Students

ANTH7000 – Core Issues in Anthropological Theory I

2021 – Session 1, Weekday attendance, North Ryde

Notice

As part of Phase 3 of our return to campus plan, most units will now run tutorials, seminars and other small group activities on campus, and most will keep an online version available to those students unable to return or those who choose to continue their studies online.

To check the availability of face-to-face and online activities for your unit, please go to timetable viewer. To check detailed information on unit assessments visit your unit's iLearn space or consult your unit convenor.

General Information

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Unit convenor and teaching staff Unit convenor and teaching staff
Eve Vincent
Credit points Credit points
10
Prerequisites Prerequisites
Admission to MRes
Corequisites Corequisites
Co-badged status Co-badged status
Unit description Unit description

The seminars deal with a selected number of theoretical, methodological and interpretative issues that are currently being debated by anthropologists. These issues will vary from unit to unit according to contemporary developments in anthropology and the interests of the course convenor, and in terms of how current concerns in the discipline link to the theoretical issues addressed by students at undergraduate level. Others may be more enduring, such as the theoretical issues related to the ‘writing culture’ debate, ‘orientalism’ and the problem of the ‘other’, cultural relativism, politics and power, and the relation between individual and society.

Important Academic Dates

Information about important academic dates including deadlines for withdrawing from units are available at https://students.mq.edu.au/important-dates

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, you will be able to:

  • ULO1: apply core anthropological theories to both your own life as a member of society and to the social processes of the world around you
  • ULO2: demonstrate a mastery of emerging themes in the discipline of anthropology by writing an essay and participating in weekly seminar discussions
  • ULO3: conceptualize the ways that different writers have theorized the creation of culture by subjects as well as the creation of subjects by culture, or what might usefully be described as the mutual co-constitution by cultured subjects (ethnics) and society of each other.
  • ULO4: consider the issues of social reproduction and domination; the creation of subjectivity through intercultural and inter-subjective encounter; the self-institution of society; and the individual as creator of their world beyond their conditioning by pre-existing cultural frameworks.

Assessment Tasks

Name Weighting Hurdle Due
Seminar Participation 20% No Ongoing
Seminar Presentation 10% No Ongoing
Major Essay 70% No Friday June 18

Seminar Participation

Assessment Type 1: Participatory task
Indicative Time on Task 2: 60 hours
Due: Ongoing
Weighting: 20%

To facilitate seminar discussion, non-presenting students are required to submit a one page response to the readings each week, structured according to the three ‘Is’ – Insight, Interest, and Incomprehension. Find in the article what you thought was the author’s main insight; something of particular interest to you; and something that seemed confusing or even incomprehensible that you would like to discuss in the class.The seminar mark will be awarded on the basis of the written work, as well as on seminar participation.


On successful completion you will be able to:
  • demonstrate a mastery of emerging themes in the discipline of anthropology by writing an essay and participating in weekly seminar discussions
  • conceptualize the ways that different writers have theorized the creation of culture by subjects as well as the creation of subjects by culture, or what might usefully be described as the mutual co-constitution by cultured subjects (ethnics) and society of each other.
  • consider the issues of social reproduction and domination; the creation of subjectivity through intercultural and inter-subjective encounter; the self-institution of society; and the individual as creator of their world beyond their conditioning by pre-existing cultural frameworks.

Seminar Presentation

Assessment Type 1: Presentation
Indicative Time on Task 2: 4 hours
Due: Ongoing
Weighting: 10%

Over the duration of the seminar, depending on student numbers, each student will give one brief introduction to the week’s reading(s), drawing out its main themes and selecting a number of questions or puzzles for the seminar to discuss. These introductory remarks are intended merely to get the seminar rolling – students might wish to focus on something interesting, maddening or confusing about the reading for example.


On successful completion you will be able to:
  • apply core anthropological theories to both your own life as a member of society and to the social processes of the world around you
  • conceptualize the ways that different writers have theorized the creation of culture by subjects as well as the creation of subjects by culture, or what might usefully be described as the mutual co-constitution by cultured subjects (ethnics) and society of each other.
  • consider the issues of social reproduction and domination; the creation of subjectivity through intercultural and inter-subjective encounter; the self-institution of society; and the individual as creator of their world beyond their conditioning by pre-existing cultural frameworks.

Major Essay

Assessment Type 1: Essay
Indicative Time on Task 2: 60 hours
Due: Friday June 18
Weighting: 70%

The essay should relate, compare and critically assess the work of two or more of the authors to the major themes of the unit – cultural creativity, agency (agents), structures and world-making. In your essay, critically focus on where the authors identify sources of creativity or change, and how the texts articulate society and the individual – or in what terms.


On successful completion you will be able to:
  • apply core anthropological theories to both your own life as a member of society and to the social processes of the world around you
  • demonstrate a mastery of emerging themes in the discipline of anthropology by writing an essay and participating in weekly seminar discussions
  • conceptualize the ways that different writers have theorized the creation of culture by subjects as well as the creation of subjects by culture, or what might usefully be described as the mutual co-constitution by cultured subjects (ethnics) and society of each other.
  • consider the issues of social reproduction and domination; the creation of subjectivity through intercultural and inter-subjective encounter; the self-institution of society; and the individual as creator of their world beyond their conditioning by pre-existing cultural frameworks.

1 If you need help with your assignment, please contact:

  • the academic teaching staff in your unit for guidance in understanding or completing this type of assessment
  • the Learning Skills Unit for academic skills support.

2 Indicative time-on-task is an estimate of the time required for completion of the assessment task and is subject to individual variation

Delivery and Resources

All readings will be available in a Leganto library linked to the unit's iLearn page.

Unit Schedule

Week 1: Tuesday February 23. Why anthropology?

Prior to our first class, I’d like you all to select an anthropological reading from your studies so far which has influenced and/or inspired you. Please come to class prepared to introduce this reading to your fellow students. In this class we will also discuss the aims and structure of this unit, and how we are going to run our discussions. I look forward to meeting you all!

Week 2: Tuesday March 2. From armchair anthropology to Arrernte Country

Readings to discuss:

  • Alison Whittaker. 2018. ologist. In Blakwork, Broome: Magabala Books, 148-9.
  • Baldwin Spencer and Francis Gillen. 1927. Excerpts from The Arunta. London: Macmillan, dedication; preface, vii-xii; chapter XII, 304-323.
  • Philip Batty. 2018. Assembling the Ethnographic Field: The 1901-2 Expedition of Baldwin Spencer and Francis Gillen. In Expeditionary Anthropology: Teamwork, Travel and the ‘Science of Man’.Edited by Martin Thomas and Amanda Harris UK: Berghahn Books.

Week 3: Tuesday March 9. Difference as culture – Boas and his legacy

Readings to discuss:

  • Franz Boas. 1955. Preface to Primitive Art. New York: Dover Publications, 1-8.
  • Isaiah Wilner. 2015. Friends in This World: The Relationship of George Hunt and Franz Boas. In The Franz Boas Papers, Volume 1: Franz Boas as Public Intellectual – Theory, Ethnography, Activism. Eds. Regna Darnell, Michelle Hamilton, Robert L.A. Hancock, and Joshua Smith. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 163-189.
  • Eve Dunbar. 2018. Women on the Verge of a Cultural Breakdown: Zora Neale Hurston in Haiti and the Racial Privilege of Boasian Relativism. In Indigenous Visions: Rediscovering the World of Franz Boas. Eds. Ned Blackhawk and Isaiah Wilner. DOI:10.12987/yale/9780300196511.003.0011

Week 4: Tuesday March 16. Emergence of a method

Readings to discuss:

  • Bronislaw Malinowksi. 2014. The subject, method and scope of this inquiry. In Argonauts of the Western Pacific. London: Routledge, 1-26.
  • Bronislaw Malinowksi. 1989. Short excerpt from A Diary in the Strict Sense of the Term. Stanford: Stanford university Press, 11/1-Thursday 12, 33-37.
  • Film: Trobriand Cricket (we will watch this together in class)

Week 5: Tuesday March 23. Structuralist and symbolic approaches

Readings to discuss:

  • Claude Lévi-Strauss. 1973. Chapter 22. In Triste Tropiques. England: Penguin, 278-297.
  • Mary Douglas. 2010. Secular Defilement. In Purity and Danger. Routledge: London and New York, 36-50.

Week 6: Tuesday March 30. Interpretive anthropology

Readings to discuss:

  • Victor Turner. 1967. Betwixt and Between: The Liminal Period in Rites de Passage. In The Forest of Symbols: Aspects of Ndembu Ritual. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 93-111.
  • Clifford Geertz. 1993. Thick Description: Toward an Interpretive Theory of Culture. In The Interpretation of Cultures. London: Fontana Press, 3-30.

Week 7: Tuesday April 20. Critiquing anthropology i

Readings to discuss:

  • Johannes Fabian. 2002. Excerpts from Time and the Other. New York: Columbia University Press, Forward by Matti Bunzl, ix-xxxiv; The ethnographic present, pp 80-89.
  • Franz Fanon. 2008. The Fact of Blackness. In Black Skin, White Masks Pluto Press, 121-147.

Week 8: Tuesday April 27. Critiquing anthropology ii

Readings to discuss:

  • Lila Abu-Lugod. 1991. Writing Against Culture. In Richard Fox (ed), Recapturing Anthropology, Santa Fe: School of American Research Press, 137-162.
  • Zoe Todd. 2018. The Decolonial Turn 2.0: the reckoning. https://anthrodendum.org/2018/06/15/the-decolonial-turn-2-0-the-reckoning/

Week 9: Tuesday May 4.  Where to from here?

Week 9 is a chance of us to take stock and tie together what we have discussed so far. Then I’d like us to design three weeks of content together to finish the session. I will be involved in selecting the readings, but will be guided by your interests. For example, we could do a week about multispecies anthropology or the anthropology of neoliberalism. It would be good to read more women in this unit! We could explore experimental ethnographic writing or ethnographic biography. Ideally, we will tailor the topics for Weeks 10, 11 and 12 to your research interests.

Weeks 10, 11, 12. TBA

Week 13: Tuesday June 1. Why anthropology? Redux.

Policies and Procedures

Macquarie University policies and procedures are accessible from Policy Central (https://staff.mq.edu.au/work/strategy-planning-and-governance/university-policies-and-procedures/policy-central). Students should be aware of the following policies in particular with regard to Learning and Teaching:

Students seeking more policy resources can visit the Student Policy Gateway (https://students.mq.edu.au/support/study/student-policy-gateway). It is your one-stop-shop for the key policies you need to know about throughout your undergraduate student journey.

If you would like to see all the policies relevant to Learning and Teaching visit Policy Central (https://staff.mq.edu.au/work/strategy-planning-and-governance/university-policies-and-procedures/policy-central).

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Macquarie University students have a responsibility to be familiar with the Student Code of Conduct: https://students.mq.edu.au/admin/other-resources/student-conduct

Results

Results published on platform other than eStudent, (eg. iLearn, Coursera etc.) or released directly by your Unit Convenor, are not confirmed as they are subject to final approval by the University. Once approved, final results will be sent to your student email address and will be made available in eStudent. For more information visit ask.mq.edu.au or if you are a Global MBA student contact globalmba.support@mq.edu.au

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Learning Skills (mq.edu.au/learningskills) provides academic writing resources and study strategies to help you improve your marks and take control of your study.

The Library provides online and face to face support to help you find and use relevant information resources. 

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Students with a disability are encouraged to contact the Disability Service who can provide appropriate help with any issues that arise during their studies.

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