November 8, 2016 at 4:07 pm

Anthropology Faculty Talks with Student Club about Research in India, Albania

Dr. Matt Rosen

Dr. Matt Rosen

By Harlee Rozell ’17

Dr. Matthew Rosen, Visiting Assistant Professor of Cultural Anthropology, gave a talk last week at the Ohio Student Anthropology Society meeting, focusing on his recent research over the past two summers in India and Albania.

This week’s visitor Dr. Nancy Stevens from the Biomedical Sciences Department joins our group for a similar talk about her research in paleoprimatology. Join us Wednesday, Nov. 9, at 7 p.m. in Bentley Annex 007.

E Për7shme - A Little Book Corner. Tirana, Albania. Photo courtesy of Matthew Rosen.

E Për7shme – A Little Book Corner. Tirana, Albania. Photo courtesy of Matthew Rosen.

Rosen’s research in Tirana began with his curiosity about a local bookstore-café with a reputation that, from his perspective, seemed odd.

“It was a hipster café also rumored to be a hangout for an emerging religious community,” he said.

In the context of widespread Islamophobia in a mostly secular city, talk of the shop was suffused with mystery and speculation. Mutual acquaintances arranged Rosen’s introduction to the shop’s owners, Arlind and Ataol. He explained to them his interest in reading practices and asked if he could have an interview. Sure, they said, but now was very busy.

So Rosen returned to the café every day for several weeks and waited.

The waiting (and drinking lots of tea) “was really about securing access to a field site and establishing rapport,” Rosen said.

When Arlind, and later Ataol, warmed up, they started to share their story, which was a story of friendship and a shared passion for reading and social change, which led to them investing in the bookstore. They used the “coffee profits” to start a publishing company that specializes in translations of works from other languages into Albanian.

The bookstore-café has now changed ownership, allowing Arlind and Ataol to focus their energies on their publishing venture, which is celebrating its most recent release, an Albanian translation of the Chilean author Roberto Bolaño’s 1,1000-page novel, 2666.

Rosen remains in contact with his friends from Tirana and enthusiastically follows their transnational literary enterprise.

Altogether, this presentation was a success!

Members of the audience eagerly asked questions and learned more about these projects, taking the talk longer than planned by 20 minutes.

The talk was given in a relaxed, social environment. The intimate environment and interesting topic created an atmosphere of relaxed learning and discussion.

For similar OSAS events, email Harlee Rozell (me) at

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