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Social and Cultural Anthropology

Welcome to the Oxford Study Courses Teacher Blog for DP Social and Cultural Anthropology. The most recent blog posts are listed below and you can access the blog archive by following the appropriate link in the panel on the left.

Digital Literacy: Examples from the field…

July 26, 2010


Following on from my last post on exploring ideas such as digital literacy and participatory pedagogies, you may wish to check out the reflections of other educators who have played with ‘new mediums’.

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Digital Literacy

July 19, 2010


Educators are questioning the meaning and pedagogy of literacy in today’s world of constantly shifting communication. You can view an engaging debate about this issue online. During this episode of television show, The Agenda,  representatives from Stanford University, Arizona State University, the University of Chicago and the University of Toronto discuss the role of digital literacy in today’s schools and universities. Key to the discussion was the point that students are increasingly the producers of text, versus simply being consumers. The show quotes a professor from Ryerson University who claims that “…technology has changed daily life so radically that…today’s students are, for the most part, ill-suited to a university education, and that the fissure that currently exists between schools and students is unbridgeable.” Is this true? And what can anthropology contribute to this debate? Particularly relevant to anthropology, this discussion is not simply about technical literacy but social literacy.

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Developing critical thinking skills through controversy

July 12, 2010


My last post on anthropological research in war zones provided excellent material for delving into a debate on the ethics of human research. Debate can be an powerful way to engage students in exploring anthropological issues in depth, while also sharpening their critical thinking skills. However, just throwing out a hot topic and expecting students to effectively hold a debate is often insufficient. Discussion can fall flat or become so heated that all control is lost.

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Converting blog posts to pdf files

July 7, 2010

Adobe pdf logoIf you find a blog post useful, you may want to use it with students as stimulus or perhaps encourage them to look further at the issues raised by the post. To use a post with students, you may find the Web2PDF tool useful. This is a great site that will convert a blog posting or blog page to a pdf file for you. Having the posting as a pdf file may make it easier to use with students or even perhaps to make the file available to them through your own intranet, departmental web site or perhaps Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). Web2PDf is available from the following web address:

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Human Terrain Overshadowing Other War Studies?

July 6, 2010


‘Embedded anthropologists’ in Iraq and Afghanistan have been the subject of ongoing controversy for about five years now. These professionals make at least $200 000 USD a year aiding the American military by providing cultural knowledge and advice. Time magazine has been the latest to publish an article on this topic. Zero Anthropology has had the most extensive ongoing discussion on this topic. Both Zero Anthropology and the American Anthropological Association have condemned the actions of anthropologists engaged in current human terrain work. Criticisms have reduced the number of anthropologists engaging in this type of work – other social scientists are now taking up posts as human terrain professionals.

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