Classes

I teach the following classes:

Anthropology 111: Anthropology, Culture, Globalization

Anth 111 examines culture and cultural variation in a globalizing world. It explores how societies and individuals are affected by increasing contact between people of different cultures. It takes an historical and cross-cultural perspective on the human condition and the cultural adaptations necessary to effectively function in a changing world. Through discussions, films, lectures, projects, and readings, you will learn think anthropologically and to think critically as we apply concepts to “real world” settings.

Anthropology 301/501/601: History and Theory of Anthropology

This course focuses on how the central elements of the discipline of anthropology (theory, method, argument) have been informed across time. Students learn that no matter how strong an argument appears, it must be interpreted, and its worth and value must be subject to intellectual scrutiny. Through critical, self-reflexive thought, we learn to understand the cultural and intellectual context in which the discipline evolved. We will study several different traditions in the field of anthropology, including evolutionary theory, American historicism, political economy, structuralism, poststructuralism, postmodernism, postcolonialism, feminism, globalization and transnationalism, and the anthropology of violence and war. The goal is be conversant with historic and contemporary trends in social theory that have influenced the discipline of anthropology; more importantly, we learn how these ideas shape contemporary social policy and can be used in a range of ways to understand and interpret contemporary social problems.

Anthropology 307/507: Applied Anthropology

Anthropology has been “applied” in various forms throughout its history. However, the field of applied anthropology took root in the middle of the twentieth century. This course explores some of applied anthropology’s most significant origins, debates, and applications. The first half of the course considers the politics of anthropological research, tracing its evolution from colonial beginnings, through upheaval and critique in the 1960s and 1970s, to various postcolonial and applied responses to these criticisms. The second half of the course focuses on how contemporary applied anthropologists address social issues like poverty, neoliberalism, criminal justice, race, immigration, labor, health care, human rights, and the military. Ultimately, the course seeks to locate today’s applied anthropology within a larger disciplinary tradition that is both critical and engaged, and to explore possibilities for a new terrain beyond the “practice” versus “theory” chasm.

Anthropology 311: Race and Ethnicity

Race is one of the most powerful and deeply embedded social constructs in our nation. Using lectures, small group discussions, student presentations, and films, we will examine the ways in which race and ethnicity are constructed, along
with class and gender. We  explore the ways in which ethnicity, race, and culture shape individual and group
interactions. In so doing, we will study European forms of colonialism, racism, sexism, classism, nationalism, and
privilege with an emphasis on the United States as well as parts of Europe, Latin America, and Africa.

Anthropology 341/541: Anthropology of Gender

This is an intermediate and graduate level anthropology class about the role of gender in society that draws information from a wide variety of cultures. “Gender” is a powerful force, something that shapes an individual’s or a group’s identity, power, influence, and authority. This class will investigate the categories of gender in anthropology, in contemporary public and private life, in work, medicine, and the media, and through migration. We will discuss how gender intersects with race/ethnicity, class, religion, and sexuality, and how these intersections affect people in the U.S. and in other cultures in a variety of ways. We will also address how notions of gender are shaped by ideas about femininity and masculinity, reproduction, beauty, and militarization. Finally, we will discuss the ways that people subscribe to and/or resist gender norms.

Anthropology 342/542: American Culture

This class explores the culture and political economy of the contemporary United States with a particular focus on citizenship. “Citizenship” is a term that is used often in politics, media, and day-to-day life but where did it come from? What is the definition of a worthy or unworthy citizen? Who or what influences this definition and how? More specifically, how does citizenship status shape access to resources in the United States (e.g. social services, education, employment, and housing), political clout, and respect? To answer these questions, this class will address the ways in which anthropology contributes to understanding different social groups, communities, regions and social and political institutions in the United States. We will examine the ways in which anthropologists study complex public policy issues such as poverty and economic insecurity, immigration, the changing labor force, environmental issues, and inequality. Finally, we will learn how anthropological tools and frameworks give us a firmer grip on the complex questions facing us as a nation.

Anthropology 360A/560A: Urban Anthropology

The goal of this course is to look at the ways in which urban anthropologists work –theoretically and methodologically – in order to understand the interaction between structural forces and culturally produced meaning and action on the ground. We will do this by studying a variety of cities across the globe, including Muncie. The course is organized around exploring: 1) structural frameworks for contextualizing cities; 2) “top-down” and “bottom-up” strategies for analysis of cities and urban populations (looking at more powerful and less powerful actors); and 3) current themes of the sub-field including: urban communities, space and place as structured by the state and market, urban politics of poverty, race, and gender; global cities and processes of migration and globalization; and trends in urban planning and architecture as an anthropological concern. The course requires students to participate in a small-scale ethnographic project, using Muncie as an urban field site, to illuminate these patterns and themes.

Women and Gender Studies 220: International Women’s Issues (to be taught spring 2015)

WGS 220 is an interdisciplinary introduction to international women’s studies with an emphasis on contemporary issues framed by historical context. Students will learn how gender is produced historically and in culturally specific ways. The course emphasizes a transnational approach to women and gender studies, insisting that gender cannot be understood alone but is rather part of a larger constellation that includes histories of colonialism, contemporary globalization, transnational mobilities, and capitalist production and consumption.

My Pedagogy

My pedagogy strives to be inclusive of students with diverse backgrounds and ways of being in the world. I believe that learning to ask good questions in the classroom is as important as asking good questions during the research process. Good discussion in class that allows for a wide array of perspectives facilitates learning well beyond the classroom. My goal is to be a strong mentor, not only in the classroom or in research, but in terms of global citizenship and membership in multiple communities. As such, in my classes, we examine “official” (e.g. government websites) and “unofficial” versions of culture (e.g. social media) from around the world and learn to see the world from a variety of perspectives, top-down and bottom-up, from those with a lot of power and those with little power. To do this, I have students participate in a wide variety of exercises from more traditional small and large group discussion and student-led presentations to interactive, hands-on ethnographic activities, mapping (cognitive mapping and GIS on smart phones), and discourse analysis of social media, music, and popular culture. I welcome ideas to make the classroom environment more engaging, fun, diverse, and inclusive.

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