Video materials used in class illustrate many topics covered in
this course. 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 to them.
It is generally best to watch the videos after you have looked at the slides and reading material(s).
Dates and videos/films may change.
Some contracts and licenses
restrict distribution to current University of MInnesota students, faculty, and staff.
Some video offerings are currently being re-negotiated with providers.
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. And fieldwork, almost above everything else, requires attentive observation and recording of information.
Much of what we are going to do for the rest of the semester is "fieldwork" via video materials from around the world. 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.
(And as with THe Selective Attention Test, be sure to also count the bounce passes.)
(4)After you have taken Simon and Chabris' tests, think about how what you learned from them about perception might be applied as you view the videos for the rest of the semester as well as the cultural behaviors in real life as you roam the world thereafter
The main purpose of this exercise is to sensitize you to the fact that everyone views things selectively—”quite naturally, and maybe even by necessity. And one's culture plays a huge role in what one "sees" and focuses on (and what one doesn't see and focus on). American men, for e.g., most often do not "see" many details of clothing, color, and personal stylistic adornment (read hair styles, nail treatment, cosmetic adornments and the like).
To view things as a trained observer as anthropologists must do when they're in the field "doing" anthropology one must almost constantly be aware of this natural / cultural tendency to perceive things selectively, and try to compensate for it by paying attention to items not otherwise selected for, while at the same time being careful "not to miss anything".
Hopefully, this exercise will make you just a little more critical in the way you look at things—”and especially the class videos—”for the rest of the semester (and maybe even for the rest of your life, for that matter).
You are not expected anything to submit anything—no reaction, or report, or forum posting. This is a "re-vision" activity, and it should benefit you in performing well in the exams and overall for the course. And hopefully it will also help on your way to having a genuine anthropological perspective on life in general.
Other Materials from Christopher Chabris and Daniel Simons . . .
"Demonstrations, videos from our research, videos of us speaking, etc. Dan's YouTube Channel includes most of these videos as well as favorites from around the web that are related to or mentioned in our book. You can view more videos on his personal website."
"The greatest gatherings on Earth are rituals. They bind us together and keep communities alive. In Sienna rival districts battle for supremacy in a 700 year-old horse race. In Japan, two thousand men perform a chaotic fire ritual to be renewed; while in Malaysia, one devotee joins millions to fulfill a grueling vow to god. At the world's highest mass ritual in the Peruvian Andes, men are initiated into their ancient clan; and in the desert, Burning Man's new rituals fulfill our desire to belong."
Open University, & British Broadcasting Corporation (Producers), & Harrison, N. (Director). (2018). Great gatherings. [Video/DVD] BBC Worldwide.