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Re: Book Recommendation

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  • broruprecht@yahoo.com
    This is a universal problem. I found with the Spring semester class, Central Texas College, Gatesville (Prison) Campus, a wide disparity in the background
    Message 1 of 13 , May 21, 2009
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      This is a universal problem. I found with the Spring semester class, Central Texas College, "Gatesville (Prison) Campus," a wide disparity in the background department, yet all tried gamely to understand what we were supposedly discussing.
      The fact that I was in effect prohibited from providing significant anthropological readings to accompany the text kind of played hob with things.  The movie next time..... "Visual Anthro" is another way to get at 'em....
      One fellow in particular brought to class such a post-High-School expertise and rabid interest in Western philosophy that I ended up engaging in a one-on-one discussion with him re. Schopenhauer and possible theoretical ties to sociocultural change, in particular from the point of view of revitalization movements.  I was stunned by the new perspective, and attempted to address it in some understandable, "introductory-level" way in culture change lectures.  I also took the cue to recommend Harris's "RAT" (c. 1968) to him, and to mention this source, leaning at a decidedly Marxist angle, to the class, expecially while discussing the evolving nature of anthropological theory, Malinowski's "emic" vs. Harris' "etic" approaches, and the postmodern/feminist sidling back toward the "emic."
      Deductive vs. inductive method also entered in.
      Clearly we all notice modern students' general weaknesses in writing and history.  Clearly this phenomenon extends to the "general population" (excuse the confusing criminal justice terminology here) as well as to "hard-timer" prison inmates, each of which demonstrated the possession of at least half a brain.
      So yes, Mary Kay's listing is inspiring, Harris' "RAT" would probably be a good tie-in AFTER students regained control of some basic background in "other things," and we're all wrast'lin' with ways to counter the "every child left behind" tendencies of modern schooling. About four exceptions to the rule in my class would probably have benefitted from the Harris tome.  Some basic background is necessary first.
      Especially in a prison setting (and I do realize this is relatively rare), some of these well-meaning young "ignoramuses" require our encouragement and help in accessing such basic sources in preparation for our "introductory" classes.  And yes, I suppose I may have detractors at the Central Texas prison campus who believe I graded too leniently, but what the hey.....
      Thanks for pointing out the existence of that Oxford series.  I'll try to re-locate that one.
      G
       
      Re: Book Recommendation
          Posted by: "Mark Lewine" mlewine@... krameniwel
          Date: Wed May 20, 2009 7:48 pm ((PDT))

      These Oxford U suggestions are fantastic and needed...I used the '60's version, the Penguin classics, as i remember them, for Marxism, Classical Liberalism and Conservatism...I agree about the Weber book about connecting Protestantism and the rise of Capitalism. I would like to add Blalock's book on social statistics since I have found the one most annoying lack of understanding that students fail to bring to any social science class is almost a total lack of knowledge of normal distribution, sampling, analytical statistical tools.
        ----- Original Message -----
        From: mep1mep
        To: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com
        Sent: Wednesday, May 20, 2009 6:44 PM
        Subject: Re: [SACC-L] Book Recommendation





        I was just giving some advice to one of my favorite students who, also, felt a little short-shrifted in High School and I recommended those Oxford University Press "Very Short Introductions".  I love them.  Most are very well done.  The Marx one is written by Peter Singer, the Social and Cultural Anthropology one is very well done, as is the Globalization one and the Post-Modernism (*gag*) one, I have the Evolution one on order for my next read.  They fit in your pocket and go anywhere, are written by great scholars, and well edited (which means readable).  Its a good start and students can go from there.

        Funny, I was thinking about blogging about them.  Does this mean we are all having the same problems, or what?  It is so hard to teach them Anthro with no frame of reference--no history, no evolution,  Nada.

        Pam

         

        ________________________________
        From: Deborah Shepherd <deborah.shepherd@...>
        To: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com
        Sent: Wednesday, May 20, 2009 4:18:59 PM
        Subject: RE: [SACC-L] Book Recommendation

        I don't think it really matters what the student plans to major in. Anthropologists need to know about 20th century history, too. High school teachers have been so sidetracked by "every child left behind" that even the basics have been neglected. But that's not the whole story. When I was in high school, history classes often failed to get to the end of the curriculum on time, so the last material was always missed! I figure it is my job to cover the stuff in the anthro text books, but if the students don't have the basic cultural references in place, they are missing much of the point. My students, at least, have that problem quite a lot.

      Posted by: "Gilliland, Mary" mkgilliland@... sunny_hvar
          Date: Wed May 20, 2009 1:34 pm ((PDT))

      For Marx, I like the 18th Brumeire.  It is one of his last books (maybe the last)?

      It is actually a pretty good read, and gives a more tempered overview of his materialist approach.

      But if they aren't willing to go that far (and it is a bit to get thru), I would recommend using introductory sections from Marvin Harris' text in anthro - he takes a very Marxist approach, and I think has a nice tri-partite model of infrastructure, structure, superstructure, which can be applied to the topics we would cover in an introductory cultural class (but maybe you're still stuck with the history lesson there).

      The "must reads" overall could include so many things, but I would recommend including some non-fiction as well - I find that many people have not actually read things such as Tom Sawyer or Huck Finn (at least one is a must), or other really significant authors - a sampling of literature is a must, and very helpful for anthropology, or just life.  I might go way back and include a sampling of either Aristotle or Plato (or both, but more likely Plato), Marcus Aurelius, maybe something like Machiavelli, a little of the Hobbes/Rousseau gang, then along with Marx, probably some Weber as well (more the idealist approach, sort of a nice contrast to materialism - likely the Protestant Ethic & Spirit of Capitalism).  Prior to that I would probably have them read a little history of the Protestant Reformation (maybe a bit of Luther) because that is such an important period of time in shifting ideas about the relationship of the individual to society.

      For anthropology I would probably want them to read a little Benedict & Mead, because they are fun & easy, esp. something like Chrysanthemum & the Sword, probably some Evans-Pritchard or Radcliffe-Brown, because they are important, some Malinowski (actually a great pairing of articles from way back Amer Anthropologist I think which has Radcliffe-Brown & Malinowski side by side, presenting supposedly opposite views, but they don't really conflict all that much), and I love Annette Weiner after Malinowski because with her you get insights into Levi-Strauss, the beginnings of feminist anthropology and so much more.

      This is by no means a complete list - but a few suggestions for whatever they are worth.

      Mary Kay


        >>> <dianne.chidester@ gvltec.edu> 05/20/09 3:38 PM >>>
        I should have made myself more clear. She is going to major in
        anthropology.

        From: SACC-L@yahoogroups. com [mailto:SACC-L@yahoogroups. com] On Behalf
        Of Deborah Shepherd
        Sent: Wednesday, May 20, 2009 4:02 PM
        To: SACC-L@yahoogroups. com
        Subject: Re: [SACC-L] Book Recommendation

        An interesting question. I am often irritated that students know
        virtually nothing of 20th century history, and (my pet peeve) they can't
        tell me a thing about Karl Marx--they draw a complete blank! I find that
        in order to discuss race in society or eugenics or what the textbooks
        mean when they talk about Marxist anthropology, I have to deliver a huge
        history lesson every time.

        There a so many books out there, however, that any number of them would
        do if they cover the topics, such as recent world history, but which
        ones are best for a beginning college student to read? That's difficult.
        Unfortunately, our faculty has dispersed already, or I would go bother
        one of our historians about it.

        Deborah

        >>> <dianne.chidester@ gvltec.edu <mailto:dianne. chidester% 40gvltec. edu>
        > 05/20/09 1:06 PM >>>
        I have a student who has asked the following:

        Could you please think of few "must read" books that I need to read to
        be better prepared when I start my classes at the university? Something
        that most teachers refer to or expect a student to know by default?

        Now part of what this shows is how unprepared I was when I decided to
        major in anthropology. I just signed up for whatever classes!

        This good make an interesting list!

        Cheers!

        Dianne

        Dianne Lynn Chidester

        Anthropology & Sociology

        Greenville Technical College

        508 S. Pleasantburg Dr.

        Greenville, SC 29607

        864-250-8729






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    • Gilliland, Mary
      I m also looking forward to the Oxford series & will track it down as soon as this semester is in & all grades are submitted! I hadn t heard of it. It sounds
      Message 2 of 13 , May 21, 2009
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        I'm also looking forward to the Oxford series & will track it down as soon as this semester is in & all grades are submitted! I hadn't heard of it. It sounds like it may very well serve our purposes at a CC level.

        Mary Kay


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