I could tell you how many steps make up the streets rising like stairways, and of the degree of the arcades' curves, and what kind of zinc scales cover the roofs; but I already know this would be the same as telling you nothing. The city does not consist of this, but of relationships between the measurements of its space and the events of its past...A description of Zaira as it is today should contain all Zaira's past. -Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Ideal Anthropology program?

I was interviewed yesterday by a student at University of North Caroline Charlotte, as part of an applied anthropology class she is taking. An interesting assignment, I think, because the students both learn about what applied anthropologists are doing and practice interviewing and interaction skills. She told me the university is growing, and the anthro department is hoping to set up a Master's program, which would be great.

One of the questions she asked me was what course did I think was essential, if I were to set up an anthropology program. I couldn't give her one course, but I did give a description of my ideal program. Granted, I went through a strictly academic progam, so I lean that way--I do feel an ideal program should expose students to all four fields, but in such a way that they understand how they are related to each other, and that they understand both how they can be applied in the "real world" (what is the real world?) or they can pursue deeper academic reseach. I have to admit I am not sure who if anyone is doing that. There are some great academic programs, and some great applied programs (and many people who work on both sides), but it seems like for anthropology to have a strong future better integration than there is now.

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