The Anthropology “UnEssay”

The Anthropology “UnEssay”

Katie Nelson, Ph.D., Inver Hills Community College

Marc Kissel, Ph.D., (Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Appalachian State University) regularly teaches two general education courses; Our Primate Heritage and Gender, Race, & Class. Tiring of the limited range of assessment options commonly used in higher education (such as multiple choice exams and formal essays), he has chosen to assign a different type of learning activity: the “unessay”. 

For this project, his students pick a topic that interests them and then they think of a way to produce something that addresses that theme. He lets students choose the topic, the format and final product. “The idea of having students choose not just the topic but the medium in which they can best present their ideas seemed to jell with the themes of my classes and would give non-majors a chance to explore the topic in a way that is meaningful to them” (Kissel). 

 

WHAT IS AN UNESSAY? 

An unessay is a type of assignment in which students select a topic that interests them (related to the course content), conduct research and then demonstrate their understanding of the topic in any manner that is meaningful to them. The final form of the projects can vary greatly. Here is a sampling of some of the types of projects Mark Kissel’s students have submitted:

  • A Dungeons & Dragons style role-playing game about evolution
  • A magazine-style story on Homo floresiensis
  • A watercolor about breastfeeding
  • Comic strips about primates, the island rule, and pronoun use
  • Clay sculptures of hominin skulls
  • A play about life as Fa’afafine
  • A canvas about gender roles and fluidity
  • a lesson plan on primates designed for 8th graders

This sort of assignment aligns with anthropology learning because, as Mark Kisse states, imagination and creativity are inherently human qualities. Sadly, creativity has been ‘educated out’ of us. An UnEssay project gives students a way to creatively interact with the class themes (Kissel)”. The unessay allows students to use their creative abilities while also reflecting on how humans continually use creativity to solve problems in unique ways.

Unessays also allow for students to apply an anthropological lens to view their research projects from different perspectives. This may also allow students to engage with their arguments in deeper (and potentially more meaningful) ways as they have to present their ideas in a different format than an essay.  

 

HOW DO FACULTY ASSIGN IT? 

This type of assignment is often new to students, so to introduce it, many faculty first provide an explanation for why they assign it and what students can expect to learn. Many also provide a range of examples of topics and final products to give their students initial ideas. Most require that students present their topic and project ideas for instructor approval prior to completing it.

Emily Suzanne Clark, Ph.D. (Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Gonzaga University), offers her students the choice of writing a traditional essay or an unessay. She then provides a prompt and a clear rubric for how she will grade the final projects. “…students choose their own topics, they present it in any way they choose, and we evaluate [it] based on how compelling it is. The idea is to break open the corral of the traditional essay and encourage students to take a different approach to the assignment” (Clark).   

In addition to the final unessay product, Holly Norton, Ph.D. (Associate Professor of Anthropology, University of Cincinnati), also asks her students to prepare a two-page reflective paper that details what they learned in the process of making their projects. “This lets me learn more about what excited them, what they understood, and what I need to do a better job of teaching next time around” (Norton).

» Link to Dr. Clark’s grading rubric: https://esclark.hcommons.org/the-unessay/
» Link to Dr. Kissel’s assignment guidelines (at the end of the post): https://marckissel.netlify.com/post/on-the-unessay/

ARE THERE ANY DISADVANTAGES?

Unessays can be hard to grade and faculty that assign them often state that it involves rethinking the grading scheme. Without clear and measurable grading guidelines, grading can be challenging and frustrating for both students and instructors. Additionally, this type of assignment may not work as well for certain upper-level courses or especially large courses (ie: 100 or more students). Some students can struggle with coming up with ideas while others will thrive with this sort of freedom. For this reason, providing examples and assigning the project in steps can help all students complete the assignment successfully. 

 

Tips to Make it Work

  • Provide clear and measurable grading criteria
  • Explain the reason(s) you are assigning the unessay
  • Provide examples to students of high quality unessay projects
  • Ask students to reflect on what they learned
  • Work on the project in steps throughout the course
  • Allow students the choice of writing a traditional essay or an unessay
  • Consider having students present their final unessay projects to one another in a conference-style setting
  • Consider allowing students to work in groups

 

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION


ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS 

I would like to thank Mark Kissel, Emily Suzanne Clark and Holly Norton for generously sharing their experiences with unessay assignments. I would also like to thank Nina Brown (Community College of Baltimore County) for suggesting the topic for this piece.


SAMPLE STUDENT UNESSAY WORK

Sample student unessay work. Courtesy of Heather Norton.

Sample student unessay work. Courtesy of Heather Norton.

Sample student unessay work. Courtesy of Heather Norton.

Sample student unessay work. Courtesy of Heather Norton.

Sample student unessay work. Courtesy of Heather Norton.

Integrating Individual Conferences

Integrating Individual Conferences

By Katie Nelson, Ph.D., Inver Hills Community College

During the first few weeks of each academic term, Dr. Kathryn A. Kozaitis (Associate Professor and Chair of Anthropology at Georgia State University) conducts individual conferences with each graduate student in her signature courses on Anthropological Theory and Praxis and Applied Anthropology. This, she finds, helps her build a relationship with them, and “from this relationship emerges a kind of accountability to one another” (Kozaitis). She also holds mandatory office hours for follow-up progress reports throughout the semester. Through these interactions she gets to know the backgrounds, strengths, and areas for growth of her students, and works closely with them to facilitate their success in the course. The early-semester conferences also serve as individualized pre-assessments allowing her to gauge where the group’s level of preparation is relative to the content of her course, and tweak her instruction or course design to ensure that all the students move forward in their understanding of the material. She feels this technique helps cultivate a particularly productive community of learners and a classroom culture of trust that fosters deeper and more transformative learning.

WHAT ARE INDIVIDUALIZED CONFERENCES? 

Individual conferences are intentional one-on-one meetings with a student and faculty member with a particular purpose. The objective can be to discuss coursework, evaluate course progress, address problems or concerns or explore other matters. They can take place at the beginning and end of the term or regularly throughout, and can range from structured assessments to free-flowing conversations. Some faculty build these conferences into the course design and require them as part of the grading criteria. 

From a pedagogical/andragogical perspective, conducting individualized one-on-one conferences with students offers a number of advantages. It helps the instructor get to know the student on a more personal level and allows for better differentiated instruction. Faculty can learn what is working in the classroom and what needs tweaking. Students can gain trust in the instructor and feel known on a deeper level. It can also provide an alternative environment in which the student (and instructor!) can ask questions of one another. In essence, student conferences offer a foundation for relationship building.

⇒ Click here to download a sample of a pre-conference writing assignment I use.

I would argue that in many ways, anthropology education is (or should be) about relationships; relationships with students and instructors, but also, relationships between the student and the course content. Authentic learning (that is retained and integrated into one’s intellectual orientation), of course, doesn’t occur in isolation or in the abstract, but by making connections. Individualized conferences foster these types of relationships and connections. Importantly, they also offer opportunities for contextualized learning and reflective, reflexive and critical thinking. Conferences can help students integrate the course content into their life experiences and appreciate how it is relevant to their lives and learning paths. 


ARE THERE DISADVANTAGES?


Faculty who use individualized conferencing in their course design say it can be a time consuming and labor intensive strategy. It often requires preparation for each meeting, writing notes after the meeting and providing additional written feedback to students. Because of this, it might be impractical to implement in especially large introductory classes. It can be logistically challenging setting up meeting times, so careful preparation to scheduling should be thought through. Conferences with faculty can also be intimidating to some students unfamiliar with the strategy. Setting clear expectations and explaining the purpose (and how it will help students) at the outset can help with these concerns. 

HOW DO FACULTY IMPLEMENT THEM? 

Hilarie Kelly, Ph.D., University of La Verne, teaches a senior thesis class in which she integrates individual conferences into the course design. A primary objective of this course is for her students to design and execute their own research projects and present them to the class. To do this, the students first review the relevant literature and discuss what sampling and data gathering methods to use. They then analyze their results, write the formal thesis, and finally give short, professional-quality presentations in a conference setting, usually with PowerPoint.

Towards the end of the course, in place of holding regular classes, she meets almost entirely one-on-one with students. The conferences are scheduled, required, and semi-structured in that they are set up to discuss each student’s completion of specific portions of the thesis project. It is possible to have students schedule their specific conference time on the appointed day (in lieu of class meetings on certain weeks) by using their Learning Management System (Blackboard), which can also be used for discussion board conversations as well. The full schedule of class meetings and conference days is listed on the syllabus at the beginning of the semester. Most sections of the senior thesis class meet once a week in the evening, so those also serve occasionally as conference days and a set, predictable time frame. This works because students are expected to attend the class every week, whether it is s group meeting or individual conference. This avoids logistical scheduling difficulties when holding the 1:1 conferences.

Sarah Martin, Ph.D., (Professor of Anthropology at Spokane Falls Community College, Co-Chair of the Institutional Teaching & Learning Improvement Committee and Co-Chair, eLearning Advisory Committee) teaches anthropology courses that are part of a writing intensive program designed to strengthen writing skills outside of composition courses. Faculty teaching these classes are required to include revision opportunities in their course design and provide significant feedback. How these components are incorporated into the class is up to the individual instructor.

The majority of her students are exposed to anthropology for the first time in this writing-intensive class. As such, she approach student conferences through three phases: Feedback, Reflection, and Assessment. Also, she refers to the conferences as Instructor-Student Conversations in hopes of conveying that this is a dialogue centered on student growth rather than an evaluation tool.

(Pssst: Download a copy of her assignment overview by clicking on the page on the left or the button below it.) 

Mark Busse, Ph.D., (Senior Lecturer in Social Anthropology at the University of Auckland) uses individual meetings in his two postgraduate courses—Anthropology and Intellectual Property, and Ethnographic Research. In each of those courses his students write a long research paper on a topic of their choice related to the course. To encourage students  to get started early on their papers, Mark asks them to write essay proposals, which are due about half way through the semester. He meets with each student a few weeks before the essay proposal is due, and again a few weeks after their essay proposals are submitted. 

The individual meetings  last for about 20 to 30 minutes. The first meetings are mostly focused on helping students identify a research question and identifying textual sources on which to base their papers. He also uses this meeting to get to know students and their interests (if they haven’t previously taken courses with him) and to talk about their verbal participation in seminars. The second meetings focus on giving feedback on their essay proposals and to address any questions that they have about the essay or the course more generally. These meetings are in addition to his regular weekly office hours.

While the individual meetings are time-intensive, he thinks that they are valuable because they help students produce higher quality work. Importantly, they also help him identify students who are struggling early in the semester and address their problems before they become too large.

TIPS TO MAKE IT WORK

  • Early in the semester, explain the purpose of the meetings and how it will benefit students.
  • Set clear and concrete expectations and outline specific objectives (for both yourself and the student).
  • Ask students to do pre-work or reflection writing before the meeting and review it.
  • Include the conferences as part of your course design and assign points to completing them. 
  • Include the full schedule of class meetings and conference days on the syllabus at the beginning of the semester.
  • Give students the opportunity to sign up for a time that works best for them. Consider using software like Doodle [https://doodle.com/] to help with scheduling.
  • For online courses, consider offering meetings via web conferencing.
  • For in-person meetings have a bowl with candy or treats and offer them to students to help them settle in. 

RESOURCES FOR FURTHER INFORMATION


ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I would like to thank Kathryn A. Kozaitis, Hillarie Kelly, Sarah Martin and Mark Busse for sharing their insights and detailing how they use student-instructor conferencing in their anthropological teaching practice.


REFERENCES

Kozaitis, Kathryn A. (Associate Professor of Anthropology, Georgia State University). Interview with Katie Nelson. November 20th, 2019. Vancouver, BC. 

 

Teaching Resource Contributed By: Katie Nelson, Ph.D., Inver Hills Community College

Enseñando Relativismo Cultural a través de la Educación Mediática

Como profesor en la era de la información, creo que es importante incluir Educación Mediática en mis cursos. El acceso que tienen los estudiantes de hoy a la información ilimitada por medio de Internet es tanto una bendición como una maldición. Es un hecho sin precedentes tener el cumulo del conocimiento humano al alcance de nuestras manos. Sin embargo, como hemos visto en los últimos años, el Internet también ha facilitado la difusión de información errónea y desinformación. Mi objetivo principal como catedrático es enseñar a los estudiantes a encontrar y evaluar información, pensar críticamente al respecto y sacar conclusiones correctas. Esto debe incluir enseñar a los estudiantes a navegar la información que encuentran en línea, especialmente con respecto a los acontecimientos actuales.

Durante mi tiempo enseñando una clase  de introducción  de estudios de género en Santa Ana Community College, estaba en las noticias para entonces la reciente prohibición de Francia del uso de burkinis. Aproveché la oportunidad para relacionar ese evento con una lección sobre relativismo cultural y diferencias de poder. Estábamos leyendo Half the Sky de Nicholas D. Kristoff y Sheryl WuDunn como parte del plan de estudios compartido por el departamento. El libro ofrece una amplia investigación de  las  circunstancias más terribles que viven las mujeres  alrededor del mundo, si bien   la información es importante, es  ocasionalmente  presentada paternalistamente y sin el relativismo cultural necesario. Además, algunas partes del libro discuten las formas específicas de opresión que enfrentan las mujeres en el mundo musulmán. Basada en  los datos demográficos de mi clase y en mis conversaciones con ellos, sabía que  la mayoría nunca había conocido a una persona musulmana, y me preocupaba que sin haber hablado de este problema, el libro pudiera materializar algunos estereotipos de mujeres musulmanas como víctimas desempoderadas.

Para la parte clave de la lección, elegí un video de CNN (desafortunadamente, ya no está disponible) en el que dos mujeres musulmanas fueron invitadas al programa para debatir si era apropiado o no, prohibir ciertas formas religiosas de vestir en una democracia occidental secular. Una mujer que usaba hiyab, argumentó que ordenar a las mujeres musulmanas que se descubran, era el mismo tipo de control sobre los cuerpos de las mujeres, eso es un síntoma de la cultura de violación. La otra mujer argumentó que las prácticas religiosas enraizadas en el patriarcado no deben ser bienvenidas en una sociedad secular que aspira a la igualdad.

Antes de compartir el video con mis alumnos les proporcioné contexto, sabía que lo necesitarían a fin de comprender el debate. Compartí un texto relacionado de El Corán y expliqué brevemente por qué mostrar modestia ante Dios es importante en el Islam. planteé algunas preguntas para que los estudiantes pensaran al respecto mientras miraban la película. En particular, les sugerí que pensaran acerca de cómo podría ser una conversación semejante sobre el vestido de las mujeres en occidente. Justo después del video, hice que los estudiantes se giraran y hablaran con un compañero sobre que les sorprendió del video y qué argumentos fueron más convincentes para ellos. Me parece que hacer que los estudiantes discutan un tema con un compañero justo antes de una discusión de toda la clase, prepara la bomba para contribuciones más reflexivas.

En la discusión en el salón de clases, permito que los resultados del aprendizaje del día guíen la conversación. Quería que los estudiantes pudieran aplicar la idea del relativismo cultural no solo al libro Half the Sky, sino también a los medios que consumen en su vida diaria fuera del aula. Ellos deben entender que este tipo de debates en las estaciones de noticias 24/7 a menudo establecen falsas equivalencias. Aparentemente, en un debate, dos lados de un argumento son presentados como iguales. Sin embargo, para ofrecer otro ejemplo, un debate sobre el cambio climático entre un científico del clima y un científico que está en la pequeña minoría de negadores del cambio climático no proporciona una representación equilibrada del problema como lo entienden los científicos. Este tipo de igualdad oscurece la equidad. Del mismo modo, presentar el conflicto de la prohibición del burkini como un debate entre mujeres musulmanas es deshonesto cuando el número de mujeres musulmanas que apoyan tales prohibiciones son una pequeña minoría.

Estos son el tipo de preguntas que guiaron nuestra discusión: ¿Quién tiene el poder de definir qué formas de vestimenta son adecuadas para las mujeres? ¿Qué mensaje CNN está enviando cuando ellos representan el tema de las prohibiciones del burka como un debate entre dos mujeres musulmanas? ¿las ideas de quien son ampliadas y de quién son depreciadas? Después de pasar un tiempo discutiendo el video de CNN, pedí a los estudiantes que relacionaran esas lecciones con su lectura.  Cuando lees Half the Sky, ¿quién tiene el poder de definir los problemas de las mujeres y ofrecer soluciones? ¿Cómo son representadas las voces de las mujeres en este libro? Finalmente, llegamos a la ultima pregunta, con la cual vínculo la lección de ese día con preguntas más amplias del curso. ¿Qué tipo de equilibrio piensas que es apropiado cuando se trata de aplicar el relativismo cultural y luchar por los derechos de las mujeres? ¿Quién debería decidir dónde está la línea?

Si bien esta lección particular surgió de una lectura especifica asignada para un curso de estudios de género y un evento actual especifico, este marco puede ser fácilmente adaptado a otros contextos. Esta lección podría ser usada en cualquier curso que cubra las formas en que las estructuras de poder determinan las narrativas públicas. Para los propósitos de la enseñanza de la antropología cultural, esta lección podría usarse en un curso introductorio para enseñar el relativismo cultural, o en cursos de nivel superior que traten la antropología del género o la antropología del islam. Con algunos ajustes, la estructura básica de la lección podría usarse también para enseñar otras áreas temáticas. Recomiendo buscar eventos de actualidad que enlazan con el tema en cuestión. Por ejemplo, si estuviera diseñando una lección basada en este marco para usar este otoño, me gustaría ver las noticias recientes sobre Colin Kaepernick siendo la nueva cara de la última campaña publicitaria de Nike y noticias sobre las protestas de brutalidad policial de la NFL en general. Yo compartiría el video mencionado anteriormente con la clase, en el que dos analistas deportivos debaten las protestas de la NFL y plantearía este tipo de preguntas: ¿Es este grupo realmente tan homogéneo como dice el primer orador? ¿Qué dinámicas de poder se ocultan al presentar este debate como “gente blanca y negra hablando juntos” sobre este tema? ¿De quién es el punto de vista que da la impresión de ser más fuerte y por qué?


Recurso de enseñanza contribuido por: Mindy Wynn Tauberg, estudiante de posgrado, Universidad de California, Irvine.  Mindy Wynn Tauberg es una estudiante de doctorado, estudia el activismo interreligioso entre Musulmanes y Judíos en Los Ángeles. Su investigación se centra en las formas en que los activistas utilizan la narrativa personal para establecer conexiones entre comunidades en conflicto. En 2016, Mindy participó en el Programa de pasantías de California Community College y el al año siguiente completó la beca pedagógica de la University of California, Irvine.  Mindy tiene una maestría en Educación Primaria Inclusiva de Teachers College, Columbia University.

Traducción por: Wendy Torres



Considering Intangible Values and Social Context in Cultural Resource Management

Considering Intangible Values and Social Context in Cultural Resource Management

The Pinery stage station, a historic resource of Guadalupe Mountains National Park. Photo credit: National Park Service.


By: Rochelle Bloom

The article, A Critique of Unfeeling Heritage, by Denis Byrne, is a useful text to introduce holistic approaches to archaeology. It is particularly well suited for students in an applied archaeology program who are considering a career in cultural resource management (CRM) and might not have a solid background in cultural anthropology or intangible heritage values. The article highlights the tendency of archaeologists, particularly those working in CRM, to privilege large-scale inventorying of sites and focus upon the “technologies and economics of the past” at the expense of the behaviors of the humans who created the sites. Though archaeology is, by definition, the study of material culture, this article helps to articulate the risks inherent in ignoring the social values communities attribute to sites.

The author illustrates the necessity for consideration of past and present social context through discussion of how communities relate to Cold War-era mass grave sites in Indonesia and massacre sites in other areas, particularly in instances where material evidence of past events is not visible in the landscape and specific locations have not been recorded. The article proposes an approach to archaeology in which artifacts are used as an avenue to explore the lives of associated individuals, rather than allowing for recordation and salvage of material as an end in itself. Although the article does not seek to develop a comprehensive methodology for a “feeling” archaeology, it does provide an excellent foundation for reflecting on some of the limitations of a purely tangible approach to the discipline.

A useful way to incorporate this article into the curriculum would be in a discussion of the potential issues that prevent best practice archaeology in CRM. It might be helpful to explore the pressures of projects,such as limited time and money, and how they affect the quality of work and goals for CRM projects. You may demonstrate how the investigation of past and present social context can be incorporated practically into fieldwork. For instance, in addition to discussing survey,excavation, and recording methodologies, you may wish to introduce some of the methods by which it is possible to obtain knowledge of human behavior, even with the prescribed limitations dictated by CRM. A useful exercise with students might be to provide examples of reports that are typical of more traditional environmental impact assessments and ask them to provide critiques and recommendations for more holistic studies.

Citation:

Byrne, Denis. 2009. “A Critique of Unfeeling Heritage.” In Intangible Heritage, edited by Laurajane Smith and Natsuko Akagawa, 229-252. London and New York: Routledge.

As of 10/23/2018 the article is available for free through Marquette University.

Link to the article: http://www.mu.edu.et/iphc/images/liblary/Heritage/Heritage_Culture_and_Tourism/Tangible_Hritage.pdf

Resource Contributed By: Rochelle Bloomis, Portland State University

Rochelle Bloom is an anthropology research assistant contracted to Portland State and working as a collaborator with the National Park Service. She assists with identification of ethnographic resources on federal lands.

Teaching Anthropological Analysis through Annotated Participant Observation Essay

Teaching Anthropological Analysis through Annotated Participant Observation Essay

By: Danica Loucks

Students just beginning their undergraduate education may not have a strong grasp of the distinction between description and analysis and what that looks like in anthropological work. If they’re just beginning to be introduced to anthropology and/or other social sciences, this may be especially so. In order to facilitate the growth of students’ abilities to conduct anthropological analysis, gain a better understanding of how description and analysis relate to each other, and see how anthropological concepts and theories can become useful tools, I have assigned Introduction to Sociocultural Anthropology students what I call an annotated essay.

With this assignment, students carry out participant observation in a public space. Afterwards, they use their field notes to compose an essay describing their experience. I ask students to write their essay in a formal organized style (i.e. aiming for strong macro, meso, and micro organization, clear topic sentences, etc.) but to focus on describing their experience/what they observed. After writing this essay, the students then must annotate their own writing. With each annotation they must identify a concept or theory introduced in the course that their observation relates to. They must explain how the concept relates or detail why their observation is an example of that concept, as well as provide a formal definition of the concept (you can also require citations if that is a desired learning outcome of your course/the assignment). Carrying out this conceptual work as annotations separates and makes distinct basic analytical skills–a distinction that can be pointed out to students to help them identify how analysis differs from description. This assignment can function well as a precursor to an assignment later in the term in which students will be expected to write into a way that integrates analysis into the main body of their compositions.

Skills and learning objectives: de/familiarization, semi-structured field observation, taking and organizing field notes, applying anthropological concepts and perspectives to data gathering in order to gain experience in how anthropologists “code” observational data.

Variations:

  • This could be done as an ongoing “observation journal” in which students write field notes numerous times throughout the academic term (e.g. weekly or biweekly) and annotate with concepts as they are introduced in the course.
  • If you are leading discussion sections and are not in a position to create/choose formal assignments for your students, you could modify this to be on a smaller scale or ask students to analytically annotate news articles, media, etc.

See the following text for an example of how this assignment has been presented to students:

  • First, spend 30-60 minutes in a publicly accessible location (a space that is available to you as a member of the public, student, or worker, not one that is private, proprietary, or requires special permissions to be in and report about). This space can be an everyday place, or a site where a particular event or gathering is taking place. Direct your attention to observing the space and the people, beings, and things around you. As you observe, take down notes of all you see and notice.While recording everything you observe, try to identify what things you might usually take for granted. If you’re in a familiar space, challenge yourself to make the familiar strange, in other words, to write about things you take for granted as something culturally produced and not necessarily “right” or”natural” or “common sense.”  If you’re in an unfamiliar setting,try to make sense of what is going on in terms of those who belong to it–that is, try to make the strange familiar. Write down descriptions that don’t assume you know what something is or why something is done a particular way.  Also, using our course concepts, feel free to include speculations in your notes.
  • Take into the field a notebook, writing instrument, and phone for pix or video if you want (not required). Take also a mental “checklist” of socio-cultural features that we know, from our work in class, that can be observed in human social spaces. This list includes but is not limited to:  language/gesture, sights and sound, ideologies, ways relations are structured or enacted, relational activities (human and non-human),how material cultural objects are part of or excluded from the space, rituals and performances, gendered signs and processes, racialized spatializations,social inclusions or exclusions, sexism, racism. Combine walking around and using defamiliarization and semi-structured observation (as we will discuss in class) to immerse in the space. Take detailed notes while you are doing this or wait until you are finished and write down your experience right away so you don’t forget. Write down everything you see, hear,feel, smell, taste, and or perceive in any other way.  We’ll talk about strategies in class!
  • The final product for this assignment should be 4-6 pages of typed (double spaced) field note-based description and footnoted annotations. Minimum 1500 words (including footnotes/endnotes). 
  • Here are instructions and requirements:
  • Write up your field notes into a clear, cogent description. Although this is not a formal essay with a thesis or argument, you must title your essay, use standard good writing skills, and organize description through logically flowing paragraphs.
  • Read over your description and use the colored highlighter function to highlight phrases or sentences that relate to concepts or processes we’ve studied in class.
  • Then annotate your highlighted parts, here’s how:  Use the footnote function to put a footnote after those highlighted phrases or sentences. In those footnotes,relate what you observed and highlighted to a concept or process we have discussed in class. Explain what that anthropological concept or process is,then offer your own analysis or speculation of what is going on. You do not have to do a bibliography referencing the concepts or lectures, because the purpose of this is to show how you can observe and identify examples of what we’ve been exploring. You can go ahead and speculate to – use educated guesses when you can. Some of your footnotes will point to things that require that you reference multiple concepts and processes, this is just fine and indicates how social life is anthropologically complex. You must provide a minimum of 10 annotations, but see how many anthropological concepts and processes you can discover and point out!
  • Skills and learning objectives: In this assignment you will practice de/familiarization, semi-structured field observation, taking and organizing field notes, applying anthropological concepts and perspectives to data gathering in order to gain experience in how anthropologists”code” observational data.

Resource Contributed by: Danica Loucks, University of California, Irvine

Danica Loucks is a PhD student at the University of California, Irvine. Her dissertation research examines how different stakeholders understand public lands in the U.S., considering how differing ways of knowing landscapes, contrasting ideologies about land and property, and competing historical narratives (as well as understandings of how history matters) shape contemporary public lands conflict. Danica is a Pedagogical Fellow through UCI’s Division of Teaching Excellence and Innovation and is currently conducting research regarding how students develop anthropological analytical skills.