Back to school, spring semester 2008. The parking lots are full, the sidewalks jammed and the buzz of gossip, stories, and yawns fill the air. I'm teaching the second part of Method and Theory (Explanatory Theory) and Eastern North America Prehistory this semester. The classes are primarily T Th and both are topics close to my heart. I'm looking forward to Eastern NA -- Ive run this as a seminar/lecture before but it was relatively informal. Now its a formal lecture type class and an opportunity to establish evolutionary models regarding human prehistory into people's minds.
In some, this kind approach has become a gamble with numerous comments and remark from my non-archaeological colleagues as to how "disturbed" that evolution is being incorporated into anthropology curriculum. Most of this, of course, is the result of misunderstandings about evolution and its role in the explanation of heritable variability. Its as though the shadow of eugenics haunts the areas in most anthropologists minds when the word "evolution" and "culture" are used in the same sentence (that or the words simply evoke commonsensical change).
Well, on with the semester - time to crank out the syllabus, fire up the Powerpoint and get the handouts rolling out of the printer.
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