Anthropology | DEVELOPMENT AND ANTHROPOLOGY
E490 | 0420 | Wilk
The vast majority of the world's people lives in poverty, and lack access
to many basic resources, services and rights. They face problems and
challenges that are difficult for most Americans to understand. It is even
harder for us to find ways of helping these people solve their economic,
social and political problems. This course is about the ways that
anthropology can contribute to both understanding basic human problems and
to finding solutions to them. This is the broadest sense of the term
"development" that you will hear so often in class. We will follow three
steps in finding our way towards an effective engagement between
anthropology and the pressing problems of the world.
Defining the problems of "underdevelopment."
In this section of the course we will read some case studies, and discuss
the nature of poverty. We will try to define for ourselves what we mean by
"development," how cultural relativism and applied anthropology can be
reconciled, and what ethical issues need to be considered in pursuing
Finding a Theoretical and Anthropological context.
Here we will discuss the theories and knowledge that inform development
work. We will look at the history of development theory, with special
attention to the political context and content of each model. We will also
look at anthropological models of culture change, and the growth of the
sub-discipline that is now recognizable as "development anthropology."
Critical application of knowledge to real problem.
The last third of the semester will be spent following the interests of
students into sub-areas of development anthropology (e.g. land tenure,
appropriate technology, water resources, war and conflict, law, gender and
development, education, tourism), and then into specific case study
evaluations of projects.
Undergraduates will write four short essays and give a classroom
Graduate students will write four longer essays and give a classroom