Category Archives: Banting/Diabetes

Rolling Right Along… How is it February?

This term has been going by really quickly, and is only going to get more hectic than it already has been. I’ve done a presentation and handed in an assignment about writing for popular audiences/newspapers so far, doing assignments that will help with the completing of my thesis proposal/defense which will take place later in the term, and have been working on my ethics proposal so I can get it approved as soon as possible. TAing has also been going very well.

I have helped lead two discussion classes in the Introduction to Sociocultural class I TA for this term. The first dealt with the modes of (agricultural) production used by different groups, and the second dealt with indigenous knowledge. We went over these areas, watched some Youtube videos, and asked the students questions. They were very responsive, which I was happy to see. I had been afraid that they would just sit and stare back at myself and the other TA leading the class and expect us to give them the answers. My only qualm with it is how reliant students seem to be on PowerPoint these days. I much preferred classes where the prof. would just put up key words and dates, and just expect us to listen and take notes. The PowerPoint always seemed like a hindrance to me. Spent too much time focusing on them and copying the text rather than focusing on the prof., who has the real answers. In our case we had just taken the content from the textbook, they could have gotten it from there and listened to the discussion/took notes on what was said instead of worrying about if we were going to post the slides online. I’m also, only slightly, sad about the fact no one has come to my office hours, though I suppose that gives me more time to work on other things.

For my Heritage and Society class I had to present two readings the third week of class, the presentation went really well, leading to an interesting conversation about what applied archaeology is and its role in society compared to academic archaeology. Later in the term I will have to complete a review of an internet source, I’ve chosen four twitter accounts that tweet archaeology news, complete a ‘conference’ paper and presentation for class, and complete a final essay—as well as completing another presentation on a reading. I am excited for the internet review, and I enjoy the topics I have selected from the papers, but I am unsure how to go about them still. I suppose it will take a lot of puttering and figuring out.

The popular writing assignment is the article I posted previously. In the future, on a similar vein, I will need to write another article and find somewhere to submit it to for possible publication—this is also an assignment. At the moment I have a couple of ideas that may be viable, including the War of 1812 in Northern Ontario and the start of Dr. Banting’s insulin research (to go along with the 91st anniversary of its start). If anyone has other suggests regarding this I would be more than happy for them.

As for my thesis, related ethics protocol and proposal, strides have been made toward narrowing down my project idea. As mentioned previously, I will be spending two months at Huaca de la Luna in Peru to study and analyze how people experience the archaeological site museum. I will be examining how people interact with their environment and other individuals at the site, and how they are influenced by the contested narratives that are being portrayed to them. To get at this I will be conducting survey like and unstructured interviews, using GPS tracking technology to see how people move about the site, and conducting participant observation. The ethics protocol forms have been progressing well but there are a few things left to do for it, and I am going to be meeting with Janet Loebach from the geography department later this week to discuss GPS techniques, ethics, and consent forms. The thesis proposal is a little further off in my mind but weekly exercises for my sociocultural anthropology methods class have gotten me thinking about it, and making the first steps towards its completion.

Otherwise, the app content that is being written by my Public History class is progressing. We handed in our 2nd report today and the first draft of the text is due in early March. I am looking forward to seeing the final product as everyone has put in a lot of work for it.

I also have been at Banting House the past two weekends to volunteer, and am glad that so many interesting and interested people have been coming in, I love being able to talk to them.
Hopefully the rest of the term continues to go well, and my thesis proposal and ethics protocol are excepted without too much trouble.

I am really looking forward to the summer and getting to spend so much time at Huaca de la Luna, I am interested to see what I find there and am excited to see my project really coming into its own.

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Museum Experience Overload

For the past couple weeks, and for the next week or so, much of my time has been taken up by ‘final projects’ for my Anthropology classes (Public History has been in there too but this portion of our group project doesn’t fit with my theme here– a) its not final, and b) its not about museum experience). The large assignment for Professional Development was to design a course outline and present the course as if you were trying to have it added to the next year’s course offerings; the final paper for Archaeological Theory needs to be related to something you found interesting in the course that can be applied to your thesis project (or not, but that’s the route I am taking). Both of these, for me, only left one real direction…

Museum experience!

I love it, I really do, but this has left me feeling a tad bit theoretical since I haven’t been in a museum in a little while– let alone gotten to participate or interact at one. Thank goodness I’ll be volunteering at Banting House this weekend.

For Professional Development I chose to design a course that examines the operation, creation, and experience of museums through the notion of collaboration and the application of knowledge outside of the academy. So basically it has to do with knowledge mobilization and participation. It was suggested that we not use a textbook for the class, but I felt Nina Simon’s The Participatory Museum would act as a nice framework for the class so I chose to use it anyways but supplemented it with readings from other books and journals. These supplemental readings are taken from the disciplines that are near and dear to my heart– archaeology, anthropology, and public history. The course has students create and present a poster based on intensive research in order to replicate (or mimic) the creation of an exhibit and the experience of tour guiding or acting as an interpreter. Participation, discussion papers and seminars, and a term test are also used for grading. Hopefully my Professionalization class will like this method because they get to grade me on it (as well as the professor).

My paper for Archaeological Theory, which is still in its early stages, is going to deal with the experience of museums through a discussion of material agency, interpretation, and top down/bottom up approaches. In order to demonstrate how these concepts impact museum experience I will offer up a a brief case study based on personal experience (but I haven’t gotten into that too much yet). My plan is to work on the paper much of tomorrow in order to get a jump on it for next week.

Also in the works and quickly approaching, though slightly unrelated, is my Introduction to Public History class’s presentations to the London Advisory Committee on Heritage. After which I will need to put the final touches on the report about my heritage house, and (finally) exhibit creation (not so theoretical!).

And after that, Christmas!

‘Banting Day’

All morning the song ‘Beethoven Day’ from You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown has been playing in my head. The only difference was that ‘Beethoven’ was replaced by ‘Banting’. Now, I know World Diabetes Day isn’t only celebrating Banting’s birthday but still– I also realize Banting has at least two days to commemorate him and the discovery of Insulin, sort of. October 31st commemorates the day insulin was conceived of, and November 14th is World Diabetes Day.

Dr. Banting conceived of the idea for the insulin treatment while working on a lecture for The University of Western Ontario about the pancreas, which he admittedly knew nothing about. When Dr. Banting, wrote down his 25 word hypothesis about how to try to treat diabetes on October 31st, 1920 he spelled ‘diabetus’ wrong, but we’ll forgive him. In May of 1921 Dr. Banting left London to conduct his lab work and tests at The University of Toronto, his alma mater, with (Dr.) Charles Best. Dr. Banting is credited with the co-discovery of insulin, incorporation with Drs. Charles Best, James Macleod, and James Collip. These four men effectively ended diabetes death sentence.

In the end, all of this just leads me to say: ‘Happy Birthday Dr. Banting and Happy World Diabetes Day!’