Carolyn Schwarz, despite having been at Goucher for only a month, is already a popular face on campus. She replaced Susan Frekko, who is on sabbatical, in the anthropology department, which Schwarz describes as “friendly and welcoming.” Schwarz received her Ph. D in anthropology, specifically cultural anthropology, in 2007 from the University of Connecticut. Ever since she was young, Schwarz was fascinated with human interaction, calling herself a “curious child,” and constantly asking, “Why are people acting this way?”
With her thirst for human knowledge, Schwarz decided to study anthropology at the University of Michigan and later transferring to the University of Maryland. Finding that “common humanity,” as Schwarz describes it, is just one thing that makes the study of anthropology so intriguing. Schwarz studied abroad herself in graduate school, doing work in Australia.
Prior to Goucher, Schwarz taught at SUNY Potsdam, a much larger state school. The vibe at Goucher, however, is far different. She describes her students as vocal and participatory, and likes the informality amongst faculty and students, stating that Goucher has an “egalitarian” feel to it. The three classes Schwarz is teaching this semester have challenged her, especially ANT 275, Language Myths, where students deconstruct common myths. Being a cultural anthropologist, linguistics and languages are not her specialties, so the class provides something different and enjoyable. Schwarz’s seminar on the environment and social justice, an interdisciplinary class, has also been fun. The class has recently been discussing whaling and the conflicts it causes amongst different social groups, like environmentalists, animal rights activists, and townspeople. In her classes, Schwarz sees herself “as a conductor or a mediator…[we are] having a discussion about the readings.” The study abroad requirement also allows students to really volunteer their experiences and provide “a new dimension”to class discussions, whether to give advice to students who have not yet studied or abroad or just to generally share their experiences. Schwarz also teaches an introductory anthropology class – her largest class with 28 students, is filled mostly with new freshmen, but speckled with a few juniors and seniors. When she’s not at Goucher, Schwarz keeps busy with her two young children – two years old and eight months old – and her husband, a mathematician. Family is one of her top priorities in life. The commute to Goucher may be a bit far – 40 to 60 minutes one way – but Schwarz is still so excited to be a part the welcoming, insightful community at Goucher. While it may not sound like fun for everyone, one of Schwarz’s favorite things to do is the same thing she does here at Goucher – to work, and specifically, to write and publish. “Writing is something I can do to relax, to a certain extent,” she comments. Schwarz also likes to stay active, and likes to run and walk – with or without a jogging stroller. Exercising is a way to “free my mind,” Schwarz adds.
Next month, Schwarz will also be a guest coach for the field hockey team, after playing all four years in college. As a well-rounded individual, Schwarz is fitting in well at Goucher, and we are so grateful to have her here.