Novel teaching methods: The Bollywood flashmob
Here’s a fun way to get students interested in anthropology. Earlier this year, Alberto Gomes of Melbourne’s La Trobe University (who, as coincidence would have it, also came here to Max Planck to give a lecture last year) embedded a flashmob of Bollywood-style dancers in his introductory anthropology lecture. It’s worth watching to the end, when the entire lecture hall gets up to perform the dance moves.
From a pedagogical point of view I think this is fantastic. Not only is this going to be an experience that those anthro students carry with them through the rest of their lives, it’s a great way to bring home all sorts of points about anthropology: e.g. that it doesn’t only deal with theoretical knowledge but involves embodied practices, that participation is a necessary part of learning and so on. Also, the strangeness the students must have experienced when the dancers first stood up, the sense of surprise and perhaps uncertainty about what was going on, would have provided the perfect entry point to discussing the assumptions we make about space and its meanings, and to point out the value of moments of uncertainty, when we don’t know what is going on, for developing ethnographic insights.
Thanks to Paul Mason for sharing this link!