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 2016, SOAN 291-01: Domains of The Dead: Anthropologies of Cemeteries (4). This course teaches students how to think anthropologically about cemeteries, querying them in theory-grounded, systematic, testable ways for information about past and current people’s social relations, cultural dispositions, values, beliefs, and aspirations. Assigned readings expose students to key theoretical texts from the anthropology of death and mourning as well as to historical surveys of cemeteries as they vary throughout the United States. Of special interest in the course is the recently documented proliferation of idiosyncratic forms of commemoration diverging considerably from previous centuries of more somber practice. Examples of this florescence and of its more restrained predecessors abound in the Valley of Virginia, and students investigate first-hand a range of cemeteries in Rockbridge, Augusta, and Rockingham Counties. Students record decorative motifs and epitaphs on gravestones as well as objects left on gravesites and work to read them as evidence of cultural expression and change. (SS4) Bell.
Fall 2015, SOAN 291-01: Seminar in American Indian Ethnohistory (3). No prerequisite. One of the major goals of modern ethnohistory is to use historical and anthropological methods to uncover the understandings that non-western peoples have of their own histories. This seminar introduces students to the theoretical and methodological principles of ethnohistorical research and their application to North American Indian peoples. Students first study American Indian conceptions of time and their relationship to the criteria by which tribal communities selected and comprehended the events comprising their histories. We then examine how Indian tribes from different parts of North America, including the Southwest, Northeast, Southeast, and Plains interpreted, evaluated, and responded to their encounters with colonial and the United States governments. (SS4) Markowitz.
Planned Offering: Offered when interest is expressed and departmental resources permit.
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