Teaching Resource: 3D Hominin Lab

This lab provides a ‘hands-on’ opportunity to explore hominin evolution using assets created for the upcoming Virtual Museum of Human Evolution. I’ve been using a version of this lab since the fall semester of 2017 at the University of Central Florida. The lab is divided into two parts. The first portion requires students to explore 3D models of hominin fossils created and uploaded to Sketchfab. The second portion requires them to use their notes from these comparisons and complete a quiz (which can be offered in-class or online). The lab is designed specifically for introductory courses with high enrollments. My sections typically have between 150-300 students.

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Disaster Anthropology & The Hurricane Sandy Oral History Project (HSOHP)

Disaster Anthropology is a rapidly growing aspect of anthropology’s applied/engaged focus. This approach directs our attention to the ways risk and vulnerability are disproportionately experienced by cultures and societies during disaster events. It also offers ethnographically-based solutions to reconnecting local victims with non-local agencies before, during, and following such events (e.g., hurricanes, firestorms, earthquakes, reactor meltdowns). This post includes a web map and links to oral histories collected as part of my 2013 Disaster Anthropology course offered at Monmouth University, in preparation for me offering this course at the University of Central Florida in fall 2018.

Boardwalk restoration efforts in Long Branch, New Jersey following Sandy.

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Pedagogy, Engaged Anthropology, and Zombies

I love zombies! Not only are zombies popular, but in the immortal words of Levi-Strauss, zombies “are good to think with.” Zombies stand (stagger?) as powerful metaphors supporting everything from emergency preparedness to invasive species education. Scholars draw on zombies as part of an engaged pedagogy to spark student interest. This includes Drezner’s Theories of International Politics and Zombies and Harman’s Zombie Capitalism: Global Crisis and the Relevance of Marx. I have also joined the horde by using the zombie apocalypse to teach geospatial analysis. Anthropologists have studied zombies for decades and I draw on this rich tradition as part of my freshman seminar to introduce students to anthropology with an exploration of zombies past, present, and future.

Zora Neale Hurston’s immortal photo of Felicia Felix-Mentor, a zombie from Haiti.

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The Undead Liven Up the Classroom: A Zombie Habitat Model for Monmouth County, NJ

One of my primary interests as a geographic information systems (GIS) educator is exploring new ways of teaching GIS, and spatial analysis in particular. Lessons about network analysis and habitat modeling are some of the most difficult to explain because of their technical nature – not to mention the complicated process of arranging and changing data to accomplish various analyses.

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