Anthropology

Courses in Biological Anthropology (Division 318)

297. Topics in Biological Anthropology. (3). (NS). (BS). May be repeated for a total of 12 credits.
Section 101 Environmental Anthropology.
This course will examine the relationship between humans and the environment both in terms of the impact humans have had on the environment through the technological advances associated with culture and the impact of the environment on humans and human evolution. We will first examine basic concepts in Biological Anthropology that place it within the context of the environment and then examine basic concepts in the field of environmental science. We will then consider the interaction of anthropological and environmental concepts by looking at the environmental changes associated with the appearance of the first hominids and how humans have become primary agents of environmental change both in the past and in the present. The course will be organized in a lecture and discussion format and will rely for readings on a textbook and a course pack. Course grades will be based on a midterm exam and a final paper. There are no prerequisites for this course. (Albalak)

Courses in Cultural Anthropology (Division 319)

Introductory Courses

101. Introduction to Anthropology. Primarily for freshmen and sophomores. No credit granted to those who have completed or are enrolled in 222 or 426. (4). (SS). (This course meets the Race and Ethnicity Requirement).

This course will introduce students to the four major subfields of anthropology: cultural anthropology, archaeology, linguistic anthropology, and biological anthropology. In the process, we will focus on how each of these subfields helps to explain the cultural, social, and physical aspects of human diversity. An explicit part of this process is exploring how sociocultural differences like gender, and racial and ethnic identity are constructed, and the roles these differences may play in our lives. The first part of the course is devoted to outlining some basic questions that will be addressed throughout the term: What is "culture"? Is there a distinctively human nature? What is the basis of human social groupings, such as culture, race, ethnicity, and class? What kinds of evidence are useful in addressing issues involving human diversity? The subsequent parts of the course will approach specific topics within the discipline both as subjects in their own right and as means to getting answers to these questions. Cost:3 WL:4 (Brawn)

296. Topics in Archaeology. (3). (SS). May be repeated for a total of 12 credits.
Section 101 Stone Age Technologies.
The early economic systems of all of our ancestors were based on technologies that allowed small groups to be self-sufficient. The goal of this class is for students to obtain an understanding and appreciation for some of these technologies. Flint-knapping, hand-made ceramics, carved wood and bone, basketry, simple composite tools, etc., will be covered in lecture/discussions, demonstrated by the instructor and replicated by the students. Significance of these technologies to human evolution and cultural development also will be covered. Photographic slides, replicas, artifacts, and ethnographic specimens will be used to illustrate examples of different crafts. Grading will be based on attendance, participation, two exams, and a project/ paper that is presented in class. While this course stresses hands-on experience, a small course pack will include a moderate list of readings. No prerequisites required. Cost:1 WL:2 (Payne)

Section 102 Graffiti: Past and Present. This course will examine graffiti from the ancient world to the present day, across cultures, and through time. A number of social scientific approaches will be used to investigate graffiti's various meanings, social functions, and connections with other areas such as art, politics, literature, and religion. Class sessions will consist of both lectures and discussions, and students will be graded upon their participation in these discussions, two in-class exams, and a final research paper. Students will also be able to participate in fieldwork collecting data on the graffiti of Ann Arbor. Assigned readings will come from a required course pack, a copy of which will be on reserve at the Shapiro Library. Cost:2 WL:1 (Griffin)

Section 103 For God, Gold, and Glory: Spanish Adventures in the New World. The explorations of Columbus in 1492 initiated contact between Native Americans and Europeans that had repercussions to the people and environment in both the New and Old Worlds. In this class, we will examine contacts between Spanish colonists and Native Americans during the colonial period (1492-1700 AD). We will look at who these adventurers were, their motivations for colonial expansion, the different indigenous peoples the Spanish met, and their responses to contact. We will discuss exchanges of diseases, plants, and animals, and the roles these exchanges played in changes in the environment and Native American societies. Archaeological and ethnohistorical data are used, and we will read accounts from the explorers themselves, and the views of indigenous scholars on contact and culture change. Evaluation will be based on two exams, class participation, and a final project in which students use the course framework for examining a culture contact of their choice. Cost:1 WL:4 (Trigg)

Section 104 Food, Clothes, and Shelter: The Archaeology of Everyday Life. This class deals with the archaeological study of residential areas in ancient towns and cities and the everyday lives of the people inhabiting them. We look at the kinds of evidence and the processes of analysis and inference used by archaeologists to understand what ancient people's everyday lives were like. Topics include: households, gender/age roles, house form and meaning, food preparation, and textiles. No background in archaeology is needed. Throughout the course, students will be asked to apply what they learn from lectures and readings to specific situations in discussions and in-class activities. Grades will be based on a paper/presentation, in which students analyze and evaluate an archaeological case study, and two exams. Required texts: Archaeology (Renfrew and Bahn), House Form and Culture (Rapoport), and a course pack. Class format is lecture. Cost:3 WL:1 (Keith)

298. Topics in Cultural Anthropology. (3). (SS). May be repeated for a total of 12 credits.
Section 001 Culture and Media.
The aims of this class are to (1) introduce students to a sampling of recent critical literature on media; (2) encourage students to construct a critical perspective on media; (3) acquaint students with the idea of mediation, whose nature we shall return to again and again as being essential constituent of contemporary cultures; and (4) develop students' own analytical skills by means of writing assignments that will consider both the formal aspects and the contents of the ad/show/photograph in question. The class will be based on careful readings and in-depth discussions of all assigned materials. Participation in discussion and effort spent in preparing in-class presentations will be prime considerations in the final grade. Students will be asked to prepare two short (3-4 page) papers about the readings and one longer (8-10 page) paper in which they will present critical readings of an instance of media of their own choosing. Cost:1 WL:4 (Wolfe)

Section 102 AIDS, Activism, and Anthropology: Community Responses to the HIV/AIDS in International Perspective. This course explores AIDS activism through comparing how various communities (e.g., gay men and lesbians, low income women, sex industry workers) have responded to the HIV epidemic in the United States, Brazil, Thailand, Haiti, Zaire, and other countries. Based on moderate reading, films, information from the web, lectures, and classroom discussions and exercises, we will focus on four central themes: (1) the role of gender, racial, class, sexual and world economic inequalities in shaping the form AIDS activism takes in particular contexts; (2) how other community-based organizations and social movements have integrated AIDS issues into their political and community projects; (3) the ways in which national and transnational structural factors, such as state repression and the international financing of community-based organizations, shape grassroots mobilization strategies; and (4) the ethical and political dimensions of anthropological, social scientific and medical research related to HIV/AIDS. Grading will be based on a short research paper, two critical essays, and classroom participation. (Klein)

Section 103 Exploring the Intersections of Anthropology and History. What good is history to the discipline of anthropology, which has in the twentieth century often defined itself in contrast to history? Why have anthropologists in recent years begun to question these distinctions and instead promoted interdisciplinary work? How can academic inquiry benefit from work that meets at the crossroads of the two disciplines? This seminar will begin to explore these questions by introducing students to major issues involving interdisciplinary studies in anthropology and history. We will begin by asking very basic questions about anthropology and how anthropologists in the past have thought about the need to look to history in their attempts to study culture. The first two weeks we will read mostly theoretical pieces that put on the table some of the questions interdisciplinary study forces us to ask. We will use these readings to explore those questions and ask some more of our own. We will discuss the numerous ways that a "historic turn" in anthropology and a "cultural" one in history can be defined. The subsequent weeks will be dedicated to exploring just some of these ways that anthropology and history can be seen to engage with each other. (Morillo-Alicea)

Section 105 Performance Studies. What is the meaning of performance? How do audiences and performers use performance to convey messages about identity and belief, and what can performance tell us about power, resistance, and social change? Performance is a central feature to both staged, and unstaged communicative interaction. As a scholarly approach, performance studies can provide rich perspectives into our understanding of the cultural life of a community. In this course we will explore the social, philosophical, and aesthetic theories that have contributed to performance studies, building a critical approach to performance through readings and discussion. Thus equipped, we will examine the uses and meanings influencing performance movements ranging from opera and rap to worldbeat music, through recorded and live events. Finally we will explore the use of performance perspectives as an alternative approach for interpreting religious, political, and new social movements. Course requirements include two critical reviews, a performance ethnography and presentation. For more information, you may contact the instructor by e-mail (zirbel@umich.edu). Cost:2 WL:1 (Zirbel)

298. Topics in Cultural Anthropology. (3). (SS). May be repeated for a total of 12 credits.
Section 104 Sustainable Development? An Anthropological Perspective.
This course will examine the thorny concept, and even thornier reality of "sustainable development," from a distinctly sociocultural perspective. We will begin by querying the idea of "development" itself, then explore the ideas of sustainable development that are so often invoked in the current popular and academic presses. From this starting point, the course will look at several issues that bear on the "sustainability" of "development," such as the politics of ecology, the problem of equity, the question of "people's participation," the social construction of nature and its implications for sustainable development, protected areas and resident peoples, sustainable agriculture, traditional systems of resource management, and grassroots environmental movements. (Johnson)


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