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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Rebecca M Lemov
ANTH 460
Seattle Campus

History of Anthropology

Sources and development of leading concepts, issues, and approaches in anthropology. Findings of anthropology in relation to scientific and humanistic implications and to practical application. Main contributors to field; their work and influence. Past, present, and future perspectives, including anthropology of modern life.

Class description

This course follows the development of the field of anthropology from its inception as a series of philosophical questions during the Enlightenment to its gradual transformation into an adventurous proposition during the Romantic period and later. With the modern twentieth century, anthropology entered its "Golden Age," becoming a mix of science, philosophy, and action in the form of ethnographic fieldwork. More recently, poststructuralist and postcolonialist approaches have been favored. Anthropological books of the 1930s through the 1950s often aimed to get inside the heads of the people being investigated, asking "how the native thinks" and whether the "primitive mentality" is any different from the modern, so-called "civilized" way of thinking, but for the past few decades anthropological books have tended to address topics such as suffering, violence, torture, AIDS, economic inequality, poverty, nuclear poisoning, and the global trade in body parts. Some questions to be considered: How did anthropology emerge and change? How has it affected and responded to the major events of our time, as well as the lives of the people it studies? Has it fulfilled its Enlightenment promise? *

Readings will include: Levi-Strauss, Structural Anthropology; Starn, Ishi’s Brain; Stoler, Carnal Knowledge and Imperial Power: Race and the Intimate in Colonial Rule; and additional sources from Kant, Vico, Herder, Radin, Boas, Kroeber, Devereux, Geertz, Said, Fanon, Clifford, Foucault.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

Lecture and discussion.

Recommended preparation

At least one introductory class in socio-cultural anthropology.

Class assignments and grading

Mostly writing assignments--book reviews, essays, film reviews.


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 Rebecca M Lemov
Date: 11/24/2004