A New Vision for Teaching Tools

As the new section editor for the Teaching Tools section of the Cultural Anthropology website, I want to take this opportunity to present my vision for the section so that our readers know what to expect in the months ahead. The Teaching Tools section, as well as many of our Fieldsights series, are being transformed as contributing editors seek out opportunities to produce unique and meaningful content. This is an excellent time to be a reader of Cultural Anthropology.

Expanded Teaching Mandate

Teaching Tools has always been a resource for educators and students in anthropology and related disciplines. Going forward, I will be expanding this mandate to include skill building for undergraduates, graduate students, and early-career faculty. I have posts planned on professional skills (presentation and public speaking skills), career skills (planning teaching demonstrations for job visits), and pedagogical skills (teaching with in-class activities).

More Activities

The most popular Teaching Tools posts are those that highlight creative classroom activities (like this one). At the same time, choosing and leading in-class activities are among the most difficult skills for new instructors. Future posts will focus on actions, skills, and activities for the classroom: how to put theories into action for students, excite bored classes and bored instructors, teach field methods, or help students address anthropology-related issues outside the classroom.

Expanded Links with the Journal

When Cultural Anthropology was closed to all but paid subscribers, our website provided free, sometimes standalone content to interested readers. Now that Cultural Anthropology is open-access, it behooves us as contributing editors to engage more deeply with the journal’s academic articles. Some Teaching Tools posts will be linked with specific research articles appearing in the journal, providing guidelines on how to teach these articles in the classroom (such as this one).

Scholars-in-Residence Program

Teaching Tools will be pioneering a new Scholar-in-Residence program that seeks to involve post-PhD scholars in the intellectual life of each Fieldsights series. Starting in March, Teaching Tools will be hosting Angela Jenks as our inaugural Scholar-in-Residence. Professor Jenks teaches the anthropology of medicine, science, and technology with a focus on race, ethnicity, and the politics of difference in the United States. She is also the director of the Masters program in Medicine, Science and Technology Studies at the University of California, Irvine.

In her published work on pedagogy, Jenks (2014, 9) has written that she “approach[es] undergraduate teaching as a form of public anthropology,” in which she “strives to link anthropology to the everyday lives of students” experiencing diverse forms of social inequality. This kind of critical pedagogy consciously connects our classroom practices to the wider worlds in which we live and conduct research. I look forward to hosting her first post in March!

Reference

Jenks, Angela C. 2014. “Making the Familiar Strange: Reimagining the Typical Anthropology Student.Anthropology News 55, no. 2: 9.