Abstract

This paper explores our efforts to capture the imaginations of first-year anthropology students and draw them into a space where they could learn to think anthropologically and experience the insights this perspective provides. Usually, creating field-based opportunities for undergraduate students is difficult, but the COVID-19 pandemic made it impossible. Faced with limited opportunities to advance the students’ ethnographic experience and learning, we decided to focus our attentions on a subject that students were very familiar with, and which became almost a symbol of lockdown: the family dog. Through our focus on dogs, we explored key theorists and theoretical concepts, kinship and nonhuman relationships, and the changing construction of the modern family. This paper reports on the exercise and the insights it brought forward in terms of human-dog relationships in contemporary Australia.

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