ANTHRCUL 450 - Anthropologies of Insurgency: Bandits, Rebels and Freedom Fighters
Fall 2022, Section 001
Instruction Mode: Section 001 is  In Person (see other Sections below)
Subject: Anthropology, Cultural (ANTHRCUL)
Department: LSA Anthropology
See additional student enrollment and course instructor information to guide you in your decision making.


Waitlist Capacity:
With permission of instructor.
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:
Start/End Date:
Full Term 8/29/22 - 12/9/22 (see other Sections below)
NOTE: Drop/Add deadlines are dependent on the class meeting dates and will differ for full term versus partial term offerings.
For information on drop/add deadlines, see the Office of the Registrar and search Registration Deadlines.


This course explores the interlinked categories of rebel, bandit, and freedom fighter to understand insurgency from an anthropological viewpoint. Privileging sociological and micropolitical analysis, the course approaches specific instances of illegal use of force in their socio-cultural and historic settings, and builds toward a consideration of insurgency from “the actors’ points of view”. Through the categories of the rebel, bandit, and insurgent, the course considers broader issues of structure and agency, state power and sovereignty, and definitions of legal and illegal uses of force from the oblique angle of those whose violence is classified as illegitimate.

Beginning with Marx and the problematic category of the lumpenproletariat, the course moves on to consider Hobsbawm’s analysis of banditry as well as his critics. Moving forward, the class considers a series of case studies from Europe, West Africa, South and Southeast Asia, Southern Africa, and Central America, finishing with a consideration of contemporary insurgency in the Middle East and Afghanistan. Rather than focus on strategic analysis of insurgency/counterinsurgency, this course will focus on questions of meaning and intentionality that go to the heart of how insurgents build (or sometimes destroy) the essential bonds between themselves and the wider groups on whose behalf they claim to fight.

Course Requirements:

The grade will be based on class participation (33%) and on the final paper or project (66%). Readings will be modest, and it is expected that students will have done all of the reading for each meeting. It is the responsibility of each student to demonstrate her or his mastery of the readings during class sessions, and failure to do so will result in a lower grade for participation.

Intended Audience:

This course is intended primarily for Junior and Senior Anthropology majors, though students in other majors are also welcome. If you have questions about this, please contact the instructor.








ANTHRCUL 450 - Anthropologies of Insurgency: Bandits, Rebels and Freedom Fighters
Schedule Listing
001 (SEM)
 In Person
M 5:00PM - 8:00PM
8/29/22 - 12/9/22

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