Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Holiday Doldrums and Blog Reflections

More than any of the posts thus far, this one is the closest to writing for the simple sake of writing. This is going to be a self-indulgent post, so if you happen to be reading this and have better things to do, go do them.

I’m writing this post from behind a small, tent fort that my children have been playing with since Christmas.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Breaking Up is Hard to Do: Commercial Economies and Human Connections

I’m in the midst of switching my 16 month old son from the daycare he’s been in since he was 12 weeks old to another that currently makes more sense for him and my family’s life. There are many reasons for this that are unimportant to this blog. Despite those many good reasons, the decision had me tangled up in guilt. When I originally called the owner of the daycare, I hemmed and hawed before making the call. I felt like I was making a break-up call to a romantic partner rather than ending a commercial relationship. I felt guilty because the caregivers have spent a lot of time with my son, developed attachments and he’s surely developed attachments to them. But, as I’ve reminded myself repeatedly, I’m paying them, so I have every right to remove him without any emotional baggage.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Hard Second Looks at the End of the Semester

It’s mid-December, which means I’m deep in the midst of grading papers and giving final exams. Despite being under mounds of end-of-term course bureaucracy, I do my best to end each semester with some kind of wrap up that communicates to students my abiding enthusiasm about anthropology, curiosity and learning.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Content of the Form: Teaching New World Archaeology

One of the courses I teach is called “Archaeology and Prehistory.” It’s a strange, amalgam class that is very ambitious, trying to cover a tremendous amount of ground in what are always very short semesters. The first third of the class covers fundamental archaeological method and theory. The second focuses on the classic transformations (like a “greatest hits” collection) of human groups--the emergence of stone tools, the peopling of the Earth beyond Africa, Behavioral Modernity, etc. The third section, for the most part, focuses on ancient farming societies or “complex” societies”...so there are many potential topics to explore.