Medical Anthropology Lab Meetings

Members of the Medical Anthropology Lab at UF hold regular meetings on Friday afternoons. The purpose of these meetings is to foster a spirit of collaboration and mutual learning. Each week one person will present work-in-progress (e.g., an analysis, a paper, conference presentation) and solicit feedback from the group.

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The following guidelines about the objectives and format of lab meetings were developed by Sharon Abramowitz, Lance Gravlee, and Alyson Young.

Meeting Objectives

  • To share ideas
  • To nurture your creativity, independence, and growth as a scholar
  • To develop and maintain a shared commitment to excellence in anthropological research
  • To practice communication skills, including presentation and constructive criticism
  • To foster a spirit of collegiality and mutual learning in a shared intellectual community
  • To increase the success of all projects by soliciting feedback from diverse perspectives

Meeting Format

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Each week, one member of the lab will present a work-in-progress. The focus can be a dissertation proposal, a conference presentation, a chapter, a journal article, or some other project. Work at any stage of development is appropriate. Both graduate students and faculty will present on a regular, rotating basis. All members of the lab are expected to be present and participate in the discussion.

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The presenter should circulate an abstract or summary of the project at least a day before the meeting. The purpose of the written summary is to orient the rest of us to the context, concepts, and methods that we will discuss. The written summary also helps to ensure that the presenter is well prepared and has a clear focus for the lab meeting. In addition, please include a brief statement about your goals for the meeting (e.g., need help with theory, concern about methods, interpretation of data). Understanding your goals will help us tailor comments in a more efficient way.

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Lab meetings will be limited to one hour. To make the most of this time, the presenter should plan to talk for no more than 20 minutes. There may be exceptions to this rule, but the idea is to be concise and leave ample time for discussion.

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The format of the presentation itself can vary depending on the stage of the work and the presenter’s goals for the meeting. Make a thoughtful decision about whether slides, the white board, or handouts are effective visual aids to support your presentation.

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Whichever format of presentation you choose, take care to articulate the question or research problem, and explain its relevance to anthropology. Describe the topical and geographic scope, and place your project in the context of anthropology’s cross-cultural perspective.

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The best possibility for these lab meetings is that they will become a rich opportunity for obtaining targeted feedback on your research. Therefore, the goal of your presentations should not be to give (a lecture, powerpoint, or display), but to receive. So, if you’re presenting, bring a pen and plan to take notes.

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Participants should aim to make their criticism constructive. Be critical yet supportive. Focus on the assumptions, concepts, logic, and evidence. It’s OK to challenge one another on the rationale for the project, but focus your criticism on the project the presenter wants to do, not the one you would have them do. Here are some helpful resources about giving and receiving constructive criticism:

Current Schedule

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For Spring 2012, we meet on Fridays from 2:30 – 4:00 p.m. in the Med Anthro Lab (TUR B103). The schedule of presenters follows. To claim a date, please send me an email.

February 24

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Sarah Szurek

March 2

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Brian Tyler

March 9

Spring break — no meeting

March 16

HHH interviewer training — no meeting

March 23

Lance Gravlee

March 30

SfAA — no meeting

April 6

Alan Schultz

April 13

Yasemin Akdas

April 20

June Carrington