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Bringing Anthropology into the Classroom

Project Director

Lawrence P. Greksa

Professor and Chair, Department of Anthropology

PROJECT DESCRIPTION

Although anthropology does an excellent job of teaching students about cultural variability, few resources are available to inform them about the fundamentals of conducting anthropological research in another culture. The purpose of the project is to fill this gap by having current undergraduate and graduate students describe their research, from beginning to end, to other students. This is accomplished through multimedia presentations, including videotaped interviews before and after the research experience, and digital recordings and photographs taken by the students while they conduct their research. The media are used both in classrooms and as part of the preparation for students about to do research in another country.

PROJECT OUTCOMES

Two undergraduates conducting research in India have been involved in the project so far. The first student has completed a multimedia presentation, and the second will do so in Spring 2011. Meanwhile, two graduate students—one doing research in Tanzania and the other in Egypt—will complete their presentations once they finish their dissertations and can give a summary of their results.

Pre- and post-study interviews were taped with a video camera. Students used digital cameras, digital recorders and netbook computers while in the field. The digital recorders were used both for their research and to record observations about their experience. The digital camera was used to collect images of the research area and, where appropriate, people. The netbook was used for storage of this information, e-mail communication with CWRU, and videoconferences. Depending on the country, establishing an Internet connection and determining a cross-time zone meeting time can be difficult.

Students are editing their digital multimedia presentations at the Freedman Center in CWRU’s Kelvin Smith Library.

FACT SHEET

Total funding: $8,900

The grant helped fund equipment to support seven student researchers. Generally, two to four students will be in the field at the same time. This means that there are adequate resources to meet our needs for several years, after which the department will begin replacing equipment.

In coming years, anthropology students doing research in Papua New Guinea and Germany will also produce presentations. The anthropology department plans to continue the project as well as the upkeep and use of media and technology.

Lawrence P. Greksa

Lawrence P. Greksa

Professor and Chair, Department of Anthropology
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