Grady Owens '21 is a dual major in History and Asian Studies, with a minor in Anthropology. He shares his experiences as he prepares to graduate from Cornell.
What inspired you to minor in Anthropology? Do you have a specific area of interest?
I had taken three anthropology courses with Professor Magnus Fiskesjö and one anthro/archaeology class by Spring Semester of my Junior year. Professor Fiskesjö had mentioned in the Comparison of Cultures course that people could minor in anthropology with ease and I looked into it. As it turned out, I had completed all of the requirements for the minor besides the need for a -4000 level seminar. I put the seminar on my schedule for the Spring semester and by last fall I had completed what I needed. My area of interest is South Asian histories, especially those during the late 1800s, and many of the classes I had taken in anthropology covered that time period.
Do you have any favorite classes or have there been professors who have influenced your studies?
My favorite class I took in Anthropology was Magnus Fiskesjö's Kingship and Statemaking in Asia. It was the first class I took with the professor and the first Asian Studies course I took at Cornell. The class was a one-semester-only affair put together for a colloquium for discussing topics in Asian Kingship in April of 2018, if my memory serves me correct. That class started my intellectual journey into British Colonialism in South Asia. I have since taken two more classes with Professor Fiskesjö (Genocide Today and Comparison of Cultures); I greatly enjoy the way that he teaches his classes by combining different forms of media (videos, readings, movies, and photographs) to look at the way historical events have been portrayed in modern times. Professor Fiskesjö also has a wonderful way of presenting larger intellectual problems in a very digestible way.
Do you have any advice for students considering a minor in Anthropology?
I urge students to look and see what courses cross list. I was able to get the required amount of courses for the minor just by taking courses that cross listed in history, asian studies, and by completing college requirements. The only course I had to take that didn't cross list was the -4000 level seminar; at that point the department offers a lot of flexibility for seminars that appeal to your interest.
This fall I will be attending Oxford University for a MSt in the History of War. I plan to apply to continue to a PhD program in history at Oxford or another school in the US.
What do you think you'll miss most about Cornell/Ithaca after graduation?
I will miss my friends. Over the past four years I have made a family here at Cornell--friends that have had my back time and time again; friends that I have shared in good times and bad. I will miss their presence in my everyday life but will carry their memories with me forever.