Anthropology | Culture and Society
E105 | 5215 | Suslak

How can we learn to understand peoples and cultures different from or
unfamiliar to us, and how can we apply this understanding to think
more clearly and critically about our own? Sociocultural anthropology
studies the complexity of human experiences around the world. While
other disciplines focus on either the local or the global, the past or
the present, the individual or the group, sociocultural
anthropologists seek out what links these all together. Because
sociocultural anthropology looks at human societies in a holistic
manner it offers a unique vantage point from which to analyze and
address current social problems and age-old challenges. In this course
we will learn about the basic concepts and methods of sociocultural
anthropology and use them to examine a series of themes that are basic
and common to people everywhere: community, subsistence, social
structure, politics and power, consumption, globalization, religion,
tradition, family and kinship, ritual, identity, gender, and race and
ethnicity, to name but a few. We will be studying how people are
affected by the larger forces around them—political, economic,
historical—yet still manage to shape their own lives and make sense of
their circumstances. We will also be exploring how anthropological
knowledge and methods can be applied in a principled way to real-world
issues with real-world consequences.