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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Benjamin Marwick
ARCHY 101
Seattle Campus

Exploring Archaeology

Introduces perspectives from archaeology on the long term history of the diversity and the dynamics of human life. Examines how archaeologists gather and use data and how that information is relevant to contemporary society. Concepts and methods introduced through readings focus around a theme that varies such as environmental issues, warfare, and migration.

Class description

Archaeology and archaeologists are disproportionately well represented in big budget films, and are recurrent subjects in some genres of fictional writing. While archaeologists have authored or influenced some of these creations, most are written by non-archaeologists and reflect a non-specialist view of archaeological questions and archaeological findings. More significantly these creative works often present a perspective apparent in popular culture, and radically divergent from the understanding of academic archaeologists. This course looks at popular depictions of archaeology in films as a way of exploring the articulation of archaeology and popular culture. Themes to be covered in this course include constructions of the notion of the past as dangerous, and of archaeology as revealing/releasing those dangers; the depiction of archaeologists as explorers and looters; popular ambivalence or distrust of science, and scientists; and the way popular film imagery addresses issues of memory and identity. No archaeological background is required to understand this course but an ability to tolerate B-grade movies is advantageous. This class will satisfy I&S requirements

No textbook is required. You will need a clicker, the exact model should be Turning Technologies' ResponseCard RF keypad: http://www.turningtechnologies.com/audienceresponseproducts/responseoptions/responsecards/responsecardrf/ (a second-hand one is fine).

This class is listed in the time schedule as being an 'optional (W) writing course'. This means if you want to, this class can contribute five credits towards your writing requirement (all UW students must complete between 7-10 credits of writing-intensive courses). Here's how you can use this class to meet the W requirements: you do either (1) a second short research paper on a topic relating to archaeology and film, or (2) you make a longer version of the one paper that is required for the class. The exact approach is up to you, all we have to do is ensure that we meet the requirements spelled out here: http://www.washington.edu/uaa/gateway/advising/degreeplanning/writreqs.php When I submit the grades at the end of the quarter I just check a little 'W' box for you and it shows up as 5 credits of a W-course on your transcript. It's worked out quite well for students taking this class in the past to use it towards their W requirement, so I recommend it

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

Recommended preparation

Class assignments and grading


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Additional Information
Last Update by Benjamin Marwick
Date: 03/13/2010