Reviewed by: National Association of Student Anthropologists
Of interest to: Practicing and Applied Anthropologists, Teachers of Anthropology in Community Colleges, Students, Those Involved in Mentoring Activities
Primary Theme: Teaching
One of our most important yet under-discussed points of community outreach in anthropology is the introductory course. Most college students, if encountering anthropology at all, do so through an introductory course crafted to fulfill a general education requirement. How have we risen to the challenges of condensing anthropology into a single semester, and what have we learned by coming to see anthropology through these students’ eyes? This panel brings together professors’ and graduate students’ experiences in presenting anthropology to a general (non-major) student audience. We want to consider the interactions and mutual learning moments unfolding inside these classes as well as behind the scenes—from textbook production to the final exam—in our respective university contexts and the current political climate. What are the major challenges for professors and graduate students teaching anthropology in this moment? What is unique about teaching anthropology for a general student audience? How does one compose a textbook for this audience, and teach from a textbook? What preconceptions and assumptions do we find students bring to our classrooms? What pedagogical strategies have proven effective? How have we contended with politics while discussing gender, sexuality, ethnicity, nationality, race, and class? In these encounters, what have we learned about ourselves, our profession, and the wider world? We ask these questions and share our experiences considering the precarity of our appointments and the simultaneous vulnerability and strength entailed in of bringing our own backgrounds, identities, and affective dispositions to the material we teach.