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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
[AY175]    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.  
[AY176]    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.  
AY197Aj    World at Play      We explore play as a field of activity that both refracts and constitutes cultural values as well as social and political relations. Through sociocultural and linguistic analyses of joking, pranking, and other playful acts in our own and other cultures, we will illuminate how others make sense of the world and consider the possibilities of play to incite or hinder social change.     Three credit hours.  S, I.    MENAIR
AY197Bj    Archaeology of Food and Drink      We are what we eat, but also where we eat, how we eat, when we eat, and with whom we eat. Food is a fundamental aspect of all human societies and so is a fascinating entry point for exploring our archeological past. We examine the unique impact of food and drink on evolution, identity, gender, politics, wealth, and health throughout human history. Topics covered include an interrogation of the "man the hunter" hypothesis of human evolution, slave diets in Colonial America, alcohol in the Inca Empire, the impact of wheat domestication on societies, and recent popularity of the paleo diet.     Three credit hours.  S.    SMITH
AY212j    Human Rights and Social Struggles in Global Perspective      Listed as Global Studies 211.     Three credit hours.    FAN
[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.    BHIMULL
[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.  
[AY237]    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.  
[AY238]    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.  
[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.  
AY244f    Anthropology of Religion      Introduces students to the anthropological study of religion, focusing on the lived experience of religion in a variety of historical, social, and cultural contexts. Examines religious symbols, ritual, possession, magic, and the relationship between religion and modernity. Cross-cultural investigation of diverse religious phenomena through ethnographic case studies, such as witchcraft in Sudan, voodoo in Brooklyn, and women's participation in the mosque movement in Egypt. Students will use concepts learned in class to design and carry out an independent research project on a relevant topic of their choosing. Prerequisite:  Anthropology 112.     Four credit hours.  I.    STROHL
AY246s    Engaging Muslim Worlds      Introduces students to the anthropology of Muslim societies. We will examine the ways that anthropologists and Muslims have made sense of Islam as a global religion and its local manifestations in different cultural contexts. Through reading works by anthropologists, journalists, and activists, students will consider key theoretical approaches to the study of pluralism, the relationship between religious knowledge and practice, the Islamic revival, syncretism, and modernity. We will investigate these issues in places as varied as Lebanon, Pakistan, Indonesia, and Mayotte. Prerequisite:  Anthropology 112.     Four credit hours.  I.    STROHL
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.  
AY258f    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.    BHIMULL
[AY261]    Japanese Language and Culture      Listed as East Asian Studies 261.     Four credit hours.  S, I.  
[AY264]    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.  
AY268s    Politics of Satire and Humor in Modern China      Listed as East Asian Studies 268.     Four credit hours.  S.    ZHANG
AY297f    Global Health and Human Rights      Listed as Global Studies 297.     Four credit hours.    FAN
AY297Bf    Latin American Ethnographies      Examines the diverse lived realities of everyday people throughout Latin America through a survey of contemporary ethnographic research. Topics include the intersections of race, class, and sexuality; how citizenship and social movements are changing Latin American democracies; and the impacts of neoliberalism and global economic systems on everyday life. Objectives are to pursue a broad understanding of cultural, political, and economic formations in Latin America, and to reflect critically and comparatively on contemporary trends in Latin American anthropology. Students will refine their academic research skills through article reviews and making an ethnographic research plan. Ethnographic and documentary films will supplement classroom readings. Prerequisite:  Anthropology 112.     Four credit hours.  I.    STONE
AY298Bs    Anthropological Perspective on Science and Religion      Cross-cultural research ranging from ethnographies of in vitro fertilization in Ecuador to religious healing in Madagascar to fetal personhood in the United States introduces students to new cultural perspectives on the relationship of science and religion. Ongoing written and oral discussion of case studies will enable students to gain facility with key theoretical models used to study the cultural politics of science and technology as well as the moral dilemmas of scientific applications. Students will apply these analytical concepts in a final research project on a topic of their own selection. Prerequisite:  Anthropology 112.     Four credit hours.    HALVORSON
AY298Cs    Language in Culture and Society      Students will gain facility with key theoretical models and anthropological concepts used in linguistic anthropology, including discourse analysis, markedness theory, and language ideologies. Written and oral discussion of critical case studies will enable students to engage relevant conceptual tools and apply these to specific ethnographic materials. Students will learn to apply such insights to the study of the interrelationship of language and the social difference of race, gender, and class; linguistic nationalism and standardization; religious language; speech communities; and cross-cultural differences in language socialization. Prerequisite:  Anthropology 112.     Four credit hours.    HALVORSON
AY298Ds    From Pitchforks to Twitter: An Anthropology of Social Movements      Anthropological approaches to understanding organized social movements. Uses rich ethnographic, cross-cultural, and historical case studies to examine how and why people have created social movements to resist industrialization, colonization, and globalization, as well as more cultural forces such as racism, sexism, and homophobia. From 19th-century mobs to the #Occupy movements, students will investigate how people have attempted to transform their social, cultural, and political worlds, what consequences their efforts have had, and how social scientists have theorized these transformations. Prerequisite:  Anthropology 112.     Four credit hours.  S.    STONE
AY313s    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.    STROHL
AY333f    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.    BHIMULL
[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.  
[AY363]    Secrecy and Power      This seminar examines the use of secrecy in political, religious, and social contexts. Students will engage with theoretical, ethnographic, and historical texts to trace the development of key analytical, methodological, and ethical issues concerning the anthropological study of concealment. Topics will vary according to student interest but may include transparency, surveillance, publicity, privacy, passing, argots, codes and ciphers, dissimulation, esotericism, and epistemology. Students will complete an independent research project on the use of secrecy in a historical or social context of their choosing. Prerequisite:  Anthropology 112.     Four credit hours.  I.  
AY371f    Japanese Language, Gender, and Sexuality      Listed as East Asian Studies 371.     Four credit hours.  I.    ABE
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
AY397Af    Aging and Public Policy in East Asia      Listed as East Asian Studies 397A.     Four credit hours.    ZHANG
AY397Bf    Global Humanitarianism      Explores the uses, significance, and limitations of human rights discourse in a variety of global humanitarian initiatives. Students will gain awareness of specific political, historical, and cultural conditions that can enable or constrain humanitarian work and of the subjective and value orientations central to understanding contemporary humanitarian intervention, including caregiving and testimony. Written and oral discussion of in-depth case studies will enable students to apply and refine their understanding of key theoretical models and anthropological concepts culminating in an independent seminar research project. Prerequisite:  Anthropology 112 and junior or senior standing.     Four credit hours.    HALVORSON
AY398s    Religion and Social Change in Contemporary Africa      Participants will build awareness of the religious diversity of contemporary African societies using selected studies from Madagascar, Tanzania, Mali, Mozambique, and other sites. Students will learn to identify the relationship of African religions with diverse, transforming views on biomedicine and healing; urbanization; gender relations; modern subjectivities; development and humanitarianism; and the colonial legacy. Ongoing written and oral discussion will enable students to gain facility with key theoretical models to analyze the role of African religions in dynamic processes of political, economic, and cultural transformation. Prerequisite:  Anthropology 112 and junior or senior standing.     Four credit hours.    HALVORSON
AY398Bs    Cultures of Capitalism      Capitalism is perhaps the most important historic, social, and cultural phenomenon in the modern world. Anthropology's ethnographic focus enables a close examination of the complex meanings and structures of capitalism as they affect people's lives around the world. Working both with foundational texts in economic anthropology and with ethnographic case studies, students will explore how anthropologists study economic systems, including analyses of development, globalization, business, and consumer cultures. Specific cases may include international business masculinities, the cultural politics of advertising, petro-capitalism, factory-floor cultures in China, and the cultural dimensions of financial-trading careers in the United States and Europe. Prerequisite:  Anthropology 112.     Four credit hours.    STONE
AY398Cs    The Anthropology of Visual Media      An introduction to visual anthropology, a field that combines the use of film as a research method with ethnographic accounts of how visual media impacts culture, society, and politics. Through watching and analyzing ethnographic films, students will critically examine the changing trends in how anthropologists have used film as a research method. Through ethnographic, cross-cultural case studies—from the analysis of state sponsored soap operas in Egypt to indigenous video in Latin America—students will investigate how anthropologists have understood the cultural, social, and political impacts of film and television. Prerequisite:  Anthropology 112.     Four credit hours.    STONE
[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
[AY474]    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.  
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