This class website will be our home-base. Here you’ll find our most up-to-date schedule and all course reading / screening material. To access password-protected readings, you’ll be prompted to enter the user name <student> and password <seecritfilez>. Not so secret, eh?
Each week’s page will also feature our class agenda, with links to the various platforms we’ll use during our synchronous meetings and asynchronous interactions. Those platforms include:
- Zoom: we’ll use this video teleconferencing platform for our real-time full-class meetings, for small-group workshops, and for one-on-one conversations. If you’re new to, or still not terribly comfortable with, Zoom, take a look at these helpful tips from Vanderbilt University, Cornell’s Ben Finio, and Zoom itself. You’re free to join our Zoom room before class officially starts, and to hang out after it officially ends, to engage in informal conversation!
- Slack (anthrodesign2020.slack.com): this “channel-based messaging platform” is where we’ll share resources, support one another’s individual projects, engage in discussions, reflect on (and propose renovations to) our digital learning environment, etc. You’ll find Slack being used in many workplaces, as a home-base for collaborative projects and distributed resource-sharing networks (I’m part of several international academic networks on Slack). It’s a good tool to know.
…..If you’re new to the platform, please check out the Slack Help Center and watch this tutorial video. Be sure to configure your notifications (including all those potentially intrusive dings and emails), and to brush up on the protocols for addressing groups and individuals, sending direct messages, and using threaded discussions.
- Google Drive, Docs, and Slides: I’ll be saving our recorded lectures to Google Drive, creating interactive class agendas on Google Docs, and sharing my presentations via Google Slides. You’ll be submitting assignments via Google Docs and contributing reading responses via Google Slides, too.
- Mural: this digital whiteboard will allow us to engage in multimedia concept-mapping and could prove useful for communication within small groups.
- Others: we might use Hypothesis, Perusall, Voicethread, Twitter, Mozilla Hubs, OpenProject, or other tools if opportunities present themselves. Your groups are also welcome to encourage the class to experiment with additional platforms.
A few notes about the weekly readings/screenings/listening exercises:
- I think we can better appreciate the complexity, relevance, and resonance of each of our weekly themes by approaching them from multiple theoretical, historical, practical, and creative directions. That’s why, for each week, I’ve put together a mini “anthology” rather than assigning a single definitive text. Yes, sometimes those reading lists might look intimidatingly long – but the total number of pages hardly ever exceeds 150 (and a lot of those pages are illustrated!), and sometimes I substitute videos or podcasts to written texts, which ultimately makes for a reasonable workload. Plus, each text on that list is there because it has the potential to add a distinctive voice to our conversation.
- Rather than offering separate lessons on or from the Global South and marginalized communities, which can feel fragmented and tokenzing, I aimed to integrate feminist, Black, queer, colonized, subaltern, etc., perspectives throughout the syllabus. Yet as Jim Malazita notes, there is also a danger in “uncritically integrating the works of marginalized authors into the broader traditions they are a part of” — or that they’re critiquing, or positioning themselves in opposition to. I have yet to devise a perfect solution to this structural problem, if there is such a solution. Instead, I hope these tensions, regarding the politics of knowledge and representation, become themes in our discussions.*
- That said, my selection of a particular text does not constitute an endorsement of it. Sometimes I choose texts that annoy me, or with which I disagree, for a few reasons: because they’re widely cited and I think it’d behoove you to be aware of them, because I want to allow you to exercise your own judgment, and because I’m pretty sure they’ll make for good conversation. In short: you’re not compelled to agree with everything you read!
- We will not address all the readings in our in-class discussions. Some readings are primarily factual, some are self-explanatory, some simply present interesting illustrations or case studies; we needn’t discuss these sorts of texts in-depth – but they’re still worth your time! They provide valuable nuance and color that will inform our discussions, shape your own understanding, and, ideally, inspire ideas for your own projects.
I’ll also post relevant links on my Pinboard.
*Thanks to Jim Malazita for sharing this context on his “Advanced Social Theory” syllabus.