85493 - Social Anthropology

Course Unit Page

Academic Year 2018/2019

Learning outcomes

The course aims at providing students abilities in cultural analysis with special reference to the making and representation of cultural diversity. The course aims at improving students participation, providing the gain of a specialistic terminology and of a critical attitude toward social and cultural facts.

Course contents

The course introduces students to basic theories and research methods in Social and Cultural Anthropology, with a special focus on contemporary societies, including ethnographic fieldwork and the analysis of cultural dimension. In its focus on the details of everyday activities across a number of communities, it is meant to provide a bridge between sociocultural anthropology and ethnography through the introduction of concepts and analytical techniques that privilege observation, participation, recording and transcription of spontaneous interaction. Topics include cultural theory, practices of ethnography, memory, time, travel and mobility, imagination, the power of communication, agency and aspiration, and universal and culture-specific properties of human condition.

Students are expected to arrive on time, attend all lectures, and complete all reading as scheduled on the syllabus, i.e., prior to the class meeting. The class participation grade is based on participation in discussions as well as on attendance in both lectures and study questions.

Readings/Bibliography

SYLLABUS

LECTURE 1: Oct. 8th, 2018

Introduction: My idea of Anthropology. Diversity. Uses and abuses.

LECTURE 2: Oct. 9th, 2018

Go on with fieldwork. Diversity and Anthropology.

Reading presentation (for Lecture 3/4):

1. Malinowski B., 1922, Argonauts of the Western Pacific, Introduction.

LECTURE 3: Oct. 15th, 2018

Social relationships. Function and Structure

Reading 1: discussion and study questions

LECTURE 4: Oct. 16th, 2018

Social relationships. Function and Structure

Reading presentation (for Lecture 5/6):

2. Radcliffe Brown A. R., 1940, On Joking Relationships, Africa: Journal of The International African Institute, vol. 13, 3: 195-210.

LECTURE 5: Oct. 22th, 2018

Ways to Ethnography

Reading 2: discussion and study questions

LECTURE 6: Oct. 23th, 2018

Ways to Ethnography

Reading presentation (for Lecture 7/8):

3. Evans-Pritchard E. E., 1950, Anthropology: Past and Present, The Marret Lecture, in Man, 50: 118-125.

LECTURE 7: Oct. 29th, 2018

We are all contemporaries. Time and Anthropology

Reading 3: discussion and study questions

LECTURE 8: Oct. 30th, 2018

We are all contemporaries. Time and Anthropology

Readings presentation (for Lecture 9/10):

4 Matera V., We are all contemporaries. Time and Anthropology, in Gonzales Falcon I. (ed.), Understanding Cultural Diversity: Perceptions, Opportunities and Challenges, Nova Publisher, in press. (20 pagg.)

LECTURE 9: Nov. 5th, 2018

The situational analysis. Facing with social and cultural change

Readings 4: discussion and study questions

LECTURE 10: Nov 6th, 2018

The situational analysis. Facing with social and cultural change

Reading presentation (for Lecture 11/12):

5. Gluckman M., 1940, Analysis of a Social Situation in Modern Zululand, in Bantu Studies, 14: 1-30.

LECTURE 11: Nov. 12th, 2018

Doing ethnography

Readings 5: discussion and study questions

LECTURE 12: Nov. 13th, 2018

Doing ethnography

Reading presentation (for Lectures 13/14):

6. Fillitz T., 2013, Spatialising the Field. Conceptualising fields and interconnections in the context of contemporary art in Africa, in Matera V. (ed.), De-constructing the field, AAM, 13: 103-112.

LECTURE 13: Nov. 19th, 2018

Beyond the field. Ethnography in a global world

Reading 6: discussion and study questions

LECTURE 14: Nov. 20th, 2018

Beyond the field. Ethnography in a global world

Reading presentation (for Lecture 15):

7. Matera V., 2013, Ethnography: experiences, representations, practices for studying cultural diversity, in AAM, 15: 9-19.

8. Ingold T., 2008, Anthropology is not Ethnography, in Proceeding of the British Academy, 154: 69-92.

LECTURE 15: Nov. 26th, 2018

Final test

Teaching methods

Lectures, discussions, weekly tests based on study questions.

Assessment methods

  • Weekly in-class short tests; Final Test (last week of classes); Final short essay and oral presentation.

Office hours

See the website of Vincenzo Matera