My name is Grace Fay Cooper. I am the 52nd grandchild of the late Grace Fay Cooper and the daughter of Patricia and Terence Cooper. Friends and family also call me by my married name, La Señora de Rodríguez.
I am by profession an anthropologist. An anthropologist in training I should say, as I am still earning my PhD. Much like the life of French romantic philosopher and early anthropologist, Jean-Jaques Rousseau, (1712 – 1778) my life has been characterized by moving through spaces, places, and social networks along the entire spectrum of society.
From his humble beginnings Rousseau fell to the lowest tier,, but later after making the necessary alterations of self he began socializing among the elite. However, in spite of new attire, education, and behavioral tweaks Rousseau and his new acquaintances remained conscious of his class status and social difference throughout daily interactions. His awareness and analysis of his own experiences navigating through the 18th century French and European social hierarchy earned Rousseau the title of anthropologist long before the formal establishment of the discipline.
Just as Rousseau, I too come from humble beginnings and have spent various moments in my life in dark situations and under bitter circumstances I would wish upon no one.
Along my life’s education, social, and spiritual path I have had the fortunate opportunity to work for both the most prestigious academic institutions in the U.S and for organizations that some might consider less than prestigious. I have stayed in some of the fanciest hotels in some of the largest cities in the U.S. and lived in some of the most modest and far-removed conditions without water, electricity, floors, or plumbing. I have ended a shift at work cleaning vomit out of a van only to walk into a university classroom a few hours later to participate in a formal discussion on the meaning of culture. I have strained my body spending an afternoon mowing lawns only to finish the evening performing as the first-chair clarinetist of my local community’s band. I have left my my home in the rural Washington driving across the country only to find a new home a few days later in an impoverished, inner-city neighborhood of North Philadelphia.
These constant sharp movements across drastically different social spheres have shaped my pensive outlook. Anthropology has given me the vocabulary and theory to be acutely critical of my experiences.
My hope is to use what I learn from anthropology and from living to write articulate, expressive, and reflective thoughts on life, education, family, academia, class, language, and other aspects of social existence. Through this blog I also wish to achieve one of life’s greatest honors – sharing knowledge with others.