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ANTH 390

Topics in Anthropology

An exploration of selected topics in anthropology, culture and society (see Anthropology of the U.S. and topics listed under ANTH 290.) Prerequisite: sophomore standing. May be repeated for credit with different topics.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
Sophomore standing 1/2-1 course

Fall Semester information

Rebecca Schindler

390A: Tps:Who Owns the Past?

The preservation of the world's cultural heritage is increasingly under threat from modern development, environmental degradation, illegal excavation, and military operations. In this course we will examine the ethical and legal dilemmas inherent in dealing with the cultural productions of past populations. There are many stakeholders in the past. From governments and institutions, to descendant communities, archaeologists, and the general public, we will look at the rights and responsibilities that each group claims to have when it comes to using (and perhaps abusing) the past. Topics that we will address include (but are by no means limited to):
What is Cultural Property?: can the past be owned?
Preservation: what are we saving and why?
Research Ethics: what obligations do professionals (archaeologists, curators, etc.) have?
Stewardship: who should be responsible for the past?
Politics and War: what role should modern nation states play in preserving the past?
Meaning: what meanings do people attribute to the past?

As much as possible this course is run as a seminar. The focus is on discussion and critical thinking. Students will present and write-up individual research projects. In addition to the assigned readings, we will also work through a number of case-studies that present difficult ethical dilemmas.

Oscar Gil-Garcia

390B: Tps:The Citizen and the Alien Other: Race, Class, Gender and Immigration Policy in the U.S

This course is framed by a simple contradiction. Race is real, yet it is a myth. Racial categories are very real social and cultural phenomena. They are rooted in history and culturally constructed through laws, the media, and various institutions. These categories are reproduced, subverted, and sometimes changed by people through socialization, media consumption, interaction, dialogue, protest, and political participation. We will explore both its historical construction through immigration law and its contemporary manifestation as a crucial aspect of American culture and an integral component of people's identity. Specifically, in this course, we will learn how race, class, gender shapes immigration policy, and in turn, structures the formation of citizenship and alienage in the U.S. nation state.

Spring Semester information

Angela Castaneda

390A: Tps:Ethnographic Perspectives on Reproduction and Childbirth

Clark Sage

390B: Tps:Native North American Cultures

This course will introduce students to the diversity of Indigenous cultures of North America from the American anthropological tradition, which is founded on a four sub-field approach (sociocultural, archaeology, biophysical, and linguistic). Lectures will draw from these sub-fields to provide historical and cultural context in order to ground the readings and discussions in our exploration of the unique and specific cultural traditions around North America. Fundamental concepts of sociocultural anthropology are presented throughout the course to serve as a means for understanding Indigenous cultures. The immense amount of geographic space and number of societies will be managed by the use of the culture area concept. While this device is somewhat arbitrary in its division of space and societies, it is useful for both relativistic and comparative study as we consider how different societies developed in relation to social organization, culture, and ecology.