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Tuesday, January 5, 2016

CASCA/SANA 2016 panel CFP: Teaching Anthropology Today

CFP: Teaching Anthropology Today
Co-Organizers: Maggie Cummings (University of Toronto) and Karen McGarry
(McMaster University)

Last year's roundtable session in Quebec City, entitled "Landscapes of
Knowledge: Teaching Anthropology in Canada Today", successfully generated
much productive discussion about the issues and challenged faced by
teachers of anthropology in today's postsecondary context. In the spirit
of solidarit(i)es, this year we want to revisit these issues in an expanded
panel that includes colleagues at all career stages teaching anthropology
in a wide variety of programs, institutions, and locales.

In recent years, the educational climate within Canadian university
contexts has changed dramatically. The democratization of universities
since the 1960's, coupled with the increased availability of
government-sponsored student loans, has made postsecondary education a
prerequisite for "middle class" employment, and students therefore expect
to find middle class jobs upon graduation. In addition, neoliberal
restructuring policies of various governments and university
administrations, coupled with changing student demographics and increasing
tuition rates have challenged many of the traditional roles, values, and
expectations of academia. Postsecondary education, many complain, has been
reduced to a game of metrics, with educators feeling pressure to retain
students (and their tuition dollars) by tailoring course offerings to meet
perceived student demands, or to expand or repackage undergraduate
programmes at the expense of disciplinary depth and breadth. Within this
context, professors and teaching assistants also grapple with changing high
school curricula that deemphasize writing and critical thinking skills. As
a result, university educators worry that most first year students are
unprepared to meet the demands and rigors of traditional university
pedagogy. To address the increasing numbers and demands of undergraduates,
there has also been an increasing reliance upon underpaid and oftentimes
overworked sessional or contract faculty, as well as the implementation of
new "teaching track" positions.

The goal of this session is to spark a productive dialogue about teaching
anthropology within this neoliberalized landscape of knowledge. We invite
papers that draw on presenters' teaching experiences and strategies in
order to address questions including, but not limited to:

· What are the challenges for teaching anthropology within an
increasingly pragmatic, "job-oriented" student culture, and how do we
address them?

· How does the imposition of student "client-based" models of
pedagogy affect us as teachers of anthropology? What does it mean to engage
students in this context? What strategies do we use to work within, or
perhaps against, this model?

· How is the discipline impacted by the development of two-tiered
streams of professorships (teaching track versus research stream)?

· How does this new landscape affect contract teachers of
anthropology, and how does increase in precarious employment effect the way
anthropology is being taught?

· How are instructors engaging with administrative pressures to
incorporate various teaching technologies in the classroom? What
technologies (if any) do you find most helpful in teaching critical
thinking skills?
Please send inquiries and/or abstracts (100-150 words) to Maggie Cummings ( and Karen McGarry ( by
January 31, 2016

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