The Knox Student (TKS): Where are you from?
Elayne Oliphant (EO): I’m from Canada.
TKS: Where did you go to school?
EO: I did my undergrad at a liberal arts college in Ontario called Trenton University, and I did my masters in political economy at a university in the capitol of Canada called Ottawa and then for my Ph.D. In 2005 I moved to Chicago.
TKS: Why did you choose Anthropology?
EO: I had studied political science and political economy for my undergraduate and my master’s degree, and I think I felt like it was really important to know about these big, over-arching structures in the world, but ultimately I was more interested in the way that people make life meaningful everyday despite these kind of over-arching global structures. So, I wanted to pursue that other line of questioning to get a better sense of how people interacted with these big structures that people couldn’t do anything about and how people still made their lives meaningful in creative ways.
TKS: What brought you to Knox?
EO: Well, like I said I did my undergrad in a liberal arts college, so when this announcement came around for this job I was really excited by it because it’s a great experience teaching at the university of Chicago but I kind of missed the liberal arts tradition and so I was happy to have the opportunity to come here, and I really wanted to try teaching an introductory course.
TKS: If you had to pick one thing, what accomplishment are you most proud of?
EO: I think I will be most proud of finishing this Ph.D. in the next six or seven months, but so far I’ve completed two marathons, so I’m pretty proud of that. I did my first one about a year ago, then I did another one last June, so I’ve completed two marathons, and I was happy with my time.
TKS: What was your best college memory?
EO: I went to college in a city just a little bit bigger than Galesburg and in my second year with three of my closest friends we rented a giant Victorian house with three porches, and a back yard, and two living rooms, and a giant kitchen and we lived there for the next three years and cooked a lot of meals. We never locked our doors, you know, it’s Canada. People don’t lock their doors, and people would come and go and come in for food and to say hello. So, I love that house, and I am still very close with the women I rented the house with.