My teaching philosophy puts at its core anthropology as a tool to make the “quotidian exotic and the exotic banal” (Clifford 1986). My main concern lies with individuals likely not to become humanities’ academics or social scientists. My goal is therefore to offer a teaching approach anchored within and outside of classroom activities and publics. Taking anthropology and art as ways 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” and “other cultures”. Rather than a study of cultures and societies, which tends to reassert the fetishization of difference, I take teaching with anthropology as a mode of correspondence & resonance with significant others. My classes take writing, praxis and thinking as a continuum and are centered around hands-on visual and ethnographic experiments.
Courses Taught & Awarded
No Science in The Wild: The Writing of Ethnography
Awarded a Teaching Assistant Fellowship and taught Spring 2017, Department of Anthropology & Knight Writing Institute, Cornell University.
This course questions the narratives and theories that shape the construction of “Others” in the study of cultures. We will attend to the workings of academic writing while analyzing various modes of anthropological descriptions. Students will conduct their own ethnographies based on the close observation of / with other individuals in their own neighborhoods and immediate entourage. Fieldnotes and final essays will go from facts to fiction, from diaries to art, from poetry to visual projects. The course provides pathways for alternative academic writing while our eyes remain open to this curiosity that life is. We’ll leave the class with a critical reading of authoritative voices, an inspiration to find our own many ways to write
Trouble in The Cage: Gender, Race and Class at The Fights
Selected for a Fall 2017 Award from the Feminist, Gender and Sexuality Studies Department, Cornell University (deferred for the Charlotte W. Newcombe Dissertation Writing Fellowship).
September 2014: female Ultimate Fighting Champion Ronda Rousey refuses to fight Fallon Fox, claiming her transgender opponent would bring an unfair advantage to the cage. Unfair (dis)advantages have long been subtitling sports headlines: African ancestry building endurance to the heat; USSR athletes doped by chemical powers; inner-city kids fit to fight rough; women too flimsy for crushing competitions. Often, it is to scientists that the industry calls upon to settle the fights of gender, race, and class within the ring. Yet, could the flyweight of biological facts hide the punching strength of cultural representations? What are the broader social tensions tying up physical excellence? Drawing from anthropology and feminist theories and methods, students will use ethnographic research to pick up their own fights.
Reel Others: Anthropology Going to The Movies
Selected for a Teaching Assistant Fellowship as a course for Spring 2018, Department of Anthropology & Knight Writing Institute, Cornell University (deferred for the Charlotte W. Newcombe Dissertation Writing Fellowship).
Through an analysis of excerpts from cinema classics and contemporary series, this course takes a journey into the politics of representation of race and difference. Could the depiction of “Others” through evolving stereotypes and changing codes, be a way to assert a certain continuous self? How do the descriptions of otherness reflect (on) our daily social relations? Can ethnography offer alternative modes of visual production? Putting theory into practice, the class will consider the ideas and methods of visual anthropology and film studies to conduct both written and visual assignments. Thinking cinematically, we will explore the possibilities for experimental re-imaginings and re-imaging of an alterity closer to us: one that resonates from within, away from an ever estranging divide us / them. Students will be exposed to activities that are both content driven (E.g: analysis of the series Homeland), and experiment driven (proposals for ethnographic activities, sketches of visual endeavors, portfolio and treatments). Visual activities include Swap Film Ethnographies, Seeing Double Stereoscopies, Short & Smart Ethnographic Film.
Everyday Islam(s): An Anthropology of Muslim Worlds
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.
Thinging The World: An Anthropology With Objects
Does rationalizing an impulsive purchase always feel like falling into a bottomless rabbit hole? Are your friends comparing you to Gollum when you hold on to your precious earrings’ collection? Do those sweaty ugly boxing gloves knock sweet memories out of you? Whether it’s consumerism or fetishism, capitalism or religion, objects of everyday life and exceptional moments are part of our world. In this class we will ask: How do we give life to things as we live alongside them? Anthropology, on its way to understand humans, has stopped by objects to examine how they create cultures. Following this pathway, we will write about things exploring ethnographic methods and readings. Taking inspiration in ‘design thinking’ and ‘user experience’, students will develop their own research projects. Classes will alternate theoretical readings and guest speakers, as well as activities such as: Exquisite Corpses Drawing Descriptions, In-Home Visits, Shopping Participant Observation, and an in-depth interview of your best friend bag…
Courses In Development
. Meaningful Possessions: Aesthetics and Context in Museum Collections
. Worlding the Documentary: Introduction to Transcultural Filmmaking
. Sensing the Global City: Image & Sound Works in The Middle East
. Between The Archive And The Field? Anthropologists Among Historians
. Ethnography In Industry: Socially Attentive Bendings for the Corporate Savvy
Teaching Assistance Experience
At Cornell University
2016 (Fall) | The Comparison of Cultures (Introduction to Anthropology Course)
2016 (Winter) | Chinese Empire and the Cambodian Experience, Cornell in Cambodia & Tompkins Cortland Community College, TA & Cambodia coordinator
2015 (Spring) | Cultural Diversity and Contemporary Issues (Introduction to Anthropology Course)
2014 (Fall) | The Comparison of Cultures, Cornell University (Introduction to Anthropology Course),