Anthropology | Social and Cultural Anthropology
E200 | 14186 | 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, and expressing
themselves in arts and performance. We will examine different
cultures to see the ways in which they have dealt with these and other
issues. We will also look at the ways in which people and communities
situate themselves in the larger global community.
Secondly, we will examine how social and cultural anthropologists
understand people and their lives and tell their stories. 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, and will include
cultures and societies such as the Cibecue Apache, the!Kung of
Southern Africa, Mayan farmers in Guatemala, Hmong refugees living in
California, and others.
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.
Course requirements will include mini field projects that will give
you an opportunity to do ethnographic research, a midterm examination
composed of short essays, and a final take-home exam.