Eight modules, with discussion topics and links to a TED lecture, have been collated by TED Studies and Wiley-Blackwell on the theme “Understanding Islam” and there’s an iTunesU course app for the iPad, too.
As a collection, these modules seek to transcend stereotypes about Islam; emphasize the positive roles of faith in Muslims lives, such as promoting compassion; and describe how many faithful are working to create positive role models. One of the companion articles on the site–ungated until December 31, 2013–is by anthropologist Gregory M. Simon, whose American Ethnologist article describes many of these same themes: Islamic faith as far from monolithic and ultimately reflective of deeply human struggles. The community in West Sumatra he studies in this article frame their religious experiences as central to development of their self identities and morality.
These resources are well worth examination by professors teaching religion classes, but also those teaching psychological anthropology and classes on the culture and history of the Middle East.
In 2008, the Center for Innovation and Research in Graduate Education surveyed more than 3,000 PhDs to help “assess the career paths of PhDs and the quality of doctoral education in U.S. social science programs.” Many of their findings are very interesting in their own right, but Table 17 is the starting point for this post: only 37% of the respondents reported that there was formal instruction in teaching available in their doctoral programs; fewer than that (34%) reported formal supervision and evaluation of their teaching.
This raises the question: How, where, and when do most anthropologists who go on to teach learn how to teach?
Assuming that the answer is that most anthropologists are self-taught in the ways of the classroom through failure and success, I thought our autodidacts might be interested in some resources.
This 1999 Science article offers some good reflections on the topic. Its suggestions for resources include: Talk about teaching with your colleagues.
For some, with limited departmental or extradepartmental possibilities, this is harder to do and these readers might want to check out the AAA Teaching Materials Exchange to help pool and share ideas. Contribute your assignments, ideas, and syllabus. Investigate new readings and fresh discussion ideas. Contact your fellow teachers.
Looking for new ideas and materials for spring term? Check out AAA’s new Teaching Materials Exchange.
Run a search by course, syllabus, keyword or even instructor. Or browse through the database of more than 90 syllabi and teaching tools.
For faculty teaching medical anthropology courses this fall, the following materials may be helpful. I collected these lists with the assistance of Andrea Sankar, co-editor of Medical Anthropology Quarterly, and Janet Dixon Keller, editor of Ethos, in order to save teachers time as they refresh their thinking about these oft-taught topics. Where possible, I linked to the source materials.
Note: In the case of AAA journals, content will be freely available for September, October, and November of 2011. AAA members always have access to these articles amid the half-million full-text items available freely to AAA members on AnthroSource.
Each discussion node includes textbook materials, videos, articles and ethnographies.
I’d be interested in your comments about the lists and any thoughts about medical anthropology classes you’ve taken or taught. Post your thoughts by leaving a reply (bottom) or tell me if you’d like to see any other lists developed by taking the poll.