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New Anthropology Courses for Fall 2017

New courses this fall: Storytelling, Fable, and Song - The Anthropology of Oral Traditions and Archaeological Practice in Ontario - An Introduction to Academic and Consultant Archaeologies

Jul 24, 2017

Special Topics in Anthropology:

Topic: Storytelling, Fable, and Song: The Anthropology of Oral Traditions 
TUESDAYS 8:30-11:20 AM

This course is intended for students interested in oral traditions in contemporary and traditional contexts. Lectures, discussions and readings will focus on types of oral traditions (songs, tales, legends, riddles, jokes, etc.), methods of analysis, and roles and uses of such traditions in their historical and cultural contexts. The course will introduce common anthropological and folkloristic frameworks as well as methods for collection and analysis. Students will gain practical experience by conducting their own material collection and analysis project.

Registration now open on Mosaic


Anthropology 4E03:
Advanced Topics in Archaeology I

Topic: Archaeological Practice in Ontario: An Introduction to Academic and Consultant Archaeologies

Instructor: Scott Martin

The vast majority of archaeological endeavour taking place in Ontario today is developer-driven Consultant Archaeology (sometimes referred to as CRM or Cultural Resource Management). Consultant Archaeology can be criticised as a programme that relies on payment for service where archaeological investigation becomes bound up in a contract paid for by a client who may have no interest in the remnants of ancient lives. At times, this can seem like the archaeology - what is in and on the ground, left by past people - is in the way. The Consultant Archaeologist is the harbinger of change and, following her or his touch, green fields are transformed into an ever-growing infrastructure and built environment. Conducting ‘archaeological research’ beyond a baseline is typically a luxury in this context and the grey literature (archaeological reports) expands without always feeding-back into the black literature (publications). Three-decades old ‘classic’ archaeological texts can be continually recited with [normative?] histories left unrevised.

On the other hand, Consultant Archaeologists and the archaeological consulting industry in Ontario are highly regulated and archaeological licensees have post-secondary educations or, in some cases, experience in lieu. Most Ontario university students interested in working in archaeology will be employed in the consulting sector at least temporarily, whether with the larger geotechnical/geo-environmental firms or with smaller archaeological consulting companies. The industry, then, is still keyed into the Academic world. The exciting potential is still there for Consultant Archaeology to generate new knowledge and new datasets. The dichotomy between Academic versus Consultant, if it ever truly existed, can be seen to blur.

Sometimes, students know that the consulting realm exists ‘out there’, but what it is actually like to work in and how to move in that career direction may be less clear. The intention of this course topic is to prepare students for taking on a summer job as a field technician for a consulting company or even researching a collection generated through consulting. This would entail their knowing the overall context of why they are there and how a collection was generated, what they can expect to undertake and what kinds of (often broken) things they may be finding as they ultimately contribute to a final report, the curated archaeological collection and to governmental sign off on a client’s development project. From there, one can, it is hoped, make a relatively better-informed decision about a life in Academic Archaeology, Consultant Archaeology, both or neither.

Course work will include weekly readings and term work emphasizing Ontario’s archaeological history, fieldwork, laboratory analysis, First Nations engagement and reporting to align with the 2011 Standards and Guidelines for Consultant Archaeologists and Provincial legislation. These topics and problems will then be discussed and debated. While this course cannot guarantee a job in Consultant Archaeology, its aim is to alert students of archaeology to the opportunities, challenges, pitfalls and rewards of this field.