I would like to start out by thanking the O’Brien Foundation for awarding me one of their scholarships. The award allowed me to fund a period of fieldwork which was crucial for my PhD in Social Anthropology at the University of Cambridge.
How the O’Brien Foundation Helped with my Career Development
After graduating with a first class honours degree in Anthropology from the University of New Brunswick, Fredericton, I was awarded a Commonwealth Scholarship to do a PhD IN Social Anthropology at the University of Cambridge. This scholarship was for 3 years and would only pay for me while I was in a commonwealth country. During the second year of my PhD, I did 15 months of fieldwork in the Ecuadorian Andes. As this is not part of the commonwealth, my PhD funding wouldn’t cover my travel or living coasts during my fieldwork. Thankfully, I was awarded an O’Brien Foundation Scholarship and this covered the coat of my field work (1989-90). There was even enough left over for me to buy myself a computer and printer and to take typing lessons. All of this helped with the completion of my PhD, Dissertation: Soups, Saints and Sucres: An Analysis of Food, Religion and Economy in the Central Ecuadorian Andes.
After finishing my PhD in 1993, I was given a lectureship at the University of Glasgow in the Department of Sociology (now called Sociology, Anthropology and Applied Social Science).
I am still here at Glasgow and have been promoted to Senior Lecturer. I am currently in charge of our Honours Sociology and Anthropology Programme. I teach at all levels of our undergraduate and post-graduate programmes and have supervised a number of PhD dissertations.
My original research was on the relationship between religious and economic change in the Ecuadorian Andes. I have continued to do research in the same village, returning in 1995 and 2006. I have also done fieldwork in the Bolivian Andes, looking at conversion to Protestantism and also to Islam. In Scotland, I have also done research on conversion to Islam. I am currently involved in two interdisciplinary projects with other researchers at the University of Glasgow. Together with people from the Department of Management Studies, I am looking at how anthropological theories of ritual and ritualization can be used to analyze corporate strategy ‘away-days’. I am also part of a large funded project (365,000 pounds) looking at the teaching of Religious Education in schools in Scotland, England and Northern Ireland.