Cultures in the Classroom: Teaching Anthropology as a "Foreigner" in the UK.

  • Anne-Meike Fechter University of Wales


Corsin-Jimenez (2003) provides us with the image of 'teaching the field'. I take up the related notion of 'the classroom as field', namely, looking through an anthropological lens at teaching anthropology as a non-British national in UK universities. I discuss some of the limitations and possibilities arising from this situation, and their impact on teaching and learning processes. I suggest that viewing the classroom as a field-site highlights parallels between the anthropologist as fieldworker and the 'foreign' anthropology teacher. One relation between the two is that the personality of fieldworkers influences the way they are able to conduct their research, how the informants are going to view them, and how the researchers might understand what is happening in the field. As has been pointed out, this condition is inescapable. It is possible, however, to become aware of these processes and trace their implications. I suggest that the same holds for 'foreigners' teaching anthropology in the UK. Their 'non-Britishness' will inevitably shape their teaching, presenting limitations as well as advantages. Obviously, being a 'foreign' anthropology teacher only constitutes one of many characteristics that might become relevant in teaching: differences such as gender, age, or ethnicity can all play a role. For the present, however, I specifically address 'foreignness'.

Author Biography

Anne-Meike Fechter, University of Wales
Anne-Meike Fechter currently teaches in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Wales, Lampeter. Her PhD thesis analyses Euro-American expatriates living in Jakarta, Indonesia, within a framework of transnationalism and globalisation. Special emphasis is placed on issues of gender and ethnicity in the context of global political and economic inequalities. Further research interests include the younger generation of expatriates and their itinerant, 'cosmopolitan' lives, as well as the anthropology of gender, the body, and space, and the use of the Internet.