Notes From the Field is a series of updates from Antioch College faculty members about the travel and research they’ve conducted.
I spent a month this summer traveling through Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland with my family. As an anthropologist, every journey involves some ethnographic work.
Of particular interest were the murals, remnants, and taxi cab conversations about the Troubles history in Northern Ireland. My partner, a professor of Sociology and Social Justice Studies at Miami University, is an expert of political violence and social movement history. Traveling by car (and foot) through the country was powerful and insightful.
Through photographs and field notes, we were able to better understand the ways in which foreign occupation of Northern Ireland continues to impact the lives of folks living there. We happened to stay in Belfast just days before a national holiday and were puzzled by the heaps and heaps of wood palettes sporadically located throughout the city. Through storytelling, we learned that these palettes would be set ablaze in resistance to the nationalist holiday.
I am eager to bring these stories and passion into the classroom this year at Antioch. Students can read more about the IRA and resistance that continues in Northern Ireland today in my social movement course this winter!
Jennifer Grubbs is a Visiting Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Antioch College.