Anthropology students print, publish, and perfect their year-end project
You won’t find Ann Herring’s fourth year students working on essays or studying for an exam for their Anthropology 4S03 class.
Students from 4S03 -- Andrew Turner, Ashley Nagel (a graduate student and the t-shirt printer), Sam Nametka-Lawrence, Alexandra Saly (the t-shirt designer), Rachel Duban, and Heather Battles (the course TA) -- pose in their cholera fundraising t-shirts.
Instead they’re poring over finishing touches and final edits before sending their book to print.
“When we say ‘book’ most people visualize a spiral-bound project, something like courseware, but it’s actually a real book,” said one student.
And he’s right. It’s a professionally published, properly formatted, ISBN-bearing “real” book. A “real” book that focuses on an infectious disease and its implications on Hamilton with this year’s topic being cholera.
And like any “real” book, this project took a lot of hard work, even more than some students anticipated despite Herring’s beginning-of-term warning. The students must dream about, create, and publish the book’s final version within 3 months time.
“Revising and looking for information were very time consuming”, one student told me.
And that’s not all they had to do. Students were responsible for the book’s entire creation and production.
After Herring selected cholera as the general topic, the students immersed themselves in research until they chose a more specific focus, wrote an abstract, crafted a first draft, and were consumed with peer-reviewing and editing.
On top of this laborious process, students were tasked with formatting, selecting cover art, and creating a sponsorship package.
But despite the commitment, students gushed about how enriching and worthwhile they found the experience. One student cited this experience as a confidence-builder -- he now knows he’s capable of conducting research in a specific field -- a skill which could be used in a future career or in graduate school.
Manager of Museums & Heritage Presentation for the City of Hamilton, Ian Kerr-Wilson, was also impressed with the type of research and the quality of work produced by these students -- so much so that the city helped fund t-shirts used for fundraising purposes and agreed to sell the book (along with past course books) in city bookstores while using some of the book’s research in the city’s public programming.
Students hope this newfound relationship with the City of Hamilton will continue to develop in future years, as both the students and the project benefit from the city’s support, and the books are an excellent reference for the City of Hamilton, as they don’t always have the time or resources to conduct this sort of in-depth research.
“Take this capstone course,” one student urged. “Don’t run away from it because you’re scared. It gives you a great sense of accomplishment and something physical to hold on to.”
The book, “Cholera: Hamilton’s Forgotten Epidemics”, will be available for purchase through Titles Bookstore and for electronic consumption from Mills Memorial Library.
A special thank you to Ann Herring and Heather Battles (the course’s teaching assistant) from the students of 4S03.
- Article by Natalie Paddon, Faculty of Social Sciences / First Generation Student Media Relations Officer