Understanding the 'Natives' at a Big University: Anthropologist studies students
Gil Klein, Media General News Service
WASHINGTON - When most anthropologists do field work, they head off to places like Indonesia to study such things as 20th century head-hunting rituals. But when Rebekah Nathan wanted to study a foreign culture, she turned in her faculty parking pass, enrolled at her own university as a freshman and moved into a dorm.
"I had to learn a new language, a new speed of talk," Nathan said. "Much quicker, much more shorthand. It comes from IM-ing (instant messaging). Even the number of "likes" in a sentence marked my age. I had to put a lot more in ... so I talk like I know how he was like ..."
Rebekah Nathan is not the anthropologist's real name. She's not saying where she teaches and did her research -- or even where she was during a telephone interview. Her methods have raised a buzz in the academic community even before the September release of her book, "My Freshman Year: What a Professor Learned by Becoming a Student." After an article and excerpt appeared in the "Chronicle of Higher Education," she was criticized for involving students in her research without their "informed consent." >> continue (Link updated)
Getting Schooled in Student Life. An anthropology professor goes under cover to experience the mysterious life of undergraduates (The Chronicle of Higher Education, 29.7.05)
Rebekah Nathan: An Anthropologist Goes Under Cover (The Chronicle of Higher Education, 29.7.05)
Undercover Freshman (Inside Higher Education, 13.7.05)
An anthropologist's undercover project raises ethical hackles (The Boston Globe, 7.8.05)