Date Submitted: Mon, 31 Jul 2017 19:51:55 GMT

Viewing: ANTHRO 4990W panchanathank : Capstone Seminar in Anthropology - Writing Intensive

Last approved: Thu, 06 Oct 2016 19:57:31 GMT

Last edit: Thu, 06 Oct 2016 19:57:15 GMT

Changes proposed by: panchanathank

Proposal Type

Writing Intensive

Contact Information

Trigos Carrillo
Campus Writing Program
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Campus Writing Program

Term for Proposal

Spring 2017

Course Catalog Information

Anthropology (ANTHRO)
Capstone Seminar in Anthropology - Writing Intensive
Readings, discussions, and problems in the integration of the subfields of anthropology through theory and examples.
A-F (allow student to choose S/U option)
Anthropology major and senior standing, or instructor's consent.

Instructor Information

(numbers only)
Tenure Line Assistant Professor
1205 University Ave, Suite 1110

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Honors Course Information

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Writing Intensive Course Information

Anthropology traditionally consists of four sub-fields: archaeology, biological anthropology, cultural anthropology, and linguistic anthropology. At its best, anthropology offers the promise of integrative explanations of human physiology and behavior considering both biological and cultural processes. In this seminar, we will consider a series of topics actively being researched and debated. Hopefully, students will have a better and richer appreciation of how the different courses they've taken so far tie together into a larger research enterprise. Topics may include science and interpretation in anthropology, the ecology of infectious diseases, the evolution of social complexity, human nature, ethics in anthropology, the anthropology of food, myth and ritual, the origins and evolution of language.
No major changes.
Self paced?

Should this course be considered for funding?

Large Enrollment Courses:

Writing Intensive Assignments

Long and Short Essays (5 total)
Over the course of the semester, the students will read about, discuss, and write on five actively-researched topics that cut across different anthropological sub-fields. Students will write a substantive paper (ten pages) on one of these topics and will write shorter essays (two pages) on the other four topics. The writing assignments are meant to force students to consider an actively-debated question from a variety of perspectives and critically evaluate the debate through reasoned argument. For each of these five papers (one term paper, four shorter essays), students will submit a draft and a revision. Drafts will be evaluated by the instructor, the TA, and a classmate. .
Length of assignment:
instructor, the TA, and a classmate. .
instructor, the TA, and a classmate. .

Peer review write-ups
Peer review constitutes another writing assignment: Each of the four shorter essays will be evaluated by a classmate. These peer reviews will be one page in length.
Length of assignment:

Total pages for all assignments:
First drafts:
Additional writing: I like to use micro-essays, especially at the beginning and/or end of class. I typically conclude each class with a short, three-item questionnaire: (1) What was one positive aspect of today’s class? (2) What was one confusing point from today's class? (3) What is one question based on today's class that you would like answered? Reading over these, I often select one question or confusion and ask the students at the start of the next class to write about for a couple of minutes. I don't collect these writings, but I find they help focus the discussion thereafter. Often, upon reflection, students resolve their confusions. When they don't, I can help them. At the end of class, I often have them write for a few minutes on some larger theme from the class. I tend to collect these and read them (but I do not grade them). They help me evaluate whether students are confused or are getting the discussion.

Writing Intensive Teaching

Instructor provided feedback
Oral presentation by student, followed by feedback
Peer review
I discuss writing to my students as a three-part process: creation, change, and clarity (I've stolen these principles from someone, but I don't remember whom). Students are encouraged to first capture their ideas, as many as possible. This is when the internal editor must be silenced; no idea is necessarily a bad idea. Next, the students need to re-imagine their creation, removing what doesn't work, keeping what does, and expanding when necessary. This is where they must be ruthless editors. This is the part I struggle with the most. Editing yourself is so difficult because its so hard to detach yourself from your own creations. But, as Faulkner said, we have to be able to kill our darlings! To encourage this process, I have students review each other's work. Peer review is often more powerful as the students tend to respect their peers' aesthetic choices more than their instructor's. Being an evolutionary anthropologist, I liken the first two stages to Darwin's theory of evolution: the first stage, like mutation, is about the generation of variation; the second stage, like natural selection, is about selectively retaining the beneficial variants. Finally, their job is to take their vision and present in a such a clear way that the reader cannot but see things as the author intends them to see things. Each of the writing assignments have only one revision stage. As such, the three-part process gets a bit condensed. I tend to focus my attention on moving from step one to step two (creation to change). Clarity is handled here-and-there with comments on style (e.g., what really worked, what really didn't). Additionally, at the end of the semester, each student will give an oral presentation of his or her research paper. The instructor, the TA, and the other students will provide feedback. The purpose of this presentation is to help the students improve the clarity of their presentation.
All of the writing assignments in the course address questions for which there is more than one acceptable interpretation, explanation, analysis, or evaluation. Anthropology as a discipline is fragmented, split between four subdisciplines that rarely interact with one another. As such, many of the debates (e.g., the role of nature and nurture in human behavior) are not easily settled. Students will read from a variety of perspectives and must critically evaluate these debates.
Students will write throughout the semester. The class will be divided into five themed- blocks. For four of these blocks, students will write a draft, a revision, and a peer review. For one of these blocks, students will write a substantive term paper, comprised of a draft and revision.
The department has chosen my teaching assistant for me. I plan to train him/her by reading and commenting on several students' essays together at the beginning of the semester. If the TA is already good at revision, then this is a matter of calibration. If not, then we'll have to do some more work. Throughout the semester, I plan to discuss a few randomly-selected essays and compare notes. The role of the TA is to serve as an additional reader and editor of drafts.

Course Syllabus

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Administrative Information

Education and Social Sciences


I have read and reviewed the updated proposal

Additional Comments

Patricia Luckenotte (luckenottep) (Thu, 06 Oct 2016 19:57:15 GMT): I have added ANTHRO 4990W, 01 for the Spring 2017 semester and cancelled ANTHRO 4990, 01 for Spring 2017.
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