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DEPARTMENT OF ANTHROPOLOGY & SOCIOLOGY School of Oriental & African Studies

BA Course Cover Sheet

Academic Year: 2010-11



Course Title:

Voice and Place

Course Code:

15 180 2040

Course Unit Value:


Contact Hours:

Course Teachers:

1 hour lecture; 1 hour tutorial

Convenor: Dr Stephen Hughes

DEPARTMENT OF ANTHROPOLOGY & SOCIOLOGY School of Oriental & African Studies BA Course Cover Sheet Academicwww.soas.ac.uk/timetable for the lecture room. Tutorials will be assigned and lists posted on the Anthropology notice board in the Faculty offices. Teaching methods and modes of learning: There will be a lecture and a compulsory one hour tutorial. You are expected to participate in tutorials by reading essential texts (available as course packs) and preparing any other agreed assignments. Assessment: Assessmen Weighting Due Date (by Length t (%) 4pm) (words) Written 70 Exam Assignmen 15 Monday 10 Jan 2500 t 1 2011 Assignmen 15 Monday 26 2500 t 2 April 2011 Assignmen t 3 Assignmen t 4 Coursework submission procedures: Essays should be submitted online via the "Assignments" menu in each course on BLE. Each essay should be submitted by midnight on the date of the deadline. Any essay can be resubmitted at any point up until the deadline. An automated receipt will be emailed to the student on successful submission - if not received you must re-attempt the submission. If you have problems, you should follow the email submission instructions at the following link from the Faculty online submission page on the SOAS website: 1 " id="pdf-obj-0-39" src="pdf-obj-0-39.jpg">

Lecturers: Members of the Department of Anthropology and Sociology

Tutorials: Giulia Battaglia


See www.soas.ac.uk/timetable for the lecture room. Tutorials will be assigned and lists posted on the Anthropology notice board in the Faculty offices.

Teaching methods and modes of learning:

There will be a lecture and a compulsory one hour tutorial. You are expected to participate in tutorials by reading essential texts (available as course packs) and preparing any other agreed assignments.




Due Date (by












Monday 10 th Jan


t 1




Monday 26 th


t 2

April 2011



t 3



t 4

Coursework submission procedures:

Essays should be submitted online via the "Assignments" menu in

each course on BLE.

Each essay should be submitted by midnight

on the date of the deadline. Any essay can be resubmitted at any point up until the deadline. An automated receipt will be emailed to the student on successful submission - if not received you must re-attempt the submission. If you have problems, you should follow the email submission instructions at the following link from the Faculty online submission page on the SOAS website:

Academic -> Arts & Humanities Faculty -> Information for Students -> Online Coursework Submission

Late submission of essays will be penalised by the loss of TWO percentage marks per working day. Please be aware that University of London regulations on plagiarism apply to all work submitted as part of the requirement for any examination.

Coursework should be marked and returned no later than one calendar month after submission. If you have not received coursework back in a reasonable time, contact the course tutor or the UG tutor.

Attendance Regulations:

You should attend all lectures and tutorials for the course, and attendance is required for at least 50% of tutorials and lectures. Attendance registers will be maintained for these. You should notify your tutor or the Faculty Office in advance if you are unable to attend a tutorial for good reason. Should two absences occur without explanation within any four week period, your tutor will inform the Faculty Office and a letter will be sent to you with copies to the department’s undergraduate tutor and to the Registry. All absences are noted on your records, and if absences persist you may be prevented from taking the written examination for the course.

WEEK 1: Environmental movements in contemporary China Jakob Klein

Environmental movements can affect popular perceptions of ‘the environment’, and can pose significant collective challenges to the powers perceived to be responsible for environmental destruction. At the same time, various and sometimes conflicting agendas and visions of ‘nature’ may animate activists both within organizations and between collaborating groups. Further, these different agendas and visions may be underpinned by unequal relations of power within and between movements, or between activists and ‘local communities’. Using mainland China as our main example, we consider anthropological approaches to the study of environmentalism and environmental movements.

Environmental degradation is by no means a recent phenomenon in Chinese history (Marks 1998; Elvin 2004). Yet it is difficult to resist the arguments that modernization projects – be they centrally planned or market driven – have led to unprecedented destruction, including ‘widespread deforestation, recurrently intolerable air pollution, ubiquitous water contamination, excessive losses of arable land, and a drastic decline of biodiversity’ (Smil 2004: 141; see also Edmonds 1994; Shapiro 2001). This destruction has become a growing concern among policy makers and citizens in the PRC. Recent decades have witnessed not only the emergence of environmental laws and state regulatory bodies, but also widespread popular protests and the birth of non-governmental environmental organizations (Ho 2001; Jing 2003; Yang 2005). Nevertheless, responses to environmental destruction have not been uniform, but are embedded in social experiences and may reveal significant differences between countryside and city and between ethnic, occupational and other social groups (Weller 2006; Tilt 2009; 2006; Litzinger 2004; Klein 2009; Lora Wainwright 2009). How are protests and environmental groups mobilized, and what kinds of cultural idioms and visions of ‘nature’ do they deploy? Are these movements able to cut across social and cultural divides, or do they in fact reveal or even exacerbate such divides? What role might international organizations play in China’s environmental movements? How has the Chinese state reacted to the growing number of environmental protests and NGOs?

Our focus in this unit is on the social, cultural and political dimensions of everyday and organized responses to environmental degradation in the PRC, including the relationship between such responses and transnational debates and organizations (Litzinger 2004). Illuminating comparisons with Taiwan and other Asian settings are provided by Weller and Hsiao (1998), Weller (2006), Kalland and Persoon (1998) and Greenhough and Tsing (2003), while some of the global dimensions of contemporary environmental movements are discussed by Tsing (2005), Lien (2004) and Carrier (2004).

Essay question:

‘Studies of environmental movements reveal more about social and political divisions than they do about solidarities.’ Discuss.

Key readings:

Jing, Jun (2003) ‘Environmental protests in rural China’ in E.J. Perry and M. Selden (eds), Chinese Society: Change, Conflict, Resistance. New York and London: RoutledgeCurzon. (available as electronic book via SOAS library)

Litzinger, Ralph (2004) ‘The mobilization of “nature”: perspectives from north- west Yunnan’, The China Quarterly, 178: 488-504. (available online)

Recommended readings:

Yang, Guobin (2005) ‘Environmental NGOs and Institutional Dynamics in China’, The China Quarterly, 181: 46-66.

Ho, Peter (2001) ‘Greening without conflict? Environmentalism, NGOs and civil society in China’, Development and Change, 32 (5): 893-921.

Weller, Robert P. (2006) Discovering Nature: Globalization and Environmental Culture in China and Taiwan. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Klein, Jakob A. (2009) ‘Creating ethical food consumers? Promoting organic foods in urban Southwest China’, Social Anthropology/Anthropologie Sociale, 17 (1): 74-89.

Tilt, Bryan (2006) ‘Perceptions of risk from industrial pollution in China: A comparison of occupational groups’, Human Organization 65 (2): 115-27.

Lora Wainwright, Anna (2009) ‘Of farming chemicals and cancer deaths: the politics of health in contemporary rural China’, Social Anthropology/Anthropologie Sociale, 17 (1): 56-73.

Tsing, Anna Lowenhaupt (2005) Friction: An Ethnography of Global Connection. Princeton: Princeton University Press. (Especially Introduction and Part III: Freedom)

Lien, Marianne Elisabeth (2004) ‘Dogs, whales and kangaroos: transnational activism and food taboos’, in Marianne E. Lien and Brigitte Nerlich (eds), The Politics of Food. Oxford: Berg, pp.179-97.

Weller, Robert P. and Hsin-Huang Michael Hsiao (1998) ‘Culture, gender and community in Taiwan’s environmental movement’, in Arne Kalland and Gerard Persoon (eds), Environmental Movements in Asia. Richmond, Surrey: Curzon Press, pp. 83-109.

Further readings:

Carrier, James G. (ed.) (2004) Confronting Environments: Local Understandings in a Globalizing World. Walnut Creek: AltaMira Press. (Introduction and chapters according to interest)

Greenhough, Paul and Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing (eds) (2003) Nature in the Global South: Environmental Projects in South and Southeast Asia. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. (Especially chapters by Dove and Baviskar)

Kalland, Arne and Gerard Persoon (eds) (1998) Environmental Movements in Asia. Richmond, Surrey: Curzon Press. (Introduction and chapters according to interest)

Tilt, Bryan (2009) The Struggle for Sustainability in Rural China:

Environmental Values and Civil Society. Columbia: Columbia University Press.

Smil, Vaclav (2004) China’s Past, China’s Future: Energy, Food, Environment. New York and London: RoutledgeCurzon.

Shapiro, Judith (2001) Mao’s War Against Nature: Politics and the Environment in Revolutionary China. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Bruun, Ole (2003) Fengshui in China: Geomantic Divisions between State Orthodoxy and Popular Religion. Copenhagen: NIAS. Chapter 7: ‘The construction of a discourse: fengshui as environmental ethics’, pp. 231-54.

Coggins, Chris (2003) The Tiger and the Pangolin: Nature, Culture, and Conservation in China. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press. Chapter 8:

‘White tigers and azure dragons: fengshui forests, sacred space, and the preservation of biodiversity in village landscapes’, pp. 195-215.

Edmonds, Richard Louis (1994) Patterns of China’s Lost Harmony: A Survey of the Country’s Environmental Degradation and Protection. New York and London: Routledge.

Marks, Robert B. (1998) Tigers, Rice, Silk, and Silt: Environment and Economy in Late Imperial China. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Tucker, Mary Evelyn and John Berthrong (eds). 1998. Confucianism and Ecology: The Interrelation of Heaven, Earth, and Humans. Cambridge, Mass.:

Harvard University, Center for the Study of World Religions.

Elvin, Mark (2004) Retreat of the Elephants: An Environmental History of China. New Haven: Yale University Press.

WEEK 2: Using film to theorise about the other and the politics of fear

Lola Martinez

Essay question: How might an anthropologist analyse a mainstream film?

Beechler, Michael 1987 Border Patrols in Aliens, the Anthropology of Science Fiction edited by George E. Slusser and Eric S. Rabkin. Carbonale and Edwardsville: Southern Illinois University Press. DL

Freud, Sigmund 1956 The uncanny in his Collected Papers, vol.IV London:

Hogarth Press. In main library, xerox in DL.

Johnson, Sheila K. 1988 The Japanese through American eyes. Stanford, California: Stanford University Press. (this is an ethnographic example, chapters 1 and 2 are especially useful).

Otis, Laura Arthur Conan Doyle: an imperial immune system and Conclusion:

Identity in the Age of Aids in her Membranes, metaphors of invasion in nineteenth-century literature, science and politics. Baltimore and London: The John Hopkins University Press. DL

Said, Edward 1991 Orientatlism. London: Penguin.

Simmel, Georg 1950 The Stranger in The sociology of Georg Simmel edited by Kurt H. Wolff. New York.

WEEK 3: The Anthropology of Media: Cinema Exhibition and Audience Practices

Stephen Hughes

This week starts with a basic introduction and overview of the relatively new and still emergent specialist sub-field, anthropology of media. Considering that the contemporary worlds we live in are inescapably and continuously transformed through a proliferation of mass media, it may seem somewhat surprising that anthropology as an academic discipline has only recently begun to seriously address how and why media matters to the people with whom they study. This week we will consider why anthropologists have been slow to take on the topic of the media. Why might we want to propose an anthropology of media? What would such an anthropology consist of? And what would it might contribute to the understanding of media?

While it will be impossible to comprehensively cover this now fast growing encounter between anthropology and media studies, this week selectively

focuses on recent studies on film exhibition. Exhibition has emerged as one of the key sites where anthropologists have sought to study cinema as a kind of social practice (for example: Armbrust, Hahn, Himple, Hughes, Larkin, Hoek). The example of exhibition has been part of the critical questioning of the centrality of the film texts for the study of cinema. In particular, anthropologists have turned to exhibition as providing an alternative approach to studying the relationship between films and their social and historical contexts. A study of cinema that takes exhibition into account must consider film texts as also a kind of performance- a unique interaction of people and projected media at a specific place and occasion. The reconception of cinema as performance has important consequences for how one constructs the object of film studies and how we can relate film texts to historically and culturally situated practice.

Essay question: How has the study of film exhibition helped anthropologists to think about the relationship between media and their audiences?

Reading: Introductions to the anthropology of media

  • D. Spitulnik, “Anthropology and Mass Media,” Annual Review of Anthropology,

no. 22, 1993, pp. 293-315.

  • F. Ginsburg, L. Abu-Lughod and B. Larkin, editors, Media Worlds:

Anthropology on New Terrain. University of California Press, 2002, pp. 1-36.

Kelly Askew, “Introduction” in Kelly Askew and Richard Wilk, editors, The Anthropology of Media: A Reader. Blackwell Publishers, 2002, pp. 1-13.

Sara Dickey, “Anthropology and Its Contributions to Studies in Mass Media”, International Social Science Journal, 153 (September 1997), pp. 413-427.

  • V. Caldarola, “Embracing the Media Simulacrum,” Visual Anthropology

Review, vol. 10, no. 1, spring 1994, pp. 66-69.

Faye Ginsburg, “Some Thoughts on Culture/Media,” Visual Anthropology Review, vol. 10, no. 1, spring 1994, pp. 136-141.

Reading: ethnography of exhibition and audiences

Walter Armbrust, “When the Lights Go Down in Cairo: Cinema as Secular

Ritual” in Visual Anthropology, 1998, vol. 10, no. 2-4, pp. 413-442

Brian Larkin, “Theaters of the Profane: Cinema and Colonial Urbanism” in Visual Anthropology Review, vol. 14, no. 2, fall/winter 1998-1999, pp. 46-62.

Brian Larkin, “Indian Films and Nigerian Lovers: Media and the Creation of Parallel Modernities,” Africa, vol. 67, no. 3, 1997. Also reprinted in Inda and Rosaldo, eds, The Anthropology of Globalization: A Reader. Blackwell Publishing, 2005, pp. 350-378.

Brian Larkin, Signal and Noise: Media, Infrastructure and Urban Culture in Nigeria. Duke University Press, 2008.

Charles Ambler, “Popular Films and Colonial Audiences in Central Africa” in Melvyn Stokes and Richard Maltby eds, Hollywood Abroad: Audiences and Cultural Exchange. British Film Institute, 2004, pp. 133-157.

Jeff Himple, “Film Distribution as Media: Difference and Discourse in the Cinemascape” in Visual Anthropology Review, vol. 12, no. 1, spring 1996, pp.


Jeff Himple, “Arrival Scenes: Complicity and Media Ethnography in the Bolivian Public Sphere” in F. Ginsburg, L. Abu-Lughod and B. Larkin, editors, Media Worlds: Anthropology on New Terrain, University of California Press, 2002, pp. 301-316.

Stephen Hughes, “House Full: Silent Film Genre, Exhibition and Audiences in South India” in Indian Economic and Social History Review, forthcoming, 2006, vol. 43, no. 1. Stephen Hughes, “Pride of Place: rethinking exhibition the study of cinema in India” in Seminar, May 2003, no. 525, pp. 28-32

Lotte Hoek, “Urdu for Image: Understanding Bangladeshi Cinema through its Theatres”. In Shakuntala Banaji, editor, South Asian Media Cultures:

Representations, Audiences and Contexts. London & New York: Anthem Press, 2010, pp. 91-105.

Lotte Hoek, “Unstable Celluloid: Film Projection and the Cinema Audience in Bangladesh. BioScope: South Asian Screen Studies, 1:1, 2010, pp. 49-66.

  • S. Dickey, Cinema and the Urban Poor in South India. Cambridge:

Cambridge University Press, 1993.

  • S. Dickey, “Consuming Utopia: Film watching in Tamil Nadu.” In Carol

Breckenridge, ed., Consuming Modernity: Public Culture in Contemporary India. Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1996, pp. 131-156.

Lakshmi Srinivas, “The active audience: spectatorship, social relations and the experience of cinema in India,” Media, Culture and Society, vol. 24, pp.


Lakshmi Srinivas, “Imaging the Audience”, South Asian Popular Culture, vol. 3, no. 2, Oct. 2005, pp. 101-116.

Elizabeth Hahn, “The Tongon Tradition of Going to the Movies” in Visual Anthropology Review, Spring, 10, 1:103-111. Also reprinted in Kelly Askew and Richard Wilk, editors, The Anthropology of Media: A Reader, Blackwell Publishers, 2002, pp. 258-269.

  • D. Kulick and M. Wilson, “Rambo’s Wife Saves the Day: Subjugating the

Gaze and Subverting the Narrative in a Papua New Guinean Swamp” in K.

Askew and R. Wilk eds., The Anthropology of Media: a reader. Blackwell Publishers, 270-286.

Please note that as part of the Department of Anthropology and Sociology’s Winter term 2010-2011 “Ethnographic Film Series: On Matters of Media”, there will two public film screenings relevant for this week’s topic. The series runs every Wednesday at 1pm in the Khalili Lecture Theatre and is open and free for everyone in the SOAS community.

9 March

Battu's Bioscope, Andrej Fidyk, 1998, 58 min. This film follows a touring cinema exhibitor, Mr. Battu and his assistant, from urban Calcutta to isolated rural areas in India.

16 March

Kumar Talkies, Pankaj Rishi Kumar, 1999, 76 min. The film explores the relationship between Kalpi--a small town in northern India--and its only surviving cinema hall. The film chronicles Kalpi’s economic decline and its citizens’s hopes and frustrations while taking a nostalgic look at the lost, lavish world of cinema. The film also considers the influence of television, which is gradually reducing the audience at the hall.

WEEK 4: Diaspora, Culture and Identity

Parvathi Raman

The concept of ‘diaspora’ is wide ranging, and in some quarters, contested. Diaspora Studies became established in the early 1990s and offered perspectives on identity which sought to transcend the boundaries of the nation state, bringing centre stage those who were either marginalised by national narratives, or identified themselves in relation to older histories of migration and movement. This week, we will critically examine different approaches to the idea of diaspora, as well as comparing different histories of African and Asian diasporic identity. The idea of ‘Diaspora’ will be placed within a political and social framework which also raises issues of reconceptualising ideas of space, borders, and mapping, as part of an ongoing process of identification. We will look at an ethnographic example of the Muharram festival in South Africa to see how Diaspora is created and enacted, not given, and how culture is above all an act of translation which takes place within history and context.

Essay question: Discuss, with examples, the ways that migrant communities 'produce locality'.

Key Readings:

J. Clifford, ‘On Diasporas’, in Routes: Travel and Translation in the Late twentieth Century, (Harvard, 1997).

  • B. Hayes Edwards,The Practice of Diaspora: literature, translation and the

rise of black internationalism, (Cambridge, Harvard, 2003)

  • S. Hall, ‘Cultural Identity and Diaspora’, in P. Williams and L. Chrisman (eds.)

Colonial Discourse and Postcolonial Theory, (Hemel Hempstead, 1993), pp.


  • P. Gilroy, ‘Diaspora, Utopia and the Critique of Capitalism’, in There Ain’t No

Black in the Union Jack: the cultural politics of race and nation, (London

1992), pp. 200-301.

Other Readings on Diaspora and Space:

  • W. Safran, Diasporas in Modern Societies: myths of homeland and return,

(TC, Offprint 5725).

  • E. Akyeampong, ‘Africans in the Diaspora; the Diaspora and Africa’, African

Affairs, (2000), vol. 99, pp. 183-215. (Available online).

  • S. Lemelle and R. D. G. Kelley (eds.), Imagining Home: Class, Culture and

Nationalism in the African Diaspora, (London, 1994). Introduction.

  • T. R. Patterson and R.D.G. Kelley,‘Unfinished migrations: Reflections on the

African Diaspora and the Making of the Modern World’, African Studies

Review, Vol. 43, no.1 April 2000, pp.11-45. (Available online).

  • A. Appadurai, ‘The Production of Locality’, in R. Fardon, (ed.),

Counterworks: managing the diversity of knowledge, (London, 1995).

  • A. Gupta and J. Ferguson, ‘Beyond Culture: Space, Identity and the Politics

of Difference’, in A. Gupta and J. Ferguson, Culture, Power, Place:

explorations in critical anthropology, (Baskerville, 2001).

On the Muharram Festival:

  • G. Vahed, ‘Uprooting and Rerooting: culture, religion and community among

indentured Muslim migrants in colonial Natal, 1860-1911’, South African

Historical Journal, no. 45, Nov 2001, pp. 191-222.

  • G. Vahed, ‘Mosques, Mawlanas and Muharram: Indian Islam in Colonial

Natal, 1860-1910’, Journal of Religion in Africa, XXX1, 3. (Available online).

Week 5: Making the law transparent: “voiceless” refugees in the British asylum system

John Campbell

Anthropology has a long tradition of research into law and legal process that began with work on customary law and tradition in Africa. However in the past twenty years anthropological approaches to law have changed dramatically

following a re-conceptualization of law, culture and the role of the state and transnational organizations. This lecture will focus on contemporary work on asylum in the UK as a field of law that is deeply affected by national legislation and international legal conventions such as the European Convention on Human Rights and the Geneva Convention.

Essay question: Analyze possible anthropological approaches to the law by focusing on contemporary issues such as asylum or the role of expert evidence.

General reading (all the journals are available on-line at SOAS) Collier, J., B. Maurer & L. Suarez-Navez. 1995. “Sanctioned identities: legal constructions of modern personhood”, Identities 2 (1-2), 1-27

Heyman, J. 1995. “Putting power in the anthropology of bureaucracy”, Current Anthropology 36, 2, 261-87


H. Cunningham. 2004. “Introduction: mobilities and enclosures at

____ borders”, Identities 11, 289-302 (and see Heymans paper in this volume)

Moore, S-F. 2001. “Certainties undone: fifty turbulent years of legal anthropology, 1949-99”, Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute (NS) 7,


Morris, L. 2002. “Britain’s asylum and immigration regime: the shifting contours of rights”, Journal of Ethnic & Migration Studies 28, 3, 409-25

Schuster, L. 2000. “A comparative analysis of the asylum policy of seven European Governments”, Journal of Refugee Studies 13, 1, 118-32

The anthropological analysis of law/asylum:

Conley, J. & W. O’Barr. 1978. “The power of language: presentation style in

the courtroom”, Duke Law Journal pp. 1375- 1399 [download from Hein-on- line]

1987/88. “Fundamentals of jurisprudence: an ethnography of judicial

_____. decision-making in informal courts”, North Carolina Law Review Pp. 467- 507

[download from Hein-on-line]

2005. (2 nd Ed). Just Words. Law, language and Power. University of Chicago (not in SOAS library).


De Genova, N. 2002. “Migrant ‘illegality’ and deportability in everyday life”, Annual Review of Anthropology 31, 419-47

Good, A. 2004a. “Expert evidence in asylum & human rights appeals: an expert’s view”, Int. Jo. of Refugee Law 16, 3, 358-80

2004b. “Undoubtedly an expert? Anthropologists in British Asylum

_____. Courts”, Jo. of the Royal Anthropological Institute (NS) 10, 113-33

WEEK 6: Reading Week

No lecture or classes.

WEEK 7: Sorcery and Subjectivity

Christopher Davis

In this week, we will address several interrelated topics. First, we will consider the relationship between sorcery or witchcraft and lived experience. That is, we will think about them not only as social institutions or practices, but also as devices by which knowledge of the world is constituted or created. Thus, we will consider their epistemological aspects - i.e. we will see them as sustaining reflection on how knowledge of particular situations is generated. We will also see how, within the terms set, people can reflect on and be critical of judgments. Finally, we will go on to consider the use to which anthropologists have put this type of knowledge.

Essay question: Why does witchcraft continue to intrigue successive generations of anthropologists?

Recommended readings

Evans-Pritchard, E.E. 1937. The notion of witchcraft explains unfortunate events. In Witchcraft, oracles and magic among the Azande. Oxford, Oxford University Press, pp. 63-84

Levi-Strauss, C. 1968. ‘The Sorcerer and his magic’, in Structural Anthropology

  • I. Harmondsworth: Penguin. pp.167-185

Turner, V. 1967. ‘Ndembu doctor in his practice’, in Forest of symbols. Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press. pp.359-395

Further reading

Douglas, M, 1975. ‘Social and religious symbolism of the Lele and animals in

Lele religious symbolism’, in Implicit meanings. London, RKP. pp.9-27, pp.27-


Jackson, M. 1989. ‘The Witch as category and as a person’, & ‘The Man who could turn into an elephant’, in Paths toward a clearing. Bloomington, Indiana:

Indiana University Press. pp. 88-108, pp. 102-119

Bonetta, J.R. ‘The veil of objectivity’ in American Anthropologist.

Luhrmann T. 1989. Persuasions of the Witches’ Craft. Oxford: Blackwell. Chapter 21 on interpretive drift.

Orwell, G. 1989. The Road to Wigan Pier. London: Penguin. chaps 2, 3 & 4.

Middleton, J. 1967. ‘The concept of “bewitching” in Lugbara’, in Middleton (ed) Magic, witchcraft and curing. Garden City, NY: NHP. pp.55-68

Ngubane, H.


Body and mind in Zulu medicine. New York, Academic


Sperber, D. 1982. ‘Apparently irrational beliefs’, in On anthropological knowledge. Cambridge: CUP pp.35-64

WEEK 8: The Anthropology of Tourism Tom Selwyn

Essay Question: "Why should social anthropologists study tourism?"

Andrews, H., L. Roberts and T. Selwyn, 2007, ‘Hospitality and Eroticism’ International Journal of Hospitality, Tourism, and Culture, 1:3.

Crick, M. 1989 ‘Representations of International Tourism in the Social Sciences: Sun, sex, sights, savings and servility’, Annual Review of Anthropology, 18: 307-344.

MacCannell, D. 1976 The Tourist, New York, Schocken.

Meethan, K. 2001, Tourism in Global Society: Place, culture, consumption. New York, Palgrave.

Selwyn, T. 2007 ‘The Political Economy of Enchantment: Formations in the anthropology of tourism’, Suomen Antropologi: Journal of the Finnish Anthropological Society, 32:2, 48-70.

Selwyn, T. 2009, ‘The Tourist in a Hall of Mirrors: Tourist brochures, social relations, and philosophical positions’, Watson, S., E. Waterton, (eds) Visual Representations of Cultural Heritage, Routledge. (In print: url to follow)

WEEK 9: The politics of memorializing in the dead in the aftermath of natural disasters in South Asia

Edward Simpson

In this lecture I explore some of the memorial practices that emerged after the 2001 earthquake in Gujarat and along the eastern and southern coasts of Sri Lanka following the tsunami of 2004. In both locations, acts of memorialization have been inseparable from reconstruction initiatives, and politics of all kinds and at all levels have influenced the design, location and inauguration ceremonies of memorials. In Gujarat, memorials are tied to the politics of religious communalism, regionalism and mainstream Hindu nationalism. In Sri Lanka, memorials are local manifestations of ethno-nationalisms and state hegemony. The comparison of the two locations shows different patterns of memorialisation, but why? Looking for an answer to this question forces us to think about 'culture', the relation between 'culture' and public action, and the nature of comparison in anthropology.

Essay question: Is it natural to memorialize a tragic event?

Readings Casey, Edward, S. 2000. Remembering: A phenomenological study (second edition). Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press.

Connerton, Paul. 1989. How societies remember. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Grider, S. 2007. 'Public grief and the politics of memorial: Contesting the memory of 'the shooters' at Columbine High School', Anthropology Today, 34 (3): 3-7.

* Inglis, K.S. 1992. 'The Homecoming: The War Memorial Movement in Cambridge, England' Journal of Contemporary History, 27 (4): 583-605.

Jan Margry, P. and C. Sanchez-Carretero, 2007. 'Memorializing traumatic death', Anthropology Today, 34 (3): 1-3.

* Simpson, Edward and Stuart Corbridge. 2006. 'The geography of things that may become memories: The 2001 earthquake in Kachchh-Gujarat and the politics of rehabilitation in the pre-memorial era,' Annals of the Association of American Geographers. 96 (2): 566-585.

Winter, Jay (1995), Sites of Memory, Sites of Mourning: The Great War in European Cultural History. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Week 10: Consumption

Caroline Osella

This week we will think about some issues in and approaches to the study of consumption, using (mostly) South Asian ethnography. We will evaluate different analytical perspectives on consumption, and explore the role of consumption in producing identities and social categories.

For class, questions to address in discussion might include: Is consumption an act of empowerment or a capitulation to negative forces? To what extent are the poor excluded from consumption? Are people’s consumer choices ultimately rational or swayed by irrational motivations? To what degree might people’s consumer choices be predictable, given knowledge of their social background? How does participation in consumption free people from traditional social hierarchies? How does it produce new hierarchies? Will anthropologists benefit or lose by shifting their attention away from the study of production and towards consumption? Is anything to be gained by analysing social practices such as religious rituals as aspects of consumption?

Essay question

What - if any - fresh insights can be gained through making consumption a

central focus of research?

Essential reading (for class)

Osella F & Osella C. 1999 ‘From Transience To Immanence: Consumption, Life-Cycle And Social Mobility In Kerala, South India’. Modern Asian Studies, vol. 33, no. 4: 989-1020.

Miller, D. 1987. ‘Towards a theory of consumption’. In Miller D Material culture and mass consumption. Berg (chp 10).

Further Readings

Appadurai, A. 1986. ‘Introduction: commodities and the politics of value’. In Appadurai A (ed) The Social life of things: commodities in cultural perspective. CUP.

Bourdieu, P. 1984. Distinction (Chp 5) (or see also Bourdieu’s The logic of Practice, part 1, section 3,5,7 & 8).

Carrier, J & J. Heyman 1997 ‘Consumption and political economy’, The Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, vol. 3, 2, pp. 355-372.

Fernandes, L 2000 ‘Nationalizing 'the global': media images, cultural politics and the middle class in India’. In Media culture and society, Sep 2000, Vol.22, No.5, pp.611-628

Liechty, M 2002 Suitably Modern: Making Middle-Class Culture in a New Consumer Society. Princeton University Press

Marx, K. 1909 (1887) ‘The Fetishism of Commodities and the Secret Thereof’. In Marx K Capital, Vol 1, Part 1. (Chapter 1, Section 4)

Tarlo, E 1991 “The problem of what to wear - the politics of Khadi in late colonial India”. In South Asia Research Vol.11, No.2, pp.134-157

Veblen, T 1992 The theory of the leisure class (chp 3).

Extra Reading (for essay or exam answer; select from the list below)

Adorno, T & M. Horkheimer. 1972 ‘The Culture Industry: enlightenment as mass deception’. In Adorno T & M Horkheimer, Dialectic of Enlightenment (extract in S. During (ed) The Cultural Studies Reader, Routledge, 1993)

Brenner, S 1998 The domestication of desire: women, wealth, and modernity in Java . Princeton University Press.

Burke, T 1996 Lifebuoy men, Lux women: commodification, consumption, and cleanliness in modern Zimbabwe. Duke Uni. Press

Burke, T. 1998. ‘Cannibal margarine and reactionary snapple: a comparative examination of rumours about commodities’. International Journal of Cultural Studies 1, 2: 253-270

Comaroff, J. 1996. ‘The empire’s old clothes: fashioning the colonial subject’. I D. Howes (ed.) Cross-cultural consumption: global markets, local realities. Routledge.

Featherstone, M. 1991. Consumer culture and postmodernism (chps 1 & 2).

Hannerz, U. 1987. ‘The world in creolisation’. Africa 57, 4: 546-559.











Consumers in a Transnational World . Chicago Uni Press

Klein, N. 1999 No Logo. Picador.

Mazzarella, W 2003 Shoveling Smoke: Advertising and Globalization in contemporary India. Duke University Press.

Miller,D. (ed) 2001 Consumption. Routledge. Four volumes:

Volume One: Theory and Issues in Consumption Volume Two: History and Diversity of Consumption Volume Three: Disciplinary Approaches to Consumption Volume Four: Objects, Subjects and Mediations in Consumption

Osella F & Osella C. 2000 ‘Migration, Money and Masculinity in Kerala’. The Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, vol. 6, no. 1: 115-131.

Osella, F & Osella, C. 2003 ‘Phoney traditionalists, upstart newcomers and flexible performers: migration and ritual in South India’. In Contribution to Indian Sociology (double special issue on ‘Migration in South Asia’ edited by F Osella & K Gardner).

Ritzer, G. 1998 The McDonaldization Thesis: Explorations and Extensions. London: SAGE Publications (chps 1-10).

Slater D 1997 Consumer Culture and Modernity, Cambridge, UK: Polity Press (eps. Chps 3 & 4).

Tarlo, E 1991 “The problem of what to wear - the politics of Khadi in late colonial India”. In South Asia Research Vol.11, No.2, pp.134-157

Tarlo, E 1996 Clothing matters: dress and identity in India. Hurst Pub.

Veblen, T 1992 The theory of the leisure class (chp 3).

Watson, J. (ed.) 1997 Golden Arches East. Stanford.

White, L.1997. ‘Cars out of place: vampires, technology and labor in East and Central Africa’. In Cooper, F & AL Stoler (eds) Tensions of Empire: Colonial Cultures in a Bourgeois World. University of California Press. (pp 436-460)


The word length of term essays for Voice and Place is 1,500 – 2,500 words. Essays for term 2 are to be submitted, in duplicate, no later than 4pm on Monday 26 th April.