Archive for the ‘Student Work’ Category

Student Blogs

Wednesday, September 7th, 2011

Below is a list of students and their blogs created for an assignment in the course “Culture of Development and Globalization,” Anthropology Department, University of Colorado, Denver, fall 2011. At the end of this post are the instructions for the blog assignment. (photo above: spices at market in Zanzibar, Tanzania, November 2011, Marty Otañez)






















Instructions: Blog Assignment (15 points)
Students will create a blog and upload three blog entries (each entry is worth five points), with each entry being 500 words minimum about one theory, method and/or anthropological problem raised in course readings. This requirement will increase students’ awareness on anthropology’s role in development and globalization processes. The assignment is designed to allow you to more deeply engage from scholarly and advocacy standpoints with approaches to development and globalization. Each blog entry is in the form of a critical reflection and reaction statement. A blog entry provides opportunities for you to strategically select portions of the logic, organization, and emphasis of the original texts you find interesting and write about them in a coherent, persuasive and mindful manner. The assignment is limited to 500 words or more to encourage you to be precise in your writing on the most compelling parts of texts that are meaningful to you on a personal and professional level. You are encouraged to integrate in each blog entry one or more captioned image, video excerpt and/or other resource to substantiate your points and enhance the design of the entry. No points will be given to an entry that simply summarizes texts or the topic. Each student is required to create an individual blog with a brief introductory statement and send to me the web link for the blog before our class meeting on Tuesday, August 30 ( is free and recommended; here’s an example of a blog from a former UCD student: Nutrition and Development in China). Additional details regarding each blog topic will be discussed in class. Blog topics are:

1- Globalization processes (due September 13)
2- A country-level vignette of development (due October 4)
3- Future directions of anthropology as a participant in development (due November 1)

“The Preferential Option for the Poor”

Wednesday, March 30th, 2011


“The Preferential Option for the Poor” is one of the key principles of Liberation Theology. The historical video showcases the “White Fathers,” a group of Catholic missionaries in Malawi, Africa, and their work to end the slave trade, increase rural development, and end child labor in Malawi’s tobacco sector.

The “White Fathers” contributed to the development of the Tobacco Tenants and Allied Worker’s Union of Malawi to promote living wages and collective bargaining rights for tobacco farm workers.

Cigarette manufacturers Philip Morris and British American Tobacco buy tobacco leaf from Malawi, profiting from unpaid child labor and health inequalities on tobacco farms.

The video integrates archival video from Nyasaland (colonial Malawi) in 1940-50.

For more information contact

Raphael Sandramu
Tobacco Tenants and Allied Worker’s Union of Malawi

Bill Turnbull
Centre for Social Concern
Missionaries of Africa, Malawi

Marty Otañez, producer,

Sarah Gee, editor, Anthropology Undergraduate Student, University of Colorado, Denver

Video Study Guide and Policy Brief, page 1 of 2

Video Study Guide and Policy Brief, page 2 of 2

Faded Jeans

Tuesday, March 29th, 2011

In summer 2009, I lived in an all-male safehouse in Tijuana, Mexico where I conducted ethnographic fieldwork on the individual experience of deportation. “Faded Jeans” is about my personal experience as a Latina woman framed in the theory of feminist ethnography.

Analisia Stewart, Producer
Medical Anthropology graduate student
University of Colorado, Denver

Course Project
Current Theory in Ethnography
Marty Otañez, Instructor, Fall 2010

A Medical Gaze

Tuesday, March 29th, 2011

This visual narrative explores the social consequences of the U.S. medical system’s business incentive to utilize the body as capital gain. The video utilizes visual ethnography, critical theory, applied ethnography and reflexive narrative to demonstrate the U. S. mainstream medical community’s objectification of “bodies” as resource and disregard of individual preference through “medical gaze”.

Michel Foucault concepts of “body” and “medical gaze” are utilized in this video to highlight that by entering the field of knowledge, the human body concurrently entered the field of power, becoming a target for manipulation. In this instance, visual/critical ethnography is utilized to motivate “consumers” to exercise self-determination in the management of their healthcare. Shared knowledge surrounding the body in healthcare means shared power, particularly surrounding the amount/quality of life care in relation to classic biomedical criteria.

B. Alex McKeon, Producer
Medical Anthropology M.A. Student
University of Colorado Denver

Course Project
Current Theory in Ethnography
Marty Otañez, Instructor, Fall 2010

Paleoanthropology’s Science Fallacy

Tuesday, March 29th, 2011

Paleoanthropology is depicted as a discipline that relies extremely heavily on science, often omitting cultural and reflexive frameworks from its research. When reflexive theories that are more commonly found in ethnography are used, the limited body of data can be more accurately interpreted.

Andrew Vorsanger, Producer
Anthropology Graduate Student
University of Colorado, Denver

Course Project
Current Theory in Ethnography
Marty Otañez, Instructor, Fall 2010


Tuesday, March 29th, 2011

“A Field” is centered on the narratives of individuals from the Middle East that are involved with Seeds of Peace International, a conflict-resolution organization. The video highlights the story of Tamara—a young Palestinian girl from a refugee camp in Jenin—as she shares her background and meets individuals from the ‘other side’ of her conflict for the first time. The video is framed with anthropological theories of a field and habitus as well as consideration of an ethnographic field as a conceptual space.

Sarah Norton, Producer
Medical Anthropology graduate student
University of Colorado, Denver

Course Project, Current Theory in Ethnography
Marty Otañez, Instructor, Fall 2010

Up in Smoke (part 2 of 3)

Sunday, March 6th, 2011

In the southern African country Malawi, tobacco is the major export crop- responsible for 70% of all export earnings. Agriculture is the mainstay of Malawi’s economy- accounting for over 90% of the GDP. Out of a total population of 11 million, the majority of Malawians are farmers- and 7 million owe their livelihoods to the tobacco industry. But economic dependency on tobacco has not brought the country wealth. According to the World Bank, over 60% of Malawians live below the poverty line- with limited access to land, little education and poor health. Yet, despite the poor returns from tobacco growing, the government has actually increased the land under cultivation. Now as Up in Smoke shows, Malawians are beginning to question if the wealth promised from growing tobacco is really an illusion.

Up in Smoke co-directed by Marty Otañez and Christopher Walker

Watch Part 1 of Up in Smoke

Watch Part 3 of Up in Smoke

Up in Smoke Study Guide below


Monday, December 6th, 2010

RC, Vis Anth UCD, Fall 2010 (updated 6 Dec 2010)

black hair

Monday, December 6th, 2010

DB, Vis Anth UCD, fall 2010 (updated 6 Dec 2010)

anthropology of contingent faculty

Tuesday, November 16th, 2010

Video submission to the Committee on Labor Relations, American Anthropological Association, May 2010. Ivy Pharr and Marty Otañez, producers. Ivy received a bachelor’s degree in anthropology from the University of Colorado, Denver, spring 2010 ( Marty is an assistant professor of political ecology in the anthropology department, University of Colorado, Denver (

The video is based on work completed for the Final project, Medical Anthropology course, University of Colorado, Denver; Marty Otañez, instructor, spring 2010