sNAPAshots: Tamrika Khvtisiashvili

This entry is part 12 of 25 in the sNAPAshots section
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[On Screen] NAPA Logo

Interviewer 0:10
Want to use your anthropology skills to become a cross-cultural trainer? Then check out sNAPAshots conversations with practicing professional and applied anthropologists. Let’s hear from and meet Tim Rica.

Tamrika Khvtisiashvili 0:23
My name is Tamrika Khvtisiashvili. Really, I’m a Georgian-Russian-American. I am a linguist and anthropologist. Currently, I’m doing cross-cultural professional development trainings, most recently in India and Uzbekistan.

[On Screen Text] Let’s meet Tamrika! Tamrika Khvtisiashvili is a Georgian-Russian-American Linguist and Anthropologist currently working as a Cross-Cultural Development Trainer, most recently, in India and Uzbekistan.

Interviewer 0:46
How did you get interested in anthropology?

Tamrika Khvtisiashvili 0:50
So I came to Anthropology through linguistics. And I still think of myself, maybe as a linguist and anthropologist, but I got into linguistics because I wanted to study endangered languages that were…document and study endangered indigenous languages within a kind of the University where I was attending had this amazing couple professors that were known for that. So it kind of happened that way. Originally, linguistics came about through reading lots of Chomsky, for actually political reasons, I didn’t know that he was a linguist. And then I was like, he’s a linguist, like, what does that exactly mean? Because I was studying art at the time, I was doing filmmaking. So yeah, so it’s kind of funny. I was, it’s through Chomsky, that I came to linguistics, through linguistics into endangered languages, and then kind of got into more cultural anthropology because of these documentation projects.

Interviewer 1:54
What types of industry challenges do you get to help solve with this anthropological lens,

Tamrika Khvtisiashvili 2:00
I’m in kind of education section by education section mean, I work with a lot of a lot of professional development, or training for other teachers, professors, trainers themselves. So I think education has been interesting because educational systems are part of culture to right. So in different regions, you have different ideas to what it means to educate someone what it means to be educated, whatever the sphere is, it could be English language, right? It could be anthropology, it could be anything, but just in general, like who’s in charge, will kind of power that person should have in the classroom outside of classroom? What is the dynamic between the learner and the teacher or instructor or professor, so those kinds of things are always interesting, because as we go, you know, and do this professional development in different parts of the world, or as I do it, I have to constantly remember that I’m coming from my own understanding of an education system, right, and what is allowed or not allowed or not even allowed the what is welcomed or considered a right thing to do. So I would say those kinds of challenges, maybe, maybe it’s been helpful, helpful to have this kind of anthropological background in a sense that I can, again, look at the larger picture and understand that not from this ethnocentric point of view, but kind of from, from more relative point of view and realize, like, Okay, well, that’s great that I want students to actually be loud and make noise and not raise hand. Because to me, that’s a happy class. But that’s not what they want, or that’s not what there used to be, you know, and instead of me saying this is a better way, I kind of watch them and I showed them my way. And so you know, so find other ways to influence each other without saying that one is better than the other. So I think having that kind of background where I had to study different ways, different cultures, different approaches and different alters. It has helped me a little bit deal with education system systems and other countries, which are often extremely authoritative. So I would say that has been, like a specific challenge that I feel like I have to always fall back on my own kind of, like, okay, it’s okay. Like, don’t tell them it’s wrong. Just figure out how to show them maybe there is another way.

Interviewer 4:42
What was one thing about anthropology that nobody told you as a student?

Tamrika Khvtisiashvili 4:48
If you’re around the ideas of kind of some ideas of relativity or like if you’re if you’re if you’re comfortable with this idea that there are many ways to interpret information and we do things differently, and so on and so on, you kind of wait, especially when you’re in an academic bubble, you kind of start to think this is how the whole world is, you know, I spent like, lots of time and Master’s program and then PhD, like, you just kind of, you know, you end up in this bubble, right, of people who are really open to like the ideas of interpreting things in different ways. And, and talking about it. And so, maybe an academia in all fields does this. So maybe this is not only true to anthropology or linguistics, but coming out of long-term schooling, could be a shocker for people because you, you enter a world people, especially when we’re dealing with things like culture and communicating effectively, and so on, like, people don’t want to do that. Right. Like, often you end up in situations workplace, whatever, where it’s not like that, right? It’s not as accepting and, and kind of curious, even, you know, in academia, like, people were curious, right, like, regardless, so the real world might be less curious. And therefore less open to hearing ideas that might be different from theirs. So I think that’s always kind of interesting, because you come out and you think you’re going to have this like, amazing experiences. And often you do, you know, but you’re also surrounded by people that, like, they don’t care about your ideas about this, like different ways of doing stuff. They’re just, they just kind of want to get their stuff done. So maybe that like, lack of curiosity. I know.

Interviewer 6:46
What advice would you like to pass on to future anthropologist seeking roles in professional fields?

Tamrika Khvtisiashvili 6:52
This idea that we should always have enough space in our brain to allow ourselves to change our mind. So does that you know, it’s good to have your conventions I have them even above multiplicity and relativity, like I have all of those, but it’s okay. I think it’s really important that I constantly allow myself to change. And sometimes we forget the you know, we get stuck was our way of thinking and if you always have that, like, safe space, where you can, you know, what, like, actually, I’m not going to believe that anymore. Like, I just, that’s not the argument I’m going to have it’s going to be and I don’t know it, being gentle about it, like know that it’s okay to change your mind that it’s okay to think, you know, few years ago think one thing and then something happening in life, you know, I actually don’t want to stand by that anymore. I don’t believe that. And I don’t know, sometimes we’re really hard on ourselves, and we could feel embarrassed or we feel somehow that we can’t do that. And I think I would tell especially anthropologists, because you do encounter so many ideas and, and they affect us differently. Like maybe having access to this multiple ways of living has affected me one way but it might affect someone totally differently, right? They might be like no, like, I don’t like that. I don’t think that’s how women should be treated or let them know I’m going to really fight or bla bla bla, like we all have different interpretations of things. And just allowing ourselves to change our minds I think is really important.

Interviewer 8:41
Thank you to Tamrika for sharing your experience as a practicing anthropologist in the professional development industry. For more sNAPAhots, find us at practicing LinkedIn Meta and Twitter.

[On Screen Text] Many Thanks to NAPA’s General Council for their Support! NAPA is a section of the American Anthropological Association. Practicing Directors: Reshama Damle and Suanna Crowley Producers: Cathleen Crain, Niel Tashima, Joshua Liggett [On Screen] NAPA Logo [On Screen Text] sNAPAshots: What is your Anthropological Superpower?

Tamrika Khvtisiashvili 9:01
[Outtakes] Okay, I think it’s having social ease in some very strange situations. Yeah, and I don’t know, I’ve learned that it’s not super common, but that’s just one thing that I’m like, I’m so glad that so few things really freaked me out. Not only survive, but like, but thrive in sometimes situations that are really bizarre, strange, uncomfortable. I’ve learned how to have social grace to just kind of deal with them. And I really think that’s my superpower.

[On Screen Text] sNAPAshots

Interviewer 9:40

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