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Social Anthropology Kimber Haddix McKay Anthropology 430 213 Social Sciences
Monday 12:10-3:00 Office hours: Tues 9am-12pm
Spring 2015 [email protected]
Course Description:
Anthropology 430 is a course for advanced students of socio-cultural anthropology. The class is designed to give students
the opportunity to read and carefully analyze some first-rate written and visual ethnographies presented from differing
theoretical, methodological and pedagogical points of view. Each of these ethnographies has a distinct purpose and set of
goals. Students will choose some of these ethnographies to closely examine, and will write papers and present their
analyses in class. We will also compare and contrast written and film ethnography to examine the merits of each.
Texts:
Nancy Scheper Hughes Saints, Scholars and Schizophrenics
Paul Rabinow
Reflections on Fieldwork in Morocco
Lee Cronk
From Mukogodo to Maasai
Geoff Childs
Tibetan Diary: From Birth to Death and Beyond
Jennifer Johnson-Hanks Uncertain Honor: Modern Motherhood in an African
Crisis
U Cal Press
U Cal Press
Westview
U Cal Press
U Chicago Press
2001
1978
2004
2004
2006
Papers posted on Moodle.
Grading:
Regular, active and enthusiastic participation in-class discussions of ethnographies (50%)
4 7-9 page papers analyzing ethnographic works, reviewed 2 times by peers and instructor, with 2 revisions (50%)
Grad increment: Scholarly paper, edited post-writing center treatment, analyzing one of the ethnographies; due April 21.
Outcomes:
The class outcomes will include:
 Read, analyze and make a verbal
presentation on five important classic and
recent ethnographies and 6 short
ethnographic films



Analyze the ethnographies on the basis of their
theoretical approach, methodology, and chief
strengths and weaknesses
Present analysis in both oral and written
formats
Work on papers with the assistance of the UM
Writing Center
UD writing outcomes will include:
 Identify and pursue more sophisticated questions
for academic inquiry
 Find, evaluate, analyze, and synthesize
information effectively from diverse sources
 Manage multiple perspectives as appropriate
 Recognize the purposes and needs of disciplinespecific audiences and adopt the academic voice
necessary for the chosen discipline
 Use multiple drafts, revision, and editing in
conducting inquiry and preparing written work
 Follow the conventions of citation,
documentation, and formal presentation
appropriate to that discipline
 Develop competence in information technology
and digital literacy
Participation:
Generally speaking:
You will arrive prepared for a discussion of the day’s readings with notes that define core arguments, themes, concepts and terminologies central to the assigned readings. On Thursday night by midnight, you will post one carefully
constructed question to the Moodle discussion site for the class, in preparation for the week’s discussion. You will be
graded on these questions (they will constitute part of your ‘participation’ score).
Class facilitation:
Each week, one team of you will lead the class (discussion “leaders”), while another (discussion “enrichers”) will present
the class with information from an extra (your choice) paper germane to the themes for the week. Plan to use Powerpoint.
Discussion leaders and enrichers will coordinate before class. The leaders will incorporate what they consider to be the
richest/most provocative questions posed by the other members of the seminar on the Moodle discussion board. The
discussion of the readings should be oriented around some of the following points:




Who is the author? What is their academic background and what is their current position? What are their other
scholarly interests and/or achievements?
What is the central argument in the section of the ethnography we read this week? From what position of
authority does the author address this problem?
What seminal works are cited? In what ways is the author or film editor in dialogue with their critics/colleagues,
or is the matter of differing interpretation/analysis/evidence absent or avoided? What questions are left
unanswered?
Finally, how does this work articulate with, clarify, or challenge works we have read (or films we have seen) in
earlier weeks?
Plagiarism and misconduct: Honesty is required. Students found cheating, plagiarizing, “patch writing” (writing by taking phrases or sections copied from a variety of sources, linked together with your words), or giving false excuses will be
dealt with strictly. If you are unfamiliar with college expectations, please start with this webpage. Academic misconduct
in this class will be subject to an academic penalty (up to receiving a failing grade in this class) and/or a disciplinary
sanction by the University. All students need to be familiar with the Student Conduct Code.
Disabilities Services: Students with disabilities will receive reasonable accommodations in this course. To request course
modifications, please contact me as soon as possible. I will work with you and Disability Services in the accommodation
process. For more information, visit the Disability Services website at http://www.umt.edu/dss/ or call 406.243.2243
(Voice/Text).
Some additional themes that might help you structure your consideration of the texts and films, as
well as your preparation for seminar:
Who gives this person authority? Does the author convince you that their perception and record of the situation is
reliable? How did they do this? More generally speaking, how are you planning to craft yourself as an expert? Bearing in
mind there is nothing wrong with owning this label… Own it!
“Us” versus “the other.” Humans seem to gravitate toward thinking/ideas that allow them to construct a social reality
that includes a dichotomy between their own group (“us”), and other groups (“the other”). Is this juxtaposition implicitly or explicitly defined in this work? And how does the anthropologist/ethnographer go about setting up a
disciplinary/academic “us” vs. “other”? Is this useful?
Is the theory useful to address ethnographic realities? In this work, how has anthropological theory shaped our
discipline’s understanding of particular social problems? In what ways do you think this is useful, or has it clouded the
exercise?
Who influenced this ethnographer? What genealogy of anthropological concepts, methods, and analytical frameworks
can you see at play here? How did the author add to existing scholarship?
And finally, some guidelines for analyzing the books and films:
1. Identify and analyze the theoretical framework utilized in the ethnography. What is the context of this framework
within anthropology, as presented by the author? How is the theoretical framework utilized in the ethnography?
2. What is the main argument presented in the ethnography? Describe in detail, using examples from the text.
3. How does the author organize the ethnography? What literary devices are employed? Are statistics and/or
quantitative data used? How? What do they convey?
4. Choose 3 distinguished writing samples from the ethnography to share during your in-class presentation. Include
this in a section in your paper.
5. Choose 3 examples the author uses to present data to share during your in-class presentation. Include this in a
section in your paper.
6. Describe what reading this ethnography has taught you as you contemplate authoring a book or paper based on
your own fieldwork. In the oral presentation this can be brief but in your paper it should be thoughtful and
lengthy. Use examples.
Schedule:
Week/Date
Topic/Reading:
Have ready:
1
Jan 27
Description of class, review of syllabus, start to chart
out the presentation schedule
2
Feb 3
The influence of theory on ethnography and the
importance of training and theoretical background
KHM will do presentation and
discussion leadership
Rabinow, 1st ½
3
Feb 10
Rabinow, entirety
Visit from Jacob Hansen, UM Writing Center
Come prepared to discuss
Rabinow
Leaders:
Enrichers:
4
Feb 17
5
President’s Day
Scheper-Hughes, 1st ½
Feb 24
Come prepared to discuss
Scheper-Hughes first 1/2.
Paper #1 due (on Rabinow or Scheper Hughes)
Leaders:
Enrichers:
6
Scheper-Hughes, 2nd ½
March 3
Come prepared to discuss
Scheper-Hughes second 1/2.
Leaders:
Enrichers:
7
March 10
8
Films #1 and #2: Himalaya and Learning from Ladakh
Childs, 1st ½
Moodle: Shohat and Stam 2002,
Damai 2007, Bauer 2004
Childs 2nd ½
Come prepared to discuss Childs
Paper #2 due (on Himalaya and Learning from
Ladakh)
Leaders:
Enrichers:
March 17
9
Cronk 1st ½
Cronk 1st ½
March 24
Leaders:
Enrichers:
11
March 31
10
April 7
Spring Break
Films #3, #4 and #5: Kenya, Where Women Rule, A Wife
Among Wives, and Womanhood and Circumcision
Cronk 2nd ½
Cronk 2nd ½
Moodle:: Martinez 1995
Johnson Hanks 1st ½
Come prepared to discuss Johnson
Hanks 1st ½
12
April 14
13
April 21
Paper #3 due (on Martinez and Kenya, Where
Women Rule, A Wife Among Wives, and
Womanhood and Circumcision)
Leaders:
Enrichers:
Johnson Hanks 2nd ½
Come prepared to discuss Johnson
Hanks 2nd ½
Leaders:
Enrichers:
14
April 28
Film #6: Monday’s Girls
Moodle:: Heider 2006
Discussion of class themes, class evaluations
Leaders:
Enrichers:
15
May 5
Paper #4 due (on Mondays’ Girls)
16
May 12
Final Exam Period: 10:10am Tuesday May 13
Topic: Monday’s Girls and Heider (2006)
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