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Anthropology Course Descriptions


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AY112fs    Cultural Anthropology      Introduction to the study of human societies and cultures through the concepts and methods of anthropology. Course material will (a) explore the great diversity of human social and cultural arrangements through the investigation of cultural communities around the world and the distinct ways their members experience and understand their lives; and (b) investigate the larger historical, political, economic, and symbolic frameworks that shape contemporary human societies and cross-cultural interactions worldwide. Assignments emphasize clarity, concision, and coherence of written and oral arguments, as well as control over and understanding of course content.     Four credit hours.  S, I.    FACULTY
AY119j    The Anthropology of Utopias      Examines classic utopic and dystopic literature, philosophy, anthropology, art, and film from Plato to the present. Utopian literature involves anthropological reflection about the range of possibilities for human community and related anthropological themes of human social and cultural variability, conflict, and cooperation. Critically explores different utopian and dystopian discourses as vehicles for thinking about a world in crisis and its possible futures, as well as the effects these have on contemporary debates about politics and governance, citizenship, new technologies, media, family, and more.     Three credit hours.  S.    HRISKOS
[AY141]    The Changing Faces of Religion in New China      During the Communist period, religion and spirituality were criticized and suppressed. More open policies were instituted after the death of Mao. Soon there was an explosion of spiritual practices and practitioners, traditional and nontraditional forms of religion throughout China. An exploration of the new spaces of worship and practice that have opened up within China's new market economy, the reasons that various peoples are drawn to them, and the problems and challenges they may pose for the Chinese state. Prerequisite:  Concurrent enrollment in East Asian Studies 141.     Four credit hours.  S, I.  
AY175f    Ordering the Cosmos      Ancient Greece provided many foundations of Western cultural and intellectual history. We will ask how Greeks understood their world as we explore the "cosmos" (which is Greek for "order" or "arrangement") of their making. Grounding an inquiry in literary texts and taking into account domains from the theological to the social and ethnographic, we ask how various systems of thought worked to produce order in their world. Topics include cosmology, religion and magic, sexuality, culinary practices, and the Greeks' interest in cultural difference. Part of the three-course Integrated Studies 175 cluster, "Ancient Greece: Nature and Culture in Classical Athens." Prerequisite:  Concurrent enrollment in Philosophy 175 and Science, Technology, and Society 175. (elect IS175.)     Four credit hours.  L.    BARRETT
AY176j    Greece: Ancient Sites and Their Visitors      The sites (and sights) of ancient Greece have held enormous significance for visitors, from ancient times through the modern era. Explores the range of meanings that Greek antiquity has held for different groups historically and up to the present. Through an intensive, month-long study, students will consider a variety of sites in Athens and nearby centers such as Delphi, Olympia, Epidauros, and Mycenae. Includes travel to Greece. Examines a variety of questions related to the experience and representation of classical Greek sites. Part of the Integrated Studies Program. Prerequisite:  Integrated Studies 175 or permission of the instructor.     Three credit hours.  H.    BARRETT, MILLS
[AY211]    Indigenous Peoples and Cultures of North America      An ethnographic survey of the sociocultural systems developed by indigenous Americans north of Mexico. Examines relationships among ecological factors, subsistence practices, social organizations, and belief systems, along with contemporary issues of change, contact, and cultural survival. Prerequisite:  Anthropology 112.     Four credit hours.  U.  
AY212j    Human Rights and Social Struggles in Global Perspective      Listed as Global Studies 211.     Three credit hours.    FRIEDERIC
[AY217]    Race, Class, Ethnicity      Explores race, class, and ethnicity through comparative study of the diverse experiences, histories, and life conditions of indigenous peoples, immigrant groups, diasporas, religious minorities, and oppressed classes in various local and global contexts. Analysis of social, cultural, economic, and political forces that developed historically and function at present to maintain racialized, ethnic, and class inequalities. Also examines modes used for seeking political empowerment, economic justice, cultural survival, integrity of identity, and recognition of human rights. Prerequisite:  Anthropology 112.     Four credit hours.  S, I.  
AY231s    Caribbean Cultures      Considers Caribbean people, places, products, and the webs of domination and resistance that formed and transformed the region and its diasporas. Ethnographies, films, food, music, memoir, and other texts tackle topics like empire building and dismantling; colonialism and postcolonialism; decolonization and displacement; development and underdevelopment; commodification and consumption; labor, revolution, and liberation. Cross-cultural and cross-temporal navigations develop an anthro-historical sensibility about the Caribbean's pivotal place in the world. Also listed as African-American Studies 231. Prerequisite:  Anthropology 112 or American Studies 276.     Four credit hours.  I.    HOPE
[AY235]    Ethnographies of Latin America: Violence and Democracy in the Andes     An introduction to anthropological research on Latin America. Particular focus on the Andes and issues shaping Latin American participation in political life, including political, criminal, or structural violence; war; indigenous and other social movements; state strengthening and institutional evolution; transitions to democracy from military dictatorships; and social memory. Goals include learning to apply an anthropological lens to discussions of violence and democracy and gaining a basic knowledge of political issues facing the contemporary Andean region. Students will gain critical reading and discussion facilitation skills while refining their writing skills through the production of review essays. Prerequisite:  Anthropology 112.     Four credit hours.  
[AY236]    Illegal Drugs, Law, and the State      Drawing on legal and political anthropology, we will examine the legal regimes and cultures of control that target the commerce and consumption of illegal drugs. We will consider the evolution of these policies, their role in the construction of the state, and their impact in a variety of historical moments and social worlds. Case studies will include Prohibition, cocaine, medical and recreational use of marijuana, and alternative forms of political power facilitated by the drug trade, with a special focus on Latin America. Students will gain critical reading and presentation skills and will refine their writing and research skills through the production of an original case-study research project. Prerequisite:  Anthropology 112.     Four credit hours.  
AY237f    Ethnographies of Africa      An introduction to the continent of Africa, its peoples, and its many social worlds, beginning with a survey of the place (geography) and the ways in which Africa's inhabitants have been defined (classifications of language, race, and culture). Social and cultural diversity within the continent are examined through ethnographic case studies. Issues include experiences of economic change, political conflict, the creation of new identities and cultural forms in contemporary African societies, and perceptions of Africa in Western thought and history. Prerequisite:  Anthropology 112.     Four credit hours.  I.    BESTEMAN
AY238s    Religions of Africa and the African Diaspora      Examines African religions in Africa and their movement to and history in the New World. Ethnographic and historical sources investigate the legacy of slavery and its effects on African diaspora religions. Cases may include Cuban Santeria, Haitian Vodou, Candomble in Brazil, and Rastafarianism in Jamaica. Debates about syncretism, creolization, and related diasporic processes will be addressed. Emphasis on continuity, change, and the creative role of religious practice in the articulation of African identities in the New World. Students engage these topics through group and individual work, including both oral and written assignments. Prerequisite:  American Studies 276 or Anthropology 112.     Four credit hours.  I.    HRISKOS
[AY239]    Southeast Asian Cultures and Societies      Southeast Asia is a region of great diversity and has long been a focus of anthropological interest; in recent years dramatic political and economic changes have often made the region a focus of international as well as scholarly attention. An examination of the diverse social and cultural contexts that make up the region, exploring both historical roots and contemporary experiences of Southeast Asian peoples. The impact of European colonial regimes on indigenous societies, religious and ethnic diversity, peasant social organization and political resistance, and the effects of economic change and industrialization. Prerequisite:  Anthropology 112.     Four credit hours.  I.  
[AY242]    Anthropology of Latin America: City Life      An introduction to anthropological research on Latin America, with a particular focus on contemporary urban life. Cities attract migrants seeking new forms of communal life, educational, and economic opportunities and escaping war. We will examine the transformation of gender roles, political participation, and cultural production. Goals include learning to apply an anthropological lens to discussions of and gaining a basic knowledge of issues facing contemporary Latin America. Students will gain critical reading and discussion-facilitation skills and will refine writing skills through the production of review essays. Prerequisite:  Anthropology 112.     Four credit hours.  
AY256f    Land, Food, Culture, and Power      An examination of cultural and political aspects of land and other resource use in contexts of culture contact and/or social change, drawing from a variety of ethnographic examples in different parts of the world. A focus on varied subsistence and resource management systems explores how local forms of livelihood have been incorporated into and challenged by national and global economic relations and structures through processes of colonization and the growth of transnational capitalism. Prerequisite:  Anthropology 112.     Four credit hours.  U.    MILLS
[AY257]    From Communism to Consumerism      Listed as East Asian Studies 257.     Four credit hours.  S.  
[AY258]    Anthropology, History, Memory      Anthropologists have depicted cultural systems as timeless, paying limited attention to how historical experiences produce, and how they are shaped by, everyday beliefs and actions. Examines the significance of history for anthropological understanding and vice versa. Investigates how different cultures construct the past and how the past shapes everyday lives, our own and others. Explores sites such as myths, monuments, bodies, and archives. Questions what is the past? How is it present? How do societies remember? How do they forget? Topics include technology, time, travel, commemoration, war. Formerly offered as Anthropology 298B. Prerequisite:  Anthropology 112 or a 100-level history course.     Four credit hours.  
[AY261]    Japanese Language and Culture      Listed as East Asian Studies 261.     Four credit hours.  S, I.  
AY264s    China in Transition: An Anthropological Account      An exploration of cultural, historical, and social elements that were China in the past, and their transformation in the present, with a focus on the impact of China's socialist revolution upon both rural and urban family and social life and the new directions China has taken since the economic reforms of the 1980s.     Four credit hours.  S, I.    HRISKOS
AY297Af    Music and Culture in the Americas      Presents ways of thinking about music making and dance as creative social activities and as powerfully affective expressive cultural practices that people invest with social value and meaning. We will study a series of conceptual frameworks for analyzing the special potentials of music in social life as well as some basic music terminology for thinking about, listening to, and discussing musical style, setting our analyses and interpretations within broader socio-historical processes. Selected case studies consider musical traditions from Cuba, Mexico, Peru, Brazil, Argentina, and North America (Waterville included), among other regional examples. Designed for non-music majors (though music majors are welcome).     Four credit hours.    HOPE
AY297Bf    Language in Culture and Society      Language is a social and cultural material through which we apprehend and interpret social life, enact subjectivities, and struggle to forge relationships with others. To make sense of these complexities, this course draws upon ethnographic studies that document social variation in linguistic practice cross-culturally. Emphasis will be placed on exploring the basic, yet multifaceted, notion of language as culture. Topics include the relationship of language to human populations (e.g., "speech communities"); language socialization; linguistic variation and subjectivities of race, class, and gender; nationalism and standardization; language and political economy; and religious language. Prerequisite:  Anthropology 112.     Four credit hours.    HALVORSON
AY297Cf    Anthropological Perspective on Science and Religion      Use of cross-cultural research—from contemporary ethnographies of in vitro fertilization in Israel and Ecuador to religious healing in Madagascar to creation science, fetal personhood, and organ donation in the United States—to posit new perspectives of the science-religion relationship. Paradoxes of religious and scientific forms of knowledge, inquiry, personhood, and agency are examined. Rather than adopt morally polarized approaches to religion-science relationships, we will consider them cultural bodies of practice known by actors in distinctive ways, working toward understanding the European Enlightenment opposition between science and religion as only one cultural view, while attending to its continued relevance in contemporary societies. Prerequisite:  Anthropology 112.     Four credit hours.    HALVORSON
AY297Jj    Environmental Issues in Latin America      Listed as Global Studies 297J.     Three credit hours.    BURKE
AY298As    All in the Family? Rethinking Kinship and Social Relations      Kinship, marriage, and reproduction are culturally shaped practices through which human life takes shape. Combines foundational studies of kinship in anthropology with more recent approaches grounded in feminist scholarship. Such research examines social variability in the most seemingly "natural" life processes as conception, birth, and death. Topics include reproductive technologies, inheritance, ancestry, marriage, house-based societies, gendered labor, and memory. Drawing on cross-cultural ethnographic research, we will work toward a deeper understanding of how individual persons differentially recognize, maintain, and sever significant ties with others. Prerequisite:  Anthropology 112.     Four credit hours.    HALVORSON
AY298Bs    Health as a Human Right: Women's Global Health      Listed as Global Studies 298.     Four credit hours.    FRIEDERIC
AY313fs    Researching Cultural Diversity      Focus on ethnography as both the central research strategy of anthropologists and the written text produced by such research. Examines anthropological methods of data collection and ethnographic writing as these encompass not only the discipline's historical focus on localized communities but also contemporary understandings of connections to global processes, the analysis of complex inequalities, and a reflexive and engaged relationship with the human world. Explores practical strategies for conducting ethnographic research, including interviewing, observation, and other modes of qualitative data collection, the ethical issues presented by such research, and the application of analytical and theoretical models. Prerequisite:  Anthropology 112 and a 200-level anthropology course and sophomore standing.     Four credit hours.    HALVORSON, HOPE
AY333fs    Contemporary Theory      An analysis of the contemporary state of cultural anthropology through the investigation of contemporary theoretical approaches of central importance to the discipline. Examination of key theoretical concepts and their relevance for designing research questions, generating ethnographic perspectives, and building anthropological knowledge. Special attention to political economy, symbolic anthropology, poststructuralism, reflexive anthropology, postmodernism, and feminist and postcolonial anthropology. Assignments include both written and oral modes of analysis; strong emphasis on discussion and collaborative debate. Prerequisite:  Anthropology 112 and a 200-level anthropology course and junior or higher standing.     Four credit hours.    BESTEMAN, BHIMULL
[AY334]    Anthropology of Creativity      Creativity flows continually through all human cultures and languages with spontaneity, novelty, and unfolding meaning. A survey of various anthropological perspectives on the power of individuality, interpretation, resistance, and imagination in the aesthetic process. Considered are music, poetics, literature, and graphic arts in various historical and contemporary cultural contexts.     Four credit hours.  A.  
[AY339]    Asian Pacific Modernities      The changing dynamics of contemporary social life in the Asian Pacific with particular emphasis on East and Southeast Asia. Ethnographic case studies of a range of cultural and social phenomena, including commodity consumption, mass media, expanding middle-class identities, religious movements, and popular art forms, examining both lived experiences in the region and the theoretical analysis of processes associated with modernity and globalization. Prerequisite:  Sophomore or higher standing and Anthropology 112.     Four credit hours.  S, I.  
AY341f    Culture, Mobility, Identity: Encounters in the African Diaspora      Use of text, film, food, and music to examine how African and African-descended people made and remade the modern world. Surveys how past and present cultural practices dialogically shaped the formation, transformation, and flows of the diaspora. Attention to the dynamics of circulation, contact, exchange, and estrangement facilitates travels through the Afro-Atlantic world. Inquiry into archives and other sites of memory enables consideration of the scale, scope, and impact of black action and imagination. Prerequisite:  American Studies 276 or Anthropology 112.     Four credit hours.  S, I.    BHIMULL
[AY348]    Postcolonial Literatures      Listed as English 348.     Four credit hours.  L, I.  
[AY352]    Internationalism: From Socialism to the World Social Forum      Listed as Global Studies 352.     Four credit hours.  S.  
[AY353]    Globalization and Human Rights in China      Listed as East Asian Studies 353.     Four credit hours.  S.  
[AY359]    Slavery and Slave Communities in the United States      Listed as African-American Studies 359.     Four credit hours.  S, U.  
[AY361]    Militaries, Militarization, and War      Examines the ways in which military institutions shape and are shaped by cultural, economic, and political forces in contemporary societies, especially in the United States. Topics include the role of military service in creating and reinforcing gender norms, citizenship, and national identities; the ways in which war and militarized violence are commemorated; and ongoing controversy over counterinsurgency, internal defense, and modern forms of warfare. Students will develop their ethnographic research skills through interviews and observation, written and oral presentations. Formerly offered as Anthropology 398B. Prerequisite:  Anthropology 112.     Four credit hours.  S.  
AY373f    The Anthropology of Gender and Sexuality      Gender and sexuality represent fundamental categories of human social and cultural experience; in every human society, understandings about gender and sexuality constitute powerful aspects of individual identity that shape and are shaped by key aspects of social relations and cultural belief. Yet specific beliefs and social structures vary tremendously across cultures. An investigation of the varied ethnography of gender and sexuality as well as important theoretical concerns: how meanings are attached to the human body, production and reproduction of gender hierarchies, and processes by which gender and sexual meanings (and associated social forms) may be transformed or contested in societies. Prerequisite:  Anthropology 112 and one other anthropology course.     Four credit hours.  U.    MILLS
AY397f    Anthropology of the Senses      Explores a basic premise: sensory perception is as much a cultural act as a physical or biological function. As we consider the inter-relations of the senses with historically dynamic human bodily experience, we ask what it means to study the senses. What are the possible relationships among physiological capacities; social, political, and economic organizations; and their corresponding relations of power? How are gender, race, sexuality, and social class embodied through everyday sociality and sensory perceptions? How are food, drink, art, music, dance, and other corporeal practices mediated through personal and collective ideologies and practices around the affective and the sensual?     Four credit hours.    HOPE
AY398s    Anthropology of Contemporary Issues      Delves into anthropological research on a selection of topics of contemporary relevance, such as the war on terror and counterinsurgency, the Human Genome Project, welfare debates, immigration reform, U.S. military involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan, the debt crisis, health inequities, conservation, natural disasters, and imprisonment. Students will be charged with identifying topics of their choice for further investigation. Our goal is to understand the selected issues from an anthropological perspective and to grasp the particular power, insight, and relevance of anthropological perspectives. Prerequisite:  Anthropology 112.     Four credit hours.    BESTEMAN
[AY437]    Media, Culture, and the Political Imagination      Listed as Global Studies 437.     Four credit hours.  
[AY451]    Ethnicity, Nationalism, and the State in Europe      Listed as Global Studies 451.     Four credit hours.  
AY462s    Global Mobilities: Movements, Modernities, Citizenships      In today's world, dramatic flows of people, goods, and ideas enable claims to new (and newly imaginable) identities while at the same time challenging familiar norms and social structures. Ethnographic case studies from Asia, the United States, and elsewhere explore the diverse ways in which contemporary modernities, citizenships, and mobilities constitute dynamic fields of social meaning as well as critical arenas of cultural, political, and social struggle. Students will design and carry out a significant independent research project exploring course themes resulting in a substantive analytical paper and an oral presentation. Prerequisite:  Anthropology 112, one 300-level or two 200-level anthropology courses, and junior or higher standing.     Four credit hours.    MILLS
AY474s    Anthropology as Public Engagement      An exploration of innovative ways in which anthropology is used for proactive, public engagement in global, national, institutional, and local information networks, program planning, policy implementation, and transformative social action. Examined are past, present, and envisioned future engagements in various social fields spanning several disciplines, including economic development, environmental protection, labor relations, education, tourism, health care, human rights, gender equity, indigenous rights, state polity and law, nongovernmental organizations, popular media, and social movements. Prerequisite:  Junior or senior standing as an anthropology major.     Four credit hours.    BESTEMAN
AY483f, 484s    Honors in Anthropology      Prerequisite:  Senior standing, admission to the honors program, and permission of the supervising faculty member.     Three or four credit hours.    FACULTY
AY491f, 492s    Independent Study      Individual topics in areas where the student has demonstrated the interest and competence necessary for independent work. Prerequisite:  Permission of the instructor.     Two to four credit hours.    FACULTY
AY498s    Violence, Development, and Social Justice      Listed as Global Studies 498.     Four credit hours.    FRIEDERIC