My approach to teaching anchors an ethical responsibility towards others in both fieldwork and homework. To me, anthropology is to wonder with others “what to make out of life” (following filmmaker and anthropology Jean Rouch), rather than a search for exotica. I find fulfillment every time a student opens up to a newly found banality in the strange, and to the strange within the banality. My concern lies with students both likely and unlikely to become humanities’ academics or cultural practitioners. My goal is therefore to offer a teaching approach rooted within and outside of classroom activities and publics. Taking anthropology as a method to be in the world and approach life critically, at all times, I work against a recurrent perception of the discipline as a mere consumption of “diversity”. Rather than a study of cultures and societies, which tends to reassert the fetishization of difference, I take anthropology to be a sustained practice of resonance with significant others.

Currently Teaching


Smart Films for a Smart World

Hamilton College, Asian Studies/Art, Fall 2019

Can your smartphone become a partner to picture your world differently? What do technologies of seeing in cinema and anthropology have in common? How do alternative modes of filmmaking inform how we view others? The course uses readings in anthropology to think about viewing films, primarily by filmmakers from Asia and its neighbors. Students will design ethnographic projects and use smartphone apps to produce their own short documentaries. No previous expertise in Asian studies, award winning cinematics, or advanced geeky tech required. Ideas, energy, and an open mind are mandatory.

 

Documentary Production for the Ethnographically and Experimentally Inclined

Hamilton College, Asian Studies/Anthropology/Cinema & Media Studies, Spring 2020

Introduction to audio-visual digital documentary production. Students work on individual short documentaries based on an Asian community in Utica using filmmakers from Asia and beyond as inspiration. Readings, screenings, and discussions bring together experimental cinema and ethnographic theory and methods. Our ultimate goal is to consider how images can push the limits of the distinction between “fact and fiction” by fusing the real and the surreal.

 

Introduction to Digital Ethnography: Virtual Fieldwork, Real Homework

Hamilton College, Asian Studies/Anthropology/Cinema & Media Studies, Spring 2020

Introduction to the theory and methods of digital ethnography. Students develop projects taking the digital as both object and outcome. Students choose an Asian virtual community for study and present final projects on a digital platform. The course interrogates the anthropological separation of “fieldwork” and “homework” in the digital era and raises questions such as: Are social relations erased, transformed, or newly created when the web becomes our world? Are we putting distance between ourselves and others or getting a little too close? Are we now, also, Others among Others?. 

 

Future Teaching


Everyday Islam(s): An Anthropology of Muslim Worlds 

Developed as a introductory survey course in anthropology of Islam

Departing from a monolithic vision of Islam located in religious performance and (Western) representations, this course offers an anthropology of the trans-local and modern lives of the many variations Muslim modalities. Combining core readings in the anthropology of Islam with recent publications on Muslim social and visual media, fashion, entrepreneurship and love, the class asks what it means to be Muslim in the world today? Investigating sites such as Indonesia, Berlin, the US, Cairo and Iran, we will deconstruct the bounded unity that Islam is often perceived to be. Students will conduct their own ethnographic assignments in collaboration with the local Muslim community. Activities including life stories and interviews with chaplains and community representatives, participative observation of study groups and associative life, and a final visual ethnographic group project.


Living Islam In Southeast Asia: Translocality & Inter-Asia

 

Developed as an upper level transdisciplinary seminar

Often perceived as the periphery of Islam, Southeast Asia accounts for no less than a quarter of the world Muslim population. Indonesia is the first Muslim country in the world, and all threads of Islamic thought, practice and political reform have been (or are still) present in the region. In this class we will look at the transnational dimension of Islam and its entanglements with the mobile societies of Southeast Asia. We will ask what makes Southeast Asia Islamic, and what makes Islam Southeast Asian? To help us think within and beyond area studies and disciplinary boundaries, the readings will alternate history, ethnography, and religious studies. Students will publicly engage with the class through film screenings, collections and archival research, guest speakers’ interviews, and a public blog.

Living Islam aims to introduce students to the diversity of Islams beyond the Middle East, and the fluidity of interconnections within and outside Southeast Asia. The multimedia aspect of the course, through a public blog, aims to foster academic work engaged in the world. Students are brought to encounters and interviews with guest-speakers, the production of podcasts, collections and archives visits, and public visual writing. This collage reflects, in practice, the mosaic encounters set up in the readings and discussions.


Seeing is Surreal! The Making of Vision Theory

 

Developed as a hands-on theory workshop

Can one see only by learning to do so? How do ways of seeing construct our world? Are dreams for real? And: did you seriously just see that??? This seminar takes practices of looking and anthropological thinking at its core to decolonize the theory of vision. We will ask what it means to see and question the reality often ascribed to visuality. Unsettling the authenticity of proofs seized by the eye, we will bring in discussion art historians and practitioners, philosophers in the world and makers of theory to destabilize sensorial divisions, dreams and facts, fantasy and reality. Using an approach that takes practice as a pathway to theory, we will ask how we see through hands-on activities at the edge of surrealism. Surrealism, itself a practice and theory at once, will be brought to reflect on the potentials of an intersection between artistic speculation and scientific emulation. Through stereography, film swaps, irrational objects, re-assemblage, the drawing of exquisite corpses and automatic writing, we will attend to ways of knowing that are not ‘up for grabs’, but rather do a serious thinking in the world as we make fun.


From Celluloid & Pixels,
With Love: Experimental Filmmaking

Developed as a hands-on theory workshop

This course is an introduction to alternative modes of film production rendering the world. Anchored in ethnographic interrogations of what makes cinema cross-cultural, the class explores unconventional ways to compose moving images. Readings in visual anthropology and film theory will be combined with the direct experience of the film material in all forms: analog and pixels will be enriched, layered, distraught, broken, recycled. In the process of viewing and creating film, our inquiry will be to think the materiality of the image through and beyond its index as it takes on the texture of documentary

 

Past Teaching

Courses taught as sole instructor

2018 (Fall) | Reel Others: Screening Good, Bad & Just Muslims in Cinema | TA (sole instructor) | Awarded a First Year Writing Teaching Fellowship for Fall 2018, Department of Anthropology, Cornell University

2017 (Spring) | No Science in The Wild: The Writing of Ethnography | TA (sole instructor) | Awarded a First Year Writing Teaching Fellowship, Spring 2017, Department of Anthropology, Cornell University

 

Courses taught as co-instructor or teaching assistant

 
 
 
 

Courses awarded but deferred

2019 (Spring) | Documentary Production | TA (co-instructor) | Department of Anthropology, Cornell University

2018 (Winter) | Chinese Empire and the Cambodian Experience | TA & Cambodia coordinator | Cornell in Cambodia & Tompkins Cortland Community College

2016 (Fall) | The Comparison of Cultures | TA | Department of Anthropology, Cornell University

2016 (Winter) | Chinese Empire and the Cambodian Experience | Cornell in Cambodia (as above)

2015 (Spring) | Cultural Diversity & Contemporary Issues | TA | Department of Anthropology

2014 (Fall) |The Comparison of Cultures| TA | Department of Anthropology, Cornell University


Trouble in The Cage: Gender, Race and Class at The Fights | TA (sole instructor) | Recipient Fall 2017 Award from the Feminist, Gender and Sexuality Studies Department, Cornell University (declined in favor of the Charlotte Newcombe Doctoral Fellowship)

Thinging The World: An Anthropology with Objects | TA (sole instructor) | Selected for a First Year Writing Fellowship as a course Spring 2018, Department of Anthropology, Cornell University (declined in favor of the Charlotte Newcombe Doctoral Fellowship)

Women Writing Culture: Feminists & Anthropologists at Work | Lecturer | Seminar prepared upon an invitation from a women’s religious college in Qom, Iran | Postponed (schedule conflict).