Experiments with image theatre: Accessing and giving meaning to sensory experiences in Social Anthropology

in Learning and Teaching
Author: Annika Strauss1
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  • 1 Institut für Ethnologie/Westfaelische-Wilhelms-Universitaet Muenster annika.strauss@wwu.de
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Abstract

This article puts forward an experiential teaching method for becoming aware of, getting access to, and giving meaning to the sensory experiences that constitute and shape learning processes during social anthropological fieldwork. While social anthropologists use all their senses in the field, the preparation and processing of fieldwork are limited to certain senses. In accordance with the academic habitus, it is common to discuss theoretical texts pre-fieldwork and almost exclusively rely on making meaning of written fieldwork material afterwards. While cognitively produced textual sources and techniques of verbalisation (e.g. presentations) are extensively focused on, the body, emotional and sensory experiences are often overlooked in academic discourse and practices. The proposed experiential method integrates the dimensions of sensory experiences in classes, colloquiums and workshops, and brings into practice a teaching approach that includes the analysis of embodied knowledge and stresses its importance as an ethnographic source.

Contributor Notes

Annika Strauss is a doctoral candidate in Social Anthropology at the Institut für Ethnologie/Westfaelische-Wilhelms-Universitaet Muenster and since April 2012 lecturer in Social Anthropology. Her areas of interest include the social anthropology of psychiatry, social anthropology of organisations and methodological reflexivity and self-reflection in the context of social anthropological fieldwork. E-mail: annika.strauss@wwu.de

Learning and Teaching

The International Journal of Higher Education in the Social Sciences

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