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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Jason P. De Leon
ANTH 269
Seattle Campus

Special Topics in Anthropology

Delineation and analysis of a specific problem or related problems in anthropology.

Class description

SPRING 2010 ANTH 269/ARCHY 269 Introduction to Ethnoarchaeology and Material Culture Studies: This introductory-level course is intended to give students a basic understanding of ethnoarchaeology and material culture studies.

Ethnoarchaeology involves the use of archaeological and ethnographic research methods to study the behavioral relationships that underlie the production and consumption of material culture. “Material culture" here refers to the physical things (i.e., objects) that we create, modify, use, and discard on a daily basis. Whether it is a projectile point, the megaliths of Stone Henge, a pair of chop sticks, an Ipod, or the Berlin Wall, human existence has always been characterized by interactions with the objects that make up our physical world. These “objects" may be inanimate, but they act upon people and people act up them. More importantly, these objects come to be imbued with significant cultural meaning by the people who interact with them on various levels (individual, national, cultural, etc.).

This course teaches students how to use archaeology to study modern human behavior such as undocumented migration, individual life-histories, binge drinking, and criminal behavior such as drug dealing. Additionally, students learn about the importance of material culture in our daily lives.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------- WINTER 2010 ONLY: THE ANTHROPOLOGY OF ROCK AND ROLL: Rock and Roll music has always been a reflection of popular (and sometimes not so popular) culture. This course examines important anthropological themes and concepts within the framework of rock and roll music. Students will also learn about how popular music recordings are produced and how culture helps us to interpret specific sounds (e.g., distorted versus acoustic guitars), symbols (e.g., lyrical meaning and word play), and cues (e.g., intentional recording mistakes and counterfeit "live" recordings).

This class is not about the history of rock and roll. Instead, topics such as the economics of drug dealing, race relations in Los Angeles, Mexican immigration, and gender stereotypes are critically examined using anthropology and rock music as analytical frameworks. Artists to be discussed include Chuck Berry, My Morning Jacket, At The Drive-In, The Replacements, The Stooges, Uncle Tupelo, Bad Brains, Fishbone, Jimi Hendrix, Sly and Robbie, Bob Dylan, Steve Earle, Richmond Fontaine, Lil' Wayne, The Wu-tang Clan, The Drive-By Truckers, Bob Marley, Manu Chao, Johnny Cash, Black Flag, Santigold, The Velvet Underground, Bruce Springsteen, M.I.A., and many others.

THIS COURSE COUNTS FOR BOTH VLP AND I&S CREDIT.

Student learning goals

To be able to understand key concepts in ethnoarchaeology and material culture studies.

To understand the complimentary relationship between ethnography and archaeology.

To understand how archaeology is a useful tool for understanding modern human behavior.

To understand how humans create and engage with objects.

General method of instruction

This course is primarily lecture with some in-class films that are used to illustrate concepts from lecture and the readings. The instructor will lecture each class on a theme taken from the readings. This is often followed by a documentary, recorded live performance, or a popular film related to the lecture topic.

Recommended preparation

No prerequisites.

Class assignments and grading

This course is two exams and section

Students are graded on two exams and a section component.


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Jason P. De Leon
Date: 03/26/2010