Course Topics

ANTH 101 A Cultural Anthropology
A study in what it means to be human, this course uses the concept of culture to account for the tremendous variety of practices and beliefs throughout the world. Students will also examine patterns in human behavior, addressing cultural similarities as well as cultural differences. Course content provides insight into how cultural anthropologists do what they do - what methods they use to study culture and what ethical issues they may encounter while doing so. Students will be expected to engage some of these anthropological methods through completion of an ethnographic research project over the course of the semester.

ANTH 339 A Writing Culture: Ethnology
This course explores the relationships between theory and ethnography in historical and socio-cultural context. This semester we will focus on ethnographies centered on "limit experiences" that challenge Western rationality. For example, practices of magic and witchcraft described in Malinowski's Argonauts of the Western Pacific or Evans-Pritchard's Witchcraft, Oracles and Magic among the Azande, force ethnographers to struggle with what it means to write from "the native's point of view." Though these two ethnographies are now "classics," in their time they were highly controversial, generating new theories and conventions of writing. In this course we will do "close readings" of ethnographies as rhetorical texts to discover the implicit theories, historical, and socio-cultural contexts embedded in the writings of each ethnographer. Revitalizing ethnographic writing is also a key goal of this course. You will learn how to write thick description. We will focus on how to deal with issues of voice in interviewing, participant observation and writing. We will discuss some of the ethical issues raised by ethnography.

ANTH 185 A Culture of Capitalism
There has emerged over the past five hundred years a distinctive culture of capitalism dominated by a belief in trade and commodity consumption as the main source of well-being. The spread of the capitalist-world system has been accompanied by the creation of peculiar ways of constructing social relations, ways of viewing the world, methods of food production, the creation of needs through advertisement, and relationships to the environment. The spread of this culture has not gone unchallenged. How and why capitalist culture developed and the reasons why some groups resisted and continue to resist its development are among the questions to be explored in this course.

ANTH 305 A Social & Cultural Change
A specialized study of cultural and social factors-as various as national and social elitism, consumerism, and revolution-which promote change in technical and non-technical societies. Both theories and case studies are used to explore the processes and effects of energy flow, cultural integration, social innovation, diffusion, and other accommodations related to social change.