Oral Presentation Session - Invited Status Awarded
Invited by: Society for Anthropology in Community Colleges
Of interest to: Practicing and Applied Anthropologists, Teachers of Anthropology in Community Colleges, Students, Those Involved in Mentoring Activities
Primary Theme: Teaching
In this session we bring together anthropologists from the various subfields to report on current trends and present on relevant developments and noteworthy new titles. Importantly, presenters deliver this material with attention to the importance of getting their messages across.
In a divisive era of constricted media consumption and related over-simplification of complex issues relevant to matters long central to anthropology, it is crucial the messages we deliver are accessible.
We see the divisiveness that has resulted in this era as driven by three related characteristics:
1.) acceptance of ideologically appealing assertions over rational argumentation
2.) flouting scientific examination in favor of personally satisfying answers for empirically demonstrable, or at least explainable, social and natural phenomena
3.) reification of misconstrued or even inaccurate commentary via social media and other media platforms
As anthropologists and academics in general, we face stiff competition in the battle for attention. Consumers of information can turn to any number of media outlets that get their messages across, however lacking in analysis and critical engagement they may be, extremely effectively. To address this, presenters in this session focus not strictly on updates in a respective subfield, but concomitantly on the importance of teaching and practicing in this era, including ways of enhancing accessibility and more effectively getting the message across.
The anxiety and even hostility that drives our current state of divisiveness is extraordinarily easy for media outlets with an interest in doing so to tap into. We propose that with engaging presentation and delivery of our material, we can achieve a broader appeal than we tend to have. We can intervene and provide an outlet for information as well.
Panelists will address trends in their subfields as pertaining to teaching and practicing anthropology amid any of the above three characteristics of contemporary culture. Our goal is to address, in the context of a given subfield, the importance of effectively intervening as social science practitioners and teachers, making anthropological explanations welcoming and engaging. Our students and others contribute to the cultural atmosphere—we can help them more effectively improve upon it.