Re: Open Discussion

Daniel A. Hickerson (dah@SHERLOCK.DAC.UGA.EDU)
Mon, 28 Feb 1994 16:20:36 -0600

I'm not sure I want to add to what is now becoming an extended gripe
session, especially since I've been happily lurking back here for the past
few months, but I have just a couple of observations.

As a graduate student (almost ABD) in a department that offers very few
teaching opportunities to grad students, I am becoming very concerned about
how my lack of teaching experience will affect my job prospects when I enter
the market. I hope to find an academic position, but in scanning the
positions available I find that nearly all require teaching experience.
Kind of puts me in a Catch-22 situation: I have to have experience to get

Which brings up another point: The reason this department rarely lets grad
students teach is pressure from the university, because of the widespread
perception that this is somehow shortchanging undergrads. A couple of years
ago the Atlanta newspaper ran a big "expose" story on the use of grad
students as teachers here and at GA Tech ("Students Teaching Students", I
think the headline read, or something like that); they treated it as a
scandal, a way for professors to get out of doing the teaching themselves,
as if they were all slipping off to the Bahamas or something. The
assumption was also that those grad students were totally incapable, and
the undergrads were leaving the classes without having learned anything.

Well, guess what. Anyone who has earned an undergraduate major in a field,
has gone on to earn a Masters Degree, and gone at least part of the way to
earning a Ph.D., should darn well be competent to teach a freshman-level
intro class in that field. If a graduate department is supposed to function
as a training ground for future academics, it doesn't make sense to keep
advanced students from doing what will supposedly occupy a large part of our

Sorry if this doesn't exactly fit in the discussion at hand; this has just
been on my mind lately.

BTW, regarding Stephanie Wilson's request for basic books in anthropology,
just off the top of my head, I would suggest as basic books that you will
eventually be expected to be familiar with:

Eric Wolf, Europe and the People without History (allow a good long time to
spend with this)

E.E. Evans-Pritchard, The Nuer

Clifford Geertz, The Interpretation of Cultures

Roy Rappaport, Pigs For the Ancestors

Marshall Sahlins, Stone Age Economics (is this the most frequently assigned
book in upper-division and basic graduate classes?)

Dan Hickerson Phone: (706) 542-6507
Department of Anthropology (706) 542-3922
Baldwin Hall
University of Georgia E-Mail:
Athens, GA 30602