Topic outline

  • General

    This course traces the theories, debates, and paradigms that have shaped the anthropological thought. What might we see and understand differently if we trace the intellectual history of a discipline critiqued for its entanglements with colonialism and androcentrism from a different angle, off center or from the fringes? What might come into focus in this exercise? How can this shift in perspective and focus allow us to rethink our own processes of knowledge production? The key figures through whose work we will weave the intellectual history of anthropological thought in this course will be indigenous scholars, scholars of color, or scholars who, despite the valuable quality of their contributions are associated with the "anthropological canon” in lower tiers. We will locate these shapers in relation not only to the conditions of disciplinary knowledge production of their time but also in relation to the larger political and cultural currents to which they have been responding at different scales. 

    Main Texts:

    Decolonizing Anthropology (2010), 3rd ed. Edited by Faye V. Harrison. Publisher: American Anthropological Association. You can purchase this book here.

    Anthropological theory: an introductory history/ R. Jon McGee, Richard L. Warms (1996-2-16). You can use any of the editions of this textbook on Reserve at the library.

  • Week 1: Part 1: Historical Foundations and Ways to Shake Them

    Sept 1

    Key Readings: Harrison, Faye (2010) "Anthropology as an Agent of Transformation” and "Ethnography as Politics,” in Decolonizing Anthropology (DA) read at least one of them carefully (see the PDFs "HarrisonIntro" and "Harrison" below)

    Context Reading: McGee, R. Jon and Richard L. Warms, "The foundations of Sociological thought,” in Anthropological Theory: An Introductory History (AT) read pp 74-77 and at least one of the following (see the PDF "Foundations" below): 

    Emile Durkheim, What is Social Fact?

    Marcel, Mauss, Excerpts from the Gift

    Max Weber, Class, Status, Party

    • Week 2

      Sept 6

      Key Readings and viewing: Trinh Minh-Ha, Ch. 2: "The Language of Nativism: Anthropology as a Scientific Conversation of Man with Man,” in Woman, Native, Other

      Context Reading: "19th Century Evolutionism”: intro,  ch.s on Spencer and Tylor (AT) skim

      Sept 8

      Key Reading: Blakey, Michael L., "Man and Nature, White and Other” (DA)

      Context Reading: "19th Century Evolutionism”: ch.s on Morgan and Marx&Engels (AT) skim

    • Week 3

      Sept 13

      Key Readings: Louise Lamphere (2004), "Unofficial Histories: A Vision of Anthropology from the Margins,” in American Anthropologist 106(1):126-139

      Hurston, Zora Neale, "How it Feels to Be Colored Me”

      Excerpts from Matilda Coxe Stevenson's "Ethnobotany of Zuni Indians,” pp. 35- 42 (read up to the end of the first sentence on page 42) if unable to access here, read the PDF provided in this weeks space below. 

      Context Reading: "Historical Particularism” (AT), intro, ch. on Boas


      Sanjek, Roger (1993). "Anthropology's Hidden Colonialism,” in Anthropology Today 9(2):13-18.

      White, Kevin (2013), "Rousing a Curiosity in Hewitt's Iroquois Cosmologies,” in Wicazo Essay Review

      Fee, Margery, "Rewriting Anthropology and Identifications on the North Pacific Coast: The Work of George Hunt, William Beynon, Franz Boas, and Marius Barbeau

      Sept 15

      Key Readings: Bunzel, Ruth (1928) "Emergence"

      French, Brigittine (2005), "Partial Truths and Gendered Histories: Ruth Bunzel in American Anthropology,” in Journal of Anthropological Research 61

      Context Reading: "Historical Particularism” (AT), ch. on Kroeber

      Recommended: Bunzel, Ruth (1929) The Pueblo Potter. New York: Columbia University Press.  (available at the library)

    • Week 4

      Sept 20

      Key Reading: D'Amico-Samuels, Deborah, "Undoing Fieldwork: Personal, Political, Theoretical and Methodological Implications” (DA)

      Context Reading: "Functionalism” (AT), intro, ch.s on Malinowski and Radcliffe-Brown (skim)

      Sept 22

      Key Reading: Louise Lamphere (1992), "Gladys Reichard among the Navajo,” in Frontiers: A Journal of Women Studies 12(3):78-115

      Context Reading: "Functionalism” (AT), ch. on Gluckman (skim)

      Reflection on Assigned Material/CB entry due before each class meeting time

      Collaborative notes from each class due by 11:59pm on each class meeting day

      Intellectual Genealogy due by 11:59pm on Sunday, Sept. 24th through Google Drive

    • Week 5

      Sept 27

      Key Readings: Susan Gardner (2013) "Subverting the Rhetoric of Assimilation: Ella Cara , (Dakota) in the 1920s,” in Hecate 

      Janet L. Finn (1996) " Ella Cara Deloria and Mourning Dove: Writing for Cultures, Writing against the Grain” pp. 131-144 (available electronically through the library online database)

      Context Reading: "Culture and Personality” (AT), intro, ch. on Benedict

      Sept 29

      Key ReadingsF. E. Williams (1939) "The Reminiscences of Ahuia Ova,” in the Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland 69(1):11-44

      Eggar's review of Edward Dozier's "The Hopi-Tewa of Arizona.”

      Context Reading: "Culture and Personality” (AT), ch. on Mead

      Reflections on Assigned Material/CB entry due before each class meeting time