3000 Level Courses

ANTH 3040 6.0:  The Anthropology of Digital Media and Visual Representation - ONLINE


Course Director: Dr. L. Mannik, lmannik@yorku.ca

Course Description                                                                                                                                                                                This course will look at a wide variety of visual media online, including art, photography, film, and specific digital technologies (such as video games and online museums) to explore the ways in which these shape both the perception of, and the experience of, cultural difference and identity. Of central concern are representations of race, ethnicity, class, gender, and "otherness." Prerequisites: None. Co-requisites: None.

ANTH 3110 6.0: Acquiring Research Skills

Course Director: Dr. O. Alexandrakis, oalexand@yorku.ca

Course Description                                                                                                                                                                                 The purpose of this course is to introduce students to the discipline, experience and practice of anthropological research. The task of "doing anthropology" involves a broad range of considerations, such as: defining and selecting research problems, decisions concerning appropriate and/or feasible research strategies as well as moral and ethical issues. We will explore a variety of research tools and techniques used in anthropological fieldwork, such as: narrative and life history and films as well as the broader application of anthropological research methods to non-traditional research settings.

While the emphasis will be on the hallowed anthropological "trademark" of fieldwork (which includes participant- observation, interviewing and recording data), our analysis will be informed by contemporary explorations and critiques of fieldwork practice, for example, the production of anthropological knowledge, the politics of representation, and how anthropologists are responding to a changing world.

Format: Two lecture hours and one tutorial hour.

ANTH 3190 3.0: Food, Eating and Nutrition in Cross-Cultural Perspective

Course Director: Dr. K. Schmid, kschmid@yorku.ca

Course Description                                                                                                                                                                        Nutritional anthropology, a subfield of medical anthropology, examines the relations between food, culture and biology.

This course explores the social and cultural basis of human food systems using a cross-cultural approach. Nutritional anthropology, a subfield of medical anthropology, integrates an understanding of human biology with the social and cultural basis of human food systems. We will begin by examining nutrition and the cultural construction of bodily needs, as well as transformations of traditional and indigenous food systems and dietary practices.

Our study of food and eating requires an understanding of the food system from multiple theoretical perspectives. We explore the many social meanings of food, and consider theories intent on deciphering the symbolic structures that underlie food taboos and customs. What we eat and how we eat is also part of who we are. Using ethnographic examples, we investigate how food is involved in the making of ethnic and national identities, as well as bodies, personalities and lifestyles. Finally, we explore global and social transformations of food and culture involving industrialization, corporatization, and food movements, considering how food, eating and nutrition intersection with power, poverty, and food security.

Format: Three seminar hours

ANTH 3220 6.0: Greed, Globalization & the Gift: The Culture(s) of Capitalism

Course Director: Dr. K. Schmid, kschmid@yorku.ca

Course Description                                                                                                                                                                                  Global capitalism at the millennium is triumphant: Or is it? Are alternate models of "Economic Man" redundant, or can Economic "science" be contested on its home turf, the "free" market? Can anthropology offer unique insights into "modern" economies: or are we limited to reflection on the "gift" or "moral" economies posited by traditional economic anthropology?

This course has two main themes: first, it examines the nature of capitalist enterprise historically and ethnographically. It thus focuses upon the anthropology of capitalism and the capitalist firm, and the new multi-sited methods required to study a global economic system. We will examine the variety of forms of corporate capitalism (including the differences between agrarian and industrial capitalisms); the spread of capitalism and the "world system" through to the age of globalization; and the failure of neo-liberal development policies to deliver economic prosperity.

Secondly, this course aims to provide undergraduates with the critical tools they require to analyze the pervading neoliberal economic culture within which most current government, media and business discourses are couched. The "battle in Seattle", the Zapatista revolt in Chiapas and other attacks on the World Trade Organization all point to the increasing interconnection of global capital flows, neoliberal economic restructuring, and global movements of resistance. We will thus examine these movements through the use of alternate models of economic behaviour, such as those provided by the Substantivists, Political Economy approaches, and the work of Bruno Latour and the Critical Accounting Theorists.

Format: Three seminar hours

ANTH 3230 6.0: Women, Culture & Society

Course Director: Dr. L. Davidson, lmdavids@yorku.ca

Course Description                                                                                                                                                                                This course examines a variety of theoretical and ethnographic approaches to the intersectionality of “womanism”, class, sexuality, and race that developed out of and/or intensified by settler, colonial, scientific, political, religious, and economic developments.  We will begin with the nature vs culture debate, questioning and critically assessing anthropological concerns over female bodies, sexualities, gender identities, statuses, and labour.  We will consider women in relation to structures of power and inequality, such as debates over women as agents and/or victims, and address contemporary discussions involving, but not limited to, migration, care work, sex work, reproductive technologies, beauty and fashion, and familial intimacies and responsibilities.  In the later section of the course, we will engage with current directions in feminist anthropology, such as decolonizing research methodologies, collaborations, community work, and social activism.

Format: Three seminar hours

ANTH 3270 3.0: The Anthropology of Outer Space

Course Director: Dr. K. Denning, kdenning@yorku.ca

Course Description                                                                                                                                                                                The Anthropology of Outer Space offers an anthropological voyage of exploration to other worlds, through human culture, popular imagination, science, and technology. Outer space is full of human paradoxes. Human beings have so far physically travelled only as far as our Moon, and the most distant human artifact, the interstellar probe Voyager 1, has barely left our solar system; yet, the reach of our imagination and technologically-mediated viewing extends to the edge of the known universe.

We have been a space-faring species for only 40 years; yet our past and future are full of dreams of colonizing our solar system. No life of any kind has so far been discovered off Earth, despite the efforts of the sciences of astrobiology and the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence; yet, our popular culture is full of imaginary extraterrestrial Others. When Neil Armstrong walked on the Moon, it was touted as "one giant leap for mankind", and the ground beneath his feet has been suggested by the UN to be the "common heritage of mankind"; yet, the flag he planted was American. A substantial fraction of North Americans don't know that the earth orbits the sun, rather than vice versa; and yet, the website for NASA's Mars rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, had 6.5 billion hits in the six weeks after their landing.

This course will explore these contradictions and more, through an anthropological gaze. Throughout, the course will deal with modern science but will be grounded in the human experience of space, as mediated through technology, culture, and politics. Particular topics covered will include: discourses of exploration; the cross-cultural history of scientific speculation about other life in the cosmos and the implications of detection; the use of Moon/Mars analog sites on Earth; simulations of space voyages; near-term plans for crewed explorations of Mars; long-term plans for the colonization of the solar system; Mars rovers, the experiences of telepresence, and websites like GoogleMars; the material culture and sites of space exploration; the private spaceflight revolution; space tourism; space and nationalism; and the connections between space exploration, transnational corporations, and the machinery of war.

Format: Three seminar hours

ANTH 3280 6.0: Anthropology and Psychiatry in Global Context

Course Director: Dr. A. Steinforth, asteinfo@yorku.ca

Course Description                                                                                                                                                                               This course is concerned with furthering the dialogue and mutual engagement between Medical Anthropology and Cultural Psychiatry - in the context of localized communities, multicultural societies, and global networks alike. Applying a pluralized concept of psychiatry, the course will investigate prevalent practices in clinical psychiatry alongside other culturally and historically formulated strategies of coming to terms with locally defined states of mental disorder. It will explore a diversity of modes of experiencing, expressing, recognizing, interpreting, and addressing mental distress, providing participants with a solid theoretical and conceptual basis while, at the same time, exploring a large body of specific empirical case studies. In so doing, the course offers well-contextualized insights into a number of current issues including the pharmaceutical commodification of mental health, the medicalization of difference, personhood and notions of a 'normal' human condition, stigma and idioms of distress, migration and trauma, psychiatric epidemiology and global mental health policy, and symbolic forms of healing. Engaging with ongoing controversies and debates, it encourages new and critical views onto the practical realities and structural challenges of mental disorder and suffering in Canada and beyond.

Format: Three seminar hours

ANTH 3320 6.0: Religious Ritual and Symbolism

Course Director:  Dr. A. Chaudhuri, akc@yorku.ca

Course Description                                                                                                                                                                                     How major anthropological thinkers seek to explain the variety and complexity of human ritual and symbolic behaviour informs this course. Ethnographic examples and materials on ritual events, religious symbolism, and belief systems will enrich this anthropological perspective. A series of topics will be investigated including shamans, sorcery and witchcraft, specific examples of Asian and European religions and New Age religious movements. After a review of various ways to approach the study of religion within Anthropology with a focus on symbolic theory, the course will concentrate on a number of topics.

Some of the areas of interest investigated and developed for extensive discussion include myth, ritual, shamans, sorcery and witchcraft, and religious systems of the Americas, Africa, Europe and Asia. Students will be encouraged to discuss topics including issues surrounding purity and pollution, gender and religion, religious festivals and performances, and major life concerns like the problem of evil and suffering. Students will be exposed to the anthropological approach to the study of religion through discussions of theories in anthropology and a variety of ethnographic examples. This course will provide the students with grounding in the anthropological approach to the study of religion and expand their knowledge of anthropological techniques and perspectives.

ANTH 3330 6.0: Health & Illness in Cross-Cultural Perspective: An Introduction to Medical Anthropology

Course Director:  Dr. S. Widmer, swidmer@yorku.ca

Course Description                                                                                                                                                                             "Health and illness are not merely biological states, but are conditions which are ultimately related to and constituted by the social nature of human life" (Lock & Gordon). Using critical and cross-cultural perspectives, we will examine the diverse ways in which individuals and societies understand, express, and manage illness and health. In doing so, we will see that medical anthropology offers a window into the relationship between our bodies and our social, cultural and political worlds.

Through this course you learn the central early and contemporary theories and methods of medical anthropology. This foundational underpinning will guide your critical study of health and illness, which will include topics such as: the diversity of medical beliefs and practices; the relationship between healers and patients; the national & international health arenas; the life cycle, gender and health; and the social implications of the new technologies of biomedicine.

Format: Three seminar hours

ANTH 3350 6.0: Culture as Performance: The Anthropology of the Arts

Course Director: Dr. K. Little, wkl@yorku.ca

Course Description                                                                                                                                                                            Think about world's fairs, raves, shopping malls, national dance companies, museums, national parks, the circus, mass advertising, wrestling matches, ritual performances, situationalist happenings, art galleries, tourist adventures and all other means of mass cultural performances. These are forms of cultural representation that enact the modern world as exhibition and spectacle. They are also forms of expressive culture that share a logic, the structure, power, and effects of which we will examine in this course.

We begin the course by investigating what it means to talk about cultural performance in the age of spectacle consumption, and then take up a series of historical and contemporary examples of popular culture, artistic expression, and entertainment in order to develop a clear understanding of the role of performance and spectacle in the making of contemporary social and cultural worlds. Throughout the course, we will be building on theoretical arguments in poststructuralist anthropology related to the process of cultural production, affect, and materialist semiotics.

The expected learning outcomes of this course are as follows: 1) to provide students with an overall introduction and understanding of the structure, context, and power of cultural performances as everyday activities or as framed public spectacles; 2) to provide students with the tools to recognize the effects and affective forces of spectacle consumption in the contemporary world anywhere they find them; to ensure the students become familiar with, and have the ability to utilize, the ideas developed in this course in their everyday lives.

Format: Three seminar hours

ANTH 3370 3.0: Power & Violence: The Making of Modernity

Course Director: Dr. D. Yon, dyon@edu.yorku.ca

Course Description                                                                                                                                                                                 This course will examine the place of organized political violence in the making of the most recent widespread, large-scale dominant social system: "modernity". During its making there has been a massive and unprecedented proliferation of organized violence within and between different groups, peoples, and states. But, even as this pattern is increasingly "globalized" and "normalized", it is deeply uneven in its sources and its causes, in its proliferation and its uses, and in its effects.

The first premise of the course is that if there is to be any understanding of this increasing proliferation and use of organized political violence in the historical making of our contemporary world, we need to enquire into three fundamental aspects of "violence" as a dimension of power: First, into ideologies of violence.

Second, the social and cultural organization of violence - i.e., how violence is "embedded" in everyday social relationships and practices as well as in certain specialized institutions.

Finally, the increasing incorporation of violence through the development and use of extreme forms of "technologies of destruction."

A second premise of the course is that if there is to be any potential resolution of the problems which the proliferation and use of organized violence generates, then attention must also be paid to the existence of "non-violent" ideologies, social organization, and "patterns of reconciliation" – even if these exist in only limited ways and contexts within these contemporary socio-cultural "life-forms".

Format: Three seminar hours

ANTH 3410 6.0: Race, Ethnicity and Nationalism: Us and Them

Course Director:  Dr. A. Chaudhuri, akc@yorku.ca

Course Description                                                                                                                                                                                       This course examines the significance and perceptions of race, ethnicity and of nationalism as concepts and as modes of configuring identity and organizing social life cross-culturally. Course credit exclusions: AP/ANTH 3410 6.0 (prior to Fall 2014) and AS/ANTH 3410 6.0 (prior to Fall 2009).

ANTH 3420 6.0: Indigenous Peoples & Indigenous Rights

Course Director: Dr. O. Ozcan, oozcan@yorku.ca

Course Description                                                                                                                                                                              Who are indigenous peoples, how are indigenous peoples defined and who defines them? Is there a universally accepted definition of indigeneity? What are the conditions under which people seek to be identified as indigenous? What rights do indigenous peoples have and how do these relate to human rights more generally? How have economic globalization, the use of new information and communications technologies, and international environmental movements shaped indigenous politics?

ANTH 3440 3.0: Governmentality & Development: Selected Cases

Course Director: Dr. A. Schrauwers, schrauwe@yorku.ca

Course Description                                                                                                                                                                                       This course examines the idea of "development" in the context of European state formation, colonialism and globalization. It examines development in Indonesia or India, for example, through the lens of Michel Foucault's concepts of "biopower" and "governmentality" with an eye to explaining the "development of underdevelopment." Governmentality refers to "governmental rationality," the set of strategies, programs and social technologies by which states aim to structure the possibilities for individual action by managing and disciplining populations and spaces. Such programs are not always coherent, and the assemblages they form have contradictory effects on the ground. This course, for example, may look at the ways in which the colonial Dutch state and subsequent "New Order" government sought to reshape families, improve hygiene and farming, and manage "model villages" with the long term goal of economic "take-off".

ANTH 3560 6.0: Anthropology of the Senses

Course Director: Dr. N. Myers, nmyers@yorku.ca

Course Description                                                                                                                                                                                   This course examines how humans make and understand the world through their senses, the history of the senses in Western and non-Western systems of thought and experience, and the contemporary meanings and uses of the senses in a range of socio-cultural contexts. Students explore the multidimensional nature of the senses through lectures, field-trips, experimentation and by working with practitioners in different disciplines.

Format: Three seminar hours

ANTH 3570 6.0: Anthropology, Islam & Muslim Societies

Course Director: Dr. Z Hirji, zhirji@yorku.ca

Course Description                                                                                                                                                                                 This course examines debates amongst anthropologists about the study of Islam and Muslim societies, and Muslim expressions of Islam according to anthropological themes including the body, space, ritual, knowledge, agency and representation. Students design and undertake a field-based research project.

Format: Three seminar hours