Theories of culture and cultural variation, as seen and understood through visual media such as films, video, and photography.
This is a class in watching movies (as well as still images), but it is anything other than relaxing. We will investigate in depth how cultural practices are revealed by images, rather than words. To do this we need to appreciate that anything visual, like written text, needs to have its authorship exposed in order to understand its meaning. The problems we will encounter center on learning to read film anthropologically as well as critically, to understand the difference between image and reality, and to expose the ideology behind its production, in order to reach conclusions based on our minds as well as emotions. Projects include weekly one-page discussion papers on the films and a group project that will be presented to your section. You will never watch the Discovery channel in the same way again.
Student learning goals
General method of instruction
Lectures, during which the class is expected to contribute questions and comments, weekly films.
Doing the reading - there's a lot. Taking the film criticism seriously and following the guidelines carefully. Thinking of what the aim of the filmmaker might be rather than allowing personal emotion to take over.
Class assignments and grading
Weekly film reports, group project, midterm and final exams
Every report, project, etc is graded on a point system and the sum of the points gives the grade. The top student gets a 4.0 and the rest of the class is curved accordingly.