Course module - Arguing with Anthropology (2013-2014)
Code : SOAN30200 Credit rating: 20 Semester : both
This module aims to provide students with an overview of the main ways of thinking anthropologically, and to help them, over the course of a year, to gain a firm understanding of the range of conceptual approaches that they have encountered in the anthropological literature that they have read over their years of study. The unit is designed to allow students the time to build a full understanding of how anthropologists develop their arguments, how they critique the arguments of others, and the ways in which thinking anthropologically changes with time and across space. The course also aims to identify the key theoretical approaches that have defined the discipline both in the past and in the contemporary period, and looks at questions such as: the shifting relationship between ethnography and theory; how during some periods, some approaches were more popular than others; how the focus of what anthropology studies (its objects and subjects) has changed with time; how particular ethnographic regions and themes became associated with certain theoretical approaches; questions about the relationship between anthropology and other disciplines, and the debates that has engendered about multi-disciplinarity and inter-disciplinarity; questions about the history of the discipline's relationship with different political, economic, social, and geographical contexts; and an account of the way Manchester Anthropology has contributed to the development of anthropological thinking and practice.
Objectives (Learning Outcomes)
On completion of this unit successful students will be able to:
• Understand what it means to think and argue anthropologically
• Identify all the major theoretical approaches in anthropology, and understand the differences between them
• Understand the historical and regional differences in theoretical approaches
• Understand the relationship between anthropology and other disciplines and how that has changed with time
• Use the material in this course to develop more subtle arguments in their written work, and use anthropological theory themselves to develop their own intellectual arguments (e.g. in a dissertation)
• Identify the distinctive contributions made by Manchester Anthropology
2500 word Essay Sem 1 50% - Semester 1
1.5 hour Exam Sem 2 50% - Semester 2
Length of Course: 12 weeks
THIS COURSE IS COMPULSORY FOR B.SOC.SC. IN SOCIAL ANTHROPOLOGY
The module is conceived in such a way as to provide understanding of the ways in which anthropological thinking develops through arguments over time. Students will gain insight into the major theoretical approaches in anthropology and, particularly, into the relationship between these different approaches. This means asking what different approaches and conceptual frameworks emphasise, and what they leave undiscussed, what they make visible and what they make invisible, through describing and analysing data in one way rather than another. Ethnographic studies will be used alongside more abstract writing by key thinkers in order to understand arguments in the contexts in which they unfolded.
The first block will zoom in on anthropology’s contested relationship with the Enlightenment and notions of science, and on the concepts of structure, habitus and power/knowledge. The second block will focus on debates regarding the status of ethnographic fieldwork and anthropology’s relationship with art, with performance, with phenomenology, and debates surrounding human-animal ontologies. The third block is dedicated to Marxism, debates on exchange and value, the ‘Manchester School’, and discussion about exchange and the person. The fourth block will focus on questions of comparison.
Course Materials and Handouts (current students only)
Jansen, Stef Dr
Venkatesan, Dr Soumhya
Martin, Dr Keir
Sykes, Dr Karen
This module is team-taught in four blocks of five weeks each. Each week will have a two-hour session consisting of lectures, group discussions and perhaps other tasks as set by the lecturer. For the duration of each block, the relevant lecturer will have a dedicated drop-in office hour reserved for students on this module. All the module details will be available in the module’s Blackboard zone.
This list is only indicative of the type of literature that will be used for the course: the lecturer who will be running each block will, in consultation with the course convenor, be free to use the literature that they feel is most appropriate.
Abram, S. & J. Waldren (eds) 1998. Anthropological perspectives on local development: knowledge and sentiments in conflict. London: Routledge.
Bourdieu, P. 1995 (1990). The Logic of Practice (trans.) R. Nice. Cambridge: Polity Press.
Douglas, M. (ed.) 1973. Rules and meanings: the anthropology of everyday knowledge - selected readings. Harmondsworth: Penguin Education.
Downey, G.L. & J. Dumit (eds) 1997. Cyborgs and Citadels: Anthropological Interventions in Emerging Sciences and Technologies. Santa Fe, New Mexico: School of American Research Press.
Evans-Pritchard, E.E. 1992. Theories of Primitive Religion. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Evens, T.M.S. & D. Handelman. 2006. The Manchester School: practice and ethnographic praxis in anthropology. New York ; Oxford: Berghahn Books.
Fardon, R. (ed.) 1995. Counterworks: managing the diversity of knowledge. London; New York: Routledge.
Fischer, M.M.J. 1999. Emergent forms of life: Anthropologies of late or postmodernities. Annual Review of Anthropology 28, 455-478.
Foucault, M. 1974. The Order of Things. An Archaeology of the Human Sciences. (tr. anon.) London: Tavistock.
Geertz, C. 1983. Local Knowledge: further essays in interpretive anthropology. New York: Basic Books.
Gluckman, M. 1965. Politics, law and ritual in tribal society. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.
Ingold, T. (ed.) 1996. Key debates in anthropology. London, New York: Routledge.
Ingold, T. 2000. The perception of the environment: essays on livelihood, dwelling and skill. London: Routledge.
Jackson, M. (ed.) 1996. Things As They Are: New Directions in Phenomenological Anthropology. Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press.
Kuklick, H. (ed.) 2008. A new history of anthropology. Oxford: Blackwell.
Leonardo, M.d. (ed.) 1991. Gender at the Crossroads of Knowledge: Feminist Anthropology in the Postmodern Era. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.
Lévi-Strauss, C. 1977. Structural Anthropology 1 and 2. London: Peregrine Books.
Lewis, I.M. 1999. Arguments with ethnography: comparative approaches to history, politics & religion. London; New Brunswick, N.J.: Athlone Press.
Marcus, G.E. & M.M. Fischer. 1986. Anthropology as Cultural Critique. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Mauss, M. 1990. The Gift: the form and reason for exchange in archaic societies. (tr. W.D. Halls) London: Routledge.
Moore, H.L. & T. Sanders (eds) 2006. Anthropology in theory: issues in epistemology. Malden, Mass.: Blackwell Pub.
Rabinow, P. 1987. The Foucault Reader: An introduction to Foucault's thought, with major new unpublished material. Harmondsworth: Penguin.
Riles, A. (ed.) 2006. Documents: artifacts of modern knowledge. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.
Strathern, M. (ed.) 1995. Shifting contexts: transformations in anthropological knowledge. London; New York: Routledge.
Strathern, M. 2004. Partial connections, Updated Edition. Walnut Creek, CA ; Oxford: AltaMira Press.
Sykes, K.M. 2005. Arguing with anthropology: an introduction to critical theories of the gift. London: Routledge.
Tsing, A.L. 2005. Friction : an ethnography of global connection. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press.