2020-2021 University Catalog 
    Jul 14, 2024  
2020-2021 University Catalog archived

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SOAN 291 - Special Topics in Anthropology

Credits: 3-4 A discussion of a series of topics of anthropological concern. May be repeated for degree credit if the topics are different.

Spring 2021, SOAN 291A-01: Special Topics in Anthropology: Anthropology of Performance (3). This course is intended as an introduction to the fundamentals of performance from an anthropological perspective. We will cover the basic theoretical foundations of performance and performance theory, and then delve into the ways that anthropologists, linguists, and philosophers have explored performances and ‘performative’ acts across time and around the world. Through this course, students will expand their definitions of what constitutes a performance, and even rethink instances from everyday life as performative acts. Lastly, we will see the ways that ideas about performance and performative genres are tightly enmeshed within social projects and societal norms and expectations that they come from. Narayanan.

Spring 2021, SOAN 291B-01: Special Topics in Anthropology: Ethnohistory of W&L’s Past (3). In this course we will apply interdisciplinary methods to study four centuries of W&L material culture and historic records. These items will be used to uncover additional stories about W&L founders, its evolving curriculum, and buildings. As COVID protocols permit, we will visit multiple collections of art, ceramics, artifacts, and documents on campus. We will also explore on and off-campus historic landscapes, including local graveyards. Students will synthesize this material and produce several deliverables: (1) additional historic layers to the online campus map (https://campusmap.wlu.edu/), (2) a poster that analyzes the past social networks of our community, and (3) biographical sketches of under-studied members of the W&L community. Rainville.

Winter 2021, SOAN 291A-01: Special Topics in Anthropology: Collective Memory (3). Why do some places, events, objects, symbols, or individuals become central to understandings of heritage, while others seem ignored or forgotten? How do people use material objects - including landscapes, monuments, and museums - in negotiations of memory and history, identity and belonging, or debates about good and evil? This course examines cultural, social, political, and economic processes of memorialization through case studies from regional, national, and global contexts. This exploration of collective, if contested, memory making also covers topics such as heritage tourism, dark tourism, memorialization as witnessing, and ethics of remembrance. Bell.  


Fall 2020, SOAN 291B-01: Special Topics in Anthropology: Psychological Anthropology (3). An introduction to psychological anthropology, that subfield of cultural anthropology that examines the influence of a society’s culture on individual cognitive and emotional attributes. The first half of the seminar presents a general overview of psycho-anthropological history, theories, and methodologies. The second half focuses on one of the most recent orientations of the subfield - ethnopsychology - which studies how non-western peoples categorize, describe, and explain human psychological processes. Markowitz.

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