AnthroSource Essay Prize Winners

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  • October 2005 Anthropology News


    R I T E S O F P A S S A G E

    relevance of evolution and evolutionary theory tounderstanding behavior, but this focus never pre-cludes or overshadows her concern with the waysin which human behavior is powerfully shaped byculture. Furthermore, her work not only describesanthropological insights into matters of everydaylife, but it is also prescriptive. Smalls work high-lights the lessons derived from evolutionary andcross-cultural analyses, with the ultimate goal ofcreating more just and healthy societies.

    Robbins and Lukas Awarded forTheir TeachingRepresenting different career stages, contexts andapproaches to teaching, this years winners of theAAA/McGraw-Hill Award for Excellence inUndergraduate Teaching of Anthropology bothhave been able to reach out to undergraduates inways that have been enduring, tangible and thatreach far beyond the classroom. This years win-ners are Richard H Robbins and Scott A Lukas.

    Robbins is University Distinguished TeachingProfessor at the State University of New York at

    Plattsburgh. He wasawarded this SUNY-wide distinction in2002, but it followedhis being chosen for theSUNY ChancellorsAward for Excellence inTeaching in 1977. Hehas taught numerouscourses on diverse top-ics in anthropology,and pioneered innova-tive approaches to

    teaching at Plattsburgh including team teaching,living-learning communities, web-based learning,integrative and collaborative learning, and fresh-man seminars, among others. He has donenumerous presentations on teaching anthropolo-gy at professional venues. He is known to studentsand colleagues as an enthusiastic, incisively intel-ligent, inspiring teacher, who, after 39 years ofteaching, still brings a remarkable freshness,excitement and spontaneity to the classroom. Asone student wrote, Robbins was that rare breedof teacher who seemed to educate for the simplereward of helping his students to recognize thepure joy of learning, and the benefits, both to theperson and the community, that can result from alifetime engaged in that pursuit. His studentsroutinely cite his mentorship as a mix of wisdom,friendship, kindness and generosity.

    To the larger anthropological communityRobbins is likely best known for his award win-ning textbooks. Cultural Anthropology: A ProblemBased Approach, published by Wadsworth, is in itsfourth edition and won the Textbook andAcademic Authors Association Award as the bestbook in the social sciences and humanities in1994. Robbins has also published Global Problemsand the Culture of Capitalism, in its third editionwith Allyn & Bacon, which was selected byChoice: The Journal of the Association of College andResearch Libraries as an outstanding Academictitle in 1999. It is used not only in anthropology

    courses, but also in political science, geography,economics, communications, sociology andinterdisciplinary courses in international affairs.Talking Points on Global Issues: A Reader was pub-lished in 2004 by Allyn & Bacon. These texts areaccompanied by exhaustive websites created andmaintained by Robbins. In these texts Robbinsemphasizes active learning through usinganthropological principles in social problem-solving, and demonstrating to students the insti-tutional roots of global inequality. In doing so hechallenges them to become citizen activists, toimagine solutions derived from a critical analysisof the roots of injustices that are respectful ofautonomy and cultural values.

    Scott Lukas is chair of the anthropology andsociology programs at Lake Tahoe Community

    College in California.During his time there,he has created a newcertificate in appliedanthropology and anassociate of arts degreein anthropology thatincludes the four fields.This is most impressivegiven that he is the onlyfulltime member of theprogram. Within thelimited resources of his

    institution, he has created innovative methods tointroduce students to the key concepts and topicsin the four fields of anthropology. Many of thesewere featured in Strategies in Teaching Anthropology,published by Prentice-Hall in 2003 and 2004. Hiscourses feature collaborative work, hands on proj-ects, role-playing, artwork, local ethnography andfield projects, poster presentations, photography,games and many others. What is so very impressiveis the scope of these projects, as they illustrate keythemes in each of the subdisciplines and allow stu-dents to make use of the diverse talents they bringto the classroom to facilitate an understanding ofanthropology and its applicability to their ownlives.

    Not only is Lukas a gifted teacher in the class-room, he has extended his contributions to thelarger anthropological community, and morespecifically, to the anthropologists in theUniversity of California, California State and

    Richard H Robbins

    Scott A Lukas

    California Community College sys-tems. For two years he chaired thestatewide Intersegmental MajorPreparation Articulated Curriculumproject in California, which facilitated coordina-tion of anthropology coursework across the dif-ferent systems and strove to enhance the role ofanthropology in California higher education. Anoutgrowth of this was Lukas efforts to enhanceprofessional relationships among anthropologyfaculty throughout California. Appropriately, in2003 he was the first anthropologist to win theHayward Award for Excellence in Education,which is given to only four of the 56,000 com-munity college faculty in California.

    Monnig to Receive SchneiderAward for Essay on ChamorrosThe first annual David M Schneider Award will be

    given to Laurel A Monnig,doctoral candidate in an-thropology at the Univer-sity of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, for her essayentitled Two MeetingsDefining Chamorro: Talesof Chamorro Familia, Mes-tizo, Authenticity and De-colonization on Guam.The David M SchneiderAward is given each year to

    a doctoral candidate in anthropology in recogni-tion of innovative work in the fields of kinship, cul-ture theory and American culture.

    Laurel Monnigs essay reworks, in the colonialcontext of Guam, Schneiders insight that kin-ship, racial and national discourses are entwined.Focusing on public articulations of poksai (adop-tion), ancestors and the Chamorro familia as thekey narratives, Monnig traces how Chamorrosare establishing a claim of political legitimacyfor the purposes of winning rights of self-deter-mination, decolonization and US citizenshipthat configures racial and cultural authenticityin terms of a mestizo identity rather than one ofpure types. In the process, she shows howChamorro notions of kinship both resist and cri-tique hegemonic American ideas in the contextof the American empire. AN

    Laurel A Monning

    AnthroSource Essay Prize WinnersThe AAA is pleased to announce the following winners of the AnthroSource Steering Committeeessay contest, Transforming Anthropological Scholarship in the Digital Age: AnthroSource as anAgent of Change.

    1st Place: Jessica Busch (PhD candidate, U Hawaii, Manoa), AnthroSource in the Field2nd Place: Alex Golub (PhD candidate, U Chicago), AnthroSourceActually Useful?3rd Place: Jane M Ferguson (PhD candidate, Cornell U), Bronislaw's Laptop Dance: How Cyborg PiratesPlundered the Gated Community in the Ether

    In addition to the cash prize, each essay will appear in a forthcoming issue of AN, and will be archived in the mem-bers-only section of the AAA website. Winners will be recognized at the 2005 AAA Annual Meeting awards cer-emony, and are invited to attend an ASSC-sponsored scientific panel, Transforming Anthropological Scholarshipin the Digital Age: AnthroSource as an Agent of Change. Join us for the session on Friday, Dec 2, 10:15noon inthe McKinley Room of the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel, and again at the Awards Ceremony on Saturday eveningat 7:00 to honor the winners of the first AnthroSource Essay Prize.