Global Economy

Common Course ID: Cultural Entanglements and the Global Economy (Anth 3610)
[CSUSB] Instructor Open Textbook Adoption Portrait

Abstract:  This open textbook is being utilized in an Anthropology course for upper division students by Dr. Hareem Khan at California State University, San Bernardino. In this course, Cultural Entanglements and the Global Economy, Hareem draws from a range of materials available online or digitally through the library including academic articles, book chapters, media, film, and podcasts in lieu of a textbook or an ethnography students would otherwise have to purchase. The main motivation to adopt an open textbook was to make this a zero cost course for students. Students accessed their course materials directly using Blackboard.

Reviews: The book has been reviewed by faculty [link to COERC reviews] from within the three segments (CCC, CSU, and UC) of the California higher education systems. 

About the Textbook

No textbook was used. 

Cost savings: The ethnography I assigned during Fall 2019 is currently priced at $27.95 on Duke University Press’s website. This year, I opted for a cost-free class so students paid $0 for Anth 3610. 

Dr Hareem Khan 
California State University, San Bernardino Department of Anthropology

Program of Ethnic Studies

Dr. Hareem Khan is Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Ethnic Studies at California State University, San Bernardino. She holds a Ph.D. from the Department of Anthropology at the University of California, Santa Barbara and a B.A. in Anthropology and Global Health from Northwestern University. Hareem’s current research examines the burgeoning South Asian beauty and wellness industries in Southern California, focusing specifically on the entanglements of race, labor, and the commodification of transnational aesthetic practices under neoliberal multiculturalism.

Teaching Philosophy and Research Interests 
Today my teaching philosophy is comprised of a fluid variation in my pedagogical style that more fully engages with the public lives of undergraduate students by striving for a cultivation of curiosity, an ethos of reflexivity, and critical thinking and action. While at CSU San Bernardino, I have taught courses including Introduction to Cultural Anthropology, Cultural Entanglements and the Global Economy, Race and Ethnicity in America, and Asian American Cultures and Societies. While teaching in anthropology, I redirected the anthropological gaze back onto the history of the discipline reflecting on its deep-rooted entanglements with colonialism. Students also contended with ethnographies that positioned researchers as fly-on-the-wall observers by working collaboratively to reimagine their raced, classed, and gendered positions as central to the processes of knowledge production. I also exercised creativity in my course, Race and Ethnicity in America, by assigning final projects in the form of artwork, poetry, short stories, and personal reflections that were compiled into a collective e-book, which was shared with the class. Throughout my evaluations, I have found that students pay attention to these diverse tactics of scholarly engagement and validate their place in the college classroom. 

            My own research experiences often make their way into classroom curricula to address broader themes of transnationalism, feminism, and labor. For example, students and I have carried out content analyses where we examined Yelp reviews, blog posts, and Google images to decode language and visuals that racialized and gendered service workers. I also presented examples of structured and semi-structured interviews from my fieldwork to allow students to see the value of ethnographic research, how that research is conducted, and discuss the role of power embedded in these interactions. My pedagogical strategies stemming from my academic and teaching experiences are aimed at enabling students to converse with course materials, the facilitator/instructor, and each other, thereby transcending the model of knowledge absorption and transforming it into an exercise of knowledge creation and community action. As an instructor perpetually learning from her students, I aim to decenter myself as the node by and through which learning happens such that their curiosity is directed toward their peers, their critical thinking and action is implemented in their own communities, and their reflexive practices allow them to define their individuality within and beyond the classroom space and on their own terms.  

About the Course

Course Number: Cultural Entanglements and the Global Economy – Anth 3610 

Description:  Anth 3610 is an upper-division course where the majority of students are in their third year at least. Many of them include Anthropology majors and some students typically join from fields including Sociology, International Business, and Political Science. There are no prerequisites for this course.

Globalization and Culture: Two concepts, ideas, and systems of meaning that are almost ubiquitous in how prevalent they are in our daily discourse. The goal of this course is to disentangle these concepts but also show the ways they are entangled within the field of Cultural Anthropology. By deconstructing the narratives of globalization that celebrate it as a unifying phenomenon, we will use anthropological theories to productively critique this conception and focus on the many contours of globalization. How has globalization transformed the ways people maintain connections, form relationships, and understand themselves in an era of increased migration, consumption, uneven development, economic disparities, and technological innovation? 

We will begin with anthropological definitions of globalization and use theories to critically examine whether globalization is a ‘new’ phenomenon and a ‘good’ phenomenon. Each week will center a different theme of globalization. Some of the themes and topics explored include development, racial capitalism, transnational migration, gender and labor, consuming culture, surveillance and the global war on terror, borderlands, and global identities and belonging. While we will read anthropological literature, we will also draw from other sources as guides into our critical explorations.

Learning outcomes: 

  1. Develop critical reading/thinking skills and apply them to the study of globalization
  2. Synthesize broad themes of the course and illustrate how an anthropological approach offers specific theoretical and methodological insights
  3. Compare and relate learned material into four reflections that build on each of the module’s themes
  4. Design an original project tracing the movement of a ‘global idea’ using course concepts, tools, and theories
  5. Demonstrate relational understanding of globalization to neoliberalism, racial capitalism, gender, and development

Teaching and learning impacts:  I definitely use a way broader range of teaching materials since I am not relying on one text to fill up half or a part of the semester! 

Use wider range of teaching materials: Yes
Student learning improved :This is difficult to assess considering Fall 2020 occurred during a global pandemic. I was more lenient with grading and did not hold the same assessment measures as I did during Fall 2019.

Textbook Adoption

OER Adoption Process

Describe the main motivation for adopting the open textbook.  I was always inspired by other faculty who made their courses cost-free for their students and after I explored these options a bit more, I decided to do the same. I do not believe students should have to pay additional funds for textbooks when the cost of education is already high enough. Also, in the context of COVID-19 this issue becomes more urgent as students along with students’ families are experiencing financial precarity at an unprecedented level. Faculty should strive to lesson these strains as much as possible. 

Additionally, I’ve found that by incorporating materials from a broad range of sources (as opposed to sticking to 1 or 2 central texts), allows for more themes to be covered so that all students find at least one topic that most interests them. While this does require more work on the instructor’s part in setting up the course, I believe the rewards are greater. 

How did you find and select OER for this course.  I perused publicly accessible syllabi for courses on globalization, colonization, and capitalism to get a sense of how open access is presented. The biggest challenge for me was to think creatively about how to maintain a “story arc” of the course, or a narrative that allows students to see a cohesive thread running through all of the material. I found that even if you do not have one central textbook or ethnography, it is very much possible to connect weekly content together in a way that stays true to the course learning objectives. 

Most of the sources I used for Anth 3610 included peer-reviewed academic articles, news articles from sites that do not have a paywall, YouTube videos, public podcasts (with accompanying transcripts available on the web), and films students could stream on Kanopy using their student accounts. Each weekly module, therefore, had a mix of media that students ultimately found interesting and enriched our weekly discussions. 

Student access: All of the course materials are available on Blackboard in their designated module folders. When I first taught this course during Fall 2019, I assigned one ethnography students had to purchase (or they could borrow the copy on reserve at the library). This text was accompanied by additional readings and viewings on Blackboard. The students were not as excited about the book as I was, which led to some frustrations on both ends that played out during the course of our weekly discussions. The theoretical components of the ethnography were quite dense especially for students who had never taken an anthropology course before. It turned out not to be a great teaching tool. Upon reflection, I started to think about what better ways exist to introduce students to certain theories or concepts. I spent a significant amount of time finding additional articles as well as more diverse media that I could use in place of the book. For example, while the book discussed neoliberalism as it is applied to India (where the ethnography is situated), during Fall 2020, I instead opted for shorter pieces that presented neoliberalism more broadly and globally, which we then applied to a documentary we watched. This enriched our discussions and went beyond the bounds of any specific text.