Lecture notes on Cultural Anthropology

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Published Date:15-07-2017
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A104: Introduction to Cultural Anthropology Course Portfolio Heidi Bludau H. Bludau A104 Course Portfolio 3 Introduction A104: Introduction to Cultural Anthropology at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) is an entry-level course designed to provide students with a better understanding of human 1 behavior using the anthropological perspective. The majority of students who enroll in this course are not majors; most are taking it in order to fulfill a requirement in World Cultures for their majors. In broader context, IUPUI is an urban university that is part of both Indiana and Purdue University systems. Undergraduate enrollment is around 22,000. The “typical” IUPUI student is a non-traditional student in some way. Most students work, many have families and few live on campus. Student ages and life experiences range. These demographics provide both challenges and opportunities to teaching. The broad range of student experiences enriches the whole student experience; class discussions rely on students connecting their own experiences to course material, as well as their willingness to share that with others. At the same time, commuters and working students find a hard time to complete average reading loads and time intensive assignments; group projects can be problematic as well. During the 2010/11 academic year, I taught three sections of the course, two in the fall and one in the spring; course enrollment was 49 per section. Given a basic course description, I was allowed the freedom to design the course as I saw fit. Taking a cue from course syllabi of other IUPUI faculty, I opted not to use a textbook but two ethnographic books supplemented by articles and other readings. Student assessment was based on five assignments and three exams in the fall and five assignments, daily reading quizzes and four exams in the spring. Classroom activities included lectures, and large and small group discussions and activities. For a more detailed description of the course, see the syllabus in Appendix A. Objectives I set forth the following course objectives. At the end of the semester, each student should be able to: 1. show knowledge about the basics of the field of anthropology and the types of research and analyses practiced in the discipline. 2. demonstrate an ability to critically examine the contextual and relational nature of human behavior and cultural activity in specific settings as demonstrated through course readings and discussions. 3. prove an ability to critically analyze the similarities and differences between different human social groups, using basic anthropological concepts of holism and comparativism. 4. describe how personal characteristics such as gender, class and ethnicity impact a person’s worldview and how the world sees the individual. 5. demonstrate an understanding of global interconnectedness or globalization processes, as seen through subsistence strategies. 6. critically examine their own positions in these global processes. 1 A104 description from course bulletin: A survey of cultural and social processes that influence human behavior, using comparative examples from different ethnic groups around the world, with the goal of better understanding the broad range of human behavioral potentials and those influences that shape the different expressions of these potentials. H. Bludau A104 Course Portfolio 4 7. demonstrate the ability to engage with the literature in an objective manner, support arguments with research, critically examine the views of others and produce coherent conclusions regarding class themes. Problem The primary problem stems from student motivation for taking the course. The majority of students in Introduction to Anthropology courses are non-majors who take the course in order to complete some sort of requirement, often related to diversity or multiculturalism. Without an invested interest in the course, students have a difficult time transferring what they see as irrelevant methodologies and perspectives to their own lives. Without a connection of relevancy, student motivation and learning can be hindered. As a result, at the end of the semester, many students still do not understand why anthropological perspective is a useful tool for them to use in their daily personal and professional interactions, nor why they were required to take the course. Intervention In order to address student motivation, my intervention relies on helping students transfer knowledge between the classroom and their own lives. To do this, I implemented a number of small interventions in order to increase student knowledge and understanding of what anthropology is, what the anthropological perspective is and how ethnography helps them learn about themselves. Table 1 demonstrates changes between the fall and spring course activities. The prime point of comparison is the question that I asked students on their final exams regarding how they will use what they have learned in this course in their careers. Additionally, I slimmed down the course material and changed the exam assessment format which allows students more time to focus on the important class concepts rather than a list of vocabulary of terms and people. By the end of the fall semester I realized that students did not seem to understand what anthropology is and why it is relevant to their daily lives. I even received two unsolicited emails from students stating that while they enjoyed the class, they were unsure why it was required for them. Although, some did get this, a few still at the end of the semester were unable to demonstrate an understanding of how they could/would use this knowledge in their future careers. My hypothesis is that if they have a better understanding of what anthropology is, they will see the relevancy to their daily lives and understand why this course is required or useful. Implementation The major approach to creating relevancy and transfer was to ask students to repeatedly apply classroom knowledge to personal activities and situations. Through the semester, as students learned new concepts, they were asked to apply them to their own lives. Table 1 demonstrates how I redesigned my course to meet this objective; assignments are included in Appendix B. Throughout the semester, I also provided students with a number of small extra credit opportunities asking them to apply or relate class concepts and discussions to various forms of media (newspaper articles, films, websites, etc). H. Bludau A104 Course Portfolio 5 Activity Fall 2010 Spring 2011 Comments CAT: course goals Students think about what they wanted to get out of the   course from the beginning to set the tone Behavior Observation Students look at something familiar to see the “normal” and “abnormal” behaviors and consider why and how   these behaviors took place Food Diary and Students maintain a detailed record of your eating over a autoethnography two-day (2 day) period of time and reflect upon what you   can learn about yourself from your habits. Exam 1: Usefulness of Exam question: How can we use ethnographic study, like ethnography Around the Tuscan Table and other readings in class, to   learn more about our own society and lives? How can we relate to this research? Use examples from the readings. CAT: muddiest point about Attendance questions asking students what they still did ethnography   not understand about ethnography. Mini-ethnography Students design and conduct a 3-5 page mini- ethnography; This assignment helps students to get an idea of what anthropologists do, what we consider fieldwork, the methods that we employ in the   ethnographic tradition. Students are required to collect data in some format using interviews and/or participant observation. Exam 2: Applying to daily life Exam question: What is something that you learned from the on-line race-related activities? How will this   knowledge impact your daily life? Mid-semester survey Likert scale question: How often do you find yourself   thinking about class concepts in your daily life? Exam 3: Applying to daily life Exam question: From the last exam, many people stated that learning that race is not real will help them to not judge people at a first look. How has what we have been   talking about regarding non-industrial adaptive strategies help you learn to broaden your perspective on people and interact with people in a less judgmental way? Film analysis This assignment is intended to have students take a more critical look at a popular film in which food plays a major theme and to analyze the anthropological content of the   film. They will select a film from the list provided and use that as their “data” for an ethnographic analysis. Final exam: future use of class Exam question: What career do you hope to pursue in the concepts future (or what career are you already pursuing), and how might you apply insights you have gained from this   course in your work? Include any specific concepts, 2 readings or activities that helped you solidify this. Group project: “Congressional Students role play a congressional hearing regarding how hearing” obesity will be considered in Indiana state healthcare;   each student is assigned to an interest group. Table 1. Basis for comparison I use the Food Diary and Autoethnography as a baseline for comparison between the three classes and two semesters. Students were comparable between semesters in their analysis; most students did a good 2 In the fall semester, I did not ask students to include any specific examples. H. Bludau A104 Course Portfolio 6 job describing their diaries but few were able to really explain how that is symbolic of the larger society in which they live. A larger number did reference what specific behaviors might relate to but fell short of a true analysis. Averages for fall semester students were 86% and 87%; average for spring semester students was 86%. Since this assignment is done in the first few weeks of the semester when students are only learning what anthropology and ethnography are and how to consider using the anthropological gaze, I feel that this is a good baseline to use to compare the two semesters. The assignment and rubric did not change between semesters. However, in the spring semester while students did have a few coaching activities leading up to the assignment. Assessment In this section, I will focus on four areas of intervention to demonstrate student learning: 1) mini- ethnography, 2) exam questions, 3) extra credit, and 4) last class assignments (film analysis and group project). Mini-ethnography Assigning mini-ethnographies to students in entry-level courses, especially those not specified for majors, is a somewhat controversial topic. While not a heated debate, I have had conversations with other faculty regarding the efficacy and learning potential of such an assignment. On the side against is the question whether students first, know enough to do one well, and second, are not learning enough from doing such a small project. On the side for, and where I stand, are those that suggest that even small exposure to the research methodologies and writing process of ethnography helps students understand more fully what this type of research and written genre is. My objective in assigning a mini-ethnography is to help students get a better understanding of how anthropology relates to their own lives and that through that relationship, they can learn about themselves through studies of other societies. I require students to submit a topic statement, which I comment on and return. Students often need aid in defining the proper scope for this size project. Additionally, students are given the parameters that the topic be related in some form to gender, including marriage, family and sexuality. This narrows the scope of the topics to make selection and analysis easier; assigned towards the beginning of the semester, students have the example of ethnographic work relating to gender and family. I suggest that students use the assigned readings, primarily the ethnographic book, as a model for their work. I also require students to do some sort of primary data collection in the form of interviews or participant observation. In two sections of the students’ submissions, I ask them to reflect upon the process – the methodology and the overall anthropological process. These questions help students think about the science of anthropology, what topics and types of research questions it is appropriate for, and so on. I believe that students who do this reflection gain more from the assignment than others. Unfortunately, despite instructing students to do these reflections, as well as listing them as components in the grading rubric, not all students do so. I can trace the analytical growth of students through the semester by comparing general performance in the mini-ethnography with their analyses in the film analysis below. Exam questions The objective of asking these exam questions is less for assessment and more for application and knowledge transfer. Student scores for these questions were based on whether they were thoughtful with their answers, if the answer addressed the question, and if they addressed all parts of the question. For each exam question, I will outline the logic behind asking that specific question and then describe and H. Bludau A104 Course Portfolio 7 analyze student answers. This analysis is based on students in the spring semester but answers from exam 4 will be compared with students from the fall semester. Exam 1 question: How can we use ethnographic study, like Around the Tuscan Table and other readings in class, to learn more about our own society and lives? How can we relate to this research? Use examples from the readings. I asked this question to determine if students a) understood the purpose and concept of ethnographic research and b) understood the comparative nature of anthropological research by knowing how to relate to it. The first section of the course teaches the general concepts, research methods and objectives of cultural anthropology. Generally, I was pleased with student answers. An overwhelming number of students, 27 of 43, stated in some form that by comparing ourselves or our society with another, we learn about who we are and can see things that are not explicit in our daily lives. Examples of student answers: “We can use ethnographic study to learn about our own society and lives by looking into the details. Many times we overlook the things we do and/or we see them as being right but they may not always be right. It's good to take a step back and view yourself from another person's shoes because you will see a totally different picture than the one you had in your own mind.” “We can learn about differences in cultures and similarities in our cultures. Studying how gender, social status and economic situation can help us recognize some of the inequalities we have in our own society.” “By being able to compare and contrast our culture to another we can gain a better understanding of the things we do in our own culture and ,more importantly, why we do the things we do in our culture. The idea of modernity could easily be examined in our own culture. We could examine generations past and see how they obtained their food and where they were getting it from as compared to today's society with food much more convenient and available.” “When you look at the aspects of a culture that is different, or even similar, you wonder why the aspects of that culture exist. You can evaluate that culture, ad figure out why the traits exist. One can then turn that around and start wondering how aspects of their own culture came to be. You can apply the same principles to understand why your own culture is the way it is.” Another relatively large group of students, 12 of the remaining 16, stated that they could learn how to relate to others through ethnographic research. While their answers do not directly address how we can learn about ourselves, they relate to learning how to be culturally relative. Example of student answer: “The readings, like Around the Tuscan Table, define the cultures in their own terms. They can help us to be less ethnocentric in our thinking. We can learn about the struggles H. Bludau A104 Course Portfolio 8 of other cultures, like the food shortages during WWI and WWII in Italy, and think about the struggles we face in our culture. They can also teach us how to be more accepting of other people in different cultures.” The remaining 4 students who answered the question concentrated on the general practice of doing ethnographic research or focused on the content of their example, not what they could learn from it. This question directly relates to the first and third course objectives which states that students will demonstrate knowledge of anthropological research and analysis, and apply basic concepts of comparativism and holism. Understanding how to use ethnographic research to expand our knowledge is part of these objectives. The majority of students demonstrate this knowledge through their answers. Exam 2 question: What is something that you learned from the on-line race-related activities? How will this knowledge impact your daily life? The second section of the course concerns worldview and includes topics such as gender, race and ethnicity, and religion. Since race is such a complex concept intimately connected to biology, I asked students to bring in laptops and had them work in groups to complete a number of activities on the American Anthropological Association’s and PBS’ websites on race. I asked this question to first, gauge if the activities were a good use of class time and second, to compel students to directly apply something they learned in class to their daily lives. Student answers fit into two main trends, and some touched on both. First, 20 students referenced the fact that race is not a biological construct but a cultural construct and many related that to labeling or categorizing people. Examples of student answers relating to the cultural construct of race: “Something I learned from the online race-related activities was that we cannot acutally put people into a category of race because race doesn't really exist. This will impact my daily life because I will no longer judge people or look at them and try to fit them into a category. I'll just accept them as their own individual person because race shouldn't define us.” “I learned that necessarily, there is no such thing as race. The activity which asked us to pick who was white…black..etc. People who looked white were sometimes considered black. It is just what is socially/culturally accepted as a races and is what we generally describe someone's race as. not correct however.” Judging people, however, is the major trend. A trend found in a number of student answers was that they learned not to “judge a book by its cover.” Twenty-one students referenced not judging someone by their looks, five of whom actually used the cliché to “judge a book by its cover.” Student examples referencing judging people: “Well, I've always been told not to judge a book by its cover and the activity to match people and their race taught me why. We all judge people at first glance, it is a conscious habit. But this activity really has me working on that. It was very apparent that just H. Bludau A104 Course Portfolio 9 because someone looks a certain race doesn't mean they are. So, I will try and judge less and learn more.” “I learned that just because someone may look a certain race you can't judge because in reality it is something you really can't see. This knowledge keeps me from judging people by their skin color, or the way their hair looks, or the way they talk every day like I used to.” Nineteen students used the word “judge” in some fashion. All but three students, who discussed learning about the history and facts of racism, clearly stated that they would be less quick to judge, label or categorize people due to their perceived race. I was bothered by the notion that students still seemed eager to judge others, albeit using non-racial constructs to do so. This still leads a wide range of arenas through which to practice ethnocentrism. While this question was a step in the right direction to help student dispel ethnographic sentiments and become more culturally relative and tolerant, I did not want to leave students with the notion that judging others is acceptable. The exam 3 question builds on this problem. Exam 3 question: From the last exam, many people stated that learning that race is not real will help them to not judge people at a first look. How has what we have been talking about regarding non-industrial adaptive strategies help you learn to broaden your perspective on people and interact with people in a less judgmental way? I wrote the application question for exam 3 with student responses to exam 2 in mind. Non-industrial adaptive strategies include hunting and gathering, horticulture, pastoralism, and intensive agriculture. Most of the people practicing these lifeways live in lesser developed regions of the world. Even describing these regions as “lesser developed” is problematic, encouraging individuals from industrial societies to position them in a lower social and intellectual status. A purpose of this unit in the course is to not only educate students on the variety of ways in which humans gather food and how our social structures and food ways are interconnected, but to demonstrate that people still practice different strategies today because they are viable and in some places more adaptive to the local environment. Each class focused on a different strategy. Reading assignments consisted of sections from a textbook paired with either an anthropological journal or newspaper article. We watched videos for three of the strategies. A problem that I had in the fall, and to a lesser degree in the spring, is the impression that people no longer practice non-industrial strategies. I hoped watching the videos would help dispel this idea. A number of student answers to this question reference the videos as useful tools in understanding this theme; only two mentioned it in exam questions but video clips were listed as useful teaching tools in other surveys. Therefore, the logic behind asking this question is threefold. First, I wanted to address my concerns from exam 2. Second, I wanted students to understand that even learning about something as seemingly irrelevant as hunter/gathers in Central Africa or pastoralists in India can be a useful tool for analysis and learning. Finally, I wanted to see how students actually perceived the groups portrayed in the course materials. H. Bludau A104 Course Portfolio 10 Twenty-one students referenced a higher respect for different lifestyles; five used the word “respect” in some form. This notion directly correlates to being non-judgmental and the maxim that “different is not bad, just different.” Examples of student responses referring to respecting differences among societies: “Watching the videos really helped me look at those who survive through the non- industrial strategies we learned about a different way. I thought only poor and starving people foraged or pastoralized previous to learning about them…but now I know they survive just fine and do not come close to starvation hardly ever. Also learning and reading about the Kyrgyz gave me a more open mind about those families who decide to not send their children to school, instead herd animals. It is a way of life, all four strategies and I now respect that.” “I think I had a common misconception that people that did not live in houses and drive cars and went to wal-mart were less civilized and just ignorant of technology. Come to find out, they are very knowledgeable and have their own sense of technology. I never thought that pastoralists from Africa would use cell phones to communicate with one another and that some societies would use GPS.” Another trend in answers was that learning about the adaptive strategies helped to dispel misconceptions of non-industrialized people and societies with 16 references to this. While this is related to respecting those who are different, this perspective takes different approach. Examples of students referencing dispelling misconceptions: “I think that learning about the strategies have helped me look at others better, and not as less than because really it takes knowledge and a lot more work than I previously believed.” “Before learning about foragers, etc, my thoughts were they were a primitive people who did not have technology. We have learned that foragers are actually very healthy and do not contract diseases due to their lifestyle. We also saw a pastoralist using a cell phone. We cannot judge these groups for different lifestyles because it works for them.” “It's shown people who I had stereotyped as almost barbaric as more civilized than I thought. It taught me that adaptive strategies require knowledge and skills that I don't have so I have no right to negatively label them.” Closely related to recognizing ethnocentric thoughts is self-reflection. Six students reflected on their own place in the world as a note regarding what they learned from this unit. Examples of students with self-reflective answers: “This class as a whole has shown me you should not judge anyone just because I may think how they life their life is weird. An example from class when I've read and talked H. Bludau A104 Course Portfolio 11 about how pastoralists drank animal blood, automatically a red flag went up in my head and I was disgusted just thinking about them. Then in class it got brought up that we eat meat that has blood in it and I order my steak medium well so there is a little blood, I realized I am no different.” “It helps to see that how we live is not just better. We may have more variety and availability to goods or services, but that does not mean we live a healthier lifestyle, fulfilled diet, or are smarter/more technologically advanced. The more we discussed the more interested I became in growing a garden or learning about materials I can gather.” Finally, seven students stated that learning about the adaptive strategies gave them a broader perspective on differences in societies globally. Sample of student response: “Learning about non-industrialized adaptive strategies has helped me to broaden my perspective on people because it is something I really never considered or thought about. We live in such an industrialized culture it is hard to not think about how hard it can be for other cultures to obtain food and a way of life.” I was very glad to see that all of these types of answers demonstrate that students cannot only recognize that their previous ideas about non-industrialized peoples are wrong, but also their ethnocentric ideas but also demonstrate a recognition of global interconnectedness using anthropological perspectives of comparativism and holism. Exam 4/final question: What career do you hope to pursue in the future (or what career are you already pursuing), and how might you apply insights you have gained from this course in your work? Include any specific concepts, readings or activities that helped you solidify this. The final applied question asks students to take what they have learned in class to their futures. The hope is that students will find even more relevancy, and understand why this class is required for their degrees, if they can make concrete connections to their chosen careers. In this analysis, I note that more students from the spring semester gave concrete examples of hypothetical on-the-job situations in which they could apply specific concepts. Students in the fall semester were not asked to include specific concepts, readings or activities that helped them solidify their ideas. I do not believe that this was the change agent. I believe that by coaching students through the semester to apply class material to “real world” experiences that they were more easily able to apply them to expected work experiences. Additionally, students in the spring semester received this question on a take-home exam. Again, I do not believe that made a marked difference in responses. In this analysis I am noting the following: 1) certainty of career choice H. Bludau A104 Course Portfolio 12 3 2) occurrence of concrete job situation 3) specific class concepts listed 4) application of materials to general life/career Figure 1 illustrates the differences between the sections and semesters. It is not surprising that in the spring semester that more students (30 versus 10 and 3) listed specific concepts they would use, since it was asked in the question. However, the fact that more students provided concrete examples of how they might apply class insights to their careers could demonstrate a higher rate of transfer. This contrasts with students discussing how they would apply course concepts in a more general manner. Applying class concepts to a career 50 40 30 20 10 0 Certain of Provide a List specific Plan to apply Plan to apply Stated that career choice concrete class concepts concepts they did not example concepts generally to generally to learn career life (unsure anything or of career) were not sure how to Spring Fall 1 Fall 2 apply them Figure 1 Extra credit The purpose of an extra credit assignment is threefold. First, it provides students an opportunity to think more in-depth about topics of interest. Second, it requires students to think about a “real world” issue in relation to course materials and concepts. Finally, it allows students a chance to earn a few extra points. All of my extra credit assignments are directly related to the topics around the time of assignment. Extra credit assignments fall into two categories: homework and optional. Homework extra credit assignments are those that I ask students to do and bring to class to help aid in class discussion. They are then allowed to submit it if they want for extra credit. For example, the Kinship Chart (Appendix B) asks students to draw a kinship chart for their own families. Kinship is a classic anthropological concept but is considered a little archaic in the field; not many people study it 3 For a student to be marked for this, s/he would have to describe a specific way in which they would apply their class knowledge to a specific situation. Students who talked about general concepts or general situations were marked as applying concepts to general life/career. Stating that they would be working with a diverse population and would need to understand how to work with them is general, unless discussed with a more specific example or tone. H. Bludau A104 Course Portfolio 13 today. However, by exploring the different ways that human societies define family and kinship, students can recognize the maxim that “different is not bad, just different.” By having to define who belongs to their own families, and how they belong, students see the cultural construct of kinship and family. Twenty students submitted charts using a variety of means, including computer-generated and hand- drawn. Figure 2 is an example of a student’s submission. Figure 2 Optional extra credit opportunities are usually some sort of short reading exercise followed by a 1-2 paragraph reflection relating it to the course. Some have a specific prompt. A complete list of optional extra credit opportunities can be found in Appendix B. However, an example would be the “Colorful but Colorblind” assignment. In this assignment, students are asked to visit a website project with video testimonials of Roma living in Eastern Europe. Each video is 3-5 minutes long. Students are asked to watch two videos from two different countries and then write a paragraph relating the videos/stories to what we had talked about in class. Students who completed the activity often commented that they found the videos interesting and some even watched more than the required two. This extra credit is assigned while discussing race and ethnicity, which follows gender. The videos on the site are about race but many include gender components as well. White, heterosexual students sometimes have trouble relating to abstract concepts that they do not explicitly experience. By seeing other people tell their stories, students can “meet” people who experience race and gender differently than they do and broaden their understanding. Extra credit is typically 3-5% on the upcoming exam. Exams were worth 5% of the final grade so in reality, these small percentages are somewhat negligible. This semester I also gave an extra credit assignment worth 5% of their total grade, the Poverty/Obesity Nexus (Appendix B). I had contemplated assigning this work as required but felt that it would increase the work load too much. However, I felt that it was a good assignment and also wanted to test it for future classes. Five students completed it. Last class assignments (film analysis and group project) The objectives for the concluding assignments – the film analysis and group project – are to have students synthesize what they have learned during the semester and apply it to events and activities from their “normal” or daily lives. The film analysis is intended to have students take a more critical look at a popular film and to analyze the anthropological content of the film; students are instructed to think of this as another mini-ethnography using the film as their data. In the congressional hearing group project, students role play a congressional hearing regarding how obesity will be considered in Indiana state H. Bludau A104 Course Portfolio 14 healthcare. The premise is that a congressional committee has been formed to explore this issue and is holding an open meeting to hear opinions from different stakeholders regarding the impact of obesity in their sector of daily life. Students were assigned to one of seven stakeholder groups or to the committee. The film analysis was new in the fall semester and the congressional hearing was new to the spring semester. Overall, I was generally pleased with student performance. In each case, a few students still performed poorly but that can be expected. Regarding the film analysis, most of the students were able to point to examples of anthropological concepts and their relations to the broader context. Some were able to take it a step further and reflect upon the deeper social implications of the film. In contrast, many students were unable to see a full range of what the film might illustrate. In comparison with student performance on the mini-ethnography earlier in the semester, students have a much stronger grasp of the broader implications of their “data.” While students have a hard time tying their collected data to the larger context in the mini-ethnography, they seem to do a better job of it in film analysis at the end of the semester. I would suggest that they have more to work with so that this seems plausible. However, simply by observing this growth demonstrates that they have learned how to consider social context. On a similar note, students in the fall semester had a somewhat more sophisticated analysis than did spring students. They also had a larger vocabulary of anthropological terms, which gave them a broader range of concepts to apply. I believe that the page limit might have constrained some students from exploring more concepts and perspectives in their work. The strength of the film analysis is that students learn how to take something they do every day, watch television, and apply class knowledge. In contrast, the congressional hearing asks students to engage in politics, which many do not do on a regular basis. They were asked to position themselves as someone with an opinion that might differ from their own. While I tried to assign students to groups related to their majors, most students did not have a personal investment in their group’s position. I was pleased with the ability of groups to form a position and then react and relate their views to those of other groups during the presentation period. Working as groups in a “real world” situation forces students to consider the broader implications of how course material can be helpful in non-classroom environments. In a class discussion following the group presentations, students stated how much they enjoyed the activity more than they thought they would. This indicates that students might be more willing to engage in similar activities in their daily lives as well. Getting students to think about course materials and concepts outside of the classroom has been a goal of mine this semester. At mid-semester, I gave students a survey on which I asked “How often do you find yourself thinking about class concepts in your daily life?” Students could circle a rank of 1-5, 1 being “not at all” and 5 being “every day.” Figure 3 illustrates that in general, students were thinking about class concepts outside of the classroom. Of the 43 responses, 39 were a 3 or above. H. Bludau A104 Course Portfolio 15 How often do you find yourself thinking about class concepts in your daily life? 15 15 15 10 9 5 2 2 0 Not at all Every day Figure 3 Conclusion I believe that repeatedly asking students through the semester to apply abstract course concepts to real world situations in which they do or can potentially find themselves enables students to understand the relevancy of anthropology as a required course. My assessments indicate that students are seeing and thinking about what they learn in class in non-class situations and environments. By creating and/or helping students create their own relevant connections between course material and their daily lives, students become more motivated to learn and engage with the course materials more. This can be built on for more in-class activities and motivation. References Bransford, John 2000 How people learn : brain, mind, experience, and school: National Academy Press. Mazur-Stommen, Susan 2006 Optimal Foraging Theory and the Racecar Driver: The Impact of Student-Centered Learning on Anthropological Pedagogy. Anthropology & Education Quarterly 37(3):273-284. H. Bludau A104 Course Portfolio 16 Appendix A– Syllabi o Fall 2010 o Spring 2011 H. Bludau A104 Course Portfolio 17 Fall 2010 Anthropology 104 (1055): CULTURAL ANTHROPOLOGY Class Meets: 10:30-11:45, Room CA435 Instructor: Professor Heidi Bludau Office: Cavanaugh 433 e-mail: hbludauindiana.edu (best way to contact me) Telephone: 812.360.1140 (for emergencies or text messages only) Office Hours: Tuesday, Thursday 3:00-4:30 or by appointment Description: Why do humans behave the way we do? Why do we behave differently from one group or society to the next? Despite our shared biological needs and make-up, daily we witness differences and similarities within the human race and between different sectors of humanity. This course will start us on the road to a better understanding of the broad range of human behavior potentials and the influences that shape the different expressions of these potentials. We will do it by learning and applying the basic foundations of cultural anthropology: holism and comparativism. More precisely, we will use food as the lens – or theme - through which we examine and explore examples of human behavior from around the world. Biologically, all humans need to eat to survive. However, what, how and when we eat are part of the behaviors that make various human populations unique. Through the semester we will explore human behavior in relation to food through a variety of means. This course is separated into three sections: worldview or perspective, adaptation strategies, and globalization. When exploring worldview, we will discuss how the individual interacts with society through different roles we play (or are assigned) such as those related to gender and ethnicity. We will also examine how we come to view the world as we do, considering language and religion, family and sexuality. Adaptation strategies refer to our food-getting processes. Primarily, food-getting is at the core of the cultural technologies that we as humans use to survive as a species. How we get our food influences how we organize our communities (and vice versa) and how we define ourselves among and between our societies. Additionally, food serves as a mediator between ourselves and other aspects of our social, political and economic systems, or cultures. It gives us intimate access to the experiential levels of social and economic change. We will conclude the class by talking about globalization, which covers human society from industrialization to today and how we interact as global and local actors. I chose food as the theme for this course because it touches all aspects of human life and through the lens of food, we can reach a better understanding of ourselves and the world in which we live. In accordance with IUPUI’s Principles of Undergraduate Learning (see www.universitycollege.iupui.edu/UL/Principles.htm), this course aims to help you develop your abilities in critical thinking and your communication skills through writing assignments and class discussion. Furthermore, our focus on cultural diversity is also intended to contribute to your greater understanding of the complexity and “interconnectedness of global and local concerns” (Statement of Principles of Undergraduate Learning). Course Objectives At the end of the semester, each student should be able to: H. Bludau A104 Course Portfolio 18 1) show knowledge about the basics of the field of anthropology and the types of research and analyses practiced in the discipline. 2) demonstrate an ability to critically examine the contextual and relational nature of human behavior and cultural activity in specific settings as demonstrated through course readings and discussions. 3) prove an ability to critically analyze the similarities and differences between different human social groups, using basic anthropological concepts of holism and comparativism. 4) describe how personal characteristics such as gender, class and ethnicity impact a person’s worldview and how the world sees the individual. 5) demonstrate an understanding of global interconnectedness or globalization processes, as seen through subsistence strategies. 6) critically examine their own positions in these global processes. 7) demonstrate the ability to engage with the literature in an objective manner, support arguments with research, critically examine the views of others and produce coherent conclusions regarding class themes. Class Structure: The course requirements include completion of all assigned readings (listed below with dates); attendance and participation in all classes; five (5) short assignments in which you will engage with the course material and at times apply anthropological knowledge and practices; and, three (3) exams. Requirements are described in more detail below. Additionally, this class does not use a text book. Anthropological theories and concepts will be explained and discussed in class and supported by the readings; lectures will not summarize readings but will be based on the expectations that students have read them. As an introduction to the discipline, course time will be primarily devoted to lecture with small group activities and discussions when possible. I feel that learning is a collaborative effort and that all members of the course bring unique and valuable perspectives to discussions based on life experiences and assigned readings. Ethnographic readings include narratives that provide relational and contextual examples and we will use them as shared experiences through which to examine the various course themes. PowerPoint slides will be posted before class to aid you in taking notes. Please note that these slides do not take the place of lecture but merely provide a template for class activity. At times we may have guest speakers or videos and these days are equally integral to the course. Students are expected to learn and understand this material as with any other. Therefore, both attending class and keeping up with the course readings are essential to your success in this course. In order to create an environment conducive to learning, I expect that students respect each other and their views. This includes listening to each other in large group discussion and not engaging in activities that would distract or hinder student learning. At the same time, I encourage you to engage in dialogue with your classmates when appropriate. The themes and topics we will discuss can be at times controversial and I expect that discussions surrounding these themes will be open and lively but respectful. Creating a respectful environment also includes prohibiting the use of cell phones in the class for voice or text messaging. Finally, I ask that you arrive to class on time. Required Books and Materials: This class will use two (2) books: 1) Counihan, Carole H. Bludau A104 Course Portfolio 19 2004 Around the Tuscan table: food, family, and gender in twentieth century Florence: Routledge. 2) Watson, James L. 2006 Golden Arches East: McDonald's in East Asia: Stanford University Press. These books should be available in the campus bookstore or from on-line booksellers (ie. Amazon.com, Books-a-Million, etc) All other reading assignments will be posted on Oncourse in their topic folder in “Resources.” Assignments and Grading Structure: Final grades will be based on the following scale of a total of 100 points: 97-100 = A+ 87-89=B+ 77-79=C+ 67-69=D+ 93-96= A 83-86=B 73-76=C 63-66=D 90-92= A- 80-82=B- 70-72=C- 60-62=D- 59 or below=F Short Assignments (5 = 50 pts): Through the semester, students will be required to submit 5 short assignments. I will provided specific details, including assignment description, requirements and grading rubric, for each on the date is assigned. Each assignment will be 1-5 pages in length (10-12 pt font, double-spaced). I encourage you to work with University Writing Center (http://www.iupui.edu/uwc/) on these assignments. Although not a writing course, producing a well-written paper will be important; 20% of each assignment’s grade will be related to the mechanics of writing, such as correct spelling and grammar and organization of ideas. Late policy: All assignments must be submitted in hard copy on the due date, in class. Late papers will be accepted with a penalty of half (1/2) point each day late. If you cannot turn in your paper on time, let me know the situation. I encourage you to submit an electronic copy via Oncourse under Assignments in case something happens at the last minute and you cannot attend class. This will provide a date stamp for completion. Students who only submit an electronic copy and no hard copy will lose 1 point from the grade (for a maximum value of 9). 1) Food diary and autoethnography 2-3 pages (assigned Aug 31; due Sept 9) = 10 pts 2) Gender and family mini-ethnography 3-5 pages(assigned Sept 9; topic statement due Sept 14; due Sept 30) = 15 pts 3) Adaptation strategy opinion piece 1-2 pages(assigned Nov 2; due Nov 16) = 5pts 4) Trace a meal 2-3 pages(assigned Nov 16; due Dec 2) = 10 pts 5) Film analysis 2-3 pages (assigned Nov 23; movie choice due Dec 2; due Dec 9) = 10 pts Exams (3 x 15 pts each = 45 pts): We will have three (3) exams. Exams on Oct 14 and Nov 2 will take place in class. The final exam will take place at its appointed date and time - Dec 16 (10:30-12:30). Exams are not cumulative; however, concepts and themes that are discussed throughout the semester and are relevant may appear on the exam. Be prepared to relate material to previous concepts when possible. Exam format will be primarily multiple choice, true/false, matching, fill-in-the-blank and short answers. Please arrive on time for exams. If you are late, you will be given until the end of the class period to complete the exam. Attendance and participation (5 pts): Due to the structure of the course, attendance is vital for student success, as well as the success of in-class discussions and activities. Each day I will pose a question to H. Bludau A104 Course Portfolio 20 the class regarding material from recent lectures or reading assignments. I will use submissions to both mark attendance and to gauge class understanding of concepts. Students may want to note daily questions and use them as part of their study strategies for exams. Students who have more than three (3) absences will lose 2 points from their final grade for each additional absence. For students with serious medical or family emergencies, I will consider adjusting this policy. It is your responsibility to provide appropriate documentation for this to happen. Additionally, stay in dialogue with me if you have extenuating circumstances. If you do have to miss a class, ask a classmate for notes. However, if you have questions concerning material, please talk to me either in person or through email. Extra credit: extra credit is due the last day of class (Dec. 9). Throughout the semester, I may post events or activities that students are encouraged to attend for which you will receive extra credit. (These may have earlier due dates; see specific assignments for details.) Otherwise, you have the opportunity to complete one (1) of the following for extra points on your final grade. All projects need instructor approval BEFORE turning in – talk to me before you start. 1) Food documentary analysis – film choice must be approved. Watch and analyze a food documentary in relation to what we have discussed in class – max. 3 pts on final grade; 2-3 pages (10-12 pt font, double-spaced). 2) Food Event – event must be approved. Attend and analyze a food event (such as a food festival, holiday meal, etc) – max. 2 pts on final grade; 1-2 pages plus pictures if necessary (10-12 pt font, double-spaced). 3) Book Review – book must be approved. Read an ethnography based on food and write a book review on– max. 3 pts on the final grade; 2-3 pages (10-12 pt font, double-spaced). Please remember that extra credit are supplementary to your required coursework (assignments and exams) and not to be used in place of these. Oncourse forums – Oncourse forums are available for each unit/theme/topic. Post questions regarding things that you do not understand here and I will either respond to the board or discuss them in class. These posts will be public for the site so that everyone can benefit from the dialogue. Questions can cover anything of interest, confusion or concern. Study habits and guides:  Read. Read. Read. Keep up with the readings and try to read before class. Lectures and class activities are built around material in the readings. When reading each piece, determine for yourself what the key terms and concepts are and try to connect them to examples and other terms and concepts. Try to determine the author’s purpose or thesis statement. Connect these to items found on the key terms list (below).  Lists of key terms, concepts and questions relevant to each unit. You can find this list in the unit folder on Oncourse. Not all list items will be found in the readings but will be discussed in lecture. Students should use these lists as both reading and study guides. The definitions will be especially useful for reading but make sure that you understand the context in which those terms are used, how the authors refer to them (directly or indirectly). Write examples from class and the readings for each term as study aids.  Unit objectives and in-class activities. Students can also use the objectives listed for each unit and the in-class activities for each class as a guide to reading. H. Bludau A104 Course Portfolio 21  PowerPoint slides and podcasts. PowerPoint slides will be available before class in topic folders on Oncourse under “Resources.” Podcasts of lectures, including audio and visual of Powerpoints will be posted on Oncourse under “Podcasts,” listed by date, within a week of class.  Oncourse forums. Post and review forum comments and interact with your classmates for on-line study groups.  Attendance questions. Questions will be part of the PowerPoint. Review those as important themes or concepts.  On-line quizzes. Occasionally, I will post quizzes on Oncourse for you to gauge how well you are taking notes and understanding the material. These are NOT for credit but are merely for you to test yourself and to see the types of questions that you will see on the exam. You might even see some quiz questions on the exam…  Bepko Learning Center (http://uc.iupui.edu/learningcenter/). The Center provides a variety of academic services including tutoring and study skills. Other class information: Policy on late or missed assignments:  Exams: Students are expected to arrive on time for exams (as for all classes). Students who arrive to class late on exam day will have until the original exam period to finish the exam. If you have a university excused absence for an exam, you will be allowed to take a make-up exam. It is your responsibility to discuss this with me and provide documentation. If you know before the exam that you will be missing it, talk to me as soon as you know.  Late assignments: Late assignments will lose 5% of the assignment value (1/2 pt of 10) for every day late. Although a seemingly small number, within a few days a student will have lost an entire letter grade on the given assignment.  Extenuating circumstances: Students who have extenuating circumstances (including university-excused reasons) must tell me immediately. The best way is to talk to me or email me about the situation, understanding that I may not respond immediately but will so the next time I am on email. Academic misconduct is defined as any activity that tends to undermine the academic integrity of the institution. The university may discipline a student for academic misconduct. Academic misconduct may involve human, hard- copy, or electronic resources. As a faculty member, I must report all cases of academic misconduct to the dean of students, or appropriate official. Academic misconduct includes, but is not limited to, the following: 1) Cheating is considered to be an attempt to use or provide unauthorized assistance, materials, information, or study aids in any form and in any academic exercise or environment. 2) Plagiarism is defined as presenting someone else’s work, including the work of other students, as one’s own. Any ideas or materials taken from another source for either written or oral use must be fully acknowledged, unless the information is common knowledge. What is considered “common knowledge” may differ from course to course. Although you do not have a research paper, you may need to quote or use class (or outside) resources on your assignments. IUPUI has a number of resources to help with paper writing, including how to properly cite sources. For more information, check out the University Writing Center (http://www.iupui.edu/uwc/). You do not need to cite resources on the exams unless specifically asked to. Students with disabilities: If any student will require assistance or appropriate academic accommodations for a disability, please contact me after class, during office hours, or by individual appointment. You must have established your eligibility for disability support services through Adaptive Educational Services (http://diversity.iupui.edu/aes/) in Joseph T. Taylor Hall (UC), Room 137, 274-3241 or aesiupui.edu. Please remember that it is your responsibility to provide documentation, request accommodations, contact faculty

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