Anthropology | PROSEMINAR CULTURAL & SOCIAL ANTHROPOLOGY
E500 | 0371 | Royce
All disciplines are created, developed, changed and sustained with in the
contexts of scholarship and academic institutions on the one hand, and the
worlds of politics, economics, community and global alliances on the
other. Those disciplines that take human beings, their values, behaviors,
dreams and disappointments, as the focus of study are even more affected
by some of those contexts. Certainly Anthropology has, throughout its
history, been sensitive to goings-on in the world external to it. At the
level of epistemology, Anthropology has also been shaped by the
transforming processes of disciplinary change.
We have set ourselves the task of "trying to understand the range, bitter
to sweet, of human experience" (Colson 1989:3). In the process, the field
goes back and forth between theory and ethnography, between trying to
perceive general patterns across cultures and arguing for diversity,
between being a product of the Enlightenment and a product of the Romantic
reaction, between being removed and being applied. We have created
meta-language for talking about how we know what we know. We have
invented concepts for talking about what we "know." The most persistent
is "culture" but it is joined by history, comparison, and ethnography.
All of these are affected by power, both as concept and as thing.
To understand contemporary social and cultural anthroology, we must follow
the pattern of the field, moving back and forth from theories to data, and
following the vagaries of those guiding concepts. It matters that we
understand who we are as a discipline because it makes us better
anthropologists, and because it makes us better critics of ourselves and
of the field.
Class attendance and participation 30%
Annotations of readings 30%
Three short written assignments 40%