ANT3128A – Political Anthropology Professor Mahmoud Masaeli

ANT3128A – Political Anthropology
Professor Mahmoud Masaeli
Fall 2012
Course Outline
Class schedule:
16:00 - 17:30
MRT 211
14:30 - 16:00
MRT 211
Office hours:
13:00 – 14:30
Social Science building (FSS), room 10055
613-562-5800, ext. 1381 (voicemail is not available)
[email protected]
On virtual campus:
Official Course Description:
Comparative analysis of the political systems of various societies situated at different levels of
political organization.
Political anthropology is a field of knowledge that addresses the political and social makeup of
various societies situated at different levels of political organization. Political anthropology
basically raises questions concerning key concepts about authority, coercion, articulation of
power (political, economic, and cultural and their interrelation), patterns of persuasion, and
communication as well as the specifications and politics of public sphere in complex societies.
More specifically, political anthropology addresses the ideology and discourse of political
domination, social control, revolution, violence, fundamentalism and terrorism in an age of
globalization and information revolution. This course draws on materials from several disciplines
that lend themselves to an anthropological approach.
Course Objectives:
The major aims of this course include an analysis of the question power and political organization
in a wide range of societies. In addition, the course addresses the use of anthropological
knowledge in addressing problems related to colonialism, nationalism, indigenous rights, and
other issues.
By the end of this course, it is expected that students will be capable of:
• Understanding the relationship between social structures, historical processes, and
political behaviour;
• Understanding of power as a critical point of investigation in theorizing in anthropology;
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Following and engage in debates about politics and anthropology;
Uncovering the ideological, cultural, and social organizational incentives
behind power seeking by some social groups;
Constructing a better understanding of current events and political problems in Canada
and worldwide, informed by an anthropological perspective.
Assessment Methods:
• Participation: 10 marks - Each student is expected to attend classes regularly, to
demonstrate preparedness, and to facilitate the discussion by relating to the topics
responsibly. This portion of the course grade will be based upon continuous evidence of
reading, critical thinking, interest, and demonstrated understanding. This part of the
course grade will also not be decided upon until final grades for this course are prepared
for submission to the university. The basis for the course director arriving at a grade for
this portion is decidedly impressionistic, without being random or unfair. This portion of
the assignment includes general discussions and questions raised by the students during
the lectures and active participation in answering the questions raised by group
Mid-Term Test: 20 Marks - This test will be taken in class on Thursday, October 4th.
The test will be 1:30 hours in length and includes explanatory/descriptive questions from
the assigned readings, lectures, and the questions raised and analyzed as well as
discussions and debates in class.
Research Essay: 25 Marks - You are required to write one term research essay. The
essay must not exceed 10 pages in length – double-spaced, using 12 point font. You can
choose a topic which is of the interest to you. This topic could be a focus on a
particular ideology, event, conflict, or movement in a specific part of the
world. You must ensure that a theoretical approach from political
anthropology is applied and a variety of sources are used. However, it must be
related to global justice and may include a theoretical analysis, a concrete case study, or
examination of a scenario. You can consult, if necessary, with me about your topic of
The essay must follow proper essay style and structure, and must use a recognized
referencing style (the referencing style must be correct and consistent). Essay should also
be properly cited and be accompanied by a bibliography. Repeated errors that show a
lack of proofreading, incorrect citation and referencing, and lack of essay formatting will
each receive a deduction of 5% of the points for the research paper. Lateness will be
penalized at 5% of the points for the paper, for each day late, including weekends.
Extensions must be arranged in advance.
This essay is due on Thursday, October 18th and must be submitted electronically on
Blackboard. A rubric as well as guidelines and directions about how to write your essay
have already been posted on Blackboard.
Group presentation: 10 Marks - you must form a group of six and starting from session
seven and give a presentation. The presentation covers the recommended readings.
Presentation takes maximum 40 minutes and 10 minutes for questions and discussion.
You are required to write three original questions about the theme of presentation and
send them to me minimum 48 hours before the date of your presentation. These questions
are posted on virtual campus. All participants in class must read the questions and
contribute in the discussions.
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A guideline for presentation has already been posted on virtual campus. A presentation
sheet will also be distributed in the second class.
Final Exam: 35 Marks - Final exam is comprehensive and covers all materials and
issues covered throughout the semester. However, during the lectures possible essay
questions will be highlighted to assist you with the final exam. This exam includes both
short answer questions and one essay question.
Evaluation format
Mid-term test
Research essay
Group Presentation
Final exam
Components of final mark
October 04
October 18
During final exam period
Policy on E-mail: Please note that emails will only be answered during weekly office hours. No
individual tutoring will be given by e-mail. Since most e-mails have questions that concern all
students in the class, please try to raise the questions in class. At the discretion of the instructor,
most questions received by e-mail will be answered orally in class for the benefit of all students.
Special Needs, OR Inability to Complete Assignments on Dates Indicated: If the student has
special needs that require particular arrangements or which will make it difficult to complete
assignments or examinations on the dates indicated, it is the student’s responsibility to seek the
appropriate university approval AND advise the professor at the BEGINNING of the term (ie, by
the end of the third week of classes).
** In case of any errors on the printed version of the syllabus, an updated version will be
provided on the Blackboard internet site for this course. In the case of any discrepancy between
the hard copy distributed at the beginning of term and the version posted on the internet, the latter
will prevail. It is the student’s responsibility to consult the internet version for the latest
information on assigned readings, due dates and other matters. All changes made since the
beginning of term will be highlighted.
Policy on language quality and late submissions
Class attendance is necessary to successfully complete this course.
You will also be judged on your writing abilities. It is recommended to take the appropriate measures to avoid
mistakes. You will be penalized between 5% to 15%, to the professor’s discretion.
Late submissions are not tolerated. Exceptions are made only for illness or other serious situations deemed as such by
the professor. There will be a penalty for late submissions. University regulations require all absences from exams and
all late submissions due to illness to be supported by a medical certificate. The Faculty reserves the right to accept or
reject the reason put forth if it is not medical. Reasons such as travel, work and errors made while reading the exam
schedule are not usually accepted.
In the event of an illness or related complications, only the counseling service and the campus clinic (located at 100
Marie-Curie) may issue valid certificates to justify a delay or absence.
Each day of late submission results in a penalty of 3% (weekends not excluded). This also applies to assignments sent
by email, and in this case, the time of receipt of the email by the recipient is guarantor of the time of delivery.
We advise you to notify your professor as soon as possible if a religious holiday or event forces your absence during an
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Required Textbooks:
• Joan Vincent, ed., The Anthropology of Politics: A Reader in Ethnography, Theory, and
Critique (Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2202).
• John Gledhill, Power and its Disguises: Anthropological Perspectives on Politics
(London: Pluto Press, 2000).
• David Nugent and Joan Vincent, A Companion to the Anthropology of Politics (Malden,
MA: Blackwell Publishing, 2004).
• Sharma Aradhana and Gupta Akhil Gupta ed., The Anthropology of the State: A Reader
(Malden, MA; Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 2006).
• Donald V. Kurtz, Political Anthropology: Power and Paradigms (Boulder, CO:
Westview Press, 2001).
• Christian Krohn-Hansen and Knut G. Nustad ed., State Formation: Anthropological
Perspectives (London; Ann Arbor, MI: Pluto Press, 2005).
• Benoit de L'Estoile, Federico Neiburg, and Lygia Sigaud, ed., Empires, Nations, and
Natives: Anthropology and State-Making (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2005).
• Borneman John, Subversions of International Order: Studies in the Political
Anthropology of Culture (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1998).
• Jeff Pratt, Class, Nation and Identity: the Anthropology of Political Movements (London:
Pluto Press, 2003).
• Maisels Charles Keith, The Archaeology of Politics and Power: Where, When and Why
the First States Formed (Oxford; Oakville, CT: Oxbow Books, 2010).
• Kürti László Skalník Pete, Postsocialist Europe: Anthropological Perspectives from
Home (New York: Berghahn Books, 2009).
• Mark Goodale, Surrendering to Utopia: An Anthropology of Human Rights (Stanford,
Calif: Stanford University Press, 2009).
Course schedule
Part One: Power and Politics from Stateless Societies to Global Capitalism
Week 1
September 06
Introduction and Orientation
Week 2
September 11 & 13
Politics and Power in Anthropological Perspective
o Ch. 9 [Vincent reader] – Marc Swartz, Victor Turner, Arthur Tuden, “Political
Anthropology,” 102-109.
o 2. Ch. 19 [Vincent reader] – Eric Wolf, “Facing Power—Old Insights, New Questions,”
222- 233.
o Gledhill, Ch. 1, “Locating the Political: A Political Anthropology for Today,” 1-22.
Week 3
September 18 & 20
Political Systems in Stateless Societies
o Gledhill, Ch. 2, “The Origins and Limits of Coercive Power: the Anthropology of
Stateless Societies,” 23-44.
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Week 4
2. Ch. 2 [Vincent reader] – E.E. Evans-Pritchard, “Nuer Politics: Structure and System
(1940)” 34-38.
September 25-27
The Raise of State
o Gledhill, Ch. 3, “From Hierarchy to Surveillance: the Politics of Agrarian Civilizations
and the Rise of the Western National State,” 45-66.
o 2. Ch. 5 [Vincent reader] – Talal Asad, “Market Model, Class Structure and Consent: A
Reconsideration of Swat Political Organization,” 65-81.
Week 5
October 2 & 4
Colonial States
o Gledhill, Ch. 4, “The Political Anthropology of Colonialism: A Study of Domination and
Resistance,” 67-91.
o Ch. 17 [Vincent reader] – Jean and John Comaroff, “Of Revelation and Revolution,” 203212.
o Ch. 14 [Vincent reader] – Ann Stoler, “Perceptions of Protest: Defining the Dangerous in
Colonial Sumatra,” 153-171.
Part Two: Transnational Power and Politics
Week 6
October 9 & 11
Colonialism and World Capitalism
o Gledhill, Ch. 5, “Post-Colonial States: Legacies of History and Pressures of Modernity,”
o Ch. 20 [Vincent reader] – June Nash, “Ethnographic Aspects of the World Capitalist
System,” 234-254.
o Ch. 12 [Vincent reader] – Talal Asad, “From the History of Colonial Anthropology to the
Anthropology of Western Hegemony,” 133-142.
Week 7
October 16 & 18
From Colonialism to Globalization
o Ch. 21 [Vincent reader] – Benedict Anderson, “The New World Disorder,” 261-270.
o Ch. 23 [Vincent reader] – Jonathan Friedman, “Transnationalization, Socio-Political
Disorder, and Ethnification as Expressions of Declining Global Hegemony,” 285-300.
o Immanuel Wallerstein, 1997, “The Rise and Future Demise of World-Systems Analysis.
Week 8
October 23 & 25
Study Break, No class
Week 9
October 31 and November 01
Transnational Power
o Ch. 27 [Vincent reader] – Aihwa Ong, “Flexible Citizenship among Chinese
Cosmopolitans,” 338-355.
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Ch. 28 [Vincent reader] – Nina Glick Schiller and Georges Fouron, “Long-distance
Nationalism Defined,” 356-365.
Ch. 22 [Vincent reader] – Arjun Appadurai, “Grassroots Globalization and the Research
Imagination,” 271-284.
Week 10
November 06 & 08
Global Process and Local Resistance
o Gledhill, Ch. 7, “Political Process and ‘Global Disorder’: Perspectives on Contemporary
Conflict and Violence,” 153-183.
o Ch. 32 [Vincent reader] – Marc Edelman, “Peasants Against Globalization,” 409-423.
Week 11
November 13 & 15
Structure, Agency, and Political Conflicts
o Gledhill, Ch. 6, “From Macro-Structure to Micro-Process: Anthropological Analysis of
Political Practice,” 127-152.
o Ch. 2. [Vincent reader] – Sharon Elaine Hutchinson, “Nuer Ethnicity Militarized,” 39-52.
o Ch. 3. [Vincent reader] – Max Gluckman, “‘The Bridge’: Analysis of a Social Situation
in Zululand,” 53-58.
o Ch. 4. [Vincent reader] – Ronald Frankenberg, “‘The Bridge’ Revisited,” 59-64.
Week 12
November 20 & 22
Anthropological Theory and political Agency
o Gledhill, Ch. 8, “Society Against the Modern State?: the Politics of Social Movements,”
184- 213.
o Ch. 7. [Vincent reader] – F. G. Bailey, “Stratagems and Spoils,” 90-95.
o Ch. 8. [Vincent reader] – Victor Turner, “Passages, Margins, and Poverty: Religious
Symbols of Communitas,” 96-101.
Week 13
November 27 & 29
Anthropological Commitment
o Ch. 10. [Vincent reader] – Kathleen Gough, “New Proposals for Anthropologists,” 110119.
o Gledhill, Ch. 9, “Anthropology and Politics: Commitment, Responsibility and the
Academy,” 214-242.
o Ch. 35. [Vincent reader] – Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, “Thinking Academic Freedom in
Gendered Post-Coloniality,” 452-460.
Week 14
December 04
Final Remarks
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Resources for you
Mentoring Centre -
The goal of the Mentoring Centre is to help students with their academic and social well being during their time at the
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end of their degree.
In all, the Mentoring Centre offers a place for students to talk about concerns and problems that they might have in any
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that the Faculty of Social Sciences offers, as well as the services offered by the University of Ottawa.
Academic Writing Help Centre -
At the AWHC you will learn how to identify, correct and ultimately avoid errors in your writing and become an
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• Master the written language of your choice
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Beware of Academic Fraud!
Academic fraud is an act committed by a student to distort the marking of assignments, tests, examinations, and
other forms of academic evaluation. Academic fraud is neither accepted nor tolerated by the University. Anyone
found guilty of academic fraud is liable to severe academic sanctions.
Here are a few examples of academic fraud:
• engaging in any form of plagiarism or cheating;
• presenting falsified research data;
• handing in an assignment that was not authored, in whole or in part, by the student;
• submitting the same assignment in more than one course, without the written consent of the professors
In recent years, the development of the Internet has made it much easier to identify academic plagiarism. The
tools available to your professors allow them to trace the exact origin of a text on the Web, using just a few
In cases where students are unsure whether they are at fault, it is their responsibility to consult the University’s
Web site at the following address: « Tools for
Writing Papers and Assignments ».
Persons who have committed or attempted to commit (or have been accomplices to) academic fraud will be
penalized. Here are some examples of the academic sanctions, which can be imposed:
• a grade of « F » for the assignment or course in question;
• an additional program requirement of between 3 and 30 credits;
• suspension or expulsion from the Faculty.
Last session, most of the students found guilty of fraud were given an « F » for the course and had between three
and twelve credits added to their program requirement.
For more information, refer to:
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