ANTHRCUL 450 - Anthropologies of Insurgency: Bandits, Rebels and Freedom Fighters
Section: 001
Term: FA 2018
Subject: Anthropology, Cultural (ANTHRCUL)
Department: LSA Anthropology
Waitlist Capacity:
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:

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 sociocultural 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 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:

The course will be offered to graduate students and upper level undergraduate anthropology majors with the permission of the instructor.

Class Format:

This is a seminar course, with enrollment limited to 20 students.

ANTHRCUL 450 - Anthropologies of Insurgency: Bandits, Rebels and Freedom Fighters
Schedule Listing
001 (SEM)
M 9:00AM - 12:00PM
NOTE: Data maintained by department in Wolverine Access. If no textbooks are listed below, check with the department.
Syllabi are available to current LSA students. IMPORTANT: These syllabi are provided to give students a general idea about the courses, as offered by LSA departments and programs in prior academic terms. The syllabi do not necessarily reflect the assignments, sequence of course materials, and/or course expectations that the faculty and departments/programs have for these same courses in the current and/or future terms.

Click the button below to view historical syllabi for ANTHRCUL 450 (UM login required)

View Historical Syllabi
The CourseProfile (ART) system, supported by the U-M Provost’s 3rd Century Initiative through a grant to the Digital Innovation Greenhouse, provides additional information about: course enrollments; academic terms and instructors; student academic profiles (school/college, majors), and previous, concurrent, and subsequent course enrollments.

CourseProfile (ART)