Anthropology Courses

CAS AN 307 – Turkey & Middle East Perspective
Social and cultural diversity of the modern Middle East with particular attention to Turkey. Focus on the interplay of tradition and socioeconomic changes that have occurred during the 20th century and their implications for the future.

CAS AN 317 – Power and Society in the Middle East
Peoples and cultures of the Middle East from Afghanistan to Morocco and from the Caucuses to Yemen. Focuses on social organization, family structure, the relationship between the sexes, and the development and maintenance of authority.

CAS AN 319 – Anthropology of Muslim Cultures and Politics
Taught Fall 2010 by Shahla Haeri
Muslim societies are today being buffeted by a struggle over the forms and meanings of Muslim culture and politics. This course examines this struggle, and its implications for religious authority, gender ideals, and new notions of citizenship, civil society, and democracy.

CAS AN 320 – Women in the Muslim World
A cross-cultural approach to the diversity and complexity of women’s lives in the Muslim world, including the United States. Looks at issues such as gender equality, civil society and democracy, sex segregation and sexual politics, kinship and marriage, and veiling.

CAS AN 347- Afghanistan
Prereq:(CASAN101) or sophomore standing. Ethnographic and historical examination of Afghanistan’s traditional social and political organization, ecology and economy, and relationship among ethnic groups. Civil wars and foreign interventions over the last thirty years, the current situation in Afghanistan, and prospects for the country’s future.

CAS AN 352 – Literacy and Islam in Africa
The course examines these sources of African knowledge, their role in the spread of Islam and the reverse effect of local influences on Islam, and the rich indigenous insights they hold. Selected Ajami and Arabic texts written by enslaved Africans in the Americas will also be examined.

CAS AN 355 – Religious Fundamentalism in Anthropological Perspective
Anthropological study of the global phenomenon of religious fundamentalism. A product of the modern world, fundamentalism is perceived as counter-cultural and anti-nationalist. Cases drawn from North America and Islamic Middle East, with special attention to women’s interpretation of religion.

CAS AN 360 – The Nomadic Alternative
Ethnographic and historical examination of nomads in Africa and Eurasia focusing on the ecology of pastoralism, nomadic social organization, political relations between nomads and states, the rise and fall of steppe empires, and the future of nomads.

CAS AN 371 – Political Anthropology of the Modern World
Examines the concepts of political anthropology and applies them to the analysis of the origins and development of the modern political world. Special attention to nations and nationalism, the state and modern development, comparative political culture, and urban and agrarian political change.

CAS AN 375 – Culture, Society, and Religion in South Asia
Ethnographic and historical introduction to the Indian subcontinent with a focus on the impact of religion on cultural practices and social institutions.

CAS AN 384 – Anthropological Study of Religion
Prereq: CAS AN101 or consent of instructor. 
An introduction to the anthropological study of myth, ritual, and religious experience across cultures. Special attention to the problem of religious symbolism and meaning, religious conversion and revitalization, contrasts between traditional and world religions, and the relation of religious knowledge to science, magic, and ideology.

CAS AN 525 – Ritual and Political Identity
Prereq: Senior standing or consent of instructor. Provides a conceptual foundation for interpreting and understanding ritual and its role in shaping political and social identity and worldview. Focus on cases drawn from the contemporary Muslim World.

CAS AN 532 – Literacy, Culture, and Islam in Africa Prereq: Junior or senior standing, or consent of instructor. The course examines the Islamization of Africa and the development of local poetry and prose traditions. Students learn about the rich unsuspected body of African chanted and written materials (with the modified Arabic script) and gain a deeper understanding of African cultures, the spread of Islam in Africa, and its Africanization. Similar texts written by enslaved Africans scattered across the Americas (which are largely unknown) will also be discussed.

CAS AN 548 (AH 539 / HI 596 / RN 563) – Muslim Societies: An Interdisciplinary History
Introduces students interested in Muslim Societies to the main themes, states, empires, faiths, and ideologies of the Muslim world, while taking advantage of the wealth of resources Boston University has to offer across its many departments. The areas included within the course range from North and West Africa, through the Middle East, to Turkey, Iran, and then to Central, South and Southeast Asia.

CAS AN 563- Public Religion and Politics Across Cultures
The contested role of religion in modern politics and its implications for civil life. Begins with the West and includes Islam in the Middle East and SE Asia. Evangelicalism in Latin American and Africa, Hindu nationalism, and Buddhism in China. Also offered as CAS IR 563.