Most people know that I studied anthropology in University. But I don’t think I’ve ever really told anyone what got me interested in anthropology as a discipline to begin with.
As I went back to Kwantlen in 2004 I was there with intentions to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. My first semester was filled with criminology and psychology courses. I thought I’d be doing my bachelors degree in psychology, just because it seemed like the thing to do…. who didn’t want to understand the human psyche better?
During my second semester I took a first year anthropology course on a whim, the course description looked interesting and I figured I’d go to the first class or two and drop it if the course outline was too fossil-centric.
In the first class our prof handed out a sheet of lyrics and played us a song. The song was Changes by Tupac (2Pac?).
I was intrigued. Like most everyone else I thought anthropology was about digging for fossils in an attempt to understand the beginnings of humans and all other living things. I was so wrong.
So I didn’t end up studying the human psyche, I studied something much more interesting (to me)…. culture.
The prof used this song to explain to us that anthropology was the study of humans, which could be done through numerous different ways. Most of the time we think of ethnographies as written research or fieldwork, something compiled after years of studying a culture; instead she made the point that cultural studies aren’t just done by outsiders and academics, but could be found in various different mediums. One of the most popular being music.
From that first class I was hooked. It wasn’t just about writing about years of studying cultures, it was art, music and everything else relating to culture.
Every time Changes comes up on my iPod I can’t help but feel grateful for that teacher. She took a class that I was prepared to drop and replace with another psychology course and made it into my degree, something that I’ll remain passionate about for the rest of my life.
And that, my friends, is how Tupac has help shaped my life.