Anthro 104 Current Syllabus.docx - University of...

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University of Wisconsin-MadisonANTHROPOLOGY104: CULTURALANTHROPOLOGYANDHUMANDIVERSITYSpring 2021COURSEDESCRIPTIONWhat does it mean to be an individual living in a society largely shaped by other human beings? How do peopleorganize themselves to survive and prosper? How do they negotiate their desire for personal freedom and theneed to live collectively with other individuals? How do they make sense of the world around them?Anthropology explores the diversity of ways that people around the world have found to answer these questions.Taking the lived experience of individuals and groups as a starting point, anthropologists work to elucidate what itmeans to be human, to live with other beings, and to shape the world around us. By combining long-termethnographic fieldwork and a broad comparative frame, anthropology helps us denaturalize what we take forgranted and reveals the complexity of human societies. In short, anthropology can help us see the worlddifferently; and once we better understand how people live, we are better able to make decisions to shape ourcommon future.This semester we will use the tools developed by anthropologists to explore the tension between the socialstructures that people have created to organize their social life, individuals’ desire for personal freedom, and theircapacity to shape the world around them. The core of the semester will be devoted to investigating several systemsof privilege and oppression: race and racism, ethnicity and nationalism, gender, sexuality, and class. We will studyeach category in turn, but we will always keep in mind their intersectionality. Putting examples side by side fromthe United States and various places around the world, we will see how these structures of power come to shapethe experience of individuals through the economy, health care, religion, the state and other political structures.With a better understanding of how social structures work together to affect life chances and constrain people’sactions, this class will invite you to reflect on your own life and your connections to people near and far. We hopethat you will use this knowledge to take action to challenge social inequalities.
COURSELEARNINGOUTCOMESBy the end of the semester, you will be able to:1.Use a comparative framework to imagine alternatives beyond what seems natural to you, making “thestrange familiar and the familiar strange.”2.Identify ways in which our lives are interconnected with seemingly distant people, places, and political andeconomic processes.3.Explain the history of the “culture” concept and critically examine its contemporary uses.4.Recognize and explain how social structures (including race, gender, sexuality, and class) work together toaffect life chances and constrain people’s actions, including your own.5.Apply social theory and terminology to analyze the complexity of human societies and experiences.

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Term
Spring
Professor
BOWIE
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