- Why do people do things in different ways?
- Why do they sometimes understand and value the things they do so differently?
- What do these cultural differences mean?
- What are the ways in which we think about and understand difference?
- How can we think about and understand cultural change and the meaning of cultures in a world where people and societies constantly collide and commingle?
This course has two aims:
- first, to introduce students to the concept of culture and to a small sampling of the great diversity of cultures that exist around the world;
- second, to learn about some approaches to understanding this cultural diversity — and, along the way, to learn a bit of the history of social and anthropological theory.
Classes will be organized around the discussion of readings and materials that span several cultures and diverse approaches to studying, thinking about, and describing culture, from ethnographic accounts (both classic and recent), to theoretical statements, to fictional writing and documentary film.
Grading will be based on regular attendance at lecture (including student group presentations), participation in discussion sections, and two or three short papers.