Anthropology | Social and Cultural Anthropology
E200 | 0494 | Royce
The ways in which people order their lives and understand themselves as
individuals who belong to communities is at the heart of social and
cultural anthropology. As social beings, all peoples have to confront and
resolve similar challenges: material survival and well-being; balancing
the needs and desires of individuals with those of society; establishing
relationships; resolving conflict; finding a satisfying identity;
explaining one's place in the world. We will examine different
cultures to see the ways in which they have dealt with these and other
We will also examine the ways in which social and cultural anthropologists
understand people and their lives. As anthropologists, we spend extended
periods of time with those peoples whose lives we hope to understand, at a
minimum one year and for many, a lifetime. The results of such empirical
field research are ethnographic texts that tell the stories of people's
lives. Such ethnographies provide the reading for this course.
As we read about and work through the different topics, two kinds of
questions will guide our understanding: the first examines the external
and internal forces that shape cultures and individuals; the second
examines the processes by which anthropologists understand the cultures in
which they work.
Texts for the course:
Basso, Keith. Wisdom Sits in Places.
Fadiman Anne. The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down.
Meyerhoff, Barbara. Number Our Days.
Shostak, Majorie. Nisa: Life and Words of a !Kung Woman.
*one other to be chosen
100pts 5 In-class essay quizzes (4 will count toward your grade)
200pts 2 Field projects
50pts Class participation
100pts Mid-term exam
100pts Final exam