SOAN 291 - Special Topics in Anthropology
A discussion of a series of topics of anthropological concern. May be repeated for degree credit if the topics are different.
Spring 2019, SOAN 291-01: Cults (3). An exploration of the phenomenon of cults (also known as new religious movements [NRMs]). We examine the development of cults, how they operate, and the experiences of those who participate in them. Topics of discussion include brainwashing, gender, violence, sexuality, child rearing, and the possibility of objectivity on the part of the researcher. We structure the term around a visit from Marsha Goluboff Low (Professor Goluboff's aunt), who will talk about the 18 years she spent in Ánanda Márga. Goluboff.
Spring 2019, SOAN 291-02: Land in O'odham Culture Economics and History (4). A seminar on the cultural, economic, and historical dimensions of the O'odham Indians' ties to their lands as expressed in their pre- and post-reservation lifeways. Students address three major themes: 1) O'odham land and cosmology; 2) land and economy in O'odham history; and 3) contemporary cultural and economic issues among O'odham peoples. The class spends 8 days in the Sonoran Desert region of Southern Arizona to visit sites and meet with speakers in and around the Tohono O'odham Nation. Markowitz and Guse.
Fall 2019, SOAN 291A-01: Topic in Anthropology: Consumer Cultures (3). No prerequisites. Appropriate for all class years. "It is extraordinary to discover that no one knows why people want goods," or so observed a famous pair of authors -- one an anthropologist, the other an economist -- in 1979. What, since then, have anthropology and interrelated disciplines learned about consumer desire? This course considers human interaction with the material world in a variety of cultures, periods, and scales. From socio-cultural and political perspectives, what do consumers hope to accomplish by buying, patronizing, or using products like Barbies, bottled water, French fries, blue jeans, tattoos, and piercings? How does consumerism facilitate claims to social connection, personal identity, and meaning? How do potentially constructive roles of buying "stuff" relate to debt, environmental over-exploitation, hoarding, and the Marie Kondo phenomenon? Bell.
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