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Week 5 @ TMSE - Primates
Characteristics of Primates at TMSE The lesson started off reviewing C.L.A.P. The students have reviewed C.L.A.P. so often they are able to explain cultural anthropology, linguistic anthropology, archaeology, and physical anthropology very well. I explained to the class that we’ll be going further into physical anthropology today by discussing primates. Well what is a primate? I asked the students before explaining to gauge what they might know already. All of their answers were good when they mentioned monkeys and gorillas, and I was especially impressed when one student said humans. All of those answers were correct. Primates include monkeys, gorillas, chimpanzees, and even humans. But why? What are the qualifications for an animal to be considered a primate? I had the students stand up. We went through a checklist that all primates could do and we all acted out those actions so we prove that we’re primates. We acted out that we have binocular vision by proving that our eyes face forward... read more ❯
WEEK 4 @ TMSE - Museums by Will McCrary
MUSEUMS It was a great day at TMSE. The kids were focused throughout the period and seemed to have fun doing their activity. Also, they appear to have an increasingly better knowledge of the study of anthropology and are continually excited to do new things each week. This week the lesson was centered on museums. First, we did a bit of review and the class was asked about the four fields of anthropology. They really seem to be learning these as they all gave good answers of what anthropology is. We then discussed different types of museums and I was impressed with the museums they had been to. We talked about museums around the area, many of which had been visited by the kids, and we learned about some museums in Brazil too. Then, we asked what a museum does and came to the conclusion that... read more ❯
WEEK 3 - Archaeology at TMSE by Laura Eddy
Coming into the classroom the students had their eyes fixed on the boxes for the activity. Even students who weren’t signed up for anthropology were curious about what was to come. The lesson began with asking the students what they thought archaeology was. Some said it was the study of past people. While that may be true our purpose was to go over how archaeologists study those past people. Before we delved too deep in the lesson it was important to clear up that archaeologists don’t dig up dinosaurs. The students learned that shovels, trowels, and brushes are tools to find artifacts. I explained that some of the things archaeologists can find are pottery sherds, beads, coins, and bones. I introduced a word that would be very useful for their activity: stratigraphy, which means the study of rock layers. I showed them a picture of different soil layers that were different... read more ❯
WEEK 2 AT TMSE – ETHNOGRAPHY By Rochelle Williamson
  Tuesday, we focused our discussion on the subject of Ethnography. The students were very energetic and engaged throughout the class period and learned that Ethnography is very important for the field of Anthropology. Students learned that it is through the process of Ethnography that Anthropologists learn more about different cultures. Our discussion began with learning the definition of “Anthropology” by separating the word into two words. “Anthropos,” which is a Greek word meaning humans and “Logos,” which is a Greek word meaning the study of. Students were able to clearly see that Anthropology is the study of humans. Next, we reviewed the four areas of Anthropology as discussed during Week #1 at TMSE. Students learned the Anthropologists study people from all over the world, including people who lived long ago and people living now. Since Brazil is the theme country for TMSE this semester,... read more ❯
Ethnography @ Arcadia! By Kelsey Kennedy
It was really exciting for me to start the new year! This was the second week we were with the kids from Arcadia, but my first time since I missed last week. We learned about Ethnography. Ethnography, as our students now know, is when anthropologists go to other cultures and write accounts of what they learn. This includes how they interact with other people, their beliefs, and important events. We also taught them about ethnocentrism (judging other cultures by the same rules and customs we live by). We tried to stress being kind and understanding of other cultures, which is something we will return to throughout the semester. We started the class with an introduction for the kids benefit and my own. Then we introduced our lesson for the week. Our activity was a game like charades, except the kids had to be ethnographers and guess what the interaction was.... read more ❯
Week 1 at TMSE - Cultures and Clans by Lisa Meister
This Thursday we had our first lesson in Anthropology at TMSE, where we will be studying the Anthropology of Brazil. I was excited to see how many enthusiastic students we have in our class this year.   Our first order of business was to form into clans. We randomly assigned the pupils to one of three groups of four or five kids each. Students will learn to cooperate, collaborate, and complete activities in these small groups throughout the semester. I began our premier lesson with an introduction to the science of Anthropology.  Students were asked what they believed Anthropology entailed, and what the four sub-disciplines: cultural, linguistic, archaeology, and physical anthropology indicated. As it turns out, they had a pretty good idea already, but we helped clarify some of their responses to differentiate between Anthropology and other fields of study. We then discussed culture. I explained that everyone... read more ❯
Mortality Among High-School Educated Whites in the U.S.: An Anthropological View
Published 8/29/2016 in Biocultural Systematics
Author Bill Dressler
Every so often a piece of research comes along that is a real game-changer—it literally shakes the earth under your feet.  I had that experience about a year ago when Anne Case and Angus Deaton, two economists, published an analysis of recent mortality trends in the United States.  If you electronically search “mortality trends” for the U.S., you will see that, overall, mortality rates are declining, as they are for Canada and Western Europe.  What Case and Deaton did was to separate out mortality rates for non-Hispanic Whites.  Starting about the year 2000, rather than continuing to decline like everyone else’s, mortality for this group bucked the trend and started to climb.  When causes... read more ❯
Fieldwork then and now: from graduate student to professor
Published 8/29/2016 in Biocultural Systematics
Author Jo Weaver
I just returned from two fieldwork trips: one to India for 6 weeks, and the other to Brazil for 4. The purpose of the first one was to scout new sites for my ongoing work on women's mental health in India, the country where I did my doctoral research. The second was to continue my NSF-funded research project on food insecurity and mental health in rural Brazil. More so than almost ever before, these two trips brought to the forefront the challenges of maintaining an active international research program as a young faculty member, and I want to talk about that in this post. First of all, here's an obvious truth that nobody ever told me: fieldwork changes once you're out of graduate school. In the department... read more ❯
Papalomoyo: The Mark of the Bribrí
Published 7/18/2016 in The Schema
Author Greg Batchelder
While I was in Peru I noticed a bite on my left forearm that wasn’t getting better. That would’ve been the last week of April. I wasn’t really too concerned about it; it wasn’t getting any better but it wasn’t getting any worse either. When I got back to Yorkín, 12 May, it quickly began to grow and look nasty and when I showed it to a friend she said I could rub the leaves of a tree on it and if it turned green it was papalomoyo. I’m not sure if it turned green or not, but the next day more people said it was definitely papalomoyo. In the two weeks that followed I tried various natural remedies suggested by members of the community. One friend suggested red fingernail polish, another put white latex from a succulent plant on it, and yet another also put a white latex substance... read more ❯
Advancing Critical Food Systems Education through Service Learning
Published 5/29/2016 in Biocultural Systematics
Author David Meek
In anthropology departments across the country, food systems courses are becoming increasingly prevalent. Their rapid growth makes sense, because there is significant overlap between the study of food systems and traditional areas of anthropological inquiry, such as food security, the anthropology of nutrition, and ethnobotany. Yet, despite anthropologists’ attention to cultural politics, food systems education is still open to the same long-standing critiques of the alternative food movement. As critical food scholars point out, the alternative food movement is characterized by an “unbearable whiteness,” where its agrarian ideals, such as the importance of “getting your hands dirty,” reflect whitened cultural histories and ultimately produce racialized spaces of social exclusion.  Anthropologists are increasingly seeking to address these apprehensions by integrating critical perspectives into their food system pedagogies. In this commentary, I discuss an alternate pedagogical framework, known as critical food systems education (CFSE), through which anthropologists... read more ❯