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FW: teaching across the anthropological subfields

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  • Popplestone, Ann
    I m forwarding this for Mark lewine who is bouncing for some reason.: please send me your thoughts on the issue and I will send her a summary of our community
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 10, 2003
      I'm forwarding this for Mark lewine who is bouncing for some reason.:

      please send me your thoughts on the issue and I will send her a summary of our community college, small department experiences
      -----Original Message-----
      From: Susan Gillespie [mailto:sgillesp@...]
      Sent: Friday, November 07, 2003 7:27 PM
      To: Lewine, Mark
      Subject: teaching across the anthropological subfields

      Dear Mark,

      I met you at the 2000 AAA meeting, the SACC's "Five Fields Update" symposium, and you kindly gave me your card.  I gave a presentation on teaching archaeology as anthropology.  You may be interested to know that a lengthier version of that paper appears in the Archeological Papers of the American Anthropological Association, No. 13 (2003), entitled Archaeology Is Anthropology.

      I've now been asked by the Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Record to write a commentary on the state of academic archaeology, and I've chosen to focus on the impact of the increasing fragmentation of the four fields of anthropology on students.  I've asked a number of students at large graduate and research departments for their opinions, but I would also like to be more encompassing by contacting faculty at smaller undergrad departments and also community colleges for their insights.

      My chief question is whether or not students are getting the same "messages" about what anthropology is, its major goals and concepts, as they take courses from faculty in the various subfields.  My experience as a faculty member is that it often happens that they get conflicting information, and that there is a loss of common core concepts to which all anthropologists would generally subscribe.  However, my experiences are limited.  I imagine that in smaller departments, and especially if the faculty must teach multiple subfield courses, there would be more unity and coherence in representing anthropology to students.

      It would be very helpful to me if you were willing to share your opinion or experiences on this matter, and also whether you believe current textbooks represent anthropological concepts relatively uniformly across the subfields.  If you do so, I assure you that all information will be kept confidential, your name will not be used, and I am soliciting this information solely for the purpose of this short commentary.

      From the perspectives and anecdotes I have received, I do think a more serious conversation on this matter, even an indepth and quantified investigation, is warranted, e.g. by the AAA itself.

      I thank you in advance for your consideration of this request, and hope that all goes well with you.

      Very truly yours,


      Susan D. Gillespie
      Associate Professor and Associate Department Chair
      Department of Anthropology
      University of Florida
      1112 Turlington Hall
      P.O. Box 117305
      Gainesville, FL 32611-7305 USA
      Anthro office 352-392-2253          fax: 352-392-6929       voicemail:  352-392-2253 x222
      email: sgillesp@...

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