One of the five main characteristics of American Anthropology is fieldwork, "a primary research technique, involving “participant observation," which usually means living among the people one is interested in learning from and about.
It would be wonderful if for anthropology classes we could just rent a bus or charter a plane and fly off for a year or more to learn first-hand from the people themselves.
Money, time, and practicality prohibit that, so the next best things—when it comes to studying anthropology—is going to places and viewing subjects by film.
For this reason anthropology courses most often use video materials, and use them very frequently and intensely. The video materials used
in class illustrate many topics covered in
Consider these video materials a substitute—albeit a very poor substitute—for actually going to the places and seeing and hearing and tasting and feeling and smelling in person the various things discussed in class.
Or, for the less adventurous, consider these presentations similar to lab sessions,
that is, watch them carefully and critically rather than simply
watch another movie or video.
The exams will include these
materials, and it will be assumed that you have paid critical attention
Before we get into the video-intensive part of the course (towards the middle and end), take the Selective Attention Test (below) developed by Daniel Simons and Christopher Chabris. This should give you a little insight into the nature of observing—which lies at the very heart of anthropological fieldwork.
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