Author: Simon Theobald

Do Not Adjust Your Dial (Ep. #18 Re-release)

Simon Theobald , May 2nd, 2022


Apologies strange familiars. We had some technical difficulties this morning and you might have noticed an podcast briefly go out this morning that wasn’t supposed to. Just a…


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Colonial Spectres

Simon Theobald , November 8th, 2020


What would it mean to be no longer ‘in country’ in Australia? How would the legacies of British colonialism, and the attempted extirpation and survival of Australia’s indigenous…


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“It’s a lot of sand”: An anthropological take on Trump’s Syrian withdrawal

Simon Theobald , October 20th, 2019


That Syria has “a lot of sand” is meant to stand in for its lack of value. As a place that is sandy, it is not worth US…


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Eating Iran: From the delicious to the inedible

Simon Theobald , June 16th, 2019


I was having second thoughts, but pressed on safe in the knowledge that I was performing an act that would raise my esteem in the eyes of those…


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Misinterpreting People

Simon Theobald , January 27th, 2019


Anthropology has long ago dispensed with the notion that there is any ‘one’ truth. But I think most ethnographers still hope that in describing a group, the people…


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The village idiot: Language learning for anthropology fieldwork

Simon Theobald , September 19th, 2018


In preparing for fieldwork, I took a class on language training with Piers Kelly. While Piers was talking more specifically about learning in a context where a language…


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Beyond Stereotypes: Success, failure, and the complexity of women’s education in Iran

Simon Theobald , August 22nd, 2018


During my 15 months of fieldwork in Iran, the gripe that a bachelor’s degree was now equivalent to that of a high school certificate from a few years…


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Ep. #18 What taste is made of: Brad Weiss talks pig farming and the meaning of food in America

Simon Theobald , July 22nd, 2018


“Livestock are essential to our lives. We live in a world that is saturated with livestock, and not just with the food that we eat, but with the…


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Does Anthropology Have a Point?

Simon Theobald , July 4th, 2018


Even as I attempted to (re-)present my research as anthropological, on its journey into the public sphere and a wider audience, it was interpreted and reinterpreted as ‘international…


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Talking in Silences

Simon Theobald , May 2nd, 2018


Elizabeth has an agency all of her own, albeit one that we might not be familiar with, and so to reduce her experience only to the ties of…


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Anthropology Is Boring: Bring Other Books

Simon Theobald , April 4th, 2018


I was determined to make sure that I was never bored during my fieldwork. Vibrant informants and constant social interaction were to be the key to my successful…


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Ep. #11 Alternative worlds: Ghassan Hage talks multiculturalism, teaching the enemy, & thinking in public

Simon Theobald , April 1st, 2018


“Any concept — capitalism, neoliberalism, etc. — leaves an excess that it is the aim of anthropology to unearth. These are spaces that are not dominated by whatever’s…


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The Revolution that Wasn’t (Yet): Reflections on Iran’s protests two months out

Simon Theobald , March 7th, 2018


I still remember vividly the words of an informant who, when asking him about his vision of a freer Iran, responded adamantly, “we don’t need more freedom, what…


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The Price of Eggs: Iran’s protests beyond democracy and capitalism

Simon Theobald , January 10th, 2018


As the dust settles on Iran’s recent bout of protests, the surge of commentary, punditry, and analysis is likely to continue, no longer working to explain these apparently…


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Like a Skin

Simon Theobald , November 8th, 2017


For those of us who have grown up in the ‘West’, we tend to think of religion as a customizable category. Some of us are born into a…


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The Restitution of the Dead

Simon Theobald , October 11th, 2017


On the 7th of September 2017, Syrian national Mouaz Al-Nass, a singer and drummer, recorded and then uploaded a video of himself reciting the adhan, the Islamic call…


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