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Current Policies and Practices in European Social Anthropology Education

Edited by Dorle Dracklé and Iain R. Edgar

256 pages, index

ISBN  978-1-57181-564-4 $99.00/£60.00 Hb Published (February 2004)

ISBN  978-1-57181-692-4 $25.00/£15.00 Pb Published (February 2004)


Hb Pb
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“Learning Fields, a magisterial two-volume consideration of Social Anthropology in Europe,…provides us with a stimulating , varied, yet deeply coherent range of ways of learning about our shared field…Dracklé, Edgar, Schippers, and the contributing authors have made a significant contribution with these two volumes: intellectually stimulating, pragmatically indispensable and epistemologically invaluable.”  ·  Don Brenneis in Social Anthropology

As Europe becomes more integrated at the economic and political level, attempts are being made to harmonize education policies as well. This volume offers an important contribution in that the authors examine, for the first time,the politics and practices of social anthropology education across Europe. They look at a wide variety of current developments, including new teaching initiatives, the use of participatory teaching materials, film and video, fieldwork studies, applied anthropology, student perspectives, the educational role of museums, distance learning and the use of new technologies.

Dorle Dracklé is Professor for Social Anthropology and Intercultural Studies at the University of Bremen, Germany.

Iain R. Edgar lectures in the Department of Anthropology at Durham University.

Related Link: European Association of Social-Anthropologists (EASA)

Series: Volume 2, EASA Series


LC: LB45 .C88 2004

BL: YC.2005.a.12245

BISAC: SOC002000 SOCIAL SCIENCE/Anthropology/General; EDU000000 EDUCATION/General

BIC: JHM Anthropology; JN Education


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Table of Contents (Free download)

Foreword (Free download)

Introduction

Learning Fields, Disciplinary Landscapes

Amidst the diverse professional lives of European social anthropologists, teaching and training are important common denominators, to which we devote a great deal of time, energy and creativity. Yet this work is not always a cause for pride or even debate, but instead can become a 'fugitive activity' (Huber 2001). Whilst we may care deeply about our students, our courses and our educationnal role, we do not always see these as topics for scholarly inquiry or sustained critical attention. If 'anthropologists are inclined to think of themselves first and foremost as researchers' (Hannerz 2002), then teaching comes in a rather bedraggled second. We pay surprisingly little ethnographic attention to the ways in which we impart, embody and reproduce our own anthropological skills and perspectives to our students.

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Knowing, Doing and Being

Pedagogies and Paradigms in the Teaching of Social Anthropology

British higher education is currently adopting a new set of procedures for the review of university teaching. These latest shifts were initiated in the wake of Lord Dearing's report on the future of higher education in the U.K. (1997). One of the problems highlighted by the report was an absence of transparency and accountability in the delivery of teaching programmes, leading to a lack of national standardisation. In response to these concerns, the U.K. Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) was established with a 'mission' to 'promote public confidence that quality of provision and standards of awards in higher education are being safeguarded and advanced' (QAA 2000: 1). To achieve their mission the QAA has developed and begun to implement a thoroughly revamped approach to quality assurance through 'academic review'.

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Politically Reflexive Practitioners

he attempt to move from élite to mass higher education in Britain in the 1990s has been accompanied by two primary discourses about its aims and 'best practices'. One discourse comes from policy-makers who see the purpose of higher education as the production of 'flexible' workers who will perform well in the new post-Fordist organisation of work and in the global knowledge economy. The second discourse comes from educationalists concerned to improve student learning and the quality of teaching. Both emphasise 'reflection': sometimes they use 'reflection' interchangeably with 'reflexivity'.

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Studying Social Anthropology in the U.K.

A Report from the Field

Academic social anthropologists in the U.K. have paid increasing attention to the importance of teaching in postgraduate courses, both for course-based master's degree programmes and for research-oriented doctoral programmes. This reflects not only increasing public attention to the ethics of anthropological research and the government's growing concern with 'quality control', but also considerable frustration on the part of postgraduate students themselves, who have become more vocal in demanding guidance from their mentors (Watson 1999: 3, 19ff). When the National Network for Teaching and Learning Anthropology initiated a wide-ranging series of projects to assess and improve training methods, it included among them one workshop dedicated to gathering the viewpoints of students themselves.

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Away from Home

Some Reflections on Learning Anthropology Abroad

In 1989, the Executive Committee of the EASA decided to set up, as it was formulated in their proposal, 'a consortium of anthropology departments which are prepared to establish a system of generalised exchange at the level of undergraduate teaching'.1 Eventually twenty-seven universities joined this programme.2 The idea was that 'every department would send between one and ten second- or third-year students to other departments, while each participating department might expect to receive a similar number of students'.

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Anthropology and ICT

Experiences of a Dutch Pilot Project

Introduction
Yes, we have finished. And realised many of our dreams! Five of our courses now have a special website and form a cumulative series of new technology applications integrated within the programme. Moreover, our pilot project has inspired other teachers and the faculty board to develop further applications and as of now the entire study programme is on-line. Indeed, looking back, 1997 seems like pre-history.

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Lessons Learnt from the Experience Rich Anthropology Project

Anthropology defines itself in terms of the collection and analysis of primary data derived from life in human groups and the comparison of these results. In particular, the 'fieldwork experience' is seen by many anthropologists as formative and crucial for the development of an anthropological understanding. However, the conventional anthropology curriculum is formally based almost entirely on the assimilation of a body of readings in conjunction with discussion of these materials.

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Ethnography, Experience and Electronic Text

A Discussion of the Potential of Hypermedia for Teaching and Representation in Anthropology

In Britain the production and use of electronic hypermedia for teaching and learning anthropology is expanding. During the 1990s anthropologists' published responses to this new form of ethnographic representation ranged from advocating caution in the application of hypermedia to anthropology (e.g., Banks 1994) to celebrating its creative potential to enhance research, representation and pedagogy intellectually and ethically (e.g., Biella 1994).

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Films in the Classroom

Point of Departure
About one hundred years ago, film1 was invented. From its very beginnings, the documentation of different cultures all over the world was one of the main topics in which the early film-makers were interested. Thus very soon, ethnographers such as Alfred Cort Haddon, Walter Baldwin Spencer, and Rudolf Pöch, to name but a few, started to carry heavy and clumsy film equipment with them into the field. As a result, film documents were published soon afterwards which amazed academic as well as public audiences alike

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Teaching Museum Anthropology in the Twenty-First Century

Introduction
Had this essay been written even five years ago (in the mid-1990s, rather than early 2001), I would have approached it in a different manner. Many academic departments of anthropology still had a museum collection, and the issue of how to make such a resource 'relevant' for the student population as well as colleagues was still a live one. While there are certainly departments of anthropology with a museum adjunct, there are good reasons for questioning the almost automatic assumption that anthropologists should be primarily concerned with ethnographic collections in the conventional sense of that term. This observation has far-reaching implications for the task of teaching museum anthropology to contemporary students of anthropology, as I shall argue in this chapter.

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Professional Practice in Anthropology

Course Overview, Disciplinary and Pedagogic Approaches

Introduction
This chapter is based on a course entitled 'Professional Practice in Anthropology', which is a week-long, national, residential, professional practice course run by the Group for Anthropology in Policy and Practice (GAPP) since 1986. It has been developed outside mainstream university teaching in the U.K., and apart from the first one, I have directed all the courses held almost every year since 1989. In 1997, a curriculum resource manual for university teachers entitled Professional Practice in Anthropology was published in order to make the course's curriculum content and pedagogic approach available for use by a range of teachers and learners, as is this chapter.

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Living Learning

Teaching as Interaction and Dialogue

Academic teaching is currently facing a serious crisis. Put somewhat ironically: students no longer want to learn and teachers no longer want to teach. This stalemate situation needs to be overcome by developing a novel set of teaching practices. We lack alternative means of producing knowledge; in the final analysis what is required are new strategies for sharing and for conveying knowledge. In the present article I suggest various possible solutions and present my own approach. I begin with an analysis of the situation in today's universities, while directly relating the contents of our discipline — anthropology — to teaching practice. Indeed, it is no mere coincidence that our scholarly output and classroom practice are so closely interwoven.

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Ethnodrama in Anthropology Education

Suit the action to the word, the word to the action;
with this special observance that you o'erstep not the modesty of nature.
For any thing so o'erdone is from the purpose of playing,
whose end, both at the first and now, was and is,
to hold, as 'twere, the mirror up to nature;
to show virtue her feature, scorn her own image,
and the very age and body of the time his form and pressure.
(Hamlet, Act 3, Scene 2)
In teaching cultural anthropology we face a disturbing paradox: we bring students' attention to the lives of what are often very dissimilar human beings, and to sometimes radically different ways of looking at the world, of representing it, and feeling and acting in it. Yet we, as academics, find ourselves mainly working with often very abstract mental constructs, categories and concepts, and in any case our mental formulations are very different from those used by the subjects we refer to. Real life, ultimately, is reduced to schemes, patterns and systems which monopolise all our considerations.

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Travelling Cultures

Study Tours in the Social Anthropological Curriculum and Beyond

A person who knows only his own village will not understand it: only by seeing what is familiar in the light of what is the norm elsewhere will we be enabled to think afresh about what we know too well.
(quoted by Weil and McGill, 1989: 4)
Introduction
In July 1995 a colleague and I organised a Human Sciences Study Tour to India, a three-week visit involving twenty-two students from University College, Stockton, U.K. (now renamed University of Durham, Queen's Campus). This tour broke new ground in the teaching and learning of U.K. anthropology, but has not been repeated. This chapter discusses the problems and potential of such a tour, and of fieldwork generally as experiential learning in the social anthropological curriculum. In particular I shall look at the institutional and cultural constraints that make organising such ventures challenging.

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Beginning with Images

An Introduction to Imagination-Based Educational Methodologies

The use of computer-assisted learning and the anticipated future generation of virtual ethnographic experience on-line may perhaps develop coincidentally alongside a developing interest in accessing students' imaginative potential. This chapter proposes a further development of experiential learning methods (Kolb 1984) to include a variety of imagework methods. Some humanistic groupwork methods have already been developed in education, and role-play for instance is a regular feature of current classroom activity.

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Performance and Experiential Learning in the Study of Ethnomusicology

In 1881, Alice C. Fletcher (1838-1923) first visited the Omaha in Nebraska. Her initial responses to their song repertoire were not favourable. She heard 'little or nothing' of this music 'beyond a screaming downward movement that was gashed and torn by the vehemently beaten drum' (1994 [1893]: 7). However, fieldwork was to be a 'transformational experience' for her. The Omaha sang for her when she fell ill and as she recovered she learnt and sang the songs too. Later on in her fieldwork, knowledge of this repertoire enabled her to participate in ceremonies. Fletcher notes, 'the whole people took up the song and I too joined, able at last to hear and comprehend the music that had through all my difficulties fascinated even while it eluded me' (1994 [1893]: 9). Such experiences motivated her to abandon the evolutionary paradigms, then fashionable, that she had hoped to apply to analysis of this music.

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Epilogue (Free download)

Contributors (Free download)