last update 6/12
Prof. Daniel M. Varisco
Office: 200F Davison
Purpose of Course
This course traces the main currents in the history of Anthropology as a modern discipline with a focus on the ways in which
"culture” has been explained. The student is exposed to some of the main anthropological voices in both American and British Anthropology, as well as recent debate over the future of anthropology.
•• Learn the basic foundation of American four-field anthropology.
•• Develop and apply critical thinking and analytic skills to representations of human culture within and outside the discipline of Anthropology.
•• Approach the study of human beings through a combination of skills, including the scientific method, qualitative social analysis and reflective criticism.
•• Apply the theory and methodologies developed within Anthropology and related disciplines to major social and cultural concerns in the multi-cultural global context.
•• Improve communication skills through structured essays and/or oral presentations.
•• Guidance provided for new forms of information technology, especially computer-related skills and analysis of data in digital formats.
•• Develop awareness of career opportunities in Anthropology through advanced graduate training and in non-academic professional careers.
• Besteman, Catherine and Hugh Gusterson, editors (2005) Why America’s Top Pundits are Wrong? Anthropologists Talk Back. Berkeley: University of California Press.
• Erickson, Paul A. and Liam D. Murphy (2008) A History of Anthropological Theory. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. Third Edition.
• Articles on Blackboard and internet as assigned by professor
9/5 The Road to Anthropology
• Powerpoint Presentation
READ: Erickson and Murphy, 21- 43; Hobbes online (http://www.iep.utm.edu/hobmoral/#H2) focus on sections 1, 3, 4b, 4d, 5a but you are encouraged to read the whole essay), Rousseau online (http://www.constitution.org/jjr/socon_01.htm#001) focus on sections 1,2,3,6
9/12 The Impact of Darwin and Cultural Evolution
READ: Erickson and Murphy, 48-74, Darwin 1871 on Blackboard, Morgan (1877, Ancient Society, chapter 1) at http://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/morgan-lewis/ancient-society/ch01.htm
9/19 Edward Tylor and Edward Said
READ:: Tylor on Blackboard, Varisco (2004) on Blackboard
• CAE #1: What Makes Tylor the Father of Modern Anthropology?
II. Anthropology in America
9/25 (Tuesday) Franz Boas, Robert Lowie and Alfred Kroeber
READ: Erickson and Murphy, 93-102), Boas (1896) and Kroeber (1917:pp. 163-169, 196-199 and 207-213) on Blackboard
10/3 Margaret Mead and Ruth Benedict
READ: Erickson and Murphy, 102-111, Margaret Mead in Samoa (at http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/mead/field-samoa.html), Shankman (1996) pdf on Blackboard, Ruth Benedict, Patterns of Culture, http://classes.yale.edu/03-04/anth500b/projects/project_sites/02_alexy/ruthpatterns.html
10/10 Neoevolution, Cultural Materialism and Sociobiology
READ: Erickson and Murphy, 141-156 and Harris "Cultural Materialsm" at http://www.cultural-materialism.org/cm_preface.asp
10/17 Symbolic and Interpretive Anthropology
READ: Erickson and Murphy, 157-164, Geertz (1972) pdf on Blackboard
• CAE #2: The Cocksure Anthropology of Clifford Geertz
IV. British Anthropology in the 20th Century
10/24 Bronislaw Malinowski and E. E. Evans-Pritchard
Note: Watch the films on your own before class...
FILM: On the Verandah (1990) V-3547
READ: Erickson and Murphy, 123- 134, Malinowski 1936 pdf on Blackboard
FILM: Strange Beliefs (1990) V-2437
READ: Evans-Pritchard 1973 pdf on Blackboard
V. Anthropologists Talk Back
11/28 Postmodernism and the Future of Anthropology
READ: Erickson and Murphy, 177-215
12/5 The End of Anthropology?
READ: Comaroff (2010) pdf on Blackboard
12/12 The Value of Being There
READ: Varisco (2006) pdf on Blackboard
FINAL EXAM AND RAG DUE BY DECEMBER 19
1. READING THE ASSIGNMENTS by the date noted in the course
schedule or as directed by the professor.
It is necessary to read the assigned material before class so that you can participate fully in class discussion and bring up questions or explore issues you are not clear about. This is a tutorial and not a lecture class. Bring the assigned text with you to class on the relevant day.
2. CLASS ATTENDANCE. . If you are unable to attend class due to any reason (e.g., medical, traffic accident, sports travel, job interview, alarm didn't go off) you must make up the class with me at another time. Please let me know if you have a schedule conflict, so we can possibly re-arrange our schedule.
3. EXAMS: There will be one final essay exam with two essay questions and 13 short answer (the short answers will be given in class on the final class): each exam essay will be graded according to the following criteria:
a. Demonstration that the information is understood
b. Use of relevant and appropriate information and examples from the course
c. Critical analysis of key concepts
d. Understanding of anthropological perspective
e. Synthesis and reformulation in your own words
f. Clarity, completeness and coherence of response
4. CLASS ASSIGNMENT ESSAY (CAE)
Each student is required to write three original short essays related to assigned readings and film viewings. The student must hand in the essay on the day due. These assignments should be typed. Each assignment must be at least 750 words (ca. 3 pages) in length and preferably no more than 4 pages (1000 words). The purpose of the assignment is to show how you interact with the material you are reading or seeing. You must relate your ideas and opinions specifically to the assigned reading or topic. You may also use the assignment to raise issues and ask me questions. The grading for this essay is “outcome based,” which means that a particular assignment can be revised or expanded as necessary to meet the established criteria for full credit of 10 points per assignment, assuming it is handed in on time. All assignments may be revised and must be handed back for full credit within two weeks. The criteria, each worth 2 points, are:
• a. Appropriate length and degree to which you interact with the material
• b. Use of appropriate and relevant examples from the course material
• c. Critical analysis of key concepts and perspectives
• d. Shows awareness of indigenous perspectives
• e. Coherent argument and clear presentation of points
CAE #1 (due 9/19) What Makes Tylor the Father of Modern Anthropology? Having read Tylor’s definition of “culture” and my article on the importance of Tylor’s view of culture, discuss three important aspects of the work of Edward Tylor that separate him from discussions of human culture before Darwin and that influenced the rise of anthropology as a formal discipline.
CAE #2 (due 10/17) The Cocksure Anthropology of Clifford Geertz. In his essay Geertz (1972:29) writes: “The culture of a people is an ensemble of texts, themselves ensembles, which the anthropologist strains to read over the shoulders of those to whom they properly belong.” After reading his essay, what do you think Geertz means by reading a ritual as one would a written text? If the anthropologist is reading “over the shoulders” of the people being observed, how can we know that the results are not the view of the anthropologist rather than the “native point of view”?
CAE #3 (due 10/31 ) The Anthropology of Culture Clash Talking. First read what Huntington has to say, then, after reading the critiques of Samuel Huntington’s “clash of civilizations” thesis, explain what you think are the three strongest criticisms from an anthropological point of view. Go beyond what you read in the two assigned critiques and bring in something you have learned earlier in the course.
a. Overall level of effort and engagement with material
b. Comprehensive responses to most questions (more than a phrase or simple gist)
c. Recognizes key issues involved
d. Raises questions about what is read
e. Provides personal views and opinions (you will not be graded on what you say, but you must make an effort to state how the course material affects your understanding of the material)
Grading in this course is based on a 100 point scale (although the student has the opportunity to earn 105 points in the course). The “A” range will extend from 90-100, the “B” range from 80-89, the “C” range from 70-79, the D-range starting at 64. The point accumulation breaks down as follows:
ITEM . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .TOTAL POINTS . . . . YOUR POINTS
Final Exam #1 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25
RAG . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50
Class Assignment Journal (CAJ) . . . . . . . . . . . 30
TOTAL . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .105