Janelle S Taylor
Introduces perspectives from sociocultural anthropology on the diversity and the dynamics of collective human life. Examines how individual lives are shaped by broader social and cultural contexts, how people make meaning, and how power relations work. Introduces ethnography as a method for documenting and understanding social and cultural life.
This course introduces sociocultural anthropology by focusing on what is most interesting and distinctive about it: ethnographic research.
Ethnographic research is about trying to understand how people interpret and act in the world by putting their words and deeds into context – situating them within local systems of meaning, and/or within relations of power. Key concepts of the course, thus, are: context, meaning, power and ethnography.
Course readings include vivid and compelling ethnographic accounts that introduce students to unfamiliar ways of life, as well as unfamiliar dimensions of their own social world. Students will also learn, by practicing them, about some of the specific techniques used in ethnographic research.
Student learning goals
General method of instruction
Class assignments and grading