Organizer. Curriculum Innovations. December 16, 2009 - December 16, 2009
Curriculum Innovations ; In the last year or so my ideas about undergraduate and graduate instruction have responded to Duke's interdisciplinary climate--on one hand I stress the productive aspects of interdisciplinarity while seeking to stress the virtues of the discipline in which I was instructed. When it comes to the teaching of core anthropological or social theoretical texts I try to read these not only critically, but immanently--to draw on the logics that construct them from within and thereby to suggest a virtue in them quite apart from say the postcolonial or poststructural critique available to all of us. I do this as willingly when teaching Adam Smith’s An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations as I do when referring Foucault’s Discipline and Punish. In other words I teach to the spirit of the ideas contained in varied works before mounting any counter reading. By the same measure, most of my syllabi are designed with a consistent argument or narrative arc in mind. Practically speaking this has led to some curricular and pedagogical innovations. The last year or so I have made far greater use of audio and visual materials in the classroom, acknowledging their powers of representation, instruction, and imagination to communicate complex ideas by other means and media than simply the printed page. Since adopting these new teaching tools, I have gone on to design a new course entitled "The Wire" offered for the first time in Spring 2010, which will marry some of the new instructional tools to my inter-disciplinary approach in the classroom. Modeled on the HBO series of the same title "The Wire" makes use of a classic literature in urban sociology/urban anthropology and political economy against the backdrop of 60 episode series.
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