Anthropology | Stories/Stereotypes:Disc Diff
E394 | 0392 | Stoeltje


This course focuses on forms of informal communication as the means by
which beliefs, stereotypes, attitudes, values, and prejudices are
transmitted through society.  We will examine many stories
(narratives, jokes, etc.) that people tell and beliefs people hold
about themselves, other people, and also about events.  Using texts,
movies, and music, we will attempt to understand the ways in which
ideas develop about difference and sameness, about one's own
experiences and that of others.  These ideas which sometimes develop
into prejudices, at other times into conspiracy theories, and even
into tolerance and understanding in some instances,  are encapsulated
in the discourses of everyday life.

Students will write papers that total at least 5000 words.  Some of
these will be responses to readings or videos, while others will
involve reporting on observations or personal experience that relate
to ideas of sameness and difference.  Students will devote
considerable time to developing writing skills, including rewriting
selected essays and learning to critique one's own writing.

The class will work in groups quite often to discuss ideas and also to
develop writing skills.

The final writing project will be a study and analysis of discourse
that the student has observed and recorded concerning the topics we
discuss in class (difference and sameness, self and other,
conspiracies and realities, humor and mimicry, etc.).  The discourse
and the situation in which it occurs must be located in the author's
home life or campus life, but observations may be incorporated from
readings and movies we have watched in the class.

There are no exams.

Texts:
Phoebe Reeves, What's the Big Idea
Anna Deveare Smith, Fires in the Mirror
Keith Basso, Portraits of "The Whiteman"
Phillip Deloria,  Playing Indian