City Lit Blog

A Q&A with Max Carocci

Story added 29th Nov 2018

Max Carocci installing works of Sarah Sense at The Common Thread exhibition at Weltkulteren Museum

Max Carocci brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to his role as tutor at City Lit in our Anthropology team. We recently caught up with Max to find out more about anthropology and what you should expect from studying at City Lit.

What course(s) are you currently teaching at City Lit?

Over the ten years I have been teaching at City Lit I have taught a number of different courses. In the academic year 2018/19 I will be teaching Fashion, clothing and hair: anthropological approaches, Introduction to anthropology: natures and cultures and also Introductory anthropology: language, culture, communication.

I also teach various classics course which include Ancient world civilisations, The Aztecs, Cities of Gold: Native American Cities Before Columbus and The Maya.

My area of specialisation is the Americas, and my anthropological fieldworks have mostly been in the USA with North American Indians.


What exactly is anthropology?

What can be said of a discipline that covers all cultures and societies?

Anthropology is concerned with how humans respond to being and dwelling in the world. It is about how people construct ideas about their neighbours, animals and the environment, as well as how they understand the invisible aspects of the human experience, such as death, birth, and the intangible forces that animate the universe.

Anthropology explains and interprets how humans make sense of the world they live in and how they organise their social life through culturally specific models. In essence, it studies comparatively what is simultaneously universal and unique about what people around the world do and what they believe. 


Can you tell us a bit about your background? How did you develop a passion for anthropology? 

I have always been fascinated by cultures, even before I knew anthropology existed as a distinct discipline. I became aware of it during my school years, when I supported myself working in a Native American art and jewellery shop in Italy. It was run by a Native American woman who taught me a lot about the cultures she represented in her gallery. The more I got to know them, the more it became clear that I had to learn more about what made them so unique. The only way I could do this was to study anthropology.

Studying anthropology enabled me to comparatively study cultures around the world that could inform an understanding of Native American cultures, and since then the ball kept on rolling. I did an MA in history, eventually did a PhD and started working for the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain.


Why do you think it is important for people to study anthropology?

In a world plagued by racism, intolerance, cultural misunderstandings and prejudice, being exposed to alternative cultural examples is the healthiest thing anyone from our society can do today. Many of my former students have told me that they came out of anthropology courses positively changed. They start questioning the premises upon which they thought the world worked. Understanding different worlds and ways of thinking opens our eyes and expands our horizons; it helps us to see that different futures are possible. 


What should students expect from studying anthropology at City Lit?

They should expect to be challenged in their preconceptions and adopt new perspectives. We encourage students to engage in fruitful and exciting conversations about diversity, pluralism and differences between cultural values, philosophies and ideologies. 

Anthropology is very therapeutic, especially if one thinks that the premises upon which we constructed the world we live in today should be questioned…


Is there any advice you would give to someone thinking about studying anthropology at City Lit?

Come with an open mind, don’t judge, take a reflective stance, adopt a tolerant attitude, and try to understand why people do the things they do the way they do them. Allowing oneself to embrace another culture’s perspective can be liberating, it enables dialogue, and opens up the possibility for seeing the world with different eyes. 


Browse our latest anthropology courses at City Lit >