September 30, 2009

Teaching Statement

I'm currently in the process of applying for jobs (a couple postdocs and oodles of assistant prof jobs, none of which I am likely to get being ABD), which means I actually have to sit down and think about my teaching philosophy.

There are some weird online quizzes that you can take to tell you what kind of teacher you are. In the land of PAEI, I am more or less equal parts behaviorist and liberal, meaning I like to convey knowledge for its own sake but I also like getting my students involved, with hands-on activities wherever possible. In the land of TPI, I am equal parts transmission and apprenticeship, which basically means half lecture and half hands-on. No surprises from either of these. But a teaching statement isn't just about how to you teach but why you teach. I do like introducing students to anthropology, as it's not a subject that's taught in K-12 education and therefore something new and different and exciting. Mostly, though, I like helping students who already have a glimmer of an interest develop into full-on anthropology geeks.

Without further ado, here are some pictures of the second forensic experiment with pigs that one of my (former) students has done. I would describe this project as adorable except for the fact that Heather can clearly inflict a lot of damage on bone... Can't I just include pictures of student projects instead of a written explanation of why I love teaching?

September 15, 2009

Roman Homelands

From de Legibus 2.5:

"I believe that he [Cato] and all men from the municipia have two homelands, one by birth and one by citizenship, so that Cato, who was born at Tusculum, received citizenship among the Roman people; since he was a Tusculan by birth and a Roman by citizenship, he had one homeland by place of birth and another by law. But that which is the common citizenship must stand first in our affection in the name of the state; for it is our duty to die for this and to give ourselves completely, to consecrate ourselves and offer up everything we have. But that into which we were born is not less sweet to us than into which we were adopted."

And here I thought the ancient authors had nothing to say on (trans)migration. Granted, Cicero writes about the elite (and only the male elite at that), but it looks like I need to go back and refresh my knowledge of what Latin literature has to say about migration, citizenship, and ethnicity. Also, Lomas' Roman Italy sourcebook currently rocks my world.

No Love

Teaching ANTH 101 is hard. I just got my (second set of) evals from my spring intro course. Basically, half the class loved me and half hated me. Or they hated the class. It's often hard to tell, as I don't think students separate instructor from subject matter. I find it incredibly easy to teach Human Osteology and even Bioarchaeology because they're topics that not many schools offer and are geared to upper division students. 101 is just difficult because it fulfills perspective requirements, so I had plenty of seniors (all business majors, oddly enough) who were more or less required to take ANTH 101 to graduate. Needless to say, they didn't like the class. At all. I guess I needed to sing and dance more?

I'm kind of glad I'm not teaching this semester, as it takes up a crapload of time and effort that is better directed at finishing my dissertation (or, you know, at least blogging about it). But I have some leads on classes I can adjunct in the spring. I don't really need a spring teaching job, but I might take on a class to keep busy and to put on my CV. I like to diversify my teaching portfolio - sure, I've taught Osteo and 101 twice, but I haven't ever taught intro to physical or any class that's close to my cultural-geographic specialty. It would be really cool to teach something new.

September 8, 2009

Urbanism Schmurbanism

I think I'm scrapping the idea of urbanism for my dissertation, as I can't really see it going anywhere exciting. What I do want to focus on are the immigrants I've found through Sr and O. My advisor suggested adding stuff on identity - I guess that's still the hot topic in anthropology these days. But without much archaeological or artifactual context, identity is going to prove a bit difficult as a topic around which to center an entire dissertation.

My thoughts at the moment relate to border crossings - both literal and figurative - as a way to conceptualize the diss and focus it on immigrants. I can't seem to find any good books or articles, though, that go beyond identifying physical limits - the Roman frontier or the various limites of the Empire. Maybe I have to go further in the literature on romanization to find what I'm looking for, or maybe what I'm thinking about doesn't really exist as an area of inquiry in Roman archaeology/history yet. But since historians of Europe have been writing about boundaries in terms of territory/space, citizenship, and identity for close to a decade, I assume that historians of Rome have started writing about it too. If not, it makes my dissertation that much easier to write - I can say something interesting about human mobility within a large space that was, at the macro level, physically almost borderless (up to the limites) but which had distinct cultural areas (such as the Britannii and the Alemanni).

Suggestions for things to read - particularly about space, borders, boundaries, movement, and mobility (e.g., migration, transnationalism, diaspora, military, tourism, trade) - are welcome.

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