Semester at Sea Fall 2006 Voyage banner


Open Letter to Future Urban Anthropologists

By John Overington

          In this section of the website I would like to outline just a few of the main overarching themes that have emerged for me personally throughout this course.  These ideas have been spurred on by required readings and in port experiences that have effected the way that I view any landscape or skyline.  Unfortunately, never again will I be able to naively gaze into the skyline of a city, and not process the elements very critically.  The most important element of this class was the realization of the overwhelming power of transnational companies, and their influence on societies.  Transnational actors are endlessly working to influence or change socities into consuming more of their products.  No matter how much a company works to seem philanthropic, it is inevitably only doing so to make a profit somewhere.   In most of the ports I had the privilege to stop in, the vernacular is eroding as modernity advances, and this is a sad sight.  Transnational actors have almost reached a point where they are too powerful and influential to keep from engulfing everyone's life.  If there is anything that I learned from this class it's that consuming is not my goal in life, and that I must preserve all of the vernacular parts of my life for myself, before transnational actors package and sell that too.
Return to course home page Send me your comments: