Interview with Carol Brandt (Temple University)

Carol Brandt works on science education at Temple University.

Eli Thorkelson: Your work on science education seems like it comes pretty directly out of your own higher education trajectory, which was in anthropology, botany, and educational thought, right? Do you think you could start out by telling the story of how this diverse set of interests formed, and how you ended up in New Mexico doing your PhD and working on American Indian science education?

Carol Brandt: As an undergraduate at Northwestern University, I was an anthropology major and studied archeology. At first I was in the human osteology lab and working on disease patterns in prehistoric human populations as a work-study. At the same time, I was strongly interested in biology and had almost completed double major, if I had only done the organic chemistry. After graduating with a BA in anthro, I found a position working with the University of Colorado at the Dolores Archeology Project in southern Colorado. It was one of the last huge US Corps of Engineers projects in the Southwest that involved inundating an obscene amount of land at near Mesa Verde by damming the Dolores River. This area had thousands of Puebloan and Basketmaker sites dating from 200 BC to 1200 AD. Because I had biology and botany coursework in college, I found myself doing archaeobotanical analysis for several years. Eventually I decided to get a MS in Botany at Colorado State University to continue this work. After getting my MS degree, I worked for the Pueblo of Zuni doing archaeobotany for six years.

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Anthropology of the University Syllabus

Davydd Greenwood kindly shared his syllabus for an Anthropology of the University course. I believe he taught this course for about ten years at Cornell University, so it presumably went through many iterations. Here’s the description:

We examine the contemporary university as a social and cultural system. The seminar involves an examination of the convergences and divergences between the trajectories of the sciences and engineering, the humanities, and the social sciences in contemporary universities and some international comparisons with the trajectories of universities around the world. The overall aim is to link an ethnographic analysis of the microstructures of departmental differentiation, professional hegemonies, and local financing with the larger-scale processes of transformation of universities’ place in society under the pressures of corporatization, globalization, and competition from a host of alternative higher education institutions.

Here’s the list of books they read:

For more details, read the complete syllabus here.