Fundamentals of Anthropological Theory

Course Number: 
Kroeber 221
Xin Liu
Tu, Th 2:00 pm - 4:59 pm

Anthropological theory and practice, following the rest of the world, have been undergoing important restructuring in the past decade.  The course is organized to reflect this fact.  We will begin by looking at recent debates about the nature and purpose of anthropology.  This will provide a starting point for reading a series of classic ethnographies in new ways as well as examining some dimensions of the current reseach agenda in cultural anthropology.




Required Texts (in the order of reading sequence):

Fortune, R. F. 1932. Sorcerers of Dobu. Waveland.

Evans-Pritchard, E. E. 1956. Nuer Religion. Oxford.

Lévi-Strauss, C. 1966[1962]. The Savage Mind. Chicago.

Durkheim, E. The Elementary Forms of the Religious life. Free Press (1965[1915]).

Bergson, H. Two Sources of Morality and Religion. Henry Holt (1935).

Sartre, J-P. Being and Nothingness. Philosophical Library (1956).

Foucault, M. 1988[1965/1961]. Madness and Civilization. Vintage.

Bourdieu, P. Outline of a Theory of Practice. Cambridge (1977).

Geertz, C. 1973. The Interpretation of Culture. Basic Books.

Ricoeur, P. 1981. Hermeneutics and the Human Sciences. Cambridge.

Comaroff, J. and J. 1990. Of Revelation and Revolution, Vol. 1. Chicago.

Jameson, F. 1991. Postmodernism, or, the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism. Verso.

Haraway, D. J. Manifestly Haraway (Posthumanities). Minnesota (2016).

Descola, P. 2013. Beyond Nature and Culture. Chicago.

Calendar of reading:

Week 1 Intro.

Week 2 Fortune

Week 3 EP

Week 4 LS

Week 5 Durkheim

Week 6 Bergson

Week 7 Sartre

Week 8 Sartre/LS

Week 9 Foucault

Week 10 Bergson/Sartre/Foucault

Week 11 Geertz and Ricoeur

Week 12 Comaroff and Comaroff

Week 13 Jameson and Haraway

Week 14 Descola—and Conclusion

Note: we plan to skip Bourdieu, but his theoretical relevance we do need to discuss when we reach the second part of the seminar.