1. University of Virginia
  2. Arts & Sciences


ANTH 4991-001: Anthropology, Violence, and, Human Rights
Major Requirement, Senior Seminar

This seminar examines how anthropology has approached human rights, what human rights can gain from anthropological insight, and the cultural meanings attached to human rights and violations thereof, such as genocide and discrimination. Among the questions we will address are: What are rights, and are they culture specific? What happens when cultural and religious norms contradict notions of universal human rights? Are some rights more important than other rights? Can, for example, political rights be ignored if it would help national security or socio-economic development or are there situations when women's rights should take a back seat to religious rights? How are violence and the absence of rights experienced and justified? And is there a culture of human rights, or do human rights activists have their own way of experiencing the world, viewing social issues, and seeking to effect legal and social changes?

ANTH 4991-001: Anthropology of the Middle East
Major Requirement, Senior Seminar

This seminar course explores the ways that Middle Eastern ethnographies have contributed to anthropological debates on topics such as history and memory, tribalism gender, religion and secularism, colonialism, nationalism, and markets. We will examine the portrayals of Middle Eastern societies in the Western world and consider how this has changed through time. Second, we will explore the relevance of archaeological and historical narratives to modern communities in the Middle East. Finally, a series of ethnographies (and films) will highlight both the heterogeneous nature of Middle Eastern societies and the anthropological issues confronted by these works.