Teaching Resources

Bending the Odds: Pedagogy and Dialogue in Large Lecture Courses

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As academics in large public research universities, I am always amazed that when we speak of an ideal pedagogy, we speak about our small intimate seminars where we have the time and resources to experiment with 25 students or less. In my 13 years of teaching, I look forward to those settings when I get to teach one small undergraduate …

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Teaching Medical Anthropology

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In the decade since becoming a full time professor, medical anthropology has been one of my core courses. I have taught it seven times.  Although the basic structure of the course remains similar, emphases have shifted over time. Perhaps I can best highlight the evolution of the course through a discussion of readings I use since readings are the backbone …

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Syllabus: Nature/Culture Now!

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Nature Culture Now!, an upper division anthropology lecture course at the University of Michigan, traces the trajectory of nature/culture debates in American anthropology through modules on race, sex, and health and disease. The course is co-taught by a biological anthropologist, and myself, a cultural/medical anthropologist. The impetus for Nature/Culture Now! came from a formative experience I had as an undergraduate …

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Ethnography Labs: Unpacking Ethnographic Narrative

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My first experience teaching an ethnographic text to a classroom full of students was rocky. My attempts to draw them out into making connections between the ethnographic materials and our big course questions were met with silence. I, panicked, asked ever more concrete questions about the text, while the silence slowly turned stony until a chatty student desperately regurgitated some …

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Intimate, Familiar and Strange, or Why I Don’t Teach a Class on Sleep

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One of the insights into teaching provided to me by Donald Morse, one of my undergraduate professors, was to never teach the same class twice. But, simultaneously, not to overburden oneself by developing a new course every year. His model, which I’ve entirely stolen, was to teach one-third texts he knew intimately, one-third texts he was familiar with, and …

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Teaching ‘Mental Disorder’

This undergraduate course introduces ways anthropologists theorise and research mental disorder, treatment and recovery. It reflects a growing interest in anthropology’s encounter with the key ‘psych’ disciplines and the human and social sciences, evident in the well-spring of new university courses in psychological and psychiatric anthropology in the U.S, Canada and Australia, and the transnational migration of this interest to …