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Semester 1, 2021
Description: This unit serves as an advanced introduction to anthropology, with a special emphasis on the most important theoretical paradigms and schools of thought within contemporary cultural anthropology. Students will learn the different ways that anthropology has conceived of its main questions about human life and the nature of social forms, and the contributions that anthropology has made to and borrowed from other disciplines and the social sciences in general. We will explore the theoretical explanations that have dominated anthropology through close reading of key arguments and study of ethnographic cases on a variety of topics. Besides giving students the necessary background to understand current research in the field of anthropology, the unit will equip students to appreciate important contrasts in perspective, and to decide for themselves which kinds of social and cultural explanations make sense to them.
Ryan will be using the Anthrocyclopaedia less extensively for this unit, and students should always go to Canvas for the most recent information about this class and their assignments. Ryan is teaching the lectures in weeks 1 through 6 and will post his notes here throughout these weeks.