Three narratives of anthropological engagement


  • Melania Calestani Goldsmiths, University of London
  • Ioannis Kyriakakis UCL
  • Nico Tassi UCL



This article is an account of different experiences, reflections and impressions that have arisen when embarking on the process of doing anthropological research and writing a thesis. The common ground of these three narratives is that they refer to our personal engagement with anthropology, our experiences within the academic world, as well as to our restless endeavour to make sense of them. We are particularly concerned with the language, the methods, and what usually remains unsaid or is taken for granted with regard to the context of anthropological training, fieldwork and writing up. Our claim is that whereas we as anthropologists attentively take into account the context of our research, we have often failed to pay a similar kind of attention to ourselves and our academic context. We see this article as a contribution towards such study.

Author Biographies

Melania Calestani, Goldsmiths, University of London

Melania Calestani carried out research in Bolivia and Western Samoa. Her main interests include issues related to well-being, faith and morality. She is currently a research associate at Durham University, collaborating on the project The Waste of the World. She can be contacted at [email protected].

Ioannis Kyriakakis, UCL

Ioannis Kyriakakis has recently finished writing up his thesis on Christian pluralism in Ghana, and he is particularly interested in issues of religion, magic, cosmology and political economy. He can be contacted at ioannis_kyriakakis(AT)

Nico Tassi, UCL

Nico Tassi is currently working on his PhD in Anthropology at University College London (UCL). He conducted fieldwork with Andean indigenous and mestizo settlers in La Paz, Bolivia's capital city, and his research addresses Andean representations with a particular focus on their aesthetic and cosmological qualities. His other interests include epistemology and anthropology, religion and ritual, Andean images and literature. He can be contacted at altoplanico(AT)