The following are syllabi of units or courses that I formerly offered, including at previous employers, such as Notre Dame and Columbia. When I was a graduate student, I diligently collected syllabi, building up a library of a couple hundred across a range of subjects that I thought I might have to teach. The Internet has made the effort completely obsolete, but I do remember how crucial it was for me to think about course design, to study how different people taught topics that I might be asked to prepare, even to prepare for job interviews so that I could talk about teaching strategies.
Like my other material, this is licensed for free non-commercial use and adaptation, so long as you (a) acknowledge your source, and (b) license derivative materials under the same conditions. I’ve had a bad experience with someone presenting my works as their own, so please feel free to use this, but you must give credit, and I’d prefer that you contact me and share what you’ve come up with so that I can improve my own material. (c) Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0.
Wealth, Poverty and Consumption (2009)
(Anth 278, formerly known as ‘Commodities, Consumption and Culture’)
Click on the title of the file to download the pdf (39 pages). This is my attempt at an economic anthropology course that’s fun and contemporary, and yet contains some of the classics. The course started out as being more about marketing, commodification, and consumption, but it’s shifted and picked up a few weeks on more development-related topics (poverty, global trade, corporations). The next incarnation of this class is likely to contain a week on the ‘tragedy of the commons,’ private property, and other property regimes, but I’m not sure which week I want to give up to get it.
This outline also contains the marking rubrics for the course assignments.
Anth 385: Doing Ethnography (2007)
I taught this unit only once, but borrowed heavily from the version that was already being done at Macquarie, and adding some of the material I used to teach ethnographic methods at the University of Notre Dame. This particular methodology course focuses exclusively on ethnographic methods, but I do try to bring in some discussion of quantitative research in such techniques as social network analysis, behavioral observation, videography, and the like.
Anth 322: Black Music, World Market
University of Notre Dame
(Cross listed in African and African-American Studies, Latin American Studies and Sociology)
BMWM_discography Click on this file name to download a pdf of the course discography.
I taught ‘Black Music, World Market’ at Notre Dame around four times, and I loved doing the course. The unit eventually involved a pretty massive online component, including ‘liner notes’ about individual recordings and streaming audio so that students could listen to musical samples. The discography was not from the 2005 version of the course, but it was the only one that I had easily available.
I can’t take credit for all the ideas in this unit. I originally designed this course when I was applying for jobs while doing a post-doc at Columbia University. The original version came to me after I read a really intriguing syllabus for a popular music course put together by Prof. Steven Feld. We didn’t have any ethnomusicology at the University of Notre Dame, so the course wound up being really popular — and I even made everyone do a salsa lesson!
Anth 40400: Perspectives in Anthropological Analysis (2005)
University of Notre Dame
This syllabus was definitely a collective effort, drawing heavily on ideas from Prof. Susan Blum at Notre Dame, especially, but also containing hold-over ideas that I learned when TAing for Prof. John MacAloon in the Master of Arts Program in the Social Sciences (MAPSS) at the University of Chicago. I had always been involved in theory classes that were designed around intellectual history; John MacAloon really opened my eyes to teaching theory as forms of ‘analysis’ rather than as a history of ideas. I ended up liking this pedagogical strategy more from a student perspective, and appreciated how the approach got away from treating theory as a form of philosophical inquiry.
I also liked teaching this theory course because the readings incorporated more of a four-field approach; I would have liked to have include even more from archaeology, but I never got to teach it a second time as I took the job at Macquarie University the following year.
Anth 40400: Perspectives in Anthropological Analysis by Greg Downey and Susan Blum is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
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