Anthropology | Social and Cultural Anthropology
E200 | 7599 | Stoeltje
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. We will examine
different cultures to see the ways in which they have dealt with these
and other issues.
We will also examine the ways in which social and cultural
anthropologists understand people and their lives. 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.
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.
We will conduct several min-ethnographies - projects in which students
observe social life in their own environment and write about it.
Reading is to be done on the first day of the time period for a
Midterm and Final