Anthro. 3: Introduction to Social/Cultural Anthropology
Fall 2013: MWF: 1-2pm, 155 Dwinelle
Office Hours: Weds., 2-5pm; 301 Kroeber Hall (Tel.: 2-0705)
This course introduces anthropological topics in the subfield of social/cultural anthropology, with a particular aim for students to learn a lesson about the idea of culture and its relevance for our global struggles today. For such a goal to be achieved, there is no way for us to avoid a historical perspective on the field, which has changed as the world has changed in time. What is culture? What is anthropology or anthropological knowledge? What is ethnography or field research? The class will begin with those basic questions and end with a view on the future shape of our cultural knowledge for a fast changing world.
No prerequisite is needed. Students must attend three hours per week for lecture, plus one hour per week for discussion section.
Required Books (available at the Student Bookstore)
Montesquieu, The Persian Letters (Tr. J. Robert Loy). Meridian (1961). Frazer, J. The Golden Bough. Macmillan (1963 abridged; or Touchstone 1996). Lienhardt, G. 1961. Divinity and Experience. Clarendon.
Douglas, M. 1986. How Institutions Think. Syracuse University Press. Miller, D. 2011. Tales from Facebook. Polity.
Evaluation: 1) A final paper, 10-12 pages, double space (30%). Note: the paper is due on the 16th of December. 2) Five assignments, which, dependent on the progress of the class, may take the form of a quiz (take-home or in-classroom) or a report (two pages) on the readings and lectures, will count for 10% (50% in total). 3) An in-classroom, open-book test on the last day of class (10%). 4) Participation in lectures and section discussions (10%). Note: if you do not show up or rarely in either, you will fail the class, i.e. not only the ten percent being taken away—which is an additional reward for participation.
Week 1-2. Introduction: scope and method
No assigned reading but you should go to get the books needed for this class.
Four general references on the history of anthropology:
Sahlins, M. 1976. Culture and Practical Reason.
Evans-Pritchard, E. E. 1981. A History of Anthropological Thought. Kuper, A. 1996. Anthropology and Anthropologists.
Barth, F. et al. 2005. One Discipline, Four Ways.
First Assignment: by the end of Week 2, you should produce a summary of the points made in lectures and investigate below questions:
What is anthropology? How is it different from other social science fields? What is anthropological method of study or its methodology? What is ethnography? What are the requirements for doing ethnographic research? How to do it as you understand it should be? Or find a few examples from recent publications in the Kroeber Anthropology Library to show how you understand it.
More specifically: What is the role of traveling for anthropological studies? How can one understand the role of experience for such a form of knowledge? Why is it important for anthropologists to learn the language of those whom he or she studies? etc., etc.
Further but related questions: What is culture? Is it different from such as society or history or tradition? Can you make a list of concepts you have heard from lectures and discuss them with your classmates in your section?
Week 3-4. Montesquieu, “Persian Letters”
Bateson, G. 1958. Naven. Stanford.
Fortune, R. F. 1932. Sorcerers of Dobu. Dutton.
Second Assignment: How have you read Persian Letters? A classic no doubt but it is also quite different, if not entirely politically incorrect, from our new multicultural sensitivity today. Please take two or three examples from the text and discuss them, in order to show either how they help you understand the historical background of our cultural struggles, such as against Eurocentricism, or how they have appeared, to our mind today, lack of certain cultural...
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