Category Archives: Main Story

Author Interview: John Barker

In the past several years, Ancestral Lines: The Maisin of Papua New Guinea and the Fate of the Rainforest has become one of the most popular ethnographies for first-year undergraduate courses in North America. The author, John Barker, shares his motivation for writing the ethnography, how he consciously designed it to work with or without a supporting textbook, and how he approaches undergraduate teaching. read more…

  • dateSeptember 26, 2013
  • commentsNo comments
  • posted byAnna
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Cat’s Cradles, Diamond Jenness, and a Non-Traditional Approach to Writing a Four-Field Anthropology Textbook

When I begin writing a textbook (I am now working on my fifth), I typically begin by writing down ideas from my first class of the semester. I do not look at how authors of similar books write their introductions (that’s for later on, when I am checking what I might have missed). I play an anthropological John Nash, the “crazy” mathematician… read more…

  • dateSeptember 19, 2013
  • comments2
  • posted byJohn Steckley
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Five Simple Steps for Helping Students Write Ethnographic Papers

In my last post, I made the case for having students attempt ethnographic papers in courses other than “methods.” By introducing early undergraduates to the pleasures of ethnography, I think we showcase anthropology’s strong suit, but more importantly, I think it is a great way to scaffold them into ways of writing and reading that will serve them well in both the social sciences and the humanities. In this second post, I share the steps I go through to squeeze an ethnographic experience into what are admittedly short, one-term courses (12 weeks). read more…

  • dateSeptember 11, 2013
  • commentsNo comments
  • posted byLindsay A. Bell
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Teaching Culture and Methods to Novice/Non-Anthropologists

Ashley, an eager undergraduate student, arrived to my office exasperated. “My fieldwork isn’t about, like, anything! I must have, like, totally done it wrong.” Ashley had spent the afternoon observing interactions in the waiting room one of Toronto’s upscale tattoo parlours. Her visit was part of an assignment in my second-year linguistic anthropology course, “Culture and Communication.” Introducing undergraduates to ethnographic methods and writing is a highlight of our discipline… read more…

  • dateSeptember 5, 2013
  • comments3
  • posted byLindsay A. Bell
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Capturing the Attention of Students from Day 1

When I teach Introduction to Cultural Anthropology, I try to make the relevance of anthropology clear in every class. This starts on Day 1, just after I’ve stated my name and welcomed students to the class. With those rituals out of the way, I begin the first class with a pictures-only presentation titled “What I Did Last Summer.” read more…

  • dateAugust 27, 2013
  • comments4
  • posted byThomas McIlwraith
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