Introduction to Cultural Anthropology

Offered at Union College, Fall 2007

This course is designed to introduce students to the methods, theories, and concepts of cultural anthropology. Drawing on ethnographic materials from all parts of the world we will investigate how people define themselves and others, make sense of their world, and organize their lives. We will look at past and contemporary ways that anthropologists have thought about culture, and use anthropological perspectives to examine the ways in which the "culture concept" is used by a variety of people and groups.

The goals of this course are 1) to furnish an overview of cultural anthropology, its historical and theoretical developments, and its present scope of inquiry; 2) to expose students to a wide range of ethnographic writing; 3) to examine the relationships between cultural diversity and relationships of power and inequality; 4) to encourage critical thinking and help students develop skills in analytical thinking.

Course Texts (all available at the Union Bookstore):
John Monaghan and Peter Just, Social and Cultural Anthropology: A Very Short Introduction
Elizabeth Fernea, Guests of the Sheik
Paul Stoller, Money Has No Smell
Sherry Ortner, Life and Death on Mount Everest