Anthropology | Proseminar in Cultural and Social Anth
E500 | 5224 | Royce

Above section graduate standing or permission of instructor

In this seminar, we will examine contemporary theories and practices
in cultural and social anthropology.  Because human behavior and
thought are at the core of social and cultural anthropology, we must
pay attention to those changing contexts in which people craft their
lives. This attention is particularly important in the
post-paradigmatic state of the field in which there is no one or even
several dominant theories.  Rather, central issues such as
displacement and the meaning of place in a world on the move, identity
formation and representation in a world of blurred and shifting
boundaries, the pull of the local and the global, environmental and
social change, the unequal distribution of power and resources, the
meaning of sacred and secular, and more, all engage anthropology,
requiring a rethinking of approaches, theories, and ethical
responsibilities. We go back and forth between models, theory and
ethnography, between looking for general patterns across cultures and
documenting difference, between academic contributions and
application. We have developed concepts for talking about what we know
that define the field, including culture, history, comparison, and
ethnography.  We will examine their trajectories as well as their
utility in today's world. Finally, we will see how questions of
agency, power, embodiment, and voice as well as new technologies have
changed the discipline.
	.  The first two readings from Eric Wolf and Isaiah Berlin and the
written assignment based on them will provide everyone with a common
foundation in the history of some important concepts in the field.
Authors whose work we will read include Anderson, Appadurai, Bourdieu,
Colson, Comaroffs, Douglas, Foucault, Geertz, Stoller,
Strathern,Tambiah, and Wolf.  We may add others depending on class
interests and guest lecturers.