Presenting Anthropology - Weeks 13&14 (Readings)

Avant-Garde Challenge
& Best Practices

My inspiration for this course was actually Project Runway.  I don't particularly care for reality shows, since they largely highlight interpersonal relationships I couldn't care less about, but for me, the draw of Project Runway is that the contestants are actually very talented.  On a weekly basis, I get to see people who are really good at their job employ their skills and engage in a creative process, creating things in a matter of hours that I could never accomplish.  I was hoping that some of this same energy and creativity could be found within the graduate students here at UWF, and so far I have not been disappointed.

Augmented reality Loris at the London Zoo
The best PR challenge, though, is always the avant-garde one, where contestants come up with an outfit that is so outlandish and bizarre that it's actually compelling and chic.  Sometimes they use strange materials, sometimes they use unnatural shapes, and sometimes their designs are complete and utter crap.  But the point is always that they tried to do something totally innovative.  

So, just as every season of Project Runway needs a high-fashion or avant-garde challenge, this class does as well. Over the course of the semester, we have explored traditional media with an attempt to use those media in non-traditional ways. In these two weeks, we will explore the more outlandish and outré ways that academics and scholars are presenting information. We will discuss which audience(s) these methods are reaching, and we will brainstorm ways that we can present anthropology that are innovative and different while still conveying important information.
  • Assignment 1: Find at least one example of what you would consider avant-garde presentation style and bring to class.
  • Assignment 2: Alone or in a group, create something awesome that has never or rarely been seen before in anthropology - ideas include Dance Your PhD, augmented reality, 3D printing or scanning or modeling, writing a Choose Your Own Adventure story, creating a hands-on lab activity, etc. Anything goes... well, just please don't turn in a pasta mosaic of Boas doing a Kwakiutl dance.
Be sure to follow our conversation live on Twitter on Mondays at 1pm central time by following the hashtag #shareanthro!


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