Introduction to Anthropology

This category contains 6 posts

“Keep Your Anthropologist Hat On and Don’t Be a Weirdo”: Comments from my Intro to Anthropology Finals

Since doing field exercises was an important part of this semester’s newly redone Introduction to Anthropology class, on the final I decided to ask a short essay question about fieldwork. The question asked students to comment on the experience of doing the class field exercises, the contradictions of participant-observation and the challenges of the fieldworker-as-data-collector. … Continue reading

Anthropology is Easy and Other Undergraduate Myths

I’ve just spent a good portion of today grading the final ethnography reports for the semester. It has been quite an experience. Instead of feeling tired and worn out, I have found grading them interesting, insightful and—dare I say it—refreshing. I have actually been enjoying my end of the semester grading. Sometime in the next week … Continue reading

Master “The Double Tap” for Success on Assignments

“In those moments when you’re not sure the undead are really dead dead, don’t get all stingy with your bullets. I mean, one more clean shot to the head and this lady could have avoided becoming a human happy meal. Woulda. Coulda. Shoulda.”—Zombieland (2009) It always seems to be at the end of the semester … Continue reading

The “Culture Wear” Assignment

This semester I have been teaching Introduction to Anthropology using an entirely different approach from previous years—one that puts the curiosity, focus, and experience of learning through “fieldwork” at the center. Rather than introducing the discipline through foundational terms, concepts and histories delivered through the common methods of reading, lecture, discussion and testing—my new class is … Continue reading

Eating Uncrustables®, Eating Dog

A basic methodological assumption of anthropology is cultural relativism—that people in specific cultures have reasons for what they do that are contextually meaningful and that understanding of the things they do should be examined in context. Understanding aspects of what people do and explaining them cross-culturally—say in an undergraduate classroom, for example—is therefore an act of translation. … Continue reading

Faux Vintage Photos and Profound Academic Labor

Weekly field assignments are making for a very interesting and useful pedagogical experiment in this Fall’s Introduction to Anthropology class. Reviewing and scoring the field journals each Tuesday, however, makes for some intense grading. At least taking a fake Daguerreotype photo of the pile of black Moleskine notebooks, and posting it on Facebook makes it feel … Continue reading


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