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Extending Anthropology

Seems a common recent theme in the anthropology blogs is extending anthropology into different arenas–defining ethnography, using fiction, X-men, intensive interdisciplinary seminars, 8th-grade classrooms, 5-minute video lectures, and a conference in Coimbra.

Enjoy–and please let me know if I’ve missed something!

Extending AnthropologyAnthropology in the 21st Century: Challenges and New Directions, Coimbra, Portugal
Este simpósio tem com objectivo proporcionar a alunos, docentes e investigadores de Antropologia e demais ciências biológicas e sociais o contacto com investigadores internacionais e vertentes da Antropologia com o intuito de compreender os desafios para a disciplina inerente ao novo contexto global que se avizinha. Na medida em que a ciência antropológica se subdivide em diversas áreas de conhecimento, o objectivo será trazer um investigador de cada uma das mesmas, nomeadamente Antropologia Biológica, Antropologia Médica, Antropologia Evolutiva, Antropologia Social e Cultural e áreas emergentes de investigação, nomeadamente Ciência Cognitiva e Economia, de modo a estabelecerem o actual estado da arte do seu domínio e os desafios que estes enfrentam, em especial no que toca a novos rumos de investigação, empreendedorismo e saídas profissionais, num mundo em que o papel das ciências e sua aplicabilidade na sociedade actual se torna cada vez mais ambíguo.
2 June 2012

In defense of the treatment of race, in part, on biological/scientific grounds, Adam Van Arsdale
Eliminating the racialized structural feedback from biological variation would necessitate denying the existence of biological variation (something we do the opposite of by producing increasingly fine-grained genetic data) or finding an effective alternative way of describing such variation in non-racial terms. Eliminating the value-based judgements (racism) correlated with human biological differences necessitates doing away with historical patterns of inequality we are continually exposed to in the world around us.

Public Outreach 3: Sharing Anthropology with 8th Graders, Patrick F. Clarkin
I came prepared to talk about a very broad question: “what are humans?” I brought with me some things fundamental to biological anthropology, including some fossil casts of human ancestors, video clips of ape behavior, and slides related to genetics, fossils, and human biological variation. If I had the three classes for about an hour each, I wanted them to come away having considered some big ideas, including that all humans comprise a single evolved species, and that all life is related.

More thoughts on X-men action figures and biological anthropology, Megan M. McCullen
Action figures can be used to help students understand the difference between a biological species and a fossil species.

Teaching Anthropology through Science Fiction and Fantasy, Rebecca Dean
Book orders for the Fall were due today, and I turned in my strangest list ever: nine science fiction and fantasy novels. I’m teaching a new class that introduces students to anthropology through speculative fiction, my first foray into teaching with literature.

Old Bones, 1 June 2012

What Makes Something Ethnographic?, Carole McGranahan
How do you know when you are reading an ethnography? What makes a book or article ethnographic? This past semester I taught a new undergraduate course titled Reading Ethnography in which the students and I asked these questions as a means of appraising the specificity and content of ethnographic knowledge. Our first challenge was to articulate what the term “ethnographic” meant. What are those qualities that make a piece of scholarship ethnographic rather than simply descriptive or anthropological?

Savage Minds, 31 May 2012

My foray into online education
Even with the imperfect system of classroom lecture captures, I reached more than 3000 people with some of the lectures. The lectures’ average viewership has been more than ten times my in-class enrollment. I have been so happy to hear from several people who watched some of the online lectures this semester. They’re being used in lots of ways that I didn’t expect, by a surprising cross-section of viewers.

John Hawks Weblog, 27 May 2012

A Khan Academy for Anthropology?, Kerim Friedman
A proposal for an online database of byte-sized anthropology lectures on various topics in anthropology—a Khan Academy for anthropology if you will.

Savage Minds, 25 May 2012

What is Anthropology Playlist, Jason Antrosio
An attempt to turn “What is Anthropology” into a YouTube Playlist

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