Department of Anthropology
Our next guest of the open interview is Prof. Gabriella Lukacs. Author of a book which we mentioned in a previous chapter, “Invisibility by Design”, Prof. Gabriella is also the director of graduate studies of Anthropology at the University of Pittsburgh. Her work particularly looks at media anthropology in Japan and Hungary. This brings us back to her book, as we center the open interview in a Book Club and Q&A format. Similarly to the first open interview, we have published and shared the event on our social media, however there was less engagement to it. With only a few potential participants, we decided to set a less ‘administrative’ planning prior to the event. Therefore, we approached it as we would as participants of a book club, we read her book and came with our own questions.
When the session took place, we were the only participants in sight, however this did not put a stop. Since this was our very first time meeting with Prof. Gabriella Lukacs, it was not an issue as we had plenty of questions still at hand between the two of us internal team. This also made the session far more intimate and casual. The session started with Gabriella sharing her backgrounds, situating her position in the topic as a feminist, researcher, anthropologist, traveller and mother. We bounced off questions but most focused back on her individual experiences and findings on the topic of ‘feminine labour’ in japan and its systemic influences on the economy. Although it was not particularly her story we came to discuss, as an anthropologist, Prof. Gabriella Lukacs has shared with us through her experiences collecting stories of the locals, the importance of simply paying attention, observing, and finding intrinsic leverage points through observations. She made clear in both her writing and through our conversation the difficulty to surpass traditions, when culture becomes prominent in governance and institutional levels. However, her stories also highlight the very grass-root movements that women take action in as means to hack the boundaries and empower themselves beyond their restricted expectations. This brings us to ideate and center our approaches on more hands-on, tangible, and actionable approaches like that of empowered women hacking the system in Japan’s digital age.
As a small group of 3, this open interview talk reached a more relaxed and personal level very earlier on in comparison to the previous talk. Although since it was only so limited, the perspective exchange was also limited to the three of us. Perhaps the relaxed tone could be maintained but still a slightly bigger group of at least 4 or 5 would still manage a comfortable setting whilst enriching the exchanges with new angles of perception. In this case, it also brought us back to a usual interview setting, where the lively knowledge collection is done exclusively by the board members, us, to be shared only second-handedly through our notes and recording. Moving on wards, it was crucial to find this balance of openness as means to enrich the spread of feminist knowledge amongst one another.