The second student project video from this year's Forbidden Archaeology class is now posted on YouTube. In this video, three students discuss some of the evidence that's bandied about for the extra-terrestrial origin of the Anunnaki. They've already gotten their first thumbs down. Enjoy!
As I mentioned earlier, we're making videos in this year's iteration of my Forbidden Archaeology course. The twenty students in the class split up into seven groups and have been working on developing their topics, doing their research, and preparing their scripts.
Last Monday, we taped the speaking parts for the first video and I edited it together over the break. The videos briefly explores the history of ideas/claims that the earth is hollow, and then discusses reasons why that can't be true. Here it is:
I had several goals in mind when I designed this video project. First, it was one opportunity (among several in the course) for students to go through the process of understanding the history/context of a claim and evaluating it based on evidence. Second, I wanted them to think about how to present a message in the format I gave them and all the constraints that come with it. Third, I wanted to produce what I call "persistent resources" that can live independently online and be found by curious people looking for information. I chose the video format because my sense is that we can reach a different audience than would be possible using writing.
Like many of the things I've done so far in my brief teaching career, this is an experimental project. I hope these videos turn out well, I hope the students get something out of it, and I hope they prove to be useful resources for others as well.
I have decided to build my Fall 2018 Forbidden Archaeology class (now ANTH 227) around the theme "Cataclysm and the Lost World." We'll be exploring a variety of claims connected to one another through the general ideas that (1) the cultural/natural world was a qualitatively different place in the ancient past; and (2) that "lost world" world was destroyed through some kind of incredible catastrophe.
As in the first iteration of the course, the main goal will be to build critical thinking/communication skills. Credible ideas about the human past can withstand scrutiny and challenges, while incorrect ideas can be shown to be incorrect. My goal is to give the students the confidence, tools, and information they need to critically evaluate ideas about the past. And have fun doing it.
I have yet to narrow down the exact topics we'll be covering. The theme, obviously, provides lots of potential avenues down which to explore: e.g., Atlantis, gold-mining Annunaki from Nibiru, pyramid power plants, the pre-Flood world, etc. Within any and all of these topics, one can evaluate specific claims and explore the various motivations for creating/maintaining narratives about the past that are not supported by facts.
The structure of the course will be somewhat different than the first time around. There will still be student blog posts and I hope I can arrange for a guest or two, but I'd like to try to build some of the structure around some other activities. I've got some ideas that I'll need to think through, and some of what will be possible or impossible may depend upon enrollment numbers. I'll keep you posted as things develop!
As I gear up to teach field school again this spring, I've just begun thinking about the upcoming fall semester. I'm planning on teaching Forbidden Archaeology again. Buckle yourselves in.
I'm going to make some changes, both topically and in terms of the structure of the course. I think I'd like to have a guest speaker again (the Jim Vieira visit worked out well), but I need to decide on what I'm going to try to cover first. There are numerous choices. I want to keep it fresh but also hit some important, relevant themes. So I'm looking for topics (probably two this time instead of three) that crosscut several dimensions of the social, political, historical, and cultural contexts of fringe claims. This timely article from the Southern Poverty Law Center lays some of this stuff out pretty well.
If you've got any suggestions or ideas, now is the time to voice them. If I can triangulate topic, timeline, and a willing guest, I can work on the fundraising aspect of getting someone to Columbia.
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