One class I have instructed is Anthropology 4597.01: Cultural Conflict in Developing Nations, a capstone seminar course in which students compare anthropological perspectives with mainstream media and literature from other disciplines to better understand how globalization affects conflicts in contemporary societies. The course covers issues related to colonialism (both historical and modern e.g. neoliberalism), ethnic and religious conflict, linkages between political economy and health, and issues about biodiversity conservation and extraction of natural resources. A few selected readings in the class include:
- Farmer, Paul (2004) An anthropology of structural violence. Current Anthropology 45(3):305-325.
- Hornborg, Alf (2001) Symbolic Technologies: Machines and the Marxian Notion of Fetishism. Anthropological Theory 1(4):473-496.
- Igoe, Jim and Brockington, Dan (2007) Neoliberal Conservation: A Brief Introduction. Conservation and Society (5)4:432-449.
- Leatherman, Thomas (1996) A biocultural synthesis on health and household economy in southern Peru. Medical Anthropology Quarterly 10(4):476-495.
- Scheper-Hughes Nancy (1989) Death without weeping. Natural History.
- Wilk, Richard 2007. The Extractive Economy: An Early Phase of the Globalization of Diet, and Its Environmental Consequences. In Rethinking Environmental History: World System History and Global Environmental Change.
- Wolf, Eric (1997) Introduction. In: Europe and the People without History. Berkely: University of California Press. Pp. 3-23.
I mobilize experiences from ethnographic fieldwork in the Peruvian Amazon to teach students about the anthropological perspective. One of the learning objectives of this section in class is to demonstrate how anthropologists study interconnections between history, power, culture, materiality (e.g. exchange, labor, etc.), ideology, and symbolism. This approach encourages students to critically evaluate different conceptions of development, modernity, and different ways to understand human-environment relationships.
I combine multiple methodological perspectives to teach students about ethnographic research. In addition to mobilizing my research to ground topics in class with real-world research examples, I also draw on the diverse training I received in methodology during my graduate career to further demonstrate the power and many applications of anthropological research. During my graduate career I completed methods courses in ethnology (interview design, participant observation, text analysis, recording and transcribing interviews, quantitative and qualitative analyses, and writing up results), folklore (ethnopoetic transcription, performance analysis, discourse analysis), critical human geography (survey design, landscape interpretation, archival research); and qualitative methods in Spanish (fieldwork equipment, sampling and recruiting, integrating into community, ethics). I also attended the Summer Institute for Research Design in Cultural Anthropology, led by methodologists Russ Bernard, Susan Weller, and Jeff Johnson. This unique background helps me to elucidate to students how anthropology can be a powerful mode to understand the world.