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Anthropology 160: Introduction to Cultural Anthropology

Spring 2004

MWF 1:00-2:00 Lab Sciences 300

Professor Margaret (Lou) Brown

Office: McMillan 324
Office hours: Mon. 3:00-5:00
Office phone: 5-8279
e-mail: mbrown@artsci.wustl.edu

Undergraduate Teaching Assistants:

Graduate Teaching Assistants:

Liz Horton: ethorton@artsci.wustl.edu
Kathleen Muldoon: kmmuldoo@artsci.wustl.edu
Beth Townsend: ketownse@artsci.wustl.edu
Catrina Adams: catraino@artsci.wustl.edu

Office hours: all offices are in McMillan Hall

Mon 2-4, Room B22
Wed 2-4, Room B23
Tues 3-5, Room 341
Thurs 1-3, Room B22

Katie Castellano: kacastel@artsci.wustl.edu

Andrew Garfunkel: aggarfun@artsci.wustl.edu
Priya Mhatre: pvmhatre@artsci.wustl.edu
Ellen Smith: emsmith@artsci.wustl.edu

Course Website: http://artsci.wustl.edu/~mbrown/anthro160.html

Course Description
Cultural anthropologists study the diversity of human societies around the world. Although we
are most often associated with studies of small-scale societies located in remote parts of the world,
cultural anthropologists are also increasingly conducting research in more complex societies.
Todays anthropologists can be found studying such varied topics as the working poor in New York
City, film production in Bolivia, and environmental activism in eastern Europe. Regardless of where
the research takes place, the purpose of much contemporary anthropological analysis is to bring a
comparative, cross-cultural approach to understanding how human beings respond to the
challenges of living in the modern world.
Cultural anthropologists take a holistic approach to the study of humankind. This means that
we dont simply look at a single part of a society in order to address a particular research question;
instead, we examine the interrelationship among such realms as politics, economics, kinship and
family relations, religion, and language. While all anthropologists do not study all of these realms,
and some study these plus a few others (such as art and music), there is general agreement
among cultural anthropologists that recognition of interconnectedness is a necessary precondition
for developing an in-depth understanding of any social phenomenon. To understand these
interrelationships, the anthropologist immerses himself or herself in the culture of study while
striving to retain an outsiders analytical perspective.
In this course, we will examine some of the dominant methods, theories, and debates
informing the discipline of cultural anthropology. In addition to studying the content of
anthropological analyses, we will also study the processes of conducting anthropological fieldwork
and some of the practical applications of anthropological knowledge. Readings for the course have
been chosen to provide you with a sampling of the variety of ways anthropologists write about what
we study.
The following books are required and are available for purchase at the Campus Bookstore.
DeVita, Philip R. and James D. Armstrong (on syllabus as DM)
2002 Distant Mirrors: America as a Foreign Culture. (3rd edition) Belmont, CA:
Wadsworth/Thomson Learning.
This is a collection of readings examining American life from the perspective of non-natives.

Ortner, Sherry (on syllabus as SO)

2001 Life and Death on Mount Everest. Princeton University Press.
Spradley, James and David W. McCurdy (on syllabus as C&C)
2003 Conformity and Conflict. Eleventh Edition. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.
This is a collection of readings by some of the best ethnographers in the discipline. We will read
selections from this throughout the semester.
In addition to the texts, there are three articles on reserve in the library - information will be
provided on the course website and in class about how to access them. There may be other
short readings available on the web related to particular topics; these will be announced in
class and on the course website.
Evaluation of Students
90%: Three exams
Please note the dates of the exams now, and make sure that you have no conflicts. All exams are
held during the scheduled class time.
30%: February 18
30%: March 31
30%: April 30 (last day of class)
Exams are not cumulative. However, concepts and terminology you learn early in the course
will be referred to throughout.
Exams will draw both on lecture material and on the course readings.
I strongly discourage you from missing scheduled exams. If at all possible, please notify me, by
e-mail or phone if necessary, of an expected absence. Due to the difficulty of preparing fair,
challenging questions for the three exams, make-up exams will consist only of essay questions.
10%: Two short papers (three pages each)
Topics for these papers will be announced in class and on the course website. These will be due
February 9 and April 16.
Students taking the course pass/fail must earn a grade of C- or above in order to receive
credit for this course.
Expectations of Students

You should plan to attend class regularly, ask questions when you are confused about a
concept, and do the readings prior to coming to class. You will not get much out of this class
if you do not attend the lectures.
Because there are so many of us, it will be helpful if you avoid bringing loud snacks (or very
odorous ones).
Avoid talking to your neighbor and passing notes or sending text messages.
Plan to arrive on time and to leave on time.
If you are having trouble hearing me or seeing something written on the board or on an
overhead, please inform me immediately. Dont be timid. While I will do my best to see
raised hands, it may be necessary for you to shout out.
Do not abuse e-mail. Very complex questions or issues are best addressed during office
hours. If you cannot make one of the posted office hours, arrange an individual appointment.
Cell phone use is prohibited during class.

Students with learning disabilities should contact the Disability Resource Center at 5-6042 to
arrange appropriate accommodations.


Jan 21


Jan 23


Jan 26


Jan 28


Reading to be completed

Cultural anthropology as Anthropology

and Social Science
Anthropological theory and the
concept of culture
Research design and ethics

DM # 3
DM #4
C & C #4


Jan 30

Anthropological Method: Fieldwork


Feb 2

Language and communication

DM #10
C & C #2 & 3

Paper topic assignment reading:


C& C # 6, 8, & 9
C & C #21


Feb 4

Kinship and Descent


Feb 6
Feb 9


Feb 11
Feb 13
Feb 16

Film: Dadis Family

Marriage and Alliance
Paper #1 Due
Household Organization
Social Stratification and Ranking
Gender & Feminist Anthropology


Feb 18
Feb 20


Feb 23


Feb 25

Globalization, Human Rights, Cultural
Guest lecture: Geoff Childs
Topic: Himalayan research


Feb 27

Film: Flames in the Forest


Mar 1


Mar 3

Anthropology and Economic

Discussion of Climbing Mount Everest


Mar 5


Mar 812
Mar 15


Mar 17
Mar 19
Mar 22
Mar 24
Mar 26
Mar 29

Guest Lecture: Caroline Lesorogol

Topic: Pastoralism in Kenya
Exchange and Economic Processes
Film: Ongkas Big Moka
Culture and Social Value
Markets and Informal Economies
Property and Social Organization
Studying Up


Mar 31
Apr 2

Political Systems

Adaptation and Subsistence

Spring Break

C & C # 22
C & C #23
DM # 11
C & C #24 & 25
C & C # 16 & 19
SO Ch. 1
SO Ch. 2-3
C & C # 26 & 27
SO Ch. 4
C & C # 36
SO Ch. 5-6
C & C #18
SO Ch. 7-8
SO Ch. 9-10
Submit questions in advance
C & C # 11 & 12

C & C #15
DM #16
C & C #17
DM #12

C & C #31


Apr 5
Apr 7


Apr 9
Apr 12


Apr 14


Apr 16


Apr 19


Apr 21
Apr 23
Apr 25
Apr 27
Apr 30

Disputes and Social Control

Psychological Anthropology
Paper topic announced
Medical Anthropology
Guest Lecture: Vanessa Hildebrand
Topic: Studying Birth in Indonesia
Magic and Witchcraft
Religion and Ritual
Paper #2 due
Film: Witchcraft and Magic Among the
Religion and Social Movements
Legal Anthropology
Cultural Depictions of Anthropologists
Conclusion of Course

DM #6 & 9
C & C #20 & 37
Reserve: Delaney
C & C #34
Reserve: Gottlieb
C & C 33
DM #18
C & C #32 & 35
C & C #29 & 30
C & C #38
DM #17