200 Level Courses
200 Level Courses
AN 210 Medical Anthropology
In this course, we will investigate the social dimensions of health and illness, exploring the diverse ways in which humans use cultural resources to cope with disease and to develop medical and healing systems. We will also examine how the definition, diagnosis, experience, and treatment of illnesses vary across cultures, including the critical examination of biomedicine. Course materials have been chosen to facilitate the exploration of beliefs regarding some often taken-for-granted assumptions about health and human behavior by using the tools provided by anthropological theories and concepts.4 cr.
AN 220 Urban Anthropology
Urban anthropology is the study of human beings and their cultural institutions and practices in the dense, complex, demanding settlements we call cities. This course begins with a consideration of how people use space, make it their own, erect boundaries and challenge them. From there we move on to the historical city and attempts to grasp theoretically the nature of the city. We will also discuss issues of space and power as they emerge in colonial practices, nationalist and middle-class reconstructions of the cityscape and suburbs, gendered space, and the consequences of ethnicity, race and poverty. Novel forms of accommodation as well as the seeds of opposition can be discerned among populations of migrants and squatters, and in urban subcultures. Finally, we will examine the intersection of global and local identities and the “imaginary” cities of postmodernity. Examples also will be drawn from many areas of the world. 4 cr.
AN 240 Legal Anthropology
This course concentrates on anthropological approaches to issues of law and order in societies at various levels of political, economic, and social complexity, including the United States. It examines the variety of ways in which societies – with or without courts or written codes – maintain order, structure, regulate and mediate competition, conflict, and dispute; provide forms of order and authority, and offer inducements or coercion to elicit action or restraint. We will discuss the development of anthropological interests in processes of social control, law and order, authority and power, negotiation and coercion, and retribution and restitution. We will explore the relationships between legal structures, social forces, cultural values, and the law. 4 cr. Satisfies divisional studies requirement (SS).
AN 243 Shamanism
The term shaman appears to come from the Tungus-speaking peoples of Eastern Siberia, where it refers to a special type of individual who beats a drum in order to enter into a state of trance that makes communication with spirits possible. As a result of such communication, communities were able to have a different kind of knowledge with which to heal illness, find game to hunt, and know things about the future. In a wide range of social and cultural variability, the phenomenon of shamanism, referring most generally to the ability of certain individuals to communicate directly with spirits, has been found to exist throughout the world. For a long period of time, it was viewed with derision by Western scholars, but has gradually come to be taken very seriously by scholars and non-scholars alike. The notion of shamanism is, nonetheless, hotly contested; some see in it the pure source and origin of human religion dating to the beginnings of human history, while others see in it only a very modern and political response to cultural imperialism. Other contested arguments concerning shamanism include attempts to differentiate it from mediumship and possession; to designate the truth-value of shamanism in terms of medicine, science, and cultural identity; and to assess its importance to myth, literature, music, and even institutionalized religions. We will tackle all of these issues throughout this term.
This course will be devoted to exploring shamanism from a global and theoretical perspective, beginning with an examination of the construction of the notion of shamanism from its first recognition in Western writings to its modern understanding in both academic and non-academic settings. The primary goal of this course is to enable you to gain a deeper understanding of shamanism, the problems that surround the use of this notion as it is applied to multiple cultures, and a general awareness of and sensitivity to the religious practices that surround shamanism on all sides. 4 cr.
AN 250 Understanding Folklore and Folklife
This course will serve as an introduction to folklore and folklife, the ways in which individuals, families and communities express themselves, their beliefs, and their values within their own culture. It will emphasize the understanding of meaning revealed in the full range of folkloric genres: social folk customs such as holidays, rites of passage and festivals; oral literature, such as the tales, sayings. jokes and poetry; the aesthetically subtle performing folk arts such as singing and dancing; and material culture, the individual skills and techniques displayed by craftspeople and artists and the products resulting from their application.
The primary focus of the course for each student will be the folklore and folklife of his or her own family and community which will be documented in archive-ready format and organized in a personal report of family folklore. A strong participatory quality will be continued through class activities as a way of getting the “feel” of folklore and folklife. 4 cr.
AN 252 Ethnicity and Identity
What does it mean to speak of ethnic identity? Where does it come from? How is it maintained? Why do people all over the world seem willing to kill in its name? What, if anything, do global changes in economic and social orders have to do to with this phenomenon? How should we think about the relationships between ethnicity and other forms of social identification, particularly nationality, class, race, gender, and generation? And why do these other ways of conceptualizing self and community often seem to be eclipsed by ethnicity? In this class, we will discuss some of the major anthropological approaches to ethnic identification. We will thresh out the difference between ethnicity as an analytical and experiential concept, exploring why it is in fact so hard to do just that. We will also try to understand when, why, and how people unknown to one another come to experience each other as part of (or alien to) a “naturally” bounded community. Through social science texts and case studies drawn from Africa, Asia, Europe, South America, and the United States, we will examine the forms of daily practice that inspire and concretize feelings of ethnic attachment and commonality and those that mitigate such sentiments. 4 cr.
AN 260 Sex and Gender in Anthropological Perspective (formerly Women and Men)
What role does biology play in what we perceive to be male and female and what role does cultural learning play? What different ways are there of being feminine and masculine? How can one account for differences in the status of women and men? What room is there for ambiguity in gender and in the social expression of sexual identity?
Sex and gender are fundamental aspects of the human experience. They are also useful analytic constructs. This course will examine the cultural construction and diverse understandings of sex and gender in a variety of the world’s societies. In comparing the processes of becoming men and women in societies around the world, we will consider the roles of socialization, ritual, religion, family, and kinship structures, as well as modern political currents, globalization, and the media. In the process we will try to gain some insight into how sex and gender are constructed and understood in our own society. 4 cr. Satisfies divisional studies requirement (SS). Cross-listed for minor in Women’s Studies.
AN 263 The Behavioral Biology of Women
An exploration of female behavioral biology from an evolutionary and biosocial perspective. Focuses on physiological, ecological, and social aspects of women’s development from puberty, through reproductive processes such as pregnancy, birth and lactation, to menopause and aging. Also explores female life history strategies in a variety of cultural settings. Topics include cognitive and behavioral differences between men and women and male and female reproductive strategies. Examples are drawn primarily from traditional and modem human societies; data from studies of nonhuman primates are also considered. 4 cr.
AN 280 English Ritual Dance and Drama
Prereq: consent of instructor. A movement-oriented course on the performance styles, history, and folklore of the seasonal Morris dances and mummers’ plays that traditionally thrive in England. 4 cr.
AN 285 Coping with Crisis in Contemporary Africa (Area)
Explores the ways ordinary Africans are coping with problems of security, environmental degradation, forced migration, economic decline, and disease. Readings and lectures contrast outsiders’ interpretations of these “crises” with the way they are experienced by those they affect. 4 cr.
AN 290 Children and Culture
One of the best ways to learn about the cultural knowledge, norms and values of a group of people is to examine the ways that they raise, socialize and educate their children. Parents, families, teachers and governments have diverse aims in regard to the maturation of children and what they need to learn in order to become successful adults and citizens. In the course of our exploration of children and culture some of the topics we will study include: various childcare techniques, beliefs about childhood and adolescence, socialization experiences and the objectives of school systems in different areas of the world. Additionally, we hope to illuminate cross-cultural similarities and differences in conceptions of personhood, identity, and the relationship between the individual and society. Course readings look at preschools in Japan, China and the United States; childcare strategies in Brazil, Kenya and the Central African Republic; religious ideology and childrearing among the Beng of West Africa and investigations into the relationship between childrearing and the reproduction of socio-economic class in the US.
For students of Anthropology, Psychology and other social sciences, this course offers the opportunity to explore an experience that we have all shared—childhood—from a cultural perspective. We ask, for example, about the role of culture in our own social development and the kinds of adults we have become. Students of Education, teachers and social workers interested in learning and talking about the challenges and rewards of the increasingly multi-cultural populations with whom they engage in their work are encouraged to join the class. More generally, the readings and assignments for this class are suitable for students not focused on the social sciences, parents and other interested individuals who seek an engaging classroom setting in which to explore the relationship between children, parenting, education and culture. A background in Anthropology is not required for this course.
4 cr. Cross-listed for minor in Women’s Studies.