November 18th, we will be having our final paper workshop of the semester sponsored by the Race and Ethnic Studies Institute, funded by the College of Liberal Arts’ IIDEA award. It’s from 6:30-9:30pm and will be hosted by Rob Mackin and Nancy Plankey-Videla. Crystal Dozier will be presenting her paper “”Patterns and Efficacy of Teaching Concepts of Race in Anthropology.”
Abstract: Racialism is the belief that humans can be divided into distinct races that are biological fact and can determine many traits of individuals. This concept, while persistent, has been refuted by biological and social science, which indicates that the cultural conception of race is neither a biological reality nor determinant. The discipline of anthropology is well positioned to explain nuances in biological and cultural diversity, but employing the most effective strategies to teach these important, and sometimes controversial, concepts is crucial. Patterns and Efficacy in Teaching Concepts of Race in Anthropology (PETCRA) surveyed nearly 300 undergraduate students in introductory anthropology courses at a predominantly white institution. Students were given two surveys, before and after instruction, to determine their perception of race. The pre- and post-instructional surveys asked students simple conceptual questions about race, about their own experience of race, and demographic information; the post-survey included questions about the instruction in this subject area. While many students started with racialist perspectives, statistically significant numbers of students adopted a more anthropological view after instruction. Including videos with lecture resulted in statistically significant improvement in students’ answers. This research underscores the importance of evidence-based pedagogical choices in diversity instruction.