The University of Nevada, Reno's introduction to cultural anthropology class continues its winning streak after four consecutive years of garnering awards, by honoring 29 students for their writing in the Public Anthropology's fall 2015 Community Action Project.
"This project is set up to get students to engage with an ethical situations that anthropologists are faced with today," Louis Forline, associate professor of anthropology in the College of Liberal Arts and professor of the class, said.
The Center for a Public Anthropology is a national organization that encourages scholars and their students to address public problems in public ways. Each year, students research and write about an issue of pressing ethical concern.
"I am very pleased with the results," Forline said. "This is a national project that teaches students about globalization and how it relates to developing nations as well as local issues. Twenty-nine students received awards for their writing and understanding, which is about 10 percent of the class. This shows how these University students have a strong understanding of this subject."
Forline has played an integral part in the Public Anthropology's online student community, showcasing the ability of Nevada students to learn effective writing skills while being active global citizens. He demonstrates how combining technology with cultural concerns in academic courses positively engages students to participate in the broader world beyond their academic setting, while gaining the skills needed for a productive, active life after graduation.
Forline specializes in ecological anthropology, sustainable development, nutrition and racial-ethnic studies focusing on Brazil and the United States. He has worked among the Awá-Guajá Indians since 1990, examining their contact experiences with Brazilian mainstream society and especially the transition from foraging to farming. He has also worked among urban Indians in the city of Altamira, Brazil, examining the resurgence of their indigenous identity as well as conducted environmental impact assessments of hydroelectric projects. He has also conducted nutritional studies among indigenous and peasant groups in Pará state, Brazil. Forline has two recent publications that include: his first, 2015 "The Awá-Guajá and Brazil's expanding frontier in Amazonia: Reflecting on indigenous strides and setbacks in a globalized world." Urban Anthropology and Studies of Cultural Systems and World Economic Development (UAS). Volume 44, Number 1-2 Spring-Summer. Secondly, 2016 "Engaging with friends and enemies: sociolinguistic implications of contact between the Awá-Guajá and their Tupí-Guaraní neighbors." International Journal of the Sociology of Language. In press. Co-authored with Marina Magalhães. Volume 240. In press.
After writing the essays, students submit them online and each essay receives a score based on anonymous peer evaluations. They then have the option of submitting the essays to appropriate legislators and policymakers. The top 5 percent of essays with the best scores are then reviewed by the director of the Public Anthropology Project, Robert Borofsky, who determines the award winners.
"29 award winners is relatively high in relation to class size for students participating in Public Anthropology's Community Action Project across North America. It suggests that UNR students are able to produce quality work that compares favorably with the best schools across North America especially when working with dedicated, thoughtful teachers as exists in the Anthropology Department. Furthermore UNR students have the potential to do quite well at tasks that demand high levels of critical thinking, ethical reflection, and effective writing, the potential is clearly there and, when fostered by effective teaching, can produce outstanding results," said Robert Borofsky.
University student winners include: Phoebe Stokes, Madison Lawer, Adarsh Manoj, Caitlin Pupich, Geovanni Portillo, Roy Eakin, Nehal Mangat, Jemm Valenzuela, Jaron Bengson, Francisco Magana, Emily Buckley, Kendall Donaker, Magaly Dominguez, Cynthia McNabb, Melissa Huelsman, Brian Looper, Natasha Meier, Anthony Balko, Bailey Maberto, Gianni Pinneri, Nicola Beedle, Donald Hill Jr, Samantha Johnson, Tatiana Stafeyeva, Shane Trawick, Manon Alpe, Evelyn Hernandez, Mason Morton and Haley Wood.
The essays from Forline's class can be read at the Center for Public Anthropology's website.