As I am writing this blog, I have been in Amman, Jordan for about five weeks. I arrived with many expectations, like most new anthropologists entering their first field work experience. With this in mind, I consider how much I’ve accomplished (and how much I’ve adapted as well!) since I have been here, not just in terms of my work for my internship but in other aspects of my life in Amman as well.
The organization I am interning for is My.Kali Magazine. This is an LGBT magazine based in Amman that focuses on topics such as gay films, fashion tips, and embarrassing dating stories. Reading and editing many of these articles has provided me with a window into cultural similarities and differences between the LBGT community in the US (broadly speaking) and in Amman. Believe it or not, there are many similarities.
Right now I am working on three articles that will be published in My.Kali’s upcoming issues. One article is going to discuss gay women and pornography. Specifically, why do gay women prefer gay men porn to gay women porn? Another will be about a cross-cultural comparison of common terms and phrases used in the LGBT community, sort of like an LGBT dictionary. For example, what is a postmodern lesbian or a twink? The latter article will focus on short reviews of books and articles on sexuality in the Middle East that would be of interest to readers.
While my day to day internship activities may not be routine and maybe even be unconventional to some, I’ve managed to engage in a lot of social work that will end up helping me in my thesis research next summer in Amman. Most of my duties are online where I work from home or from a café. However, I do go out often with people at My.Kali which I believe is all part of the internship as well! Doing this internship in Amman is not just about fulfilling a certain number of hours a week, but also about adapting and participating in new cultural activities as well, which can be difficult at first!
Considering this, I’ve made a lot of great connections since I have been here, many thanks to the people I know from My.Kali. This will aid greatly with my research next summer—I’ve met so many people in the LGBT community here! Perhaps more than I ever have in the US. As I said, socialization has been a primary activity for most of my stay here so far. With this socialization in a new culture comes the partaking of eating food, which is a central activity here, as well as drinking tea, Nescafe, Arabic coffee, orange juice, and rosemary water. Aside from eating, drinking, and practicing Arabic as part of my daily social activities, I have also taken a few trips to other parts of Jordan. I’ve been (along with some friends here) to the Dead Sea, Irbid, and the Roman Theatre. Soon I plan on going to Petra, and Wadi Rum. Of course there are more activities to come!
Cultural Anthropology MA student