Ross ready for the US

09 September 2002
THE Department of Anthropology bid adieu last week (at least for a little while), to senior lecturer, Dr Fiona Ross. Ross has won a prestigious grant from the Wenner Gren Foundation for anthropological research that will give her the opportunity to study at the University of Chicago for a year.

"Traditionally, postgraduate work in the social sciences has been very consolidated into particular research areas. I have lots of research experience but I would like deeper theoretical knowledge of anthropology. This is an opportunity that allows me to take classes, sit in on classes, meet various people in the field and to engage much more with the discipline for ten months," she explains enthusiastically.

Ross says that she chose the University of Chicago because it is one of the best training grounds in the world for anthropology students. "It's regarded as one of the best by some people because while most universities emphasise research, Chicago has a very broad theoretical training.

"When you leave there you are very deeply grounded in social theory which we, in the past, tended not to offer our students," she says, adding, "Also, the Chicago area has a good Africanist section, it has a fantastic Africanist library, which has people who work throughout Africa. The University places a large focus on Africa, which makes it very attractive for me."

Her visit will also involve gleaning experience and knowledge that will tie in with and enhance courses that are currently available at UCT's Department of Anthropology .

"The idea is to send me away to train so that we can add things that we have not traditionally taught here, or rather, forms of theory that we have not traditionally taught, and to add that to post-graduate courses.

"We have had a huge increase in post-graduate students, and of course with the Graduate School of Humanities, there is a huge demand for different kinds of courses."

Ross will return to UCT in the second semester of next year.

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