This course will be an overview of the discipline of cultural anthropology, introducing the student to diverse cultures around the globe through reading and analysis of anthropologists’ writings about their work. Readings will show that humans in different cultures have developed different solutions to the same problems. Emphasis will be placed on techniques for learning about other cultures, and the theories and concepts used to understand why humans behave as they do.
A cross-cultural study of humankind’s responses to the wonder and terror of the process of nature, and efforts to control these processes through interaction with, and manipulation and control of, supernatural beings, power, and events. Emphasis is placed on the diversity of the human religious experience in its broadest sense. This class considers both anthropological theory and ethnographic data.
This course takes an anthropological approach to the study of folklore in the context of festivals and holidays. This semester we will be focusing on the British Isles, Ireland and America. We will take a look at seasonal and calendrical rites of passage and rituals of intensification with a view to understanding the prehistoric and historic origins of the folkloric beliefs and customs associated with these rituals. Using models of the anthropology of performance and agency, we will examine ways in which these rituals are socially constructed, and how they shape regional and local identity.
This course will examine the dialectic between media and society. Media includes but is not limited to: newspapers, magazines, radio, TV, films, audio CDs, and most importantly in the third millennium — information dispensed digitally via Internet news, educational, sales and propaganda websites, email, instant messaging, text messaging, blogs, YouTube, Twitter and social networking websites such as Facebook. In this course, students will work together to discover emergent forms of social discourse and analyze ways in which these forms affect society, using the principles of sociology.