Honors | Culture, Nature, Property, Patrimony (ANTH)
A200 | 28646 | Shane Green


Second Eight Weeks
Tu Th 4:00-6:15pm

The course provides a detailed look at a relatively recent and
highly politicized debate that results from the intersection of
local/global understandings of culture and nature as they are
articulated through Western understandings of private property,
communal non/property, and propertied patrimony.

In particular, we will use classical works in social and cultural
theory to understand the philosophical, legal, economic, and social
bases of property, patrimonial property, intellectual property, and
common non/property in Western capitalist societies. We will then
examine how various indigenous, ethnic, and local peoples, as well
as economically marginalized nation-states now stake political,
economic, and social claims that contest Western economic and
cultural domination, simultaneously coopting and subverting the
logic of Western property regimes. Interestingly, while some of
these actors claim various kinds of exclusive property and
patrimonial rights over various aspects of their cultures and
natures, others work to defend the idea (and ideal) of maintaining
a “commons,” which in effect is a curious and ambiguous form of
communal non/property. At the center of such political debates and
concerns are both tangible (i.e. physical) forms of property (like
archaeological sites, human remains, bio-genetic diversity) and
intangible (or intellectual) forms of property (like myths,
medicinal knowledge, musical genres, etc.). Both the intangible and
the tangible here represent practices, sites, objects, and values
found at the intersection of culture and nature.  By the end of the
course students should have a greater understanding of the various
kinds of property claims that exist and how they are being used by
ethnic groups and poorer nations to assert control over their
cultures/natures.