1. University of Virginia
  2. Arts & Sciences

Course Descriptions - Spring 1998

Courses that meet Major Area Requirements:

Prin. of Social Analysis Cultural Diversity Archaeology Linguistics
220,227,235,236,330,334,
337,359

256,260,346,350,
358,365

281,285,384 341,343
Non-Western perspectives
101,256,334,358,365
Senior Seminars 
401A, 401B, 401C

Undergraduate Courses:

ANTH 101 INTRODUCTION TO ANTHROPOLOGY (3) HANDLER
M W F 10:00-10:50

This course is a broad introductory course covering a variety of topics, including the interpretation of other cultures, past and present; the relationship of languages to human thought; and contemporary cultural diversity and cultural relativity. An important focus is the critical analysis of values from a cross-cultural perspective. Grading is based on a combination of essay exams and quizzes.

ANTH 109 LANGUAGE AND WORLD VIEW (3) ROSS

Does the language we speak affect the way we perceive and construct our view of the world? How does it affect our behavior? How do we organize "reality" by means of our language? How do we understand other people's realities by examining their languages? We will think about these and other questions by reading and discussing examples from English and from other languages that are unlike English in many ways. Students will write short essays and do brief oral presentations throughout the semester. Class size will be strictly limited to allow for seminar-style discussion. Restricted to first year students.
Course meets second writing requirements and Non-Western requirement.

ANTH 220 DYNAMICS OF SOCIAL ORGANIZATION (3) CROCKER
T R 17:00-18:15

Emphasis is on the social relations of kinship, marriage, formation of intrasocietal groups, and the cultural construction of the self. An underlying but correlative theme, is how anthropologist interpret the various social phenomena of different societies.

ANTH 227 MAGIC & WITCHCRAFT (3) CROCKER
M W 14:00-15:15

This course surveys the nature, and functions, and dysfunctions of mystical beliefs and practices in both Western and Non-Western societies. We begin with the rich scholarly tradition of British studies in African witchcraft, and then study comparative material from other traditional societies, especially Amerindian, Polynesian, and Asian. We conclude with the very different traditions of European witchcraft and magic. Requirements: a take-home mid-term, a final take-home or a term paper. The perspective throughout will be one of empathetic skepticism. Meets second writing requirement.

ANTH 235 - INTRODUCTION TO FOLKLORE (3) PERDUE
T R 14:00-15:15

Introduction to the materials and methods of folklore study. The course is also intended to be an introduction to folklore scholarship and to the history of the discipline. Materials used as examples in this course--narratives, songs, etc.--are drawn about equally from European American and African American sources.

ANTH 236 CASTANEDA AND DON JUAN (3) WAGNER
T R 9:30-10:45

The six books of Carlos Castaneda represent what is perhaps an anthropological ideal-a world in which the native's concepts of power, sorcery , and transformation are "real" rather than the social systems, adaptations, and symbolic processes generally used to explain them. They are not ethnography; in his latest preface Castaneda prefers to treat them as "autobiography." Yet they can be used very effectively to illustrate a wide range of concepts in anthropology and traditional religions, which is what this course is all about. It will not teach you to fly, it may teach you to write, but it will, hopefully, help you to understand how anthropologists think. The course will be given in an open seminar format, with discussion encouraged. Grades will be based on three papers.

ANTH 256 PEOPLES AND CULTURES OF AFRICA (3) LAVIOLETTE
T R 9:30-10:45

This course addresses the human landscape of modern Africa, through the close reading of ethnographies, a novel, a journalist's account, and a social history from diverse social and geographical areas. The readings will be taught against a backdrop of major economic strategies, varieties of social organization, and socioeconomic problems facing Africans in the late 20th century. We will discuss pastoralists, farmers, and both elite and poor urban dwellers; African Islam, Christianity, and other belief systems; and readings set in East, North, West, and Southern Africa. This is not an attempt to depict all of modern Africa, but to focus on certain themes of wide relevance in Africa in the 20th century. This is a lecture and discussion course. A number of African feature films are incorporated into the course material. The requirements include two short essays, reading quizzes, a map quiz, and a mid-term and final exam. No prerequisites.

ANTH 260 IMAGES OF INDIA (3) SENEVIRATNE
T R 9:30-12:50

A non-technical introduction to the society and culture of India by the use of a selection of novels and films. This course fulfills the non-western requirement.

ANTH 281 HUMAN ORIGINS (3)
M W F 12:00-12:50 TBA

The course is intended to provide an overview and assessment of the theory, methods, and data used by anthropologists to reconstruct human physical and cultural evolution. Chronologically, the course spans the time from the initial appearance of homicides (ca 4.5 million years ago) to the period prior to the rise of urbanism and early state formation (ca 10,000 B.C.). The course is divided into three topical components: 1) a review of evolutionary theory, and the controversy surrounding that theory; 2) an in depth survey of the data used to support current models of the pattern of human evolution, and 3) a study of the origins of modern human adaptations in the relatively recent past, with respect to uniquely human behaviors such as complex language, ritual, religion and art.

ANTH 285 AMERICAN MATERIAL CULTURE (3) DEETZ
T R 8:00-9:15

Using a structural anthropological approach, this course treats changes in several categories of American material culture, including ceramics, architecture, mortuary art, food ways and trash disposal. Emphasis is placed on the way in which these changes reflect a fundamental transformation of the way in which Americans perceived the world in which they lived. In addition, Native American, African American, and Asian American examples will be discussed, to show how they were different from the dominant European Americans.

ANTH 301 HISTORY OF ANTHROPOLOGICAL THEORY (4) MCKINNON
T R 11:00-12:15

A review of the major theoretical issues in the field of anthropology from nineteenth century evolutionism to postmodernism. Restricted to Anthropology majors. Must sign up for obligatory discussion section.

ANTH 330 BIRTH AND DEATH (3) KHARE
T R 12:30-13:45

A comparative cultural and ethical discussion of selected recent developments in human reproduction and in the circumstance and quality of death. The course explores specific issues and situations (e.g. cross-cultural biomedical issues in abortion and euthanasia, uncommon and difficult births, surrogacy, and terminal illness, and good, bad, and uncommon deaths) to show how medical procedures, law, religion and cultural politics today constrain one another. By doing so, they reinterpret the recognized cultural and ethical boundaries between the just and unjust and nature and culture in American and non-western cultures, while also raising new debates on individual human rights, triage and social justice.
Meets second writing requirement.

ANTH 334 ECOLOGY & SOCIETY (3)DAMON
M W F 11:00-11:50

This course forges a synthesis between culture theory and historical ecology. Its intent is to provide new insights on how human cultures both fashion and are fashioned by their environment. Topics covered will range from ethnobiology and ethnomedicine to the relationship between global change and its impact on human culture. Ethnographic examples will be employed from the Amazon, the Pacific Islands, East and South Asia, and one or more modern societies.

ANTH 337/737 ON POWER AND THE BODY (3) MENTORE
R 15:30 - 18:00

The human individual, as subject to the coercive strategies of society, has been the central topic of Western intellectual thought for some time now. Human corporeality in action, as agent, and as the surface upon which power operates has consistently fascinated us. The body, in fact seems to have served as the constitutive element of power and as its field of knowledge. In this course, we will study the intimacy between relational power and the knowing body. We will cover such topics as the tortured body, the gendered body, and the imprisoned body. We will attempt to understand how these meanings of somatic presence become knowable. In so doing, the form and character of a radically different theory of power will be introduced.

ANTH 341/741 SOCIOLINGUISTICS (3) DANZIGER
T R 9:30-10:45

Sociolinguistics is the study of the way language is used to express social relationships in the speech community. Topics to be covered include language as an index of socio-economic class, Black English, male-female language, pidgin and creole languages, the analysis of everyday conversation, and political, legal, and social issues affecting language in multilingual societies, including ours. Midterm and final; field project involving observation of language use in the speech community.

ANTH 343/743 CULTURAL CONFIGURATIONS OF SPACE (3) V. HYMES
T R 14:00-15:45 (moved to Minor Hall rm 225)

This course will explore the myriad ways in which different cultures divide and specialize space in relation to cultural categories of persons, institutions, activities and belief systems. By combination of reading of pertinent articles and book chapters that illustrate what to us may seem unusual configurations of space, and exercises in close observation and analysis of spatial configurations in familiar settings, we will be prepared to look at the complexities of spatial configuration within societies described in ethnographies. At the beginning of the semester, each student will choose a particular culture area of the world, find a group or several groups in that area for which there are good ethnographies, and during the course of the semester become our "expert" on the cultural configurations of space in that group. Categories relating to person that we will explore in relation to space are age, gender, social and economic statuses and roles at a finer level, as participants in speech events, rituals and other activities that are culturally defined. We will also explore the relation of space configurations to such dichotomies as public/private, domestic/extra domestic, sacred/profane, native/foreign. Boundaries within culturally defined spaces will be given particular attention in regard to cultural categories of persons and activities.
Meets second writing requirement.

ANTH 346 AFRICAN ORAL LITERATURE (3) BUCKLEY
M W 14:00-15:15

This course provides a survey of the variety of ways that African oral literature is articulated: poetry and its systems of patronage; the songs of work, war and hunting; prose narratives, riddles, proverbs, curses, oaths, and prayers, for example. We will examine the very "oral" nature of this literature, and its social, linguistic and literary backgrounds. Finally, our studies will consider the manner in which academic attitudes towards this literature have changed and developed. The special topic for this semester is the manner in which African oral literature has historically been employed by Africans in the negotiation of unequal power-relations. During the second half of the course we will focus on poetic criticisms of the abuse of power during the late colonial period. These will include trade-union songs from Tanganyika, the laments of women in Malawi for their husbands imprisoned for government opposition, Zulu songs detailing the long wait for Registration Certificates, the use of "hymns" as covert instruments for the mobilization of the Mau Mau movement and the African National Congress (ANC), and Jomo Kenyatta's use of Kikuyu story-telling in his anti-imperial anthropological writing.

ANTH 350 - READINGS IN ETHNOGRAPHY (3) METCALF
M W 15:30-16:45

The focus of this small seminar course is the analysis of the uniquely anthropological practice of the writing of ethnography. In this course we will read and critically analyze some of the "classics" of ethnography as well as a number of the best contemporary ethnography. While the focus is on a close look at the mode of discourse which ethnography represents, in reading several culturally and topically diverse books the course inevitably offers a review of some of the major theoretical developments which have occurred in and around anthropology. This course is open to majors and non-majors. Assignments consist of weekly reading and three brief essays.

ANTH 353 DEFINING THE EUROPEAN (3) SPENCER MOORE
M W F 12:00-12:50

This course would examine what Michael Herzfeld calls "the European Ideology;" an ideology that celebrates diverse local and national identities while subsuming them in the project for a common European identity. Despite claims to a European identity, officials working for the European Union have found the "making" of a such an identity a difficult task. Contributing this difficulty to the supposedly "artificial " claims of a common Europe with the "natural" associations of local cultural groups, European Union officials have chosen to celebrate diversity while stressing the shared traits of all "Europeans." By viewing the European Union and European identity as a contested domain, the course will juxtapose the claims and notions of the European "center" with those of its "periphery." Using ethnographies on Europe, we will analyze the construction of European identity and the political practices redrawing the map of Europe.
Meets second writing requirement.

ANTH 358/758 CREOLE NARRATIVES (3) MENTORE
T R 11:00-12:15

We begin with the 18th and 19th century Caribbean intellectual life. We do so from the perspective of European imperialism and its influences upon colonized values, slavery, race, class and color. We examine the persistence of these major themes through the 20th century, formalized in the battle of ideas between the elite of the "mother" country and the Creole upper classes. We will attempt to read the images of the Creole "self" and explore their claims for a crisis of identity. We will also focus on the so-called spiritual character of the Creole personality. We shall conclude by looking at the way in which the specifics of island culture have directed nation building and how they appear to have helped in the perpetuation of ideological and political dependencies.

ANTH 359 ETHNOPHOTOGRAPHY (3) SAPIR
M 19:30-22:00

This course will be composed of two parts: academic and workshop. The academic part of the course will examine specific photographic work that can be thought of as "ethnographic" in some way. The materials will be drawn from documentary photography and photojournalism. Particular attention will be given to the "photo essay" as exemplified by LIFE Magazine. Students will give oral reports, to be written up, on selected works. The workshop will be an ethnophotography project. Students will find an appropriate field subject to photograph. The work will be displayed in a "photo essay" form and presented to a jury.

Prerequisites are permission of instructor and knowledge of darkroom techniques.

ANTH 365 ASIAN AMERICAN EXPERIENCES (3) FREEMAN
M W F 10:00-10:50

This course will explore the story of Asian immigration within a comparative framework that emphasizes the commonalities and differences in the experiences of Chinese, Korean, Filipino, Asian Indian and Southeast Asian Americans. A range of Asian Americans' own perspectives on their experiences will come through reading book-length histories. The course aims to set these personal accounts in their global context by examining the complex circumstances that have influenced how Asian immigrants and their descendants were and are being received in America. Aside from historical perspectives, contemporary issues to be discussed include the ambiguities of treating Asian Americans as a collectively entity, anti-Asian American violence and resistance to oppression, the myth of the "model minority", generational differences, women's status, and the place of Asian Americans in the matrix of black-white race. Prior knowledge of Asian or Asian American history is not required.

ANTH 384/784 ARCHAEOLOGY OF EGYPT & MESOPOTAMIA (3) WATTENMAKER
M W F 11:00-11:50

This course is an introduction to the prehistory of the near east, focusing mainly on the period from ca. 9000 to 3000 BC. We will examine the archaeological evidence for the origins of food production (the domestication of plants and animals), the earliest sedentary village communities, the origins of ranked societies, nomadism, the rise of state societies and the first cities. Regions of study include the Levant, Anatolia, Egypt, and Greater Mesopotamia. Emphasis will be placed on evaluating hypotheses on cultural organization and changes in the ancient Near East. Questions of interest to anthropologists working in other parts of the world, such as the origins of the state, will be examined in light of findings from the Near East

ANTH 401A LANGUAGE AND THOUGHT (3) DANZIGER
W 3:30-6:00

There is almost always more than one way to think about any problem. But could speaking a particular language make some strategies and solutions seem more natural than others to individuals? The classic proposal of linguistic relativity as enunciated by Benjamin Lee Whorf is examined in the light of more recent cross-cultural and psycholinguistic research. We highlight the interplay between social intelligence, linguistic structure and general cognition. In the course of the discussion, we consider topics such as the significance of literacy for cognition, and the development of language-specific cognitive preferences during childhood. We also ask how our own culturally particular ways of talking about language might reflect and reinforce some of the unexamined "common-sense" ideas about the nature of language which underlie most linguistic research. During the term, students will prepare short written summaries of assigned readings, and a longer research paper.

ANTH 401B SENIOR SEMINAR (3) McKINNON
R 1830-2100

The study of kinship is being transformed and revitalized as it attends to the emergent forms of kinship relation and family life in the contemporary world. The new reproductive technologies, the human genome project, the transnational markets in brides and adopted children, among other forces, are reconfiguring "what it means to be a relative" and "what relatedness is all about." This seminar will explore these emergent forms of kinship--with a particular emphasis on transnational kinship flows--and attempt to contextualize them against the background of the local/global cultural, economic, political, and religious forces that help to give them their particular shape. A major research project and 20-page seminar paper will be required. Satisfies 2nd writing requirement.

ANTH 401C SENIOR SEMINAR (3) KHARE
M 15:30-18:00

A review of major conceptual and methodological developments in sociolcultural anthropology since the forties, with a view to relate these to recent issues in field work and ethnography, encourage professional ethics, and the place of anthropology in the contemporary world. The seminar will encourage the students to take an overall view of anthropology's learning and contributions in today's world, enabling them to carry an "anthropological perspective" with them irrespective of whatever they engage in next.

USEM 171 PLYMOUTH: THE OLD COLONY REVISITED (2) DEETZ
M 8:00-10:00

This course will involve students in primary research in the records of Plymouth Colony, 1620- 1691. Attention will be focused on the published court records of the colony, from which a series of biographical profiles of the seventeenth century inhabitants of Plymouth Colony will be developed. These profiles will then be examined to determine how various people interacted with each other, from residing as neighbors to bringing complaints against people in court. This seminar will be a genuine group research effort, based on similar ones taught successfully at the University of California, Berkeley and the University of Virginia. Participants should gain a genuine and deep understanding of Plymouth society and the people who were its members in very personal and human terms.

 


Undergraduate & Graduate courses:

ANTH 504 LINGUISTIC FIELD METHODS (3) CONTINI-MORAVA
W 15:30-18:00

In this course we will work with a native speaker of an "exotic" language (i.e., a language that is not commonly taught in the U. S., hence not likely to be familiar to any of the students in the class ). We try to figure out the phonological and grammatical structure of the language entirely on the basis of data collected from the language consultant in class. Attendance is therefore mandatory. Assignments include one paper on phonology, one on morphology, and one on syntax (the nature of the assignments may vary depending on the particular language being studied).

Prerequisites: Ling 325/701, Anth 240, or permission of instructor.

ANTH 509 HISTORICAL ETHNOGRAPHY (3) DEETZ
W 8:00-10:30

This seminar will address selected sets of documents including the published Records of Plymouth Colony, wills and probate inventories, as part of a long range program of what is known as demographic reconstitution, or record stripping. The course will be largely devoted to the extraction and analysis of data from these sources, formulating and discussing various research questions, and continuing to build up a data base which is part of an ongoing archaeological and documentary research project on the historical ethnography of seventeenth century Plymouth.

ANTH 529 SEMINAR IN MYTHODOLOGY (3) WAGNER
T R 12:30-13:45

 

ANTH 561 SOCIAL MOVEMENTS IN INDIA (3) SENEVIRATRE
M 18:00-20:30

 

ANTH 572 VICTOR TURNER LEGACY (3) TURNER
W 19:30-22:00

The legacy of Victor Turner's work has continued to develop in the fields of anthropology, religious studies, literature, psychology, and drama. The seminar will study Turner's oeuvre, trace the later trends, discuss the different interpretations, and put into perspective the phenomenon of an anthropology that can have effects on humanistic discipline outside its own boundaries. We will weigh up and attempt to predict future directions while absorbing some new and useful applications of the work, particularly those of rites of passage and the anthropology of experience.

ANTH 580 ARCHAEOLOGY LABORATORY (3) T.B.A.

This course provides instruction in the methods of analysis and interpretation of archaeological material culture. Particular emphasis is on two of the most common items of material culture recovered from prehistoric sites: lithics and ceramics and the methods archaeologists use to analyze these materials. We will also briefly review the methods of paleobotanical analysis, human osteology and faunal analysis. Attention is paid to the methods and assumptions used in inferring modes of production, use or consumption, and exchange. The first half of the course will include labs and class discussion examining artifacts from department collections; in the second half students will design and implement an analytical project of their own design using available collections. Department archaeology faculty will make collections available for study as possible.

ANTH 589 EARLY STATE SOCIETIES (3) WATTENMAKER
M 18:30-21:00

 


Graduate courses:

ANTH 702 - CONTEMPORARY THEORY (3) METCALF
T B A

This course is required of, and restricted to, anthropology graduate students in their second semester of residence.

ANTH 717 CULTURAL STUDIES/THEORY (3) HANDLER
T 19:00-21:30

The culture concept, long considered by anthropologists as their discipline's private property, has recently been appropriated by scholars in various humanities disciplines working under the rubric "cultural studies". This course will consider how different disciplines are currently making use of the culture concept, and ask how cultural studies carried out in one discipline may affect similar work in other disciplines. A key contrast is between ethnographic and textu al approaches to culture-both of which may be practiced in a number of disciplines. Also relevant are disciplinary positioning vis-a-vis the highbrow/lowbrow divide: how for example, have anthropologists studied elite culture, and how have literary scholars studied popular culture.

ANTH 722 ECONOMIC ANTHROPOLOGY (3) DAMON
An Introduction to modes of Regional Analysis
R 17:00-19:30

This course is for advanced undergraduates interested in applying their anthropology to an examination of exchange and production dynamics in the contemporary world and graduate students interested in exploring various regional systems models for analyzing non-western areas and aspects of the modern world system. The course will be divided into thirds. The first third will be cooperative evaluation of the some of the writings of Marx, Wallerstein, Skinner, and Mintz along with a fast overview of recent developments in anthropological exchange theory (Principally Gregory's Savage Money). The second third will involve library or nearby field research on projects worked out between Damon and each student. The final third will reconvene the class and discuss individual findings given the first section's readings.

ANTH 732-AMERICAN FOLKLORE (3) PERDUE
T R 11:00-12:15

This course will focus primarily on Anglo- and Afro-American traditional culture and, within that domain, deal with problems of definition, origin, collection, and analysis of the main genres of folklore--narrative and song.