Anthropology | Social and Cultural Anthropology
E200 | 6012 | Stoeltje
Individuals in all societies grow from childhood to adulthood and
assume positions in their communities. In the process gender roles and
issues become clearly outlined, and questions of marriage and
reproduction assume prominence. These will be articulated with the
cosmology of the group so that it all seems consistent. Though
societies differ in their definitions and expectations, most groups
addresses these fundamental issues through ritual. The first section
of the course will focus on the gender expectations, the rituals, and
the systems of reciprocity that organize the processes of growth and
reproduction in several specific societies - and how these undergo
change. We will include consideration of marriage and weddings in the
U.S. as well.
Another issue facing all societies is conflict. In the second section
we will examine some of the legal systems and courts developed by
various societies for resolving conflict. When anthropologists study
this area it is considered legal anthropology or the anthropology of
law. However, anthropologists also bring a special perspective to the
study of international conflicts. We will, therefore, focus on the
war in Afghanistan, and other international conflicts as well.
As social groups, all peoples have to confront survival and
well-being. In the third section, then, we will turn to food and
water and the environment, the most fundamental elements of survival.
We will consider the contemporary crisis in water and how various
people are coping with it, we will examine the role of food and its
production, and we will take up issues concerning the environment such
as the effort to maintain forests, for example, by Wangara Maathai in
Kenya. Framing these issues will be a consideration of the
relationship between the environment, science, religion, and politics.
Social-cultural anthropologists use a method known as ethnography in
which we spend extended periods of time with a group of people or a
society whose lives we hope to understand. The results of such
empirical field research are ethnographic texts that tell the stories
of people's lives. The readings for this course, then, will be
Texts for the course:
Rafferty and Ukaegbu, Faces of Anthropology
Farrer, Claire. Thunder Rides a Black Horse
Piot, Charles. Remotely Global: Village Modernity in West Africa.
Additional readings on e reserve or available through the library.
Reading is to be done before the day it appears on the syllabus.
Two mini-field projects (ethnographic field work)
Report on one journal article
Class Participation and short assignments
Midterm, Quizzes, and Final