Learning: Anthropology of Current World Issues

Screenshot_20170203-121647.jpgA personal note on Anthropology

About a week ago, I decided to hit edx.org and enroll in one of their courses. Initially I was looking for a course on ideology and politics, but I stumbled upon “Anthropology of Current World Issues” by The University of Queensland Australia taught by Gerhard Hoffstaedter with Amelia Radke and Fern Thompsett as moderator.

Why am I taking this course?

In my teenage years, I first discover the word “Anthropology” and also the prominent Anthropologist, Margaret Mead. I read her biography and learned that Mead along with her partner, Bateson, did field work in Bali after their marriage in Singapore. Her work was pioneering in visual anthropology, they used a variety of methods to explore the role of culture in personality formation. In my college years, I read not so much about Anthropology as Visual Arts. My last encounter was when I read and eventually posted a screenshot of this article in brainpickings.

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Besides Margaret Mead, the legendary anthropologist, Clifford Geertz, through fragmented studies of his essays, challenges my perspective on the dominant culture of Balinese. As a Balinese, for me, it is important to understand the culture I am given, with its context from an alternative point of view and how it shapes my personal identity.

Do read: Person, Time, and Conduct in Bali: The Social Nature of Thought by Clifford Geertz

To summarize, why am I taking this course? To learn and therefore understand more of the world around me. To learn about ways in which anthropology as a discipline can shed new perspectives on current world issues and/or issues in my own country, ranging from marginalized groups, material culture, indigeneity. 


-Develop critical thinking ability

-Able to see the world from a wide range of perspectives

-Understand key anthropological concepts and methods

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Defining Anthropology

After the first meeting, we were asked to define our own interpretation of Anthropology. From my understanding, social or cultural anthropology is all about people: their environment, traditions, beliefs. It is a restless field, constantly exploring the paradox of human plurality. How we are all the same species, with millions of years of evolution, yet the period of our cultural evolution is relatively small by contrast. The period in which we have become different culturally, ethnically in appearance is only a small part of our evolutionary history. We are both, as it were, the same, as with all other human beings, and every individual is absolutely different genetically and in character. ‘I think anthropology is possibly the most alluring and edifying way of exploring plurality’,stated Professor Michael Jackson (Harvard Divinity School).

I also personally think that the obligation of Anthropologist in 21st century is not to produce academic knowledge and treat communities as laboratories, but to engage and do activist work, help people in the margins of society, often poor, vulnerable, right-less, indigenous, or in various ways oppressed or subordinated within larger social structures. It should be, in some way, positively impact the conditions that it is studying.

“Open your being to experience—as challenging and frightful as that may be—and let that experience guide you in a direction that makes you feel comfortable in your skin. In that state you are much more likely to communicate stories that will remain open to the world, stories, lessons and themes that your successors will dote upon and use in a way that fits their time. As my teacher Adamu Jenitngo liked to remind me: remember the past, live well in the present and think about the future…” –Paul Stroller (West Chester University)




the cross-section (come what may)


  • standing barefoot in the cross-section
    left foot swollen purplish blue skin
    it was seven days after the motorbike accident
    right foot soaking wet skin wrinkling
    nine minutes ago tears rain down heavy
    from the heart to the eyes
    pouring down kissing dirt on the hot asphalt
  • i am
    at the cross-section
    the in betweens
    the what maybes
    colliding through this fragile physical body
    meeting in the center
    of this hardcore heart
    filling up the void
  • bahala-na
    come what may

constant reminder to the cautious lover

Walk on my dear, hold his hands tightly

Love as if there’s no tomorrow

Do not take time for granted (if you take it for granted, there will be no moments)

For when the wind blows, it just flows 

(Hard, flock of birds flapping flight on the ripples of your breath

Soft, tickling the bamboo leaves, giggling)

Just be, my dear.

The cause and effects, all is taken care of.



Sometimes fear creeps in, what is this does not work out?

“Who cares.”, Bear said bluntly.

“I care! I will be hurt, drowned, buried in the deepest trenches, broken to pieces and…”

“You have fought, you have loved, you have lived.” Bear whispers to my ears.



A dream inside a dream

giant stone
••I lived inside the trunk of the old-wise Seqouia, I hugged giant stones for comfort.

The animals are friends and changing of seasons taught me that continuous cycle is a law of life.

Every move in time, every growth, there is this chain, continously latching me to everything else.

I was never free anyway••

Journal Archive: Oct 8th 2016 (Putu Sridiniari, 25 years on earth)


afraid of showing up to disappoint

cultivating and never harvesting

until the seasons come to an end

when the last drop of water kisses the ground

the sun sets and

never comes back

i died inside the ground i grew me in

i died because there was nothing more

to live for

wake me up

wake me


_______hold my hands

my fingers

_____________my last breath where my hope flew to the sky

the sky, it was gone now, i should’ve done better.

what could i do?

the roots was pulling me way stronger

beneath the ground

i buried myself



___Saturday, October 8th 2016.

bleed to heal and compensate the lost: a pms story

feet.jpgAs bleeding is happening,

A sacred space opens up,

I commune with my heart,

I ask, “What can I do for you?”


A lot.

In different ways, in many aspects,

I hug myself,

I whisper love, prayers of gratitude and understanding.

I know why you suffer, my darling

Finally we can talk about it.

___________________I feel the breeze, the thunder, the rotation of this planet.

The small creatures under my pillow, the dance of tiny hairs on my skin, the volume of water in my eyes, the growth of my fingernails, creeping the hell out of me.

I feel the heat of your body. The thump of your foot touching the wooden floor. Your sorrow. Your madness and pain.

The anxiety I have in the weight of your presence.

Lightness and heaviness,

Real and Surreal,

Love and Hate,

Sweet and Sour.

I take it all in…to compensate the Lost of a creation.

So I bleed.

Let me bleed_





-Putu Sridiniari,

Words & Artwork: February 2017.