Cultural Anthropology Courses

120 Cultural Anthropology (4 credits, day) (3 credits, evening) Systematic study of the customs, social organization, environmental adaptation and belief systems of primitive and contemporary societies. Considers cultural variations in technology, economy, language, families, government and religion, with a special emphasis on social and cultural change and global relations. Non-majors may substitute this course as prerequisite for other courses in the Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Criminal Justice.

150 The Family (4 credits, day) (3 credits, evening) Analysis of the family as a basic social institution in both Western and non-Western cultures. Exploration of various marriage arrangements, kinship, family life cycle, and issues and problems relating to societal change as it affects kinship and family structure.

220 Social Issues (4 credits) In-depth analysis, from a social science perspective, of a substantive social issue confronting modern societies. Emphasizes pertinent social structure, values and attitudes, and the effects on the individual. Topics vary from year to year. May be repeated for credit.

230 Reading Ethnography (4 credits, Fall) This course present students with an exploration of the genre of data presentation unique to cultural anthropology, the ethnographic monograph. Students explore the difficulty of translating ‘emic’ perspectives to ‘etic’ analysis, as well as becoming knowledgeable with the tropes of contemporary ethnographic writing. Also, students will become familiar with the ways that cultural anthropologists use contemporary social and anthropological theory to frame questions and provide analysis. Finally, the course explores the ethical dilemmas usually encountered and recounted within ethnographic monographs.

240 Ethnographic Film (3 credits, evening) Ethnographic film explores the history and impact of documentary films made by anthropologists and the issues and ethical dilemmas involved in this type of storytelling. Classes consist of lectures, readings, screenings and discussions concerning the style and content of the major ethnographic films, and anthropological and documentary film theory.

250 Ethnographic Methods (4 credits) This course introduces students to ethnographic methods, strategies of participant observation, interviewing techniques, the writing of field notes, qualitative research design and analysis. One of the foci of the course is on autoethnograhy so that the student may trace his or her own human journey from an ethnographic perspective.

262 Myth, Magic and Religion (4 credits) This course studies human belief systems in their varied forms, the nature of religious understanding and the interplay between religious forms of life, and political structures using anthropological concepts. Consideration includes the resurgence of religious belief in modern culture. This course assumes a basic familiarity with Anthropology.

272 Cultures, Conflict and Power (4 credits) This course examines how systems of power are established through the imposition and contestation of symbolic practices both within and between cultural groups. Beginning with an examination of how the powerless have historically used deception and feigning deference as a political strategy to confront a sovereign state, central emphasis of the course is on understanding “symbolic violence,” the establishment of a sense of the “natural” to cultural constructions of identity and practice. Utilizing this notion of symbolic violence, the course investigates how the historical formulations of racial, gender and class hierarchies were developed as modern classificatory schemas of identity within the colonial context. The course ends with an ethnographic examination of power within a contemporary ethnographic situation of cultural conflict.

285 Aesthetics (4 credits) Through the intersection of the disciplines of Anthropology and Theatre, performance research, this course examines the dramatic aesthetic and cultural shifts that have occurred with the advent of what Jameson has called “late advanced capitalism.” Starting with an examination of the decade of the ‘70s, this course charts the explosion of particular cultural aesthetics into worlds of entertainment, economics and politics. A significant concern of the course is for students to understand the degree to which everyday life has become a mediated reality with the concerns of marketing, hype and profitability being central to that reality.

320 Ritual to Theatre (4 credits) This course begins by examining the place of ritualization as part of our biological heritage, and then explores the cultural uses of ritual, performance and ceremony in both informal and formal interaction from a cross-cultural vantage point. Finally, the course examines a number of avenues by which traditions of performance may be integrated into the artistic investigation of self and society.

361 Social Change: Globalization and Culture (4 credits; Spring) Designed for the advanced Anthropology student or International Business and Culture major, this course examines the recent re-territorialization of the world known as “globalization.” Using a critical anthropological perspective that addresses the cultural dimensions of globalization, the course examines the organized and disjunctive social processes by which local and transnational identity have emerged. Prerequisite: AN 120 or SO 261. Majors in International Business and Culture should have more than 90 credits.

370 Anthropological Theory (4 credits; Spring) This seminar explores the historic and contemporary ways that anthropologists have used key theoretical ideas and explored complex conceptual debates in their research and writing as attempts to understand humankind. These ideas and debates are explored both as historically changing, often confrontational, clashes between different schools of anthropological thought around central disciplinary questions like the definition of culture, the relationship of structure to agency, the question and place of relativity, the relationship between power and knowledge, and the contemporary ethnographic location of culture and identity in a world marked by scalar processes of neoliberal globalization. While these ideas and debates express central disciplinary concerns, the course also contextualizes how these debates are often marked by and directly address broader social and historical contexts of which they are a part. A thematic emphasis of the course is on how anthropological writing is a practice of knowledge making, as well as knowledge dissemination. Through both textual analysis and their own written production, students investigates how subtle shifts in the anthropological style and voice results in different forms of anthropological knowledge.
Prerequisite: AN 120 or AN 150

389 Independent Study Individual research or directed in-depth reading at an advanced level devoted to specific topics in anthropology. Prerequisites: Approval of the Director and instructor concerned.

4XX Senior Seminar I (4 credits, fall) Pending Approval

4XX Senior Seminar II (4 credits, spring) Pending Approval


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