W011
Questioning 'quietness': teaching anthropology as cultural critique (workshop of the EASA TAN network)

Convenors:
Jakob Krause-Jensen (Aarhus University)
Christina Garsten (Stockholm University)
Location:
R13 (in V)
Start time:
11 July, 2012 at 11:30
Session slots:
3

Short abstract:

Anthropology is — and should be — a disquieting discipline using its methods of participant observation and comparison to question home truths and taken-for-granted ideas. How do we develop courses that enhance our students' criticality, sensitivity and imagination, yet enable them to gain employment?

Long abstract:

Anthropology is - and should be - a disquieting discipline: it uses its methods of participant observation and comparison to question home truths and taken-for-granted ideas. Yet university reforms urge and force us to make our education programmes more 'job-relevant'. How do we develop courses and programs that enhance our students' criticality, sensitivity and imagination, yet enable them to gain employment? Anthropologists are employed in a variety of places outside academia: museums, municipalities, ministeries, companies, community organisations and NGO's and advocacy groups. Anthropologists' positions in these organisations vary widely. Some take on administrative tasks, where their anthropology is almost incidental. Some work as 'culture expert' in interdisciplinary teams. Some are employed in maverick positions, valued as being part of the organization, yet with a distanced and critical view of its operations. Should teachers focus on developing their students' theoretical imaginativeness and cultural critique, and leave it to their ingenuity to find employment? Or should courses incorporate skills for which there is demand in the workplace? This workshop invites people to share ideas and teaching experiences of how to use anthropological research strategies, concepts and methods to gain a critical and creative understanding to be used in workplaces. Examples could include: - Using classical anthropology (segmentary lineage, magic, and dirt…) to generate surprising insights into how contemporary organizations work. - Exploring how to understand everyday worklife as part of large-scale political and institutional changes. - Using ethnographic methods to get fresh perspectives on organisations and life within them.