Fall Semester, 2018 Courses

I am very excited to have three new preps for Fall, 2018. Course overviews are below.

LBST 2213:

Now this is not a new prep as I have been teaching it for two years now. In the catalog it is listed as Science, Technology, and Society. I teach the course as an anthropology of science course. We begin with discussing what anthropology is. Many students don’t know the scope of anthropology or really even have an idea of what it is (according to three semesters of data collected in my courses: Conference Transcript: “Slipping Into Darkness: Recruiting and Student Understanding of Anthropology as a Field and Major”).

We begin by reading “What is science in anthropology” followed by “Evolution as fact, theory, and path” to establish the meaning of those terms in science versus common speech. We also read: “Human Evolution as Narrative: Have hero myths and folktales influenced our interpretations of the evolutionary past?”, “The biological myth of human evolution”, “Does evolutionary theory need a rethink?”, and “Race and intelligence”. This all works to contextualize science as a cultural institution performed in a cultural context.

After this, we begin Not in Our Genes by Lewontin, Rose, and Kamin (see my review here). We finish by reading David Reich’s infamous NYT article and critiques by John Jackson, John Terrell, and 67 scholars.

LBST 2101:

This course is on Western History and Culture. The course focuses on the dialectical relationship between culture and epidemics. I haven’t finished designing this course but I think we will approach the topic through Paul Farmer’s Partner to the Poor

ANTH 2141+Lab

This course is Principles of Biological Anthropology. We will be exploring the biocultural existence of our species through the examination of evolutionary history, primatology, human diversity, and disease. The primary text is An Alternative Introduction to Biological Anthropology by Jon Marks. The text will be supplemented by various articles (which I have yet to finalize), and videos.

ANTH 3143: 

This course is Race and Anthropology and will focus on the biopolitics of race. We will begin by situating race is scientific discourse by reading David Reich’s NYT article and critiques by John Jackson, John Terrell, and 67 scholars. We will then read “Race as biology is fiction, racism as a social problem is real: Anthropological and historical perspectives on the social construction of race” and “How race becomes biology: Embodiment of social inequality”.

After contextualizing race, we will read DeSalle and Tattersall’s new (and very excellent) book, Troublesome Science: The Misuse of Genetics and Genomics in Understanding Race (review forthcoming) in order to get the pesky notion of race as biology out of the way.

We will finish the course discussing the social consequences of the construction and maintenance of race, with a particular focus on how this occurs in science.

In general: 

All of my courses are Team-Based Learning (TBL) which requires students to collaborate on various activities throughout the semester including (for all classes except ANTH 3143) a final team project.

The primary goal for all of my classes is to teach students how to think like an anthropologist. Students should be able to discuss human biology, race, science, disease, etc. as existing in a cultural context and inextricable from culture. We take a holistic, dialectical approach to understanding our topics which involves looking at how we are co-constructed by our culture, genes, development, experiences, choices, families, environment, time, place, politics, and on and on and on…

During the semester, students also have space to practice communication, creativity, and critical thinking by being asked to accomplish certain goals and tackle the topics from many directions. I take Susan Blum’s I Love Learning, I Hate School: An Anthropology of College to heart and think that decentralizing grades and making the course about the process, failure, and practice allows the students space to make mistakes, be wrong, reevaluate, reassess, and attempt again.

I’m very much looking forward to this semester and a new batch of inquisitive minds.

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