Un-Essay

The un-essay replaces a final paper for my Fundamentals of Biological Anthropology class.  Some may say (and I have seen vicious comments on Twitter) that an un-essay is a missed opportunity for students to write a paper and get feedback on that paper. I absolutely agree that students need to learn how to write and how to write well. However, I also understand that they write in many classes, and that many classes squash rather than encourage creativity. Also, please keep in mind that my students have 1-2 writing prompts a week, and I read and provide feedback on each and every one.

An un-essay allows students to flex muscle they rarely get to flex, and allows them to engage with material in a way they normally wouldn’t. Furthermore, students have stated that they remember what they did far into the future, while they will forget what they wrote about in a paper the moment that paper is turned in. Finally, students actually express how proud they are of their un-essays and talk about how they show them off to friends and family.

All this is to say, don’t let negativity surrounding this kind of project get you down. This assignment has allowed me a more clear window into each of my students more than any paper ever could.

Un-Essay Guidelines – borrowed heavily from the amazing Marc Kissel

Fundamentals of Biological Anthropology Un-Essay Fall 2021

Anthropology of Sports Un-Essay Fall 2021

Examples of Student Work

Please keep in mind this is only a sample. One of my favorite un-essays came from Laura Funk who did a Barstool Anthropology video. During this she made themed mixed drinks and developed hypotheses to explain patterns we see in the hominin fossil record. It was gloriously well thought out and produced. I also had a number of students turn in infographics on the obstetric dilemma vs. the EGG hypothesis and on sexual harassment in the field of anthropology. I was beyond proud of all of my students.

  1. Helton Rodriguez Bio Anthro Unessay – a poem about Lucy
  2.  
Huggins Unessay – see project statment below

Huggins project statement & reflection

3.

Kacie McGowan Unessay – see project statement below

McGowan Unessay Project Statement and Self-Reflection

4. Mancuso Unessay What We Hold in Our Hips and Mancuso Un-Essay Project Statement

5. Kilbane-Unessay Neandertal Children’s Book and Kilbane Un-Essay Project Statement

6. Jenelle Renterghem series of videos on birth and c-sections, video 1, video 2, video 3, and Janelle Renterghem UnEssay Project Statement

7. Michael Miramontes’ video critiquing the accuracy of the movie Ice Age and Miramontes Project Statement

8. Molly O’Brien podcast about birth and O’Brien Project Statement

9.

Anna Volanth – Evolution of the Human Diet

10. Grade School Lesson Plans by Katherine Franz

11. John Hlavin’s Interview of Father Terry

12. Ancient Agriculture Wiki Page by Nick Iovino

13.

Morgan Zepf: The ties that bind AMH & Neanderthals
Morgan Zepf: The ties that bind AMH & Neanderthals

14.

Leah Gudex unessay
Leah Gudex body ideals through time

15.

Madeline Andreas un-essay
Madeline Andreas needle point of key features of AMH

16. 

Glein & Gallagher Un-essay
Rachel Glein & Tara Gallagher look at use of hands in art through time (caves vs. kindergartners) and drawings of bulls through times (caves & Picasso)

17.

Jessica O’Neill Anthropology of Sports Unessay, see project statement below.

Jessica O’Neill Project Statement

18. Amy Bahadursingh Lucy Blog

19. Ailish Chambers Unessay Poem

20. Briana Olney Rustic Simple Vegan Cookbook Book Cover and Briana Olney Unessay Statement

21.

Madison Calder Anthropology of Sports Cross-stitch – see project statement below

Madison Calder Project Statement

22. Calla Sullivan The Female Athlete & Birth Control Brochure

23.

Isabella Cardamone Anthropology of Sports Unessay – see project statement below

Isabella Cardamone Unessay Project Statement

24.

Grace Ducat Anthropology of Sports Unessay – see project statment below

Grace Ducat Project Statement

25.

JJ Raymond Unessay on BMI – see project statement below

JJ Raymond Project Statement

26. Maggie Marinovich Unessay Student-Athlete Cookbook and Maggie Marinovich, Un-Essay Project Statement

27. Priscilla Angkasa slam poem “Girls Can’t Play Soccer” and Priscilla Angkasa Unessay Project Statment

28. Maxwell Reed’s website on sports and patriotism

29. Meagan Moore’s website on gendered differences in sports.