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Around the world in 13 weeks

Around the world in 13 weeks

Ryan Schram

October 31, 2018


Social Sciences Building 410 (A02)

Available at http://anthro.rschram.org/1002/13.2

Global forces and cultural differences

  • Capitalism
  • Colonialism
  • Global religions, e.g. Christianity and Islam
  • transcultural discourses of conservation and sustainability
  • global warming and its effects on local environments

Capitalism is a culture

  • Capitalism is a culture, not a space of “freedom.”
  • In a capitalist system, people must play the role of the individual.
  • Capitalism creates illusions, e.g. commodity fetishism.

The conjuncture of cultures

  • No society exists in isolation; everyone lives in an intersection of two or more systems.
  • Contemporary societies are all different, but we can understand them all as variations on the encounter of reciprocity and commodification.
    • Efflorescence
    • Tension, conflict, segregation
    • Transformation
  • Global forces are context for local cultural systems, and vice versa.
  • This is not just true about global capitalism; we can apply the same perspective to any global movement, even climate change.
    • Climate migration
    • “Gone the bull of winter”
    • The fantasy that indigenous people are wise prophets of sustainability

The snake and the mongoose

Once upon a time there was a snake and a mongoose…

Many opposites - values, ideas, institutions - are not binary, either-or. They are contradictions and they exist in an ambiguous tension which is both a source of conflict but also creativity.

Snake and mongoose

That is, contemporary life is defined by its contradictions. There are co-present forces in tension, leading to conflict and also unexpected side-effects.

  • Globalization involves change in societies.
  • Globalization allows people to recreate a coherent cultural order with new materials.

Everything is mixed

Categories are not dichotomous; Many opposites are actually co-present.

  • Tradition / modernity
  • Developed / undeveloped
  • Custom / rationality
  • Gift / commodity
  • Love / money

Each society, big or small, is also a microcosm of the whole world.

Majoring in anthropology

If you started in 2018

A major consists of 48 credit points (eight units) at three levels. The requirements for a major in anthropology are:

  • ANTH 1001 and 1002 (ANTH 1001 is also offered in the summer)
  • Two 2000-level units (e.g. culture and development, medical anthropology, gender, religion)
  • Four 3000-level units (e.g. Indigenous Australians Today, The Social Production of Space)

If you started before 2018

A major consists of 36 “senior” (2000-level and 3000-level units). These should include:

  • One senior unit from each of three types: regional (Southeast Asia, Indigenous Australia), thematic (medical anthropology, religion), and theoretical-methodological
  • One 3000-level unit, typically either ANTH 3601 (contemporary theories) or ANTH 3602 (reading ethnography)

Honours in anthropology: Independent thinking and research

Doing an honours year in anthropology is an opportunity to carry out an original project, working one on one with a supervisor. To qualify for honours entry, you need:

  • a credit average of 70 or better
  • across 42 senior credit points of anthropology
  • including ANTH3601 and ANTH3602
  • (if you began your course in 2018) two majors
  • you need to be keen and have an idea for a project! (Discuss with the honours coordinator and potential supervisors!)

Now, for a special message about our world-renowned honours program in anthropology, here's the 2019 honours coordinator, Yasmine Musharbash!

Honours in anthropology, a guide for 2019


Lacock, Hennie. 2013. Cobra and Mongoose. Caters New Agency. http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/photo/2013-10/29/132841640_11n.jpg.

A guide to the unit

1002/2018/13.2.txt · Last modified: 2020/01/25 15:28 (external edit)