Chance, happiness, anthropology, and meanings of life

26 August 2021

“Chance, happiness, anthropology, and meanings of life” with Gordon Mathews

In today’s episode of the CUHK Anthropology podcast, we speak with Gordon Mathews, a longtime professor in the Department in an interview covering a wide range of topics.

We begin by discussing how he became an anthropologist, his experiences and connection to Japan, the accidental nature of life, and how he ended up in Hong Kong. The discussion then turns to his research interests, happiness in life, the CUHK Anthropology Department and its students, the importance of teaching students to appreciate multiple points of view, and his connection to Chungking Mansions as well as his friendships with members of the asylum-seeking population. The interview concludes with his thoughts about what Anthropology can offer us.

(This episode is conducted in English.)

00’47 How anthropology became a part of Gordon’s life

11’04 Diverse research interests

15’46 On meanings of life and happiness 

21’21 Teaching in the Anthropology Department

28’13 Academic freedom and teaching critical thinking 

34’37 Connection to asylum-seekers and memorable experience in the field

46’34 What anthropology and ethnography can offer the world 

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