The Postmodern Anthropology club was a student initiated club at a school where I worked. Their mission was to provide an open forum where students could discuss controversial issues that were relevant to them in an atmosphere that was free from traditional school dynamics. I approached this club with a proposal to work together in a more structured manner and they were quickly committed to the idea. We agreed upon a model where each member of the club would be the manager their own session. During these sessions, other members would contribute based on how the manager structured it. The focus was on investigating an issue of importance to the manager, whether ethical, social, or theoretical, and on giving students the opportunity to be in an authority position. This model offered a much more authentic dialogue between students and teachers in terms of the traditional power dynamic usually found in schools. Approximately fifteen students and one other teacher participated.











Name: Katherine Voaks
Session Title: What is socially awkward?
What will it look like? looks like…researching a way of interpreting this topic How long do you think it will take? 5-15 minutes
What materials do people need to bring with them? nothing --> themselves
Do you have any specific goals or outcomes? differing perspectives on what each individual person perceives “socially awkward” to be.


 

 

 

 

 

Name: Justin Zacek
Session Title:
What will it look like? To start, each club officer will create a monosyllable noun, verb, and adjective to describe concepts and qualities for which there do not currently exist words. We will then collaborate to create more complex words, which we will define in terms of our original set of words. If this plan succeeds up to this point, we will try to express ideas with our new signifiers.
How long do you think it will take? ~90 minutes
What materials do people need to bring with them? un-denoted concepts, linguistic understanding
Do you have any specific goals or outcomes? I would like to produce meaningful sentences composed primarily of new words.

“I attempted to give a brief summary of the principles of structural linguistics, mostly just to encourage people to differentiate between the signs they use and the objects they represent, as this distinction isn’t obvious to the uninitiated. In the context of our ostensible focus on postmodern critical theory, it’s pretty crucial to have some grasp of semiotic theory. My session failed to meet my expectations, appearing to fail to enrich discussion or provoke thought, at least not to my knowledge. I benefited in that my terminology & etc. were cemented, and I had to review C.S. Peirce and like, Saussure and junk. Playing the role of manager was pretty natural in this context, but being that I didn’t see much comprehension among anyone but the folks I’d already expect to understand the material, I wasn’t really doing a whole lot of managing. As far as what I was made to think by my experience, I was made aware of the difficulty a teacher faces in teaching abstract subjects to students other than those who could be capable of teaching themselves.” - Justin Zacek



 

 

 

 

 

Name: Alex Brown
Session Title: Motivation - How can it apply to education?
What will it look like?I will present a video from the Royal Society of the Arts from youtube.
I will ask for insights and anectdotes about motivation in school and in life
How long do you think it will take? 1 meeting
What materials do people need to bring with them?Brains and a willingness to share honestly their ideas and experiences
Do you have any specific goals or outcomes? I would like to have a coherent discussion about how methods of motivating people in the real world could or couldn’t be extended to the public school system

“My session was about motivation, and how the methods of motivating people could be extended into the classroom. The session met my expectations because we had a coherent discussion about how methods of motivating people in the real world, as shown in the video, and how they could, or as we decided, couldn’t be extended to the public school system. We felt that there is no way to approach the public—mandatory—school system this way because we wouldn’t be able to hold anyone accountable or get any real work done because teenagers are unable to monitor themselves. I benefited from the session because I was able to contribute to a group in which I feel fairly unable to contribute to due to the density of intelligence amassed in that room. Thus, it felt nice to be the manager or the authority figure for this session because I was able to be in control, which all humans strive for. It didn’t really make me think of anything new, but it did make me think more about the individual motivations of the members towards schoolwork.” - Alex Brown

 

 

 

 

 

 

Name: Spencer Vaughn
Session Title: Chaos or Order
What will it look like? My idea for the project is to have a discussion while attempting to create no framework of rules or order of discussion.
How long do you think it will take? 1 session
What materials do people need to bring with them? None, an open mind and hopefully a closed mouth
Do you have any specific goals or outcomes? I would like to see a clear discussion but I’m expecting chaos

“My Po-Mo Anthro session was held on April 30th and I covered the topic of bigotry and the use of derogatory terms. The session had no structure and began with me telling a story of a recent encounter with people at a baseball game who referred to all members of the opposing team with a derogatory term typically applied to homosexuals (I am sure you can guess which term). At the start, the conversation drifted from subject to subject without any sort of direction and covered topics from persecution of blacks, gays, and Muslims to the use of derogatory terms and if use changes meaning. Having YouTube at our disposal, people began to bring up video of comedians telling jokes or poets reading poetry all relating to this topic and this extra voice allowed for some interesting, if not controversial, opinions to be expressed.

I did not intend to play a managing role in this session and was hoping to allow for a free form open conversation but on many occasion I found myself leading the conversation in new directions and on one occasion moderating between debating sides, I was reluctant at first but in the end I was glad to play this role and I felt like I was able to successfully keep the session moving. Although I did not receive any great new insights from the conversation it was a relief to get some of my opinions out and bounce them off others and it was equally reassuring to have others in the group agree with me on some things I am currently frustrated with” - Spencer Vaughn

 

 



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