What Are You Reading? Dr. Juliana Flynn

Juliana Flinn is a professor of anthropology at the University of Arkansas – Little Rock. She has lived here for 35 years.  Her pastimes include acting in community theater, hiking, practicing yoga, and playing with grandchildren. 


I’m a cultural anthropologist, and I’m convinced that the reading I did as a child set me on that path.  I inhaled fairy tales as a child and as a teenager discovered science fiction.  That may not sound  connected with cultural anthropology, but those genres are all about exploring other ways of being, living, and thinking.

Then I discovered novels set in various exotic locales around the world.  All that reading incited an urge to actually experience other ways of life rather than just read about them.  As a senior in high school, I was able to live in France for a year, and I discovered in college that anthropology was the field I’d been looking for.  I joined the Peace Corps and lived two years in Micronesia.

Since then I’ve spent many more years in Micronesia as well as a year in Belarus and a year in rural Alaska.  Reading started it all, and I still read to explore other lives and places and times.  As an academic, I certainly spend time with scholarly reading, but I remain addicted to novels.  (Without the public library, I couldn’t afford that addiction!)

I’m currently reading a science fiction novel, Dark Matter, which my son—a fellow science fiction aficionado—recommended.  It has science fiction together with a delightful love story.