Last November at the American Anthropological Association Meetings I was on a great panel, an invited session, organized by Matt Durington and Sam Collins (Towson University). During the panel, Matt presented and shared one of his many pedagogical innovations, Cards Against Anthropology. A spin off of the popular Cards Against Humanity, CAA is designed to facilitate conversation around fieldwork and its ethics. I grabbed a deck from Matt at the meetings (you can also download the set at the above link) and have played informally with friends — those who wanted to really try on what comes up in the field. I have not, however, used Cards Against Anthropology in the classroom yet. I don’t teach anthropology or even methods classes (not the last few years anyway) so I haven’t had the opportunity to use them for teaching. Matt and his projects are pretty inspiring though, and his work gave me the gumption to create a set of my own “Cards Against” deck, but for the Housing Philadelphia class I’m teaching right now.
The Cards Against Housing deck focuses on housing dynamics and policies, but it could be used in any context; it’s not specific to Philadelphia (well, maybe a few of the question cards..). Question cards followed the format from Cards Against Humanity, sometimes even word for word. Others were specific to housing:
- This rules housing in Philadelphia.
- Step One: ________ Step Two: __________ Step Three: Everyone gets a home.
I designed the deck as a final course review. The number of students was right. I put the questions up on power point and projected them slide show style. Otherwise the game ran as Cards Against Humanity is typically played. Students seemed to really enjoy it, and I think it was a nice form to content fit.
The only downside to this is that, its really meant for a course on housing in the U.S., because its so focused on policy and historical legacies and racism.
I can’t wait to teach this class again; I’ve learned a ton teaching it.