1. University of Virginia
  2. Arts & Sciences

ANTH 2320

Ritual provides the characteristic approach of anthropology to the comparative study of religion, and the analysis of ritual is anthropology's major contribution to that project. Everywhere ritual permeates social life, yet in no other category of behavior is the exoticness of other cultures more in evidence. This course asks commonsense questions about religion and ritual, and shows how far we have come towards answering them in a century of theorizing. There are no prerequisites for this course, which is designed to be accessible to those with no background in anthropology.

ANTH 2310

This course will introduce the student to the social meaning of rituals and symbols. We will look at symbols not only in rituals but also those embedded in "everyday life." Likewise, we will study rituals not only as recognized ceremonies but also as accepted parts of our normal routines.

ANTH 2230

An examination of imaginary societies, in particular those in science fiction novels, to see how they reflect the problems and tensions of real social life. Attention is given to "alternate cultures" and fictional societal models. A "cultural imaginary" allows us to think carefully about implications of gender, technology, and social existence that we, for very good reasons, are not allowed to experiment upon. Three papers, mandatory attendance in lecture.

ANTH 2210

This course compares domestic groups in Western and non-Western societies. Considers the kinds of sexual unions legitimized in different cultures, patterns of childrearing, causes and effects of divorce, and the changing relations between the family and society. 

ANTH 2190

This course offers an insight into the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services practiced by peoples ignored or unknown to classic Western economics. Its principle focus will open upon the obvious differences between cultural concepts of the self and the very notion of its desire. Such arguments as those which theorize on the "rationality" of the market and the "naturalness" of competition will be debunked.

ANTH 1050

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Feature 1

The UVa Anthropology Department provides undergraduates with a critical introduction to human variation in time and space, and trains graduate students to be creative and responsible teachers, researchers and citizens. Recognizing that diversity is a crucial hallmark of the human species, we repudiate all ideologies of intolerance, including those of white supremacy, anti-semitism, hetero-normativity and male gender dominance.


Modern cultures have been my subject, first in the enclave community of Chinatown, New York, second in the African American sector of a southern U.S. town, next in a Windward Island Caribbean nation, and in the histories and fictional works of Asian Americans. My theoretical frameworks have been political organization in Chinatown, socialization in African American groups, relations of individual to the polity in the Caribbean, and intergenerational structures of Asian Americans.  These frameworks have been used to focus on forms of individual identity that occur within different cultures.


Kath Weston’s current work focuses on political economy, political ecology and environmental issues, historical anthropology, and science studies.  She has also published widely on kinship, gender, and sexuality.  Before coming to the University of Virginia, she taught at Harvard University and Arizona State University.  She has also served as a Visiting Professor at Cambridge University, the University of Tokyo, Brandeis University, Wellesley College, and Olin College.


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