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.