This page contains course syllabi and course descriptions

Course descriptions should be considered exemplary. Last modified 10/2002

Choose a course from those listed below:

LANGUAGE IN CULTURE

ECONOMY, NATURE, AND CULTURE

CULTURAL ANTHROPOLOGY

 PEASANT CULTURES OF LATIN AMERICA

MESOAMERICAN CULTURES

 RESEARCH METHODS IN CULTURAL ANTHROPOLOGY

 PEOPLE AND CULTURES OF AFRICA

LANGUAGE IN CULTURE 21-274

Introduction


This course examines the relationship of language to culture and society. It is a general survey introducing the student to descriptive linguistics, sociolinguistics, language and culture, nonverbal communication, and urban folklore.

 Textbook

 Hickerson, Linguistic Anthropology

Required readings (available in the bookstore); see course outline for details.


Grades


Final grades will be based on the following:

2 quizzes 40% (20% each)

8 written assignments 40% (5% each)

Student presentation 10%

Class participation 10%


Quizzes will consist of short answer questions. Your participation grade is based on class discussion. The written assignments correspond to various sections. Several involve fieldwork. Details will be discussed in class. Students, in small groups, will be asked to make presentations which incorporate that week's reading assignments and additional information.


Letter grades will be assigned as follows:

A - 93% or above

AB - 92 - 88%

B - 83 - 87%

BC - 78 - 82%

C - 72 - 77%

CD - 66 - 71%

D - 59 - 65%

Make-Up Quizzes and Cheating


Make-up quizzes will be available from the instructor. However, only in extraordinary circumstances will make-ups be allowed.

Cheating of any kind either on the quizzes or the written assignments will not be tolerated. Anyone suspected of cheating -- talking during a quiz, looking at another person's exam, using proscribed materials, or plagiarism -- will result in a failing grade for that quiz or paper.


Course Outline

This course outline is subject to modification. Modifications will be announced in class. Students are advised to note changes.

* Indicates the reading is in the packet of readings.

+ Indicates a possible presentation topic.

Week 1 Introduction

9/10 Read: Hickerson, pp. 1-2

Week 2 Communication and Language+

9/15&17 Read:, Hickerson Chapter 1; Seyfarth, "Vocal

Communication and Its Relation to Language"*

Week 3 Phonology

9/22&24 Read: Hickerson, Chapter 3

Week 4 Morphology, Syntax, and Grammar

9/29&10/1 Read: Hickerson, Chapter 3 cont.

Week 5 Creoles, Dialects, and Second Languages+

10/6&8 Read: Hickerson, Chapter 6, pp. 189-199 & 222-225; The Phyliss Schlafly Report; ACLU Briefing Paper: English Only

Week 6 Variations in Language: Race and Ethnicity+

10/13&15 Read: Labov, "The Logic of Nonstandard English"* Basso, "'To Give Up on Words': Silence in Western Apache Culture"*

Week 7 Variations in Language cont: Gender+

10/20&22 Read: Hickerson, Chapter 6, pp 200-221; Tannen, "Talk in the Intimate Relationship: His and Hers"*

Week 8 Explaining Variations

10/27 Read: Hooks, "Talking Back"*; Orenstein, "School Girls"* Basso, "Indian Models of the 'White Man'"*

10/29 ** Quiz 1 **

Week 9 Ethnography of Communication and Power

11/3&5 Read: Scott, "Behind the Official Story" *

Week 10 Language and Culture

11/10&12 Read: Hickerson , Chapter 5; Bohannan, "Shakespeare in the Bush"*; Whorf, "Science and Linguistics"*

Week 11 Language and Culture cont.+

11/17&19 Read: Berlin and Kay, "Basic Color Terms"*

Week 12 Nonverbal Communication+

11/24&26 Read: Hall and Hall, "The Sounds of Silence"*; Axtell, "Watch What You Say"*

Week 13 Folklore+

12/1&3 Read: Salzmann, Chapter 12; Dundees, "Work Hard and You Shall Be Rewarded"; Ferrel, Crimes of Style.*

Week 14 Language in the Contemporary World+

12/8&10 Read: Salzmann, Chapter 13; Lutz, "Language, Appearance, and Reality: Doublespeak in 1984"*

Week 15 Open

12/15 Catch up and review

12/17 ** Quiz 2 **

References

ACLU

1999 "Briefing Paper: English Only" http:\\www.aclu.org.library/pbp6.html

Axtell, Roger

1991 Watch What You Say. In Gestures, R. Axtell. New York: John Wiley & Sons.

Baron, Dennis

1990 The English Only Question. New Haven: Yale U. Press.

Basso, Keith

1979 Portraits of "the Whiteman". Cambridge University press: Cambridge.

Berlin, Brent and Paul Kay

1969 Basic Color Terms. Berkeley: U. of California Press.

Dundees, Alan and Carl Pagter

1978 Work Hard and You Shall Be Rewarded. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

Ferrel, Jeff

1996 Crimes of Style. Boston: Northeastern University Press.

Giglioli, Peir Paolo ed.

1972 Language and Social Context. New York: Penguin.

Hall, Edward T. and Mildred Hall

1971 The Sounds of Silence. Playboy

Hooks, Bell

1989 Talking Back. Boston: South End Press.

Lutz, William

1987 Language, Appearance, and Reality: Doublespeak in 1984. ETC (Winter):383-391.

Orenstein, Peggy

1994 School Girls. New York: Doubleday.

Schlafly, Phylis

1999 "The Phylis Schlafly Report" http:www.englishfirst.org/schafley.htm

Seyfarth, Robert

1987 Vocal Communication and Its Relation to Language. In Primate Societies,

Smuts et.al. Eds. pp. 440-451. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Tannen, Deborah

1986 That's Not What I Meant: How Conversational Style Makes or Breaks Your Relations with Others. New York: William Morrow.

Whorf, Benjamin Lee

1959 Science and Linguistics. In Language, Thought, and Reality, J. Carroll ed. New York: MIT Press.


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ECONOMY, NATURE, AND CULTURE

 Introduction

This course explores the relation between economy, nature, society, and culture. Using a comparative and historical perspective we will examine economic institutions and behavior, the effect of and the impact on the environment, and the central role of culture in a variety of settings ranging from small scale preindustrial societies to the WTO and global capital. Different theoretical traditions are discussed. Topics include production, distribution, consumption, economic development, over population, sustainability, hegemony, and globalization. Examples are taken from around the world -- from the Amazon basin to barrios in the United States, and from different periods of time -- from the origin of agriculture to contemporary economic and environmental problems in the world.

Textbooks

Plattner, Stuart ed., Economic Anthropology
Bourgois, Philippe, In Search of Respect
Readings: available through e-reserve at Polk Library

Grades

Your final grade will be based on the following:

7 short (5 pages typed double-spaced) reaction papers -- details to be discussed in class, and class participation.

Course Outline

Week 1 Introduction. The economy is embedded in society and culture.
Read: Plattner, Introduction, pp. 1-4 (EA); Traven, Assembly Line (E); Weatherford, Cocaine and the Economic Deterioration of Boliva (E)

Week 2 Theoretical Traditions. The problem is defined by the theory.
Read: Plattner, Introduction, pp. 4-20 (EA); Wolf, Introduction (E); Bourgois, Introduction; Clifford, Partial Truths (E).

Week 3 Production. The social provisioning of society.
Read: Cashdan, Hunters and Gatherers (EA); Diamond, Guns, Germs, Steel (E); Reed, Cultivating the Tropical Forest (E).

Week 4 Industrial Agriculture
Read: Barlett, Industrial Agriculture (EA); Global Resources, How Can Sustainable Agriculture be Promted? (E); Bailey/Smith, Does Feeding People and Preserving Wildlands Require Chemical-based Agriculture? (E)

Week 5 The capitalist economy.
Read: Marx, The Labor Process... (E), and The Fetishism of Commodities... (E); Ventura, Someone is Stealing Your Life (E); Klein, No Logo: The Discarded Factory (E)

Week 6 Life in a capitalist economy
Read: Bourgois, In Search of Respect.

Week 7 Life in a capitalist economy cont.
Read: Bourgois, In Search of Respect.

Week 8 Distribution: The socially organized exchange of goods and services.
Read: Counts, Too Many Bananas... (E); Plattner, Markets and Marketplaces (EA); E. Smith, The Informal Economy (EA).

Week 9 Distribution cont. The cultural construction of goods.
Read: Ferguson, The Bovine Mystic (E); Weiner, Stability in Banana Leaves (E); Scheper-Hughes, The Global Traffic in Human Organs (E).

Week 10 Consumption. The social economy of consumption.
Read: Acheson, Management of Common Property Resources (EA); Robbins, Problem of population growth (E).

Week 11 The Culture of Consumption
Read: Bourdieu, exerpts from Distinction (E); Easterlin, Can Money Buy Happiness (E); Klein, No Logo: Branded World (E)

Week 12 Hunger, Poverty, and Development.
Read: Moore-Lappé and Collins, excerpts from World Hunger (E); Tibbs, Industrial Ecology (E)

Week 13 Globalization.
Read: Berstein, What's Wrong with WTO...(E); Ritchie, Free Trade versus Sustainable Agriculture (E); Appadurai, Disjuncture and Difference (E).

Week 14 Culture of Domination and Resistance.
Read: Ferguson, De-moralizing Economies (E); Shiva, Monocultures of the Mind (E); Graeber, The Globalization Movement and the New New Left (E).

 

 

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CULTURAL ANTHROPOLOGY

21-232-002

 

Introduction

We live in a truly diverse and changing world. This course introduces students to the variety and complexity of contemporary and historical human societies and cultures and tries to make sense out of that complexity, to understand the processes that have shaped and continue to shape the lives of people around the world. We will examine societies from many locations -- from southern Africa to southern California, and in different historical contexts -- 19th century southern Mexico and contemporary America. In these contexts we will examine topics such as the family, economic development and social change. The goal is to provide a framework for the student to develop a critical perspective of human society and culture.

Textbooks

* Spradley, James & David McCurdy, Conformity and Conflict

* Majorie Shostak, Nisa

* Chavez, Leo, Shadowed Lives or Bourgois, Philippe, In Search of Respect

or Fadiman, Anne, The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down

* Kottak, Conrad, Mirror For Humanity

Grades

Your final grade will be based on the following:

3 exams worth 25% each, 75% total

A Fieldwork project worth 25%

Exams will consist of objective (true-false & multiple choice)questions. Exams are based on material from the reading assignments, lectures, and films. An answer sheet will be used on all exams. You must bring a number 2 pencil to the exam. The fieldwork project will actively engage the student in anthropological research. Students will share their research in class. Details will be discussed in class.

Letter grades will be based on a curve of the final total score. Approximate letter grades will be offered after each exam; these are estimates only. Aside from the curve you are guaranteed a grade of A for a cumulative score of 90% or greater, a grade of B for a cumulative score of 80% or greater, a grade of C for a cumulative score of 70% or greater, etc.

Make-Up Exams and Cheating

Make-up exams are essay format. Make-up exams will be available in the testing center, Polk 1, for one week after the scheduled exam. You must bring a photo I.D. to be able to take the exam. Only in extraordinary circumstances will the one week deadline be extended.

Cheating of any kind either on the exams or the fieldwork project will not be tolerated. Anyone suspected of cheating -- talking during an exam, looking at another person's examination or answer sheet, using proscribed materials, or plagiarism -- will result in a failing grade for that exam or paper.

 

Course Outline

This course outline is subject to modification. Modifications will be announced in class. Students are advised to note changes.

I. Representing and Explaining Social and Cultural Differences and Similarities. An introduction to the subject matter of

sociocultural anthropology, its methods and theories.

 

Week 1 Introduction

Read: Kottak, Chapter 1 (pp 1-4).

Week 2 Cultural Differences and Similarities.

Read: Kottak, Chapter 2; Spradley & McCurdy, 2 & 3.

Anthropological Fieldwork.

Read: Kottak, Chapter 1 (pp 4-20); Nisa, Introduction.

Week 3 The Anthropological Critique

Critique of Racial Explanations.

Read: Kottak, Chapter 4; Spradley & McCurdy, 23.

Week 4 Critique of Unilinear Cultural Evolutionary.

Read: Nisa (continue).

Film: !Nai

** Fieldwork Project 1 **

Week 5 The Lesson of Other Cultures

The Life of a !Kung Women in Comparative Perspective

Read: Nisa, Chapters 1-10

** Exam 1 **

II. Kinship, Social Organization, and Religion. An investigation into the role of kinship and religion in the organization of social, economic, and political relations.

Week 6 Kinship, Marriage, and Family

Read: Kottak, Chapter 9; Spradley & McCurdy 18 & 19.

Film: Maasai Women

Week 7 Gender

Read: Kottak, Chapter 10; Spradley and McCurdy 6, 14 & 21.

Week 8 Religion and World View

Read: Kottak, Chapter 6; Spradley & McCurdy 11.

Film: Three Worlds of Bali

III. Political Economy. An examinations of politics, economics, and social stratification.

Week 9 Politics

Read: Kottak, Chapter 8; Spradley & McCurdy 27.

Week 10 Economics

Read: Kottak, Chapter 7; Spradley & McCurdy 10.

Film: Ongka's Big Moka

** Exam 2 **

Week 11 Social Stratification, Ethnicity and Inequality

Read: Kottak, Chapter 3; Chavez, Introduction and Chapters 1-2.

Week 12 Capitalism

Read: Chavez, Chapters 4-10.

IV. Change and the Contemporary World. An examination of the forces of change and their effects on people's lives.

Week 13 Colonialism

Read: Kottak, Chapter 11.

Week 14 Capitalist World System

Read: Kottak, Chapter 13; Spradley & McCurdy 15, 16 & 17.

Film: Global Assembly Line

Week 15 The Contemporary World

Read Kottak, Chapter 14; Spradley & McCurdy 34.

Film: Kayapo: Out of the Forest

** Exam 3 **

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MESOAMERICAN CULTURES 21-360

Introduction

This course introduces the ethnography of Mesoamerica -- the diverse cultures, geographies, and histories of Mexico and Central and South America. The course has two goals: 1) to examine the cultural impact of colonial and post-colonial views and practices, and 2) to present and discuss some important contemporary issues, e.g. religious conflict, ethnic identity, and cultural resistance. The first part of the course will focus on history -- the evolution of indigenous cultures, the consequences of the "Columbian Encounter" and colonial regimes, and the post-colonial period. Then the course shifts to focus on select contemporary societies and issues, e.g. ethnic identity and rebellion among the Maya of southern Mexico and Guatemala.

Textbooks

Annis, Sheldon, God and Production in a Guatemalan Town

Berdan, Frances, The Aztecs of Central America

Pozas, Ricardo, Juan the Chamula

Chagnon, Napoleon, Yanomamo

Elisabeth Burgos-Debray ed., I, Rigoberta Menchú

Additional reading on reserve in the library; see course outline.

Grades

Your final grade will be based on the following:

3 Quizzes (20% each)

Research Paper and Presentation (30%)

Class participation (10%)

Quizzes will consist of short essay questions. The research paper, on a topic of the student's choice approved by the instructor (10-20 pages, typed, double-spaced), will be due 12/9 (note, however, that you may be scheduled to present before the final due date). The student will also present their research to the class during the final two weeks. Your participation grade is based on class discussion. To facilitate discussion study questions for the readings will be handed out. You are expected to come to class ready to discuss these questions and the material.

Course Outline

This course outline is subject to modification. Modifications will be announced in class. Students are advised to note changes.

I. Introduction to the course.

 Week 1 Introduction

9/4

II. The Historical Development of Mesoamerican Societies and Cultures.

Week 2 The Evolution of Indigenous Cultures: The Pre-history

9/9&11 of Latin America from the Migration across the Bering Land Bridge through the Beginnings of Civilization.

Read: Origins and Development of Mesoamerican Civilization*

* Indicates the reading is on reserve in the library.

Week 3 The Evolution of Indigenous Cultures cont.: The Aztec

9/16&18 Civilization.

Read: Berdan, Aztecs, 1-7.

Week 4 The Colonial Legacy: Conquest, Exploitation, and Discrimination.

9/23&25 Read: Berdan, Aztecs, 8.

Week 5 The Colonial Period and Independence

9/30& Read: Mexico: The Porfiriato and the Mexican Revolution.

10/2 Read: Pozas, Juan the Chamula, pp. 1-44

Quiz 1

Week 6 Mexico cont.: Economy, Society, and Worldview of the Chamula of Highland Chiapas.

Read: Pozas, Juan the Chamula, pp. 45-108

III. The Contemporary Way of Life: Select Societies and Issues.

Week 7 Religion and Political Economy in Mesoamerica

10/14&16 Read: Annis 1-8

Week 8 Amazonia (Venezuela, Brazil): Life in the Tropics: Living with the Yanomamo; The Yanomamo Cosmos

10/21&23 Read: Chagnon, Yanomamo, pp. 1-141.

Week 9 Amazonia cont.: Social Life; Politics in the Jungle, Yanomamo Style.

10/28&30 Read: Chagnon, Yanomamo, pp. 142-241.

 Week 10 Guatemala: A Modern Maya Way of Life.

11/4&6 Read: Rigoberta Menchu, pp. xi-101.

Quiz 2

Week 11 Guatemala: The Long and Difficult Struggle for Justice.

11/11&13 Read: Rigoberta Menchu, pp. 102-247.

Week 12 Mexico: The Indigenous Speak out: The Zapatista Uprising.

11/18&20 Read: Collier, "Basta!"*

Week 13 Venezuela and Brazil: Yanomamo Autonomy

11/25 Read: Chagnon, Yanomamo, pp. 242-294.

11/27 ** THANKSGIVING **

V. Presentation of Student Research

Week 14 Student Presentations

12/2&4

Week 15 Student Presentations

12/9 Research Papers due

 12/11 Quiz 3

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PEASANT CULTURES OF LATIN AMERICA

21-328-001

Introduction

Latin America is a huge diverse region. Bounded on the north by the U.S. - Mexican border and running south to the tip of tierra del fuego in Argentina, it encompasses high mountains, deserts, and tropical jungles. This course focuses on what we might call the other side of Latin America: the poor, the rural, the marginalized. These people number in the millions. They bare the consequences of international political and economic relations – and those are usually negative – although the have little or no role in determining those relations. How have they reacted? What are their prospects? This course examines these and related issues.

Textbooks and Assigned Readings


Stephen, Lynn, Women and Social Movements in Latin America.
Daly Heyck, Denis Lynn, Surviving Globalization
Reading on reserve in the library indicated in the course outline (R)

Grades

Your final grade will be based on the following:

3 Quizzes, 10% each, 30%
2 Research papers (and presentations) 30% each, 60%
Small assignments and class participation 10%

Quizzes will consist of map and short answer questions. They will focus on lecture and reading materials. The research papers will focus on the major themes of the course, women's movements and globalization. The papers (10-20 pages) will be due as indicated in the syllabus. Students will also present their research to the class. Other small assignments will be given periodically; these and your participation is required. You are expected to come to class with the assignment completed and/or ready to discuss the readings.

Letter grades will be based on the total number of points earned by each student divided by the total number of points earned by the highest-scoring student. The resulting percentage will be used to calculate the student's grade. Put in a formula, it looks like this:
the score of each student (your score)
(divided by) the highest score in the class

A percentage of 95 or higher earns an A. 90-94 an AB. 85-89 a B. 80-84 a BC. 75-79 a C. 70-74 a CD. 60-69 a D. 59 and below an F.

This system of grading has the advantage of rewarding all students for good work (not a set percentage as with a traditional curve) and yet is relative to the work done by actual students (not some abstract criteria established by the professor).

Course Outline

This course outline is subject to modification. Modifications will be announced in class. Students are responsible to note changes.

Week 1 Introduction to Latin America
Read: "Introduction to Latin America" and "Mirror of the Other" (R)

Week 2 Latin American Geography, Economy and History
Read: "Death Without Weeping" (R); "Cocaine and the Economic Deterioration of Bolivia" (R); "Assembly Line" (R)

Week 3 Latin American Geography, Economy and History cont.
Read: "Free Trade Versus Sustainable Agriculture" (R); "The Greening of Cuba" (R).
Quiz 1

Week 4 Surviving Globalization
Read: Appadurai, Disjuncture and Difference (R); Daly Heyck, Surviving Globalization: Introduction and Part I.

Week 5 Surviving Globalization cont.
Read: Daly Heyck, Surviving Globalization: Part II, III, and Conclusion.

Week 6 Surviving Globalization cont.
Read: Individual student research on globalization in Latin America
Quiz 2

Week 7 Surviving Globalization cont.
Read: Individual student research on globalization in Latin America

Week 8 Surviving Globalization
Student Presentations
Papers due

Week 9 Gender
Read: "Machismo and Marianismo" (R); Women and Social Movements...: Introduction and Part I.

Week 10 Gender cont.
Read: Women and Social Movements...: Parts II, III, and IV.

Week 11 Gender cont.
Read: Individual student research on an issue or case about women in LA
Quiz 3

Week 12 Gender cont.
Read: Individual student research on an issue or case about women in LA

Week 13 Gender cont.
Student Presentations

Week 14 Catch up and review
Papers Due
_________________________________________

Bibliography

Daly Heyck, Denis Lynn
2002 Surviving Globalization. Orchard Park, NY: Broadview Press.
Scheper-Hughes, Nancy
1994 Mother's Love: Death Without Weeping. In Conformity and Conflict, Spradley and McCurdy eds. pp. 201-210. New York: Harper Collins.
Stephen, Lynn
1997 Women and Social Movements in Latin American. Sustin: U. Texas Press
Traven, B.
1966 Assembly Line. In Night Visitors and Other Stories. New York: Hill and Wang.
Weatherford, Jack McIver
1994 Cocaine and the Economic Deterioration of Bolivia. In Conformity and Conflict, Spradley and McCurdy eds. pp. 185-195. New York: Harper Collins.
Whiteford, Michael and Scott Whiteford
1998 Crossing Currents: Continuity and Change in Latin America. New York: Prentice Hall.

RESEARCH METHODS IN CULTURAL ANTHROPOLOGY

21-350

 

Introduction

This course is an introduction to the basic principles and methods of research in cultural anthropology. The course will address (1) basic principles (e.g. variables, hypotheses, grounded generalization, etc.), (2) specific techniques of social science research (e.g. observation, interviews, surveys, archival research, statistical analysis, etc.), and (3) some contemporary issues of ethnographic research (e.g. representations). Students will gain "hands-on" experience by designing and carrying out original ethnographic research. Students will learn how to ask and answer questions about society and culture.

Textbooks

Required:

Michael Agar, The Professional Stranger.

Readings on reserve in the library. Specific assignments are given in the course outline.

Policies and Grades

This is a demanding course. Preparation for class and regular attendance are essential. Don't fall behind! New concepts and procedures will be introduced regularly; small assignments, given periodically, will increase your understanding of concepts through hands on application. These will be discussed in class. Several, though not all, should contribute to your final project.

The determination of your final grade will be discussed during the first class meeting. I insist only on 1) that the final ethnography be worth at least 30% and 2) that class participation count at least 10%. What is ultimately decided will serve for the class; individual plans are not an option. Options range from a minimum of graded assignments (e.g. only the final ethnography and participation) to many graded works which could include quizzes, written assignments, proposals, rough drafts, presentations (note: a presentation is required; it will either be graded as part of the ethnography or separately). This is the first time I have offered something like this. Let's make the most of it by finding a system that all consider fair and that will motivate you to do your best work.

RESEARCH METHODS IN CULTURAL ANTHROPOLOGY

Course Outline

The course outline is broken down into general topics, goals, and the approximate amount of time I plan to spend on each section. These are approximations. Modifications will be discussed in class. Reading assignments are listed per topic; specific, weekly or daily, reading assignments will be given in class.

I. Introduction and Basic Principles: The Mystique and the Mundane Weeks 1-3

 

Our goal is to understand basic concepts of research and writing, and some of the problems or limitations of those concepts. We will experiment with different research strategies. By the end of the 3rd or 4th week you should have a research proposal describing where you will be doing research and what general issues interest you.

Read: Agar, 1-4 (optional pp. 31-39); Clifford, Partial Truths*; Babbie, A Variable Language*

II. Fieldwork: Bring in the Clowns Weeks 4-11

During this time we will learn and practice various research techniques. The information you gather will contribute to your final report. As the semester progresses and your research intensifies perhaps you will use procedures of formal elicitation or decide to administer a survey classroom discussion will shift from descriptions of various techniques to a focus on issues generated from student research. Our goal is to gather sufficient information to write an interesting and informative report.

Read: Agar 5-7; SfAA ethical statement*

III. Analysis: The Birth of an Ethnographer Weeks 12-14

During this time we will focus on the analysis and presentation of your research. Honestly I should point out that analysis begins when you begin fieldwork, however here we will focus on general concepts of what constitute good analysis. Methods of analysis will vary because of the differences in student's research and time will be devoted to individual student requirements.

Read: Lofland, Reporting an Inquiry*; Becker, Freshman English for Graduate Students*

* Indicates that the reading is on reserve at the library.

 

PEOPLES AND CULTURES OF AFRICA 21-322-001

 

Introduction

 

Africa is a huge continent, four times the size of the United States with three times the population. It ranks among the world's leaders in the production of gold, diamonds, uranium, coffee, cocoa, and other agricultural products. Great wealth, yes, but poverty and starvation characterize many African nations. Africa is the most heavily indebted region in the world, corruption and human rights abuses are rampant, and rebellion appears the favored mode of changing governments. This is the Africa we most often hear about in the United States, and in this class we will explore these issues. But there is another side to Africa as well: an Africa with cultural traditions and histories as rich as anywhere in the world. We will learn about this side of Africa as well. (Note: this course fulfills the GenEd Non-Western requirement.)

 

Textbooks

 

* Dettwyler, Katherine: Dancing Skeletons: Life and Death in West Africa

* Lee, Richard: The Dobe Ju/'Hoansi

* Bohanna, Paul and Philip Curtin: Africa and Africans

* Materials on reserve at the library, indicated in the syllabus as (R)

Grades

 

Your final grade will be based on the following:

Geography Quiz 10%

Assignments 4 of 6 80% (20% each)

Participation 10%

 

The geography quiz, which everyone must take, will test your basic knowledge of African geography. The Assignments, of which you must (or should if you want the points) complete 4 of the 5 options (see syllabus), are short exercises designed to get you to think about certain issues. Note: Everyone must do assignment 1. You will have a few weeks time in which to complete the assignments. Due dates will be specified in class. In a sense, these take the place of exams, or are take-home exams. We will discuss the answers in class. Students are encouraged to help one another with references, brainstorming, or editing, however each student must turn in their own paper. Most assignments give each student a slightly different variant. Participation rewards everyone for participating in discussions of the readings and in-class activities.

 

Letter grades will be based on the total number of points earned by each student divided by the total number of points earned by the highest-scoring student. The resulting percentage will be used to calculate the student's grade. Put in a formula, it looks like this:

the score of each student (your score)

(divided by) the highest score in the class

 

A percentage of 94 or higher earns an A. 90-93 an AB. 84-89 a B. 80-83 a BC. 74-79 a C. 70-73 a CD. 60-69 a D. 59 and below an F.

 

This system of grading has the advantage of rewarding all students for good work (not a set percentage as with a traditional curve) and yet is relative to the work done by actual students (not some abstract criteria established by the professor).

 

Course Outline

This course outline is subject to modification. Modifications will be announced in class. Students are responsible to note changes.

I. Roots: The history of the continent

Week 1 Introduction

9/9 Read: TBA

Week 2

9/14 African Geography

Read: TBA

9/16 African Prehistory

Read: TBA

** Geography Quiz **

Week 3

9/21 Afrocentrism

Read: Asante (R)

9/23 Encounter with Europe: The Slave Trade

Read: TBA

Week 4

9/28 Colonialism

Read: TBA; Acebe, Things Fall Apart (R)

9/30 Independence and Nationalism

Read: TBA

Week 5 An Anthropologist in Africa

10/5&7 Read: Dancing Skeletons

Week 6 Health and Disease in Africa

10/12&14 Read: Dancing Skeletons cont.

Assignment 1: Cure Yourself

Week 7 San People of Southern Africa

10/19&21 Read: Dobe

Week 8 San cont.

10/26&28 Read: Dobe cont.; Wilmsen (R)

Assignment 2: What do the San Represent?

Week 9 Social Organization, Marriage, Family, and Gender

11/2&4 Read: Africa 9; Llewelyn-Davies (R); Boserup (R)

Week 10 Marriage and Gender cont.

11/9&11 Read: Africa 16; Barnes and Boddy (R); Griaule, pp. 11-15 & 155-161 (R)

Assignment 3: Circumcision?

Week 11 African Systems of Thought

11/16&18 Read: TBA; Griaule, pp. 16-23 (R); Livingstone (R)

Week 12 Law and Politics

11/23 Read: TBA

11/24-11/28 Thanksgiving Vacation

Week 13 Economics

11/30&12/2 Read: TBA; Ferguson - Bovine (R)

Assignment 4: What to Plant.

Week 14 Economic Development

12/7&9 Read: TBA; Ferguson - De-moralizing (R)

Assignment 5: Develop your country.

Week 15 Ethnicity and Nationalism

12/14&16 Read: Steiner (R)

 

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 Last revised 5/2001