ANTHRCUL 258 - Honors Seminar in Cultural Anthropology
Section: 001 Tales from the City
Term: WN 2008
Subject: Anthropology, Cultural (ANTHRCUL)
Department: LSA Anthropology
Enforced Prerequisites:
LSA Honors.
Advisory Prerequisites:
Honors students with sophomore standing or above.
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:

Cities, with their complex concentrations of people and capital, foster tales of movement, conflict and social transformation. City stories testify to personal experience, collective history, community organization, and institutional constraint. Who speaks about city life and what do they say? What are some of “the multiple ways in which we use narrative to formulate our ideas and experience of urban life” and “the stories heard and told in a particular town” (Finnegan, 1998)? In this course, we will examine how city life is narrated by a variety of protagonists. Over the past few decades anthropologists such as Kenny and Kertzer, James Holston and Setha Low have presented strong arguments and suggested models for the ethnographic study of cities, with Arjun Appadurai going so far as to claim that cities have trumped nations as the primary sites of belonging and citizenship. Additionally, the city has been a critical backdrop in films, works of fiction, and historical monographs. Taking advantage of a variety of sources, we will train our attention on accounts of lived experiences in Johannesburg, Paris, San Francisco and Lagos, among others. The pioneering work of the Chicago ethnographers at the turn of the 20th century as well as a range of developments in other cities such as Brazilia, New York, Dakar and Detroit will serve as important theoretical touchstones. What kinds of expressions and representations might emerge from our materials, allowing us to gain an understanding of the city, its possibilities and its challenges? In broadly comparative and expressly local terms, the course will explore the city as what one philosopher called a “context of discovery,” as we attempt to tease out some of the many significant tropes and realities embedded in urban fables, histories, anthropological accounts, and films. Evaluations will be based on class participation, including a stint leading a discussion with another classmate, weekly response papers, and a final take-home exam. This course is open to non honor students, contact the instructor for an override.

ANTHRCUL 258 - Honors Seminar in Cultural Anthropology
Schedule Listing
001 (SEM)
17LSA Hnrs
W 10:00AM - 1:00PM
002 (SEM)
2LSA Hnrs
TuTh 1:00PM - 2:30PM
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