For Morrison, anthropology offers the possibility of studying both ancient skeletal remains and recent human history.
by Dan Rossi ’16 (anticipated)
“I actually came in undeclared/history major. And my first semester, just out of curiosity and not knowing what else to take, I took an archaeology course,” explained Kyle Morrison, a recent alumnus, as to how his interest in anthropology developed.
Anthropology is, by definition, the study of societal and biological human development. Those studying it can expect to handle ancient human remains, tools and artifacts from cultures long passed. However, anthropology isn’t all skeletons and arrowheads. Some anthropologists, like Morrison, are interested in more recent history, such as Europe during World War II.
Morrison explained that after taking that initial anthropology course, he decided the subject was something he wanted to continue to explore and declared anthropology as his major. Now Morrison is embracing the opportunity to explore the topic further, possibly working for World War II historical sites. In the summer of 2015 he interned with Adelphi professor Anna Konstantatos at the Greek Heritage Museum in New York City. In Fall 2015 he will attend graduate school at University College in London, which has been one of his favorite cities for many years because of its rich history and “some of the best museums in the world,” he said.
Through the anthropology department, Morrison has also been to Crete, an island of Greece, where he attended an archaeological study and dig with others from the department. He already has plans to venture to Scotland, as well as further excursions in Greece, where he can study heritage and work around the museum sector.
Several of the professors from both the anthropology department and Honors College that Morrison worked with along the way had a great impact on him, including Anagnostis Agelarakis, Ph.D, who led the archaeological dig in Crete, and Salvatore Primeggia, Ph.D, who awakened Morrison’s interest in possibly being a professor himself. Morrison’s thesis, “A Child’s Utopia,” developed in such a way as to highlight one of the features unique to cultural anthropology: the ability to imagine societies that could be, or that might have been.
Morrison discusses the concept of a utopia within the context of a children’s summer camp. To make the development of this utopia more realistic, Morrison establishes that his utopia is a society in which “things are not ‘perfect,’ but an ideal situation where they can be isolated and forget about the rest of the world and the problems there.”
This idea draws inspiration from Sir Thomas More’s 16th-century book, where Utopia is a small isolated nation whose identity and social structure solve some of More’s concerns with the real world. However, Morrison eventually comes to the conclusion that a utopia is possible, but only for a brief period of time. Inevitably, the outside world will cause too great a change within this self-sustained society. The ability to study events as recent as World War II, as well as analyze events that never truly happened, is what makes anthropology such an interesting and limitless field.
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