Thanks to all of you for your kind patience during an unplanned period of inactivity on CB. Your interest and support are never forgotten and always appreciated!
While I was away I had the good fortune of being hired by the excellent community college here in Lake County to teach an introductory course in anthropology, the subject of my graduate work many years ago. I've wanted to return to the classroom and teach for some time, but until recently career commitments made this impossible.
I submitted my application more than a year-and-a-half ago, so you can imagine my surprise when I received a late afternoon phone call after such a long silence asking if I was still interested. I'm excited about the class, which will meet on Tuesdays and Thursdays from January 19 through May 13, and delighted about the flexibility the College of Social Science is giving me to select and arrange material. Anthropological perspectives can be applied to virtually any subject.
Of course, I'll need to cover the basics of the four standard disciplines of cultural anthropology, biological anthropology, linguistics, and archaeology, but I want my students to contribute content as well. Perhaps, after learning about the broad range of topics that anthropologists study, more than a few will want to investigate -- albeit briefly -- relationships of astronomy and culture, or the extraterrestrial life debate and culture. An early objective in teaching this class will simply be to let students know the possibilities of anthropological inquiry.
Connections between culture and astronomy offer rich ground for study, well beyond the traditional area of archaeoastronomy, a field which explores how early people understood and used their knowledge of the sky in cultural contexts. As interesting as archaeoastronomy is -- it's methodology can shed light on ancient myths, world views, calendars, political structures, art and architecture -- related subjects deserve attention, too. Examples include astronomical material culture and social change (the telescope comes to mind); contributions of astronomy to modern Western cosmology; cultural impacts of discovering life beyond Earth; and even anthropological perspectives on astronomy as a scientific practice and system of knowledge.
I'm looking forward to the experience and the ideas my students will unquestionably generate.
Meanwhile, for those already interested in exploring the intersects of astronomy and culture, the following links might prove helpful:
It's good to be back.
Next stop: tbd
Banner bus photo credit: Dorothy Delina Porter