthropology, archaeology and history? 400-600 words.

The experience of living amidst a community and using them as an object of study for one’s
research is a very interesting concept. This method of research by which one can get to know
them better is a different experience for each person since the context of their own lives
comes into play. The story of the anthropologist’s life and what led them to delve into
anthropology interests me more than their methods of observing that society. The context of
their lives placed next to the story of that community is fascinating because it not only looks
at different perspectives, it also observes the differences in the ways of life before and after
the two, the anthropologist and the community, come into contact. Taking the idea of
perspectives a little further, it makes me wonder how the anthropologist might be viewed by
the community, since I do not come across many such pieces of literature or accounts. The
thought that follows this question is whether the subject of study changes now and whether
anthropology, as a study of people and their communities, allows for this sort of fluidity. This
fluidity then also extracts information regarding how the thought processes of that
community work and this facet is what interests me.

The idea of looking at one’s object of study in a conventional way of observing and then
extracting information, however scientific it may appear, also allows for interpretation and
storytelling. While the physicality of excavation and the discovery of artefacts brings around
the sense that there is a set of facts that is attached to that object, it leaves in the dark the
simple thought that the person who discovers it has the license to tell the story of that object
in their own words without making it into a fictional tale. Further, the grasp that the field of
archaeology has over words and language is very thrilling for me, as I have only come across
representations of archaeologists in popular fiction. These archaeologists are portrayed as
folk who are more interested in investing themselves physically in a find more than in
consulting books for information. Thinking about archaeologists as those who would also sit
down and write extensively about their findings, about their thoughts or about giving their
own interpretation of an artefact, and who would spend years on research through books,
interests me since it looks at the duality that the life of an archaeologist entails.

Observing the concepts of linear and cyclical time allows me to reflect on whether time, as an
important factor of historical events and trends, has to be continuous and free flowing. Just
like the information available to historians, time as a concept interests me when it is
perceived as disjointed, as it gives a much more interesting way of comparing the present
with the past. It breaks away from the misconception that since an event has already
occurred, all the information surrounding it is available if one looks hard enough. Rather
than looking at historical events and trying to paint a whole picture of the past, the
juxtaposing of those events with the current affairs allows one to envision a past that is not
only relevant but also incomplete, letting them freely interpret and draw connections in the
place of deriving and stating “facts”.

The intertwined fields of archaeology, anthropology and history posit questions and engage
me since I feel a level of freedom in skewing perspectives and looking at solid objects of
study as incomplete pieces of information waiting to be interpreted and made a part of
someone’s life.