KATHLEEN L. HULL

Associate Professor, Anthropology

School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts

COURSES

    UNDERGRADUATE
  • ANTH 3 -- Introduction to Anthropological Archaeology
  • ANTH 130 -- Material Culture
  • ANTH 134 -- Dynamics of Small-scale Societies
  • ANTH 142 -- Archaeology of Colonialism
  • ANTH 146 -- Topics in Small-scale Societies
    • Archaeology of Native California
  • ANTH 172 -- Ethnohistory
  • ANTH 174 -- Lithic Artifact Analysis
  • See the UCM Anthropology Undergraduate Courses for more information on these, and other, anthropology courses.

    GRADUATE
  • WCH 202 -- Theories and Methods in the Study of Cultures
  • WCH 262 -- Material Culture
  • WCH 291 -- Time, Space, and Process

STATEMENT TO STUDENTS

Method, theory, and interpretation in anthropological archaeology lend themselves to the development of critical thinking and the expression of ideas in both written and oral forms. In addition, anthropological archaeology is, at its best, a collaborative enterprise that draws on often disparate disciplines and different cultural perspectives to derive meaningful inferences about past peoples and cultures. It is these characteristics of archaeological practice that drew me initially to the discipline and continue to provide inspiration through the exchange of ideas and cooperative problem-solving. It is also the development of these traits that has allowed me to have a successful and productive professional  career in archaeology. Therefore, the cultivation of -- and appreciation  for -- these qualities in students frames my teaching philosophy, and serves students pursuing either an anthropology career or work in another field. For me, instruction in archaeology is not about providing the "answers," but indicating how those "answers" were derived and how changing  or different perspectives in the present might alter our view of the past.

These goals of thought, collaboration, and expression are best achieved through the application of ideas and concepts to practical  problems. Drawing on elements of successful learning I have applied as student, teacher, and researcher, I have found that case studies and hands-on exercises with objects or data are most effective in stimulating students to think critically and examine information within various frames of reference. Lectures, texts, and selected readings provide the general concepts, history, current debates, and examples, but student discussion and problem-solving effectively bring these concepts into focus. For developing collaborative skills, I think  face-to-face contact is preferable to electronic exchange. Ideas can flow more freely and spontaneously, more perspectives can be shared, and oral communication skills can be enhanced. I believe it is also important for  students -- particularly graduate students -- to develop their own analytic skills by working individually. The interplay of individual thought and  collaborative effort at all levels, however, can be facilitated through assignments or discussions that have complementary datasets (e.g., artifacts, faunal remains, and stratigraphic data) that students work on individually and then bring together for final interpretation, much as  specialists do in the field. Individual work also develops writing skills that are so important to professional success, but are often overlooked in favor of other material-analytic abilities. My professional experience in  the public and private sector outside academia suggests this is a potential shortcoming in some educational settings, wherein "training" is substituted for critical thinking and expression.

One of the most important values I bring to my teaching is enthusiasm for the subject and a desire to involve students in the sense of discovery that lies at the heart of archaeology. While the "discovery" students make certainly includes facts and knowledge, I hope each student  also discovers an ability and confidence in his/her reasoning and something  about what s/he can contribute to the development of knowledge. As a  student, I particularly enjoyed those opportunities in which I felt I was part of something still being explored rather than already concluded. The  former suggests potential to be an active participant, while the latter can leave one feeling like you're learning "yesterday's news." Field courses and involvement of students in ongoing research projects through laboratory classes or internships also address these teaching goals. Presenting the latest information in concert with more established literature contributes to curiosity and, thereby, thought. Therefore, I prefer to include  readings of selected journal articles rather than simply relying on textbooks. By presenting the latest information and engaging students to think about the arguments developed in light of basic information, I hope that students become enthusiastic about the subject, as well, resulting in a partnership of thought between student and teacher as we explore ideas together.

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copyright 2011-2016 Kathleen L. Hull