Teaching diversity (workshop of the EASA TAN network)

Dorle Dracklé (University of Bremen)
Ana Isabel Afonso (CICS.NOVA/ FCSH-Universidade Nova de Lisboa)
Ana Isabel Afonso and Dorle Dracklé
Laszlo Kürti
Start time:
27 August, 2008 at 11:00
Session slots:

Short abstract:

Even anthropology students have strong perceptions and misperceptions about diversity. How to deal with cut and dried opinions? In this workshop we will discuss different approaches, experiences and practices.

Long abstract:

Teaching anthropology always involves the challenge to design courses that develop an understanding of diversity. Anthropological theories and methods serve as a lens for learning processes aimed at examining the implications of diversity - not only in foreign but in the home cultures as well. Social Anthropology offers a variety of tools for experiencing and interpreting diversity while being trained in the discipline. Facilitating seminar discussions on texts as well as practicing ethnography on a student level creates situations open for experiencing the deeper layers of cultural identity, gender relations, racism and other forms of discrimination. By assuming the research perspective of the ethnographer during their training, students might be empowered to question their own cultural biases and open themselves for broader questions of sociocultural inequalities. Most of the students we are educating today will be working in applied contexts after finishing university. It is only since some years, the Bologna process with its implications towards educating BA students for practical fields well on its way, that academic anthropologists tend to reflect especially about diversity related teaching. Are we capable of defining necessary skills and aims of a genuine anthropological education? What are the aims and tools we can provide for teaching the complexities of diversity and culture and thereby turning young anthropologists into attractive and much needed employees in a variety of professional fields? Should we aim at becoming so deeply applied anyway? In this workshop we will be able to discuss the whole issue of teaching anthropology under "new" conditions - whereby we are still aiming at facilitating experiences of difference and opening up possibilities for analysing the complexities of pluralistic contexts. The workshop offers room for presenting different teaching projects on the topic but also for generally relating diversity as a topic to teaching and learning.