ANTH 6916: Culture and development—Key concepts
|Social Sciences Building 410 (A02)
|Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 1 to 2 p.m.
Welcome to ANTH 6916: Culture and development—Key concepts. This is a core seminar in the development studies program. Originally, it served to introduce students to the concept of culture in order to problematize commonplace understandings of development, progress, modernity, and change. It has evolved into a more general survey of social theory which is relevant to any advanced social scientific inquiry. In many postgraduate social science programs students devote themselves to the study of specialized knowledge of how societies and communities work. Likewise, in many other postgraduate courses in the social sciences, students are concerned with how things should work, and how social problems should be solved. Yet what we ask about social life depends on the way we conceptualize and understand the nature of social life. Hence, in this class we do not ask how questions, we ask why questions. We do not ask about what should be, either. Rather we seek to explain what is. On this basis we also cast a skeptical eye of critique on the normative perspectives on society that inform politics, policy, and planning. Students come together as peers in a seminar to discover new perspectives on old and profound questions through discussion with each other.