Anthropology Year in Review

Free Anthropology Year in Review and Teaching Update

Anthropology Year in ReviewQuick update on some themes from Teaching Anthropology, including a review of the AAA Teaching Materials Exchange and a great reflective post on Thinking About Course Readings, Fall 2012. Also a great resource free through 31 August–all of the 2011 Anthropology Year in Review articles from American Anthropologist.

Resources for teaching medical anthropology, Eugene Raikhel
Gathers the best resources from Somatosphere for teaching medical anthropology, along with a number of health and social science teaching resources from other sites.

Somatosphere, 21 August 2012

Back to the Classroom?, Beverly A. Chiarulli
It looks like this will be a great way to share teaching ideas and can be an especially important resource for “new” teachers and anyone trying to design a new course. I hope you will use the resource and contribute your materials, too.

Thinking About Course Readings, Fall 2012, Dalton Luther
In my Anthropology 101 course (which is a cultural and social course, not a four-field intro), I include a number of readings outside of the text to give students the sense of how anthropologists typically talk about who and what they study as well as to other anthropologists. I don’t use a reader because I want to be able to idiosyncratically mix and match from semester to semester.

Torso and Oblong, 17 August 2012

Messy Data, Ordered Questions, Mark W. Hauser
A lively debate was witnessed in 2011 about the role of deductive and interpretive approaches in the production of anthropological knowledge, especially as it relates to archaeology. Scholarly output in archaeology this year reflects this concern. First, there is a trend toward furthering our archaeological imagination—finding new ways of asking questions that link the most empirical of research projects with innovative social theory. Second, there is an embracement of the messiness of archaeological data and the conclusions we can reach from it. By looking at the messiness of archaeological data and the limits of knowledge, archaeology asserts itself as an open frontier for anthropological inquiry.

Complexity in Biological Anthropology in 2011: Species, Reproduction, and Sociality, Kristi L. Lewton
In 2011, the research of biological anthropologists contributed to the emergence of increasingly complex explanations of biological phenomena from previous, simpler interpretations. Major subjects of bioanthropological research in 2011 include new developments in understanding ancient hominin species and archaic Homo population histories; the physiological, neurological, and social effects of mating and reproducing in both humans and nonhuman primates; and the evolution of primate sociality and human cooperation. This review considers these topics of research from a perspective of complexity using conference proceedings, published articles, and social media. In closing, this article demonstrates the natural extension of our scholarly research to modern social networks and illustrates how they may act as a platform by which to increase intradisciplinary engagement and to highlight the complex, wide-reaching, and innovative research that our field contributes to society.

Boasian Legacies in Linguistic Anthropology: A Centenary Review of 2011, Christopher Ball
I review scholarship in linguistic anthropology produced in 2011 with attention to the continuing influence of Franz Boas’ program for the anthropology of language laid out in his 1911 “Introduction” to the Handbook of American Indian Languages. Although the aims of linguistics and cultural anthropology have changed, many of the tenets of the Boas plan remain central to the subdiscipline of linguistic anthropology. The scope of linguistic anthropological inquiry today includes more than language as denotational code, covering practices of signification and communication in their social and cultural contexts. This expansion has brought new perspectives to the questions pursued by Boas and his students, and this review considers the current place of topics such as indigenous language change, language and race, linguistic relativity, and secondary rationalization alongside approaches to performativity, intertextuality, circulation, and semiotic mediation with an eye to the Americanist legacy of the subdiscipline.

Engaged Anthropology in 2011: A View from the Antipodes in a Turbulent Era, Hans A. Baer
Like any particular year, 2011 proved one that provided engaged anthropologists with many issues with which to grapple. These included the aftereffects of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, Wikileaks, the “Arab spring”, and the Occupy movement. In this review article of engaged anthropology, I highlight the work of anthropologists as manifested in (1) published books and articles and (2) presentations at selected conferences and public events, some of which touch upon the above mentioned events as well as others that occurred in 2011. My essay focuses on the following themes: (1) corporate globalization, power, and inequalities in the world system; (2) global health; (3) climate change; (4) disasters; and (5) indigenity and indigenous rights in Australasia. I end my essay by revisiting the notion of “public anthropology” and juxtaposing this to what I view the much broader notion of “engaged anthropology.”

Revolution, Occupation, and Love: The 2011 Year in Cultural Anthropology, Christopher Dole
What does anthropology have to offer for making sense of the events that have come to be known as the “Arab Spring”? In this article, I use this question to organize my discussion of the prominent scholarly conversations occurring in cultural anthropology for the year 2011. The topics I consider in this review are the critical study of secularism and liberalism; affect, intimacy, and care as registers of politics and economy; space, place, and time; and indigeneity. I will suggest that last year’s publications, while by no means anticipating such revolutionary transformations, do offer us a rich body of conceptual approaches and methodological innovations for productively engaging the emergent conceptual and worldly horizons being associated with the “Arab Spring.”

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