This course introduces the field of cultural anthropology and examines a wide range of topics including culture, gender, kinship, race, power, language, religion, immigration, conflict, subsistence, economics, and globalization. As we explore these topics our primary goal is to develop your ability to think anthropologically. Anthropological thinking resists viewing the world at face value, choosing instead to observe, engage, and attempt to understand cultures that are not our own, both today and in the past, and to reflect critically upon our own culture, which we often take for granted. Without the tools to engage positively our own culture and that of others we risk perpetuating cultural misunderstanding, stereotypes, prejudice and even violence. In this increasingly interconnected world an anthropological approach is a dynamic means to achieve common ground and understanding across cultures, resolve conflict, and solve socio-economic problems.
In this course students will:
- Demonstrate an understanding of the social of construction of culture by comparing, contrasting, and analyzing cultural practices that differ around the world.
- Reflect upon their own cultural practices in a global context.
- Apply anthropological theories and concepts to devise solutions for practical problems.
- Discuss the relevance of the field of anthropology.
- Create projects in which they utilize anthropological methods to observe, engage, and attempt to understand their own culture and other cultures.
Field ClassCountry: China
Date: November 24, 2017
Since 1978 over 168 million people in China have moved from rural areas to cities. This movement was sparked by changes in economic policies and coincided with shifts in globalized production and consumption. Rapidly expanding cities such as Shanghai, which is home to over 24 million people, face many challenges to accommodate immigration and growth. To investigate these issues, students will visit the Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Center located on People's Square, Shanghai, China, where we will discuss urban planning and migration with a scholar of urbanism and view the scale model of the master plan for Shanghai. Next we will visit various parts of the city, including an urban village and an area of new development. In each case we will consider the practical and cultural challenges of developing such a large city and accommodating a tremendous influx of immigrants over the last few decades. We will also discuss these issues with residents of the city.
1. Students will describe four aspects of migration, urbanization, and / or cultural change encountered in the field course and explain why these are significant from an anthropological perspective.
2.Students will assess the role of cultural norms and values in shaping urban development.
3.Students will explain the survival or destruction of urban villages utilizing material from the readings, observations, and interviews with our hosts.