1. University of Virginia
  2. Arts & Sciences

Course Descriptions-Summer 2011





2325, 2345, 2590-1, 2590-2, 2590-3, 3240

Nonwestern for the Major

2345, 2557, 3240

ANTH 2325 Anthropology of God, Mentore

Session III 1:00-3:15

How does the study of society and culture create an intellectual space for any explanation and experience of the Divine? How does anthropology deal specifically with explaining (rather than the explaining away) knowledge and understanding about divinity? Is God an American? If God has a gender and race, what are they? These and many other pertinent questions will be engaged and tackled in this cross-cultural study of the divine.

ANTH 2345 Anthropology of Reproduction, Singh 

Session I 10:30-11:45

In this course, we will study human reproduction as a cultural process. Questions include how gender, class, race, and religion shape reproductive ideals and practices around the world. Ethnographic examples will come from around the world, but will emphasize South Asia and the United States. This course examines the perspectives of both men and women and situates local examples within national and global struggles to (re)produce the future.

ANTH 2557 Culture Through Film-Africa Through Film, Osotsi

Session I 10:30-12:45

ANTH 2590-1 Instructors: Andrew Nelson & Melissa Nelson
Course: American Culture through the Sitcom

Session: II 10:30-12:45

Course Description: Following Geertz's encouragement to study how "people actually represent themselves to themselves and to one another," this course investigates one of the more iconic mediums of representation in American culture, the television sitcom. We will watch a variety of popular sitcoms from the last two decades, such as Seinfeld, Friends, Modern Family, The Office, Sex & the City, Everybody Loves Raymond, and George Lopez. As staples of American pop-culture, these sitcoms not only illuminate, but also craft how and what Americans have to say about themselves. Using ethnographic texts as our guide, we will 'read' sitcom episodes for their anthropological insights into the importance and meaning of family, class, race, religion, gender, and individualism in American culture.

ANTH 2590-002 Economic Development and Environmental Degradation

Session III 10:30-12:45

This course introduces anthropological perspectives to 21st century issues of economic development and environmental degradation. In both local and global case studies, we will explore topics including protected areas, overpopulation, conservation of biodiversity, water rights and fisheries. Student will apply lessons learned to a class projects focusing on issues of development and environment here in Virginia.

ANTH 2590-003 Anthropology of Ethics and Well-being, Kalesnikava

Session III 8:00-10:15

This course will explore the concept of well-being and its relation to care of the self, kinship, community, and the state through ethnographic examples, including America, Europe, Africa, Amazonia and Melanesia. In particular we will critically question the western concept of well-being as it has emerged as a key category of social and political thought, especially in relation to policy-making, welfare, and Western interventions around the world. In doing so, we will engage in a discussion about what constitutes the 'good' life, and its relationship to individual freedom, family, human rights, health, and education. Specific topics will include issues of power and governmentality, modern disciplinary societies, religion, transnational NGOs, and ethics. Finally, the course will also address child welfare issues, and the roles of the private sector, state, and international agencies in the emergence of global norms of care.


Instructor: Lisa Toccafondi Shutt
Session II 1:00-3:15

Food is much more than a biological need for human beings. People are meaning-makers, inseparable from the cultural frameworks in which they find themselves enmeshed. What we eat, the way we eat, and whether or not we prepare or provide food for others is every bit as much symbolic as it is rooted in biological survival. We create self identity, claim ethnic and national affiliation and affirm our maleness and femaleness with the foods we purchase, prepare, select or order from a menu. By exploring food and eating in relationship to such topics as taboo, sexuality, bodies, ritual, kinship, beauty, and temperance and excess, this course will help students to investigate the way the foods people eat-or don't eat-hold meaning for people within multiple cultural contexts.