Hello everyone,

Since last year I've been teaching Anthropology on the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme for students aged 16-19 in the UK. There is also talk of introducing A level Anthropology at my college. Is anyone teaching at this level? Or are you all teaching undergraduates?

I am really looking for some advice on Anthropology in the last 15 years or so. (no tall order there then)

I haven't studied Anthropology since my degree (late 1990s) and we have VERY limited book resources at the college (and no direct journal access). If anyone can recommend some basic texts that I could get hold of to help me or for students to use, that would be very useful. I have some good general books such as Eriksen, Kuper, Hendry, but our few ethnographies are ancient. What recent ethnographic work would you recommend to engage young students and raise some of the central issues in Anthropology? I am able to order journal articles by a tortuous process - anything really key that I should look for? Film recommendations also welcomed, though I think we can only buy cheap ones! The students are engaged and intelligent and quite a few of them are planning to study Anthropology at university.

Anyway, it would also be nice to find out if anyone else is teaching at this sort of level.
Best wishes,
Aimee

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Replies to This Discussion

Hi Aimee,

Anthropology is taught at this level in some of Québec's CEGEPS (= roughly sixth form colleges), including at least one English-speaking one (Dawson College, Montréal) and even in some Canadian high schools, as I found out from my students. I'm teaching a large first-year Intro to Anthropology in a Canadian university and, knowing the British education system (of which I am a product, of probably the same vintage as you) I'm sure that many of my students would have the same level of skills and knowledge as yours. So I'm kind of teaching at the same level. They are very much enjoying the introductory reader, 'Conformity and Conflict' (eds James Spradley and David McCurdy, Pearson Education - you can request a complimentary exam copy). Although this has some old classics, it also has a lot of recent articles which are either abridged from 'real' ethnographies or commissioned specially for this publication. It's well organized and offers a great deal of flexibility in what you might want to cover - altogether an excellent 'sampler' of ethnographies. It seems to me like probably the best value for money out of the Intro-level readers around. There is of course something of an American emphasis, but the range is broad.

As a full ethnography, we are getting our teeth into Bruce Knauft's intro-level book on The Gebusi (McGraw-Hill, 2010). This is just a lovely book, really nuanced, well-written and the great thing is that he did fieldwork in Papua New Guinea in 1980-82, 1998 and 2008, so you can discuss culture change and globalization rather than thinking of the exotic, timeless 'Other'. The first few chapters can be downloaded here.

Martha
Hi,
I am teaching first year students in the Canadian Prairies and Horace Miner's ancient article (Body Ritual among the Nacirema, 1956 or so) works very well. Don't give away that it really is about the Americans and they won't notice that reading words backwards gives the text a totally new meaning ... easy read, short and crisp ... gruesome and fun. And about 'us' (sort of, I'm German but what the heck).

Susanne
Thank you, that's extremely useful! I'm very impressed that you are using a book not even out yet! Most of ours were published in about 1954. I'll get hold of those and add some life to our curriculum. At the moment we are just doing very old classics: San, Tiwi, Yanomano, Trobriand Islanders. We have a few films with slightly more recent stuff, but not much. But I feel very out of date and deeply regret losing my university notes along the way, sadly pre Windows etc so unsaved.
Aimee

Martha Radice said:
Hi Aimee,

Anthropology is taught at this level in some of Québec's CEGEPS (= roughly sixth form colleges), including at least one English-speaking one (Dawson College, Montréal) and even in some Canadian high schools, as I found out from my students. I'm teaching a large first-year Intro to Anthropology in a Canadian university and, knowing the British education system (of which I am a product, of probably the same vintage as you) I'm sure that many of my students would have the same level of skills and knowledge as yours. So I'm kind of teaching at the same level. They are very much enjoying the introductory reader, 'Conformity and Conflict' (eds James Spradley and David McCurdy, Pearson Education - you can request a complimentary exam copy). Although this has some old classics, it also has a lot of recent articles which are either abridged from 'real' ethnographies or commissioned specially for this publication. It's well organized and offers a great deal of flexibility in what you might want to cover - altogether an excellent 'sampler' of ethnographies. It seems to me like probably the best value for money out of the Intro-level readers around. There is of course something of an American emphasis, but the range is broad.

As a full ethnography, we are getting our teeth into Bruce Knauft's intro-level book on The Gebusi (McGraw-Hill, 2010). This is just a lovely book, really nuanced, well-written and the great thing is that he did fieldwork in Papua New Guinea in 1980-82, 1998 and 2008, so you can discuss culture change and globalization rather than thinking of the exotic, timeless 'Other'. The first few chapters can be downloaded here.

Martha
Hi Susanne - that article was mentioned elsewhere on the site, I'll get hold of it, would be great for the section of the course which is about the basic ideas of anthropology. Thank you very much for your advice.

Aimee
susanne kuehling said:
Hi,
I am teaching first year students in the Canadian Prairies and Horace Miner's ancient article (Body Ritual among the Nacirema, 1956 or so) works very well. Don't give away that it really is about the Americans and they won't notice that reading words backwards gives the text a totally new meaning ... easy read, short and crisp ... gruesome and fun. And about 'us' (sort of, I'm German but what the heck).

Susanne
Hi AImee.

I realise this thread is nearly a year old. I am a High School teacher in Australia and one of my main teaching subjects is called Society & Culture which has a heavy Anthropological base, along with Sociology etc. While my subject has specific text books available I often found that while the information was good it was "dumbed down" which for some of my classes was not a good thing. So I pretty much started using my 1st year university texts books with the better classes.

I've used books such as Schultz & Lavenda with my classes as while they are university level Society & Culture is a fairly intellectual course anyway. Conrad Kottak also comes out with some pretty good Anthropology material for High School type subjects.

Hope this can be of some help.
Aimee, while I think of it I must say I'd be careful about using any material older than 20-30 years concerning the Tiwi Islanders. If you want to teach about them I'd Google them and get something more up to date. Take a look at this page and it may help you find some good contacts with relevant and up to date information.

As for videos, you could try to get a copy of Bruce Parry's Tribe series, while it was made for popular consumption it is till very interesting. Another series I have used was National Geographic's Worlds Apart. I do not know if that is available on DVD the only copy I have is on tape.

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