Faced with ever-mounting pressure to justify research and learning in the humanities and social sciences, I ask that my students embrace the question: “what are you going to do with anthropology?” This is a great question for anthropologists like me, who connect disparate people, places, and ideas to make sense of modern life. In any course, from an introductory class to an advanced seminar, I have two distinct goals for my students. First, I believe that the power of anthropology lies in helping students realize how their choices affect others in the world and how others’ choices affect them. How did sugar shape the modern economy? How do our clothing choices affect the seeds planted by Indian farmers? By exploring these questions my courses lead students to appreciate their own role in global systems that define the food we eat and the technology we use. Second, I believe that my students should leave my classes as better communicators – even students who walk into an anthropology class to fulfill a requirement will have to write during their jobs. By taking on different kinds of writing, leading group discussions, and editing their work my students learn to develop and support clear arguments, applying their anthropological instruction well beyond college. I have worked with students at all stages of the education system: elementary students from the San Francisco Bay Area, primary students in rural India, high school students from inner-city St. Louis, continuing students at the University of Missouri – St. Louis, elite undergraduates at Washington University in St. Louis, and graduate students at Heidelberg University. In each case I have learned to engage students by creating an environment in which they feel comfortable discussing course topics and challenging the ideas presented in class. In addition to my academic instruction I have also worked as a writing coach and mentor for the YMCA-USA and the Washington University Writing Center.
Introduction to Anthropology
Food, Culture, and Power
Ethnographic Research Methods
Culture and the Environment
Winner, 2019 Anthropology Department Excellence in Teaching Award (student nominated)
Unedited Student Feedback:
"I REALLY appreciate you providing the opportunity to re-write the midterm. It makes you really stand out as an instructor- not because we have an opportunity to improve our grade but because you were real with us about expectations and treated us like adults."
"i thought andrew did a really fantastic job with this course. it was informative, challenging, and met everyone in the class where they were in terms of their knowledge of the material and direct personal experience with it. this was evident in class discussions when everyone was able to participate and contribute meaningful, personal relationships w/ the topic at hand. great job!! enjoyed it, and would/will recommend."
"I loved the breadth of the material covered. I liked that we learned about the intersection of food with culture, race, sex, class, economics, power, law, and many other topics. Also, the instructor gave some of the most entertaining and interesting lectures I have had in my four years as a student. Overall, I loved this class."
"I would like to say that I really enjoyed his class, I found it to be very interesting and informative. Prof Flachs was very knowledgeable and encouraged our participation and debates on all the material we covered. I did not have any experience with cultural anthropology before the course, but now feel I have a very good understanding of what it is."
"I enjoyed how strait-forward this course was. We learned about a specific topic and then were given the chance to apply that information to a real-life situation. I also enjoyed being able to choose our own topics for research projects and receiving feedback from both the instructor and fellow students. It was an all around enjoyable class that will be helpful in many ways while starting and continuing my career."
"I liked that this class was a seminar so we could easily discuss and share our ideas. Professor Flachs offered a welcoming and non-judgmental environment that encouraged everyone to participate."
"I really like Professor Flachs. This has been one of the most thought-provoking courses that I have taken in my time at Purdue and has really made me interested in anthropology a lot more. I like how Professor Flachs is clearly passionate about what he does and is eager to share what he knows with us. I also admire how open he was with us and even inviting us to lunch with him after class. The things he talks about in class make me think more about the world, and I believe that is because of the great examples and interesting topics that he covers."
I have worked to improve my teaching and teaching pedagogy through a variety of professional development programs and different teaching opportunities. In addition to several teaching workshops offered through Washington University in St. Louis, including online teaching and discussion facilitation, I have participated in workshops and conference sessions on effective teaching with the National Geographic Society, the Society for Applied Anthropology, and the Washington University Libraries. In addition to the classes I have designed and taught, I supervised undergraduate students in the field, I have mentored graduate students at Heidelberg University and Purdue University, and I have designed and led professionalization workshops for graduate students. Trained in writing pedagogy as a fellow with the Washington University Writing Center, my classes involve detailed instruction in effective communication and require students to revise their work, critique others’ work, and give oral presentations.
I have worked with students at all stages of the education system: elementary students from the San Francisco Bay Area, primary students in rural India, high school students from inner-city St. Louis, continuing students at the University of Missouri – St. Louis, elite undergraduates at Washington University in St. Louis, and graduate students at Heidelberg University. In each case I have learned to engage students by creating an environment in which they feel comfortable discussing course topics and challenging the ideas presented in class. As a first generation college student, an alumnus of the Institute for the Recruitment of Teachers, and having taught students from such a range of diverse backgrounds, experiences, and university preparedness, I am especially committed to helping students realize that their personal experiences give them unique and valuable perspectives for social science classes.