Lucas Lynn '22 - Research for Senior Thesis in Cultural Anthropology

Lucas Lynn '22 - Research for Senior Thesis in Cultural Anthropology

With the use of SPIRE enrichment funds, I was able to purchase documentary equipment that I used to collect archival-quality interviews and oral histories beginning in the summer and continuing through this academic year. This work, which was conducted for my senior thesis in cultural anthropology, concerns questions of race, place, land, and inequality, particularly as they pertain to my family’s farm in rural Alabama. Thanks to the SPIRE enrichment funds, I am able to continue engaging with the data that I collected even though I am distant from it. I can close my eyes and immerse myself in audio and video that take me back to sitting under the gazebo, reclined in a metal lawn chair and sitting across from my grandfather, his torso perfectly framed by the gazebo’s structure which frames my view of the pasture blowing in the breeze. Birdsong and the drum of insects are the backdrop to our conversation until the drone of Highway 14 breaks through or the rooster cries out. In another audio, I can hear the crunch of dried magnolia leaves as my father and I walk around the barns, discussing the ways in which they have changed since he was a boy. Listening to these recordings, I begin to fill in the gaps, reminding myself of the enveloping heat of the summer days, of the smell of the warm longleaf pine straw, of how stale the air was in the abandoned barns. The hours of audio and video I was able to record will continue to keep me rooted while writing my thesis.