4000 Level Courses

ANTH 4110 6.0: Development of Theory in Social Anthropology

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

Course Description                                                                                                                                                                                 Stuart Hall once said that the trick of social and cultural analysis is not to fixate on "theory" but to enjoy theorizing. I take him to mean that theorizing is a social and political practice and something anthropologists do all the time.

The purpose of this course is to explore a range of theoretical developments in socio-cultural anthropological as they have developed over the years. As a discipline focused on society and culture, anthropology aims to make sense of wide ranging social processes and practices to evaluate shifting relations between individuals and society. Anthropological theories aim to interpret social action and explain social transformations.

In this course, we examine how different schools of thought in anthropology, at different historical and political junctures, have forwarded different theories of social and cultural life. The course focuses on two broad processes of theorizing: as the cultural production of ideas and as critical anthropological practice. Our aim is to examine the contributions of these theorists and the ensuing debates.

This course is organized such that by the end of the year you will understand the 'high points' of different theoretical schools and see how theory in anthropology is produced and circulated. In addition to this, we will also examine the current debates that have critically informed questions of ethnographic methods, writing, and representation.

In the fall semester we examine historically significant texts that have contributed to the foundation of anthropological theory: how modern anthropologies of the twentieth century were created, and out of what historical, social, political and cultural conditions, tensions, and ambiguities they were fashioned. In the winter semester we examine a range of concepts central to contemporary anthropology, such as contemporary theoretical productions and the kinds of anthropologies it may be possible to imagine, that can deal with the global conditions for public life in the world today. How can thinking anthropologically reconnect social and cultural theory with acts of change? How is this possible today within the contexts of globalization, new forms of public culture and new ways of conceptualizing life itself?

The expected learning outcomes of this course are three-fold: 1) to provide students with an introduction to the different foundations of twentieth century social and cultural theory; 2) to introduce students to how theory is informed by the social and cultural worlds in which they live; and 3) to consider the politics and poetics of theory production as discursive and materialist practices.

Format: Three seminar hours.

ANTH 4130 6.0: The Professional Anthropologist: The Anthropologist as Practitioner

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

Course Description                                                                                                                                                                                Applied Anthropology uses the theory and methods of anthropology in the analysis and solution of practical, legal and policy problems for non-academic clients such as governments, development agencies, NGOs, tribal and ethnic associations, advocacy groups, social-service and educational agencies, and businesses. This course discusses the different set of ethical considerations, research constraints and report formats confronting Applied anthropologists as professionals.

Prerequisites: AP/ANTH 3110 6.00. Note: This course is open to Anthropology majors/minors only.

ANTH 4220 6.0: The Cultures of the Web - ONLINE

THIS COURSE WILL BE TAUGHT FULLY ONLINE

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

Course Description                                                                                                                                                                                  This course applies anthropological concepts of community and culture to the Internet. Beginning with the cultural context of virtual communication, students experience fieldwork within a virtual culture and relate this experience to current research.
Course credit exclusions: AP/ANTH 4200H 6.00 and AP/ANTH 4210H 3.00.

PRIOR TO FALL 2009: Course credit exclusions: AS/ANTH 4200H 6.00, AS/ANTH 4210H 3.00 and AS/ANTH 4220 6.00.

Format: Three seminar hours

ANTH 4240 3.0: Nature, Culture & Power: The Anthropology of Environment

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

Course Description                                                                                                                                                                               This course provides an anthropological perspective on the cultural politics of environment and development. Drawing on ethnographic case studies from diverse geographical contexts, the course examines the cultural practices, ideologies and discourses that inform environmental struggles and affect the livelihoods of marginal peoples across the globe.

ANTH 4250 6.0: Religious Movements in Global Perspective

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

Course Description                                                                                                                                                                           Within a framework of the politics of identity, this course explore the tension between religious and national identities, the character and scope of transnational religious communities, and takes up fundamentalism as one response to developments in cosmopolitan modern societies.

Course credit exclusion: ANTH 4200J 6.0

ANTH 4330 3.0: Critical Issues in Medical Anthropology

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

Course Description                                                                                                                                                                         Comparative perspectives on health, illness and medical systems are studied from the viewpoint of anthropology and related disciplines. Emphasis is placed on understanding the roles of the practitioner and patient in their social and cultural contexts and the importance of applied medical anthropology to the wider community.

ANTH 4340 6.0A: Advocacy & Social Movements

Course Director:

Course Description                                                                                                                                                                                  This is a course on modern forms of social advocacy, and the link between public interest advocacy and the "new" social movements. Most of the new social movements, like the environmental movement, contest dominant interests through transformation of cultural or cosmological values. Thus the advocacy process becomes a central part of the social construction of knowledge in modern society.

This course will examine various forms of social advocacy, from the advocacy of anthropologists on behalf of indigenous societies (applied anthropology), to advocacy for human rights, the organization of advocacy in the public sphere, the interrelationship of advocacy with mass media and propaganda, and the move for inclusion of advocacy organizations in global governance (e.g. in the fields of environment and human rights). The course brings together a range of topics that would otherwise be treated in separate university departments – anthropology; mass communication; environmental studies.

A key part of this course will be the undertaking of a small fieldwork project on a selected advocacy group in the Toronto area. Much of the discussion in the first term will be aimed at providing the necessary background, both practical and theoretical, for the undertaking of such a project.

The projects will investigate the way in which the advocacy groups are organized, how they maintain relations with the mass media, and the way in which they undertake social construction of knowledge. The project will require students to keep a diary of contacts made with their advocacy group; project findings can - are encouraged - to be used in the final examination.

Format: Three seminar hours

ANTH 4340 6.0B:  Advocacy & Social Movements

Course Directors: Fall Term   Dr. O. Alexandrakis, oalexand@yorku.ca                                                                                                                  Winter Term  Dr. S. Hussain

Course Description                                                                                                                                                                                         This is a course on modern forms of social advocacy, and the link between public interest advocacy and the "new" social movements. Most of the new social movements, like the environmental movement, contest dominant interests through transformation of cultural or cosmological values. Thus the advocacy process becomes a central part of the social construction of knowledge in modern society.

This course will examine various forms of social advocacy, from the advocacy of anthropologists on behalf of indigenous societies (applied anthropology), to advocacy for human rights, the organization of advocacy in the public sphere, the interrelationship of advocacy with mass media and propaganda, and the move for inclusion of advocacy organizations in global governance (e.g. in the fields of environment and human rights). The course brings together a range of topics that would otherwise be treated in separate university departments – anthropology; mass communication; environmental studies.

A key part of this course will be the undertaking of a small fieldwork project on a selected advocacy group in the Toronto area. Much of the discussion in the first term will be aimed at providing the necessary background, both practical and theoretical, for the undertaking of such a project.

The projects will investigate the way in which the advocacy groups are organized, how they maintain relations with the mass media, and the way in which they undertake social construction of knowledge. The project will require students to keep a diary of contacts made with their advocacy group; project findings can - are encouraged - to be used in the final examination.

Format: Three seminar hours

ANTH 4410 3.0: The Anthropology of Human Rights

Course Director: Dr. S. Hussain,

Course Description                                                                                                                                                                           Anthropology, a discipline grounded in the principles of cultural relativism, has been uncomfortable with the universalizing discourse of human rights since it was first codified in the United Nation's 1948 Universal Declaration on Human Rights.

Initially, anthropologists rejected the Declaration's claims outright, asserting the superiority of their own pluralist understandings of what constitutes the human over the Western ones that they argued the Declaration was falsely claiming as universals. Since the end of the Cold War, however, human rights claims have become an increasingly important tool for marginalized and subaltern communities—anthropologists' traditional subjects—to assert their political claims. Recognizing this, anthropologists have scrambled to engage the notion of human rights in a less confrontational mode while retaining their commitment to relativism.

This course will survey this history in order to set up the conceptual problems anthropologists face when discussing human rights. It will then proceed to examine some of the strategies anthropologists have used to resolve these problems, including expanding the subject of rights to include collectivities as well as individuals, using rights as a tool of advocacy, grounding rights in anthropological concepts of culture, and treating human rights itself as a culture.

ANTH 4450 3.0: Anthropology of the City

Course Director: Dr. R. James, ryan_kj@yorku.ca

Course Description                                                                                                                                                                                     In the next few decades, there will be more people living in cities than ever before. The tremendous growth of cities around the world but especially in the global south, which now has cities comprising of fifteen to twenty-five million people (almost half the size of the population of Canada), poses an interesting set of questions for anthropology, a discipline that has traditionally focused on smaller groups and settings.

Through a close reading of a few classics in Urban Anthropology and contemporary ethnographic case studies from Mexico, Brazil, Thailand, India, China, USA, and Canada, first half of the course introduces the students to the foundational concepts and methodological tools used by anthropologists in the study of the city.

Covering approaches from World-Systems theory to theories of space and place, everyday practices, and governmentality, the course examines the historical, social, political-economic forces that make cities to be the locus of capitalist production, consumption, labor, migration, wealth and waste. In the second half, the course focuses on the ethnographic case studies from the global north and south to examine urban forms, gentrification, crime, violence, urban renewal, poverty, im/migration, neighborhoods, dissent, and governance in the megapolises and critically engages with the methodological challenge posed by the scale and complexity of the city for anthropology.

In addressing the ways anthropologist can draw on and contribute to the study of the city, the course considers the methodological exercise of the flaneur to study the everyday life of the city as well as other anthropological methods.

The goal of the course is to make students reflect on the space of the city, how it is configured by micro-and macro-practices of a range of actors (humans and non-humans) and in turn constitute the city as a anthropological site, process, and a practice. Specific assignments are designed to engage and reflect on different aspects of a city (politics, populations, possibilities, media, governance) they know and one they don't know.

Format: Three seminar hours