Teaching

Teaching Philosophy in Brief
To me, education in anthropology is eminently grounded in human interactions. As academic anthropologists, our research is dependent on being able to engage with people whose life experiences may differ greatly from our own. Likewise, one of the most valuable skills an undergraduate education in anthropology can offer students is the ability to understand and explain diverse cultural practices, including their own. Furthermore, students in an anthropology classroom learn to communicate complex ideas about culture and society across a variety of genres and mediums. Finally, anthropology students are able to collaborate with people from a range of social, cultural, and disciplinary backgrounds. I believe the tools and skills students gain in an anthropology classroom are applicable to any career they may pursue, and are also an essential part of becoming a compassionate and responsible citizen of the world.

Courses Taught:
• History of Anthropology II ~ Historia de la antropología II
• Nutrition and Evolution ~ Biological Anthropology 364

Courses Designed:
• Peoples and Cultures of Latin America
• Digital Media and Human Connections

••Please see my Engagement page for information on non-university teaching experience••

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history-of-anthropology-bannerPrimary Instructor. Universidad del Valle de Guatemala, Guatemala City. July- November 2010.
This was a bilingual English and Spanish course taught to 27 senior anthropology majors at a small private university in Guatemala.

Course Description: This class builds upon the historical and theoretical foundations established in Historia de Antropología I. The purpose of the class is to explore how the field of Anthropology has changed and developed since roughly the 1950s, including shifts in goals, theoretical foci, methods, and ethics. The weekly themes and reading assignments are meant to build on one another, showing how ideas within the field of Anthropology are in a constant state of reuse and reinvention. While the focus of the course is on the history of anthropological theory, theoretical texts are paired with ethnographic examples in order to demonstrate the connections between history, theory, and practice. 

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Nutrition and Evolution
Graduate Student Instructor. University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. January- April 2008.
I directed lab and discussion sections for 75 sophomore, junior, and senior undergraduates as part of a 300-student lecture course in biological anthropology.

Lab Description: This lab section is designed to supplement the lecture component of Anthrbio 364: Nutrition and Evolution.  In lab sections, students will be expected to complete classwork and exercises involving the collection and analysis of nutritional and anthropometric data using methods employed by anthropologists in the field.  In addition, review sessions will be held during lab sections in the week prior to each exam.  Each student will be required to regularly turn in classwork and exercises over the course of the semester.  Classwork and lab exercises will be counted as part of your lab grade.

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This course was planned as a sophomore-level introduction to Latin American culture and politics, and was designed specifically to be cross-listed as a foreign language and/or history elective.

Course Description: This course is an anthropological introduction to Latin America. The Latin American region is vast and culturally diverse, covering an area that includes more than twenty countries, each with its own historical distinctions and cultural groups. While many Latin American countries have experienced colonial oppression, internal conflict, and economic inequality, recent social movements focused on cultural, political, and environmental issues have generated new ideas and conversations about the future of the region. This course will explore the range of contemporary cultural and political issues raised by these social movements, how they relate to Latin American history, and their potential impacts on the future. Topics will include national histories and their impact on present-day politics; the cultural and linguistic diversity of the region; universal human and indigenous rights; the roles of digital media, art, video, clothing, and other aesthetic or performative media in politics; economic development and environmental concerns; the changing political and cultural relationship between Latin America and the United States. We will focus particularly on Mexico, Guatemala, Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, Argentina, Chile, and Brazil. Students will gain historical, socio-cultural, and political perspectives on contemporary Latin America though ethnographic texts, films, multi-media materials, class lectures, and class discussions.

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Digital Media and Human Connections

This course was planned as a sophomore, junior, and senior-level elective in anthropology, focusing on anthropological approaches to digital media.

Course Description: We increasingly use digital devices to connect with other people, sharing ideas, learning a new skill, or just hanging out. To catch up with your friends you could send a text message or post a status update. You might decide what to eat tonight or who to vote for based on your favorite blogger’s latest entry. And your next tweet may be of critical political importance, or just plain hilarious (or both). Digital media are everywhere, and we tend to think of them as a universal element of daily life. But do all people experience digital media in the same ways?

Digital media, like all media and technologies, are culturally- situated. Therefore, while digital media seem ubiquitous and are indeed a global phenomenon, people in different cultures think of them and use them in different ways. We will discuss examples from around the world in order to explore digital media from an anthropological perspective.

This class will explore questions such as: Are our digital devices really changing the way we connect and interact with our social worlds? Are these digital media replacing “analog” print, film, or face-to-face communications?  What impacts have digital technologies had on the way we conceptualize political organizing, national security, and personal privacy?

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••Please see my Engagement page for information on non-university teaching experience••

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