PROFESSIONAL ACTIVITIES REPORT July 1, 2004 to June 30, 2005

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NAME: Alberto Guevara
PROFESSIONAL ACTIVITIES REPORT
July 1, 2004 to June 30, 2005
WEIGHTING
CATEGORY
TEACHING
RESEARCH
SERVICE
TOTAL
REQUESTED
50
40
10
100%
ASSIGNED
100%
THE UNIVERSITY OF LETHBRIDGE
PROFESSIONAL ACTIVITIES REPORT
ALBERTO GUEVARA
PHONE: 329 2521
E-MAIL: [email protected]
The present report covers my professional activities from July 1, 2004 to June
30, 2005. The mentioned period is my second year at the University.
DEPARTMENT: Anthropology
I. TEACHING
(i) Course Title: ANTH: 2510A “Language Culture and Communication”
Semester: FALL 2004
Enrollment: 79
Comments
This course is a general introduction to basic approaches for the study of
language, symbols and communication. The main objectives of this
course are to critically reflect on the process of communication and the
role of language cross-culturally. This course introduces students to basic
concepts, problems, and methodologies utilized by anthropologists and
other social scientists in the study of the relationship between language,
culture and communication. The course is based on lectures, assigned
readings, films, class discussions, exercises and examinations. Media
analysis and discourse analysis were at the theoretical and
methodological core of this course.
The Fall semester (2004) was for me the second time teaching this
challenging course. Learning from the experience of the last semester and
students input I was able to improve the content and delivery of the
course substantially this time around. I introduced new readings in order
to shift the focus of the course from language to communication and
popular culture. In terms of content as well I was able to introduce current
events via visual media (i.e. Media coverage on the war on terrorism)
pertinent to the intersection between culture and language and culture
and communication. Once again this course was an excellent avenue to
discuss the importance of communication (verbal and non-verbal) in
understanding intercultural dialogues, discourse, power structures,
multiculturalism, bilingualism, etc.
(ii) Course Title: ANTH: 3010A “Methods, Knowledge and Ethics”
Semester: FALL 2004
Comments
Enrollment: 34
The aim of this course is to explore various ways of understanding and
producing anthropological knowledge. The focal point of the course is on
epistemological and writing developments in ethnographic anthropology.
The course studies the fundamentals or central principles of ethnographic
methodology.
The course is based on assigned readings, lectures, films, class
conversations, exercises and examinations. These are facilitated by group
discussions of the issues covered in that day’s readings. The first
component of the course looks at ethnography as an intercultural
dialogue, and it examines the central principles of anthropological
fieldwork methods and writings. We discuss topics such as the politics of
representation.
The second component will focus on issues pertaining to the production of
ethnographies. In this section the students analyze a complete
ethnography as well as produce their own mini-ethnography.
For this course I have received very encouraging and critical feedback
from students both in class and through student evaluations. I therefore
will try to improve the content and the form of the course for the next time
I teach the course. Considering some students uneasiness with my openendedness approach to the development of the methodology of the
course, I will make sure to be very specific and detail on the
implementation of my next outline.
(iii) Course Title: ANTH: 4850N
Semester: SPRING 2005
“Anthropology of Performance”
Enrollment: 17
Comments:
The “Anthropology of Performance” deals primarily with the concept and
the politics of performance from an anthropological vantage point. The
course places particular emphasis on the relationships between
performance and anthropology, performance and politics, as well as the
relevance of performance to ethnographic inquiry. The main objectives of
the course are: 1). to grasp the significance of performance in culture and
society, 2). to become acquainted with some of the central principles of
the anthropology of performance through the analysis of particular case
studies, 3). to familiarize ourselves with the anthropology of performance
as a contemporary anthropological method and writing emerging from the
critique of ethnographic representation, and 4). to further develop our
critical readings of anthropological/ethnographic developments on cultural,
historical, political and textual grounds.
In Sprint 2005, the course was once again conducted as a seminar and
included several practical activities outside the classroom. The course
was based on presentations, assigned readings, films, class discussions,
exercises, and a group ethnographic production. These were facilitated by
group deliberations on issues relevant to that week’s readings,
(understanding social change, intercultural communication, gender issues
and nationalism through performance.)
The course was divided into two sections: one section was theoretical and
the other was practical. The first component of the course provided
students with an overall understanding of performance and the
anthropology of performance. To do so, the following themes were
addressed and discussed:
1.What is performance?
2 What is the anthropology of performance?
3. What is the relationship between performance and culture,
performance and politics, and performance and social action?
The second component was based on group work. It allowed the students
to look at performance as an anthropological process (method and
writing) in a cultural or intercultural dialogue. This practice provided the
students with an opportunity to develop their own visions of performance
as an anthropological method/theory through a practical exercise.
Students were asked to reflect on the following: What should be included
in an ethnographic performance? Which ethnographic method and writing
style is more appropriate to specific topics of research? What are the
political, theoretical, methodological and ethical implications of that
particular choice? The class chose the general topic, and small groups
chose subtopics.
Based on previous experience teaching the course and students’
evaluations from last year I implemented several improvements for the
course this year. After choosing their topics for their projects students
were directed to do a thorough library research on the subject. This was in
order to have more theoretical and methodological depths to their chosen
themes. I also provided students with more time to develop their projects
before final performances. As a result the mini ethnographies presented
by the students were more interesting and theoretically and
methodologically engaging.
As with last year’s experience students were very enthusiastic about their
group research and subsequent performances in class. They manifested
in class and through the student evaluation that this practical creative
approach excited and motivated them to delve deeper into cultural
analysis. Even though I consider this course a tremendous success, there
is room for improvement. In order to make the course even more
rewarding for students and instructor I will try to utilize more visual media.
In addition, I will be showing small media archives of previous students
mini-ethnographic presentations.
(iv) Course Title: ANTH: 1000B
Semester: FALL 2003
Enrollment: 105
Comments:
This course, a general introduction to social and cultural anthropology,
looks into the ways anthropologists go about understanding and studying
cultures. The course provided the students with an overview of the basic
analytical tools and theoretical approaches utilized in the discipline of
anthropology.
The course was primarily lecture based, and complemented with group
discussions. I n my lectures I was aided by Power Point Presentations,
which the students found most helpful. I also showed films every two
weeks that exemplified relevant topics. Discussions followed the viewing
of these films. Every two weeks the class was divided into smaller groups
to discuss three or four ethnographic examples relevant to the period
covered.
Student expressed to me their satisfaction with the readings, films and
class discussions. I was able to adjust to their interests and needs. The
major challenge I experienced was trying to cover the content of the
outline in the amount of time allotted. I will correct this by prioritizing some
sections of the text and leaving others out. If I teach this course again I do
not anticipate major revisions. However, I may need to adjust according
to suggestions and criticisms from students’ evaluations.
(v) Course Title: ANTH: 2510A “Language Culture and Communication”
Semester: FALL 2004
Enrollment: 79
Comments
This course is a general introduction to basic approaches for the study of
language, symbols and communication. The main objectives of this
course are to critically reflect on the process of communication and the
role of language cross-culturally. This course introduces students to basic
concepts, problems, and methodologies utilized by anthropologists and
other social scientists in the study of the relationship between language,
culture and communication. The course is based on lectures, assigned
readings, films, class discussions, exercises and examinations. Media
analysis and discourse analysis were at the theoretical and
methodological core of this course.
The Fall semester (2004) was for me the second time teaching this
challenging course. Learning from the experience of the last semester and
students input I was able to improve the content and delivery of the
course substantially this time around. I introduced new readings in order
to shift the focus of the course from language to communication and
popular culture. In terms of content as well I was able to introduce current
events via visual media (i.e. Media coverage on the war on terrorism)
pertinent to the intersection between culture and language and culture
and communication. Once again this course was an excellent avenue to
discuss the importance of communication (verbal and non-verbal) in
understanding intercultural dialogues, discourse, power structures,
multiculturalism, bilingualism, etc.
II. RESEARCH AND CREATIVE ACTIVITY
(B) Manuscripts submitted for Publication
1.
“Where Heroes and Ideologies are Cast and Outcast:
Changing Regimes and Public Spaces in Post-Revolutionary
Managua, Nicaragua.” Co-authored with Elysee Nouvet, Submitted
to Brujula.
From 1990 to 2000, Nicaragua’s post-revolutionary governments
used their power and authority to sanction the erasure and
reinvention of various sites constructed by and commemorative of the
Sandinista era (1979-1990). These government-led performances
enacted for all to see the burial of a recent history. The question
remains, why? To what effect? What did post-revolutionary regimes
hope to gain or achieve through such transformations of the urban
landscape? Post-revolutionary Managua offers a rare opportunity for
witnessing and analyzing how and why public sites and monuments
may be destroyed, transformed, or created to reflect and promote
changing government interests and ideologies.
2.
“A Nation, a Community, a Play: Identity, Theatre and Nationhood
in Nicaragua” Submitted to Anthropology and Humanism (under
revisions)
In the last decades, Nicaragua’s oldest known theatre play, El
Gueguense, has become one of the most recognizable and
symbolic cultural references in the country. Through its social and
cultural narratives, located inside and outside the theatre/drama,
the play has become an important site for Nicaraguan identity
negotiations. This article traces and compares local, contemporary
practices of the play, in the form of its annual performance in the
town of Diriamba, with elite Nicaraguan intellectuals’ understanding
of the El Gueguense script. The story of the play is about
denouncing corruption and abuse of power in the post-contact
period. Within Nicaraguan’s contemporary socio-economic and
political situation, the play, as I argue, negotiates additional social,
political, and cultural layers. It is my argument that the El
Gueguense annual performance performs and critiques current
national discussions about post-revolutionary socio/economic
inequalities in Nicaragua.
(F) Research Activity
Project: The Rhetorical Politics of the Unspoken: The
Theatricalization of Violence in Nepal. (Funded by Internal SSHRC
and ULRF Grants)
Last summer, with the assistance of a University of Lethbridge
Internal SSHRC Grant, I began anthropological field research on
the theatricalization of violence in Nepal. In two months of fieldwork
in the Kathmandu and Tarai areas, I was able to immerse myself in
various social stages of Nepalese social conflict, particularly
theatre, mass media and political gatherings.
Through this I had the opportunity to conduct background research
on (social and cultural) actors in the national conflict and their
theatricalization of violence, while establishing important links with
different social groups (Dalit and Tarai), social and political activists
(theatre groups in Kathmandu and the Eastern part of the country),
government representatives (members of parliament) and
revolutionary activists. In this process I was also able to assess
media representations of the political and armed conflict through
TV programs, newspapers, and other media outlets. I was also,
and perhaps most importantly, able to meet possible “informants” in
the capital and in the cities of Hetauda and Sinduli.
This summer (2005), I conducted ethnographic fieldwork among
the Dalit Kachahari drama group in Sindhuli. Through this
experience I was able to take part in the lives of two Dalit theatre
workers in the village. I participated in their work in social work
through preparations, rehearsal and theatrical performances
addressing caste discrimination. I participated in my hosts’ daily
cultural and social activities, political activities and day-to-day
survival.
In the next month I intend to write and send for publication a
descriptive report of the situation of popular theatre for social
change in Nepal. Ultimately, the results of the proposed
multi-year research will take the form of anthropological
articles and an ethnographic film.
III. SERVICE TO THE UNIVERSITY AND SOCIETY
1. I have organized a multidisciplinary show for the Fall Semester
of 2004 to mark the 25th anniversary of the Nicaraguan revolution.
This event took place at the Lethbridge Public Library and at the
Tongue and Grove Gallery at the end of October in collaboration
with the Anthropology Department.
(C)
Membership and Service in Professional Organizations
1. American Anthropological Association (AAA)
2. Canadian Association Anthropology (CASCA)
3. National Communication Association (NCA)
4. Visual Anthropology society
Date:
Signature:
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