This course provides an overview of the latest theoretical understandings about culture, culture change, modernity, structural inequality, and globalization in anthropology. The course will be grounded in understandings of cultural history, with a special emphasis on the specific experience of colonialism, cultural violence against, and resistance from, many of the indigenous peoples and small-scale societies that we will visit on the voyage. The course will examine many of the ongoing similarities in post-colonial and neo-colonial societies and will explore diverse theoretical explanations for continued structural challenges (including modernization theory, world systems theory and feminist theory). The class will de-construct theoretical concepts such as cultural appropriation and multi-culturalism by looking at patterns of power and control in the 21st Century. We will also look at current social movements and local, global, and glocal changemakers who are effecting change today. Readings, shipboard class activities, and the field class will all provide students with opportunities to gain an empathetic understanding of the impact of global forces on both “the other” and their own society.
Field WorkCountry: Myanmar (Burma)
Date: February 20, 2019
Exploring the range of agencies and organizations that work in international development and humanitarian relief in Myanmar. Visiting the American Centre and Yangon University to develop a deeper understanding of how the anthropological lens can be useful in implementing humanitarian programs in areas such as gender empowerment, poverty eradication, and the provision of basic human needs.
Students will gain knowledge about the field of international development and the role that anthropology (and other social sciences) play in it. We will explore questions related to the challenges of working in a society in transition from military rule to democracy. We will also look at the experience of cross-cultural interaction and exchange within the organizations that work in the country.
1. Learn about the unique Burmese approach to humanitarian work
2.Examine some of the current social challenges in Myanmar
3.Compare and contrast local and international approaches to humanitarian work in a country in transition.