Students

ANTH7001 – Core Issues in Anthropological Theory II

2021 – Session 2, Special circumstances

Session 2 Learning and Teaching Update

The decision has been made to conduct study online for the remainder of Session 2 for all units WITHOUT mandatory on-campus learning activities. Exams for Session 2 will also be online where possible to do so.

This is due to the extension of the lockdown orders and to provide certainty around arrangements for the remainder of Session 2. We hope to return to campus beyond Session 2 as soon as it is safe and appropriate to do so.

Some classes/teaching activities cannot be moved online and must be taught on campus. You should already know if you are in one of these classes/teaching activities and your unit convenor will provide you with more information via iLearn. If you want to confirm, see the list of units with mandatory on-campus classes/teaching activities.

Visit the MQ COVID-19 information page for more detail.

General Information

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

This core unit in the Master of Research specialisation in Anthropology provides a grounding in theoretical, methodological and interpretive issues currently being debated by anthropologists. The seminars deal with a selected number of theoretical, methodological and interpretative issues that are currently debated in the discipline. These issues will vary from year to year according to contemporary developments in Anthropology and the interests of the course convener, and in terms of how current concerns in the discipline link to the theoretical issues addressed by students. 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 mastery of emerging theoretical and methodological issues central to Anthropology
  • ULO3: Conceptualise the ways that different scholars have theorised the creation of culture by subjects as well as the creation of subjects by culture
  • ULO4: Consider issues of social and cultural reproduction and domination; the creation of subjectivity through 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
Major Esaay 60% No Week 13
Seminar Presentation 15% No Weekly
Seminar Participation 25% No Weekly

Major Esaay

Assessment Type 1: Essay
Indicative Time on Task 2: 73 hours
Due: Week 13
Weighting: 60%

 

The essay should relate, compare and critically assess the work of two or more of the scholars to the major themes of the unit - cultural creativity, agency (agents), structures and world-making. In the essay students critically focus on where the scholars 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:
  • Demonstrate mastery of emerging theoretical and methodological issues central to Anthropology
  • Conceptualise the ways that different scholars have theorised the creation of culture by subjects as well as the creation of subjects by culture
  • Consider issues of social and cultural reproduction and domination; the creation of subjectivity through 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: 8 hours
Due: Weekly
Weighting: 15%

 

Over the duration of the unit, each student will give a brief introduction to the week's reading(s), drawing out its main themes and selecting a number of questions or conundrums for the seminar to discuss. These facilitation of the discussion can be used by the students to focus on something interesting, maddening or confusing about the reading.

 


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 mastery of emerging theoretical and methodological issues central to Anthropology
  • Conceptualise the ways that different scholars have theorised the creation of culture by subjects as well as the creation of subjects by culture

Seminar Participation

Assessment Type 1: Participatory task
Indicative Time on Task 2: 26 hours
Due: Weekly
Weighting: 25%

 

To facilitate seminar discussion, non-presenting students are required to submit a one page response to the reading(s) each week, structured according to the three 'Is': insight, interest, and incomprehension. Find in the reading(s) what you thought was the author's main insight; something of particular interest to you; and something that seems confusing or even incomprehensible that you would like to discuss. 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:
  • 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 mastery of emerging theoretical and methodological issues central to Anthropology
  • Conceptualise the ways that different scholars have theorised the creation of culture by subjects as well as the creation of subjects by culture
  • Consider issues of social and cultural reproduction and domination; the creation of subjectivity through 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

1. OVERVIEW OF ANTH 7001 SEMINAR

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.

 

This year the ANTH 7001 seminar will focus on the last of these ‘enduring’ issues, examining the ways that different writers have conceptualized and 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. The works of Bourdieu, Jackson, Castoriadis, and Rapport etc. focus on different aspects of this relationship: on social reproduction and domination; on the creation of subjectivity through intercultural and inter-subjective encounter; on the self-institution of society; and on the individual as creator of their world beyond their conditioning by pre-existing cultural frameworks. The seminar readings and discussion are designed so that your reading and reflection feeds into your fieldwork/thesis, both as aid to facilitate its completion, and as grit to problematize your thinking.

 

Although our seminar authors would not unanimously agree, it might be useful for students to think of anthropology as the study of the production of meaning, including of those meanings produced by anthropologists themselves. This includes ethnographies of course, but also social theories. Ultimately, the producers of meanings are people: however people also create powerful institutions, practices, religions, places, social relations, histories (stories) and technologies that in their own domains are similarly manufacturers of meaning. Like the sorcerer’s apprentice, we are not in control of our own makings, nor obviously of the creations of others: we wrestle with them and the new worlds these creations themselves produce; we seek to speak back to them even as they speak through us; we give our allegiance to their take on the world while insisting, petulantly, upon our own personal emphases. Imitation or mimicry may flatter, attesting to the power of cultural and symbolic systems. But flattery is also a strategy. The anthropologist’s gleaning of meaning is necessarily a reflexive and political process: how does the ethnographer represent and position him or herself as the interpreter of other peoples’ meanings, even as s/he is transformed through the very interpretive encounter?

 

The ANTH 7001 Convenor in 2021 is Christopher Houston. I am available on extension 8471 and my email address is chris.houston@mq.edu.au. Please contact me about problems of any nature that affects your studies this year.

 

2. ANTHROPOLOGY COLLOQUIUM

This semester the Colloquium is held regularly on Wednesday morning at 10.30am and involves a wide range of speakers, including staff and postgraduates of the Department and visitors from other universities. Some sessions may be held on Zoom. Attendance provides MRes students with the opportunity to listen to and engage in debate with working anthropologists.

 

3. ASSESSMENT

1. ESSAY (60%)

This essay is required to be approximately 4,000 words in length. 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. This essay is due in Week 13. One copy must be uploaded through TURNITIN on this date.

 

2. SEMINAR PARTICIPATION (25%)

ANTH 7001 class seminars will run from the first week of the second semester (July 27th) until the 6th of November. The seminar will be devoted to a discussion of course readings, but we will consider essay and thesis research strategies as well. Students are expected to read the set readings and to participate in discussion.

Equally importantly, to facilitate tutorial 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; discuss something of particular interest to you; and puzzle out why something seemed confusing or even incomprehensible that you would like to discuss in the class. Responses can only be submitted at the seminar in which the reading is to be discussed. The seminar mark will be awarded on the basis of the written work, as well as on seminar participation.

The seminar is designed to provide a supportive environment in which students can assist each other in discussing their ideas and interpretations of the readings, in conceptualising their essay and in clarifying their thesis topic.

 

3. SEMINAR PRESENTATION (15%)

Over the duration of the seminar, depending on student numbers, each student will give a 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.

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).

Student Code of Conduct

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

Student Support

Macquarie University provides a range of support services for students. For details, visit http://students.mq.edu.au/support/

Learning Skills

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. 

Student Enquiry Service

For all student enquiries, visit Student Connect at ask.mq.edu.au

If you are a Global MBA student contact globalmba.support@mq.edu.au

Equity Support

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

IT Help

For help with University computer systems and technology, visit http://www.mq.edu.au/about_us/offices_and_units/information_technology/help/

When using the University's IT, you must adhere to the Acceptable Use of IT Resources Policy. The policy applies to all who connect to the MQ network including students.