Introduction to Anthropology

Discipline: Anthropology
Instructor: Frölander-Ulf
Credits: 3
Day: B
Start: 1050
End: 1205
Field Work: Day 6 | India Download Syllabus

Cultural anthropology is the comparative study of society, culture, and human diversity focusing on the various ways that people’s lives are shaped by history, political economy, social relationships, and cultural images, such as those created by the media. Students learn to apply some of the major theoretical approaches utilized by anthropologists to analyze access to property and material transactions, family and kinship organization, political organization, conflicts and social control, as well as religious and secular beliefs and rituals, in a variety of societies within the larger context of globalization and alterations in local communities over time. In the ports of call, students have the opportunity to develop their observational, note-taking, and analytical skills in investigating a particular aspect of the local culture.

Field Work

Country: India
Day: 6

A lecture & discussion onboard the ship on the basic principles of Kudumbashree, is followed by a visit to the village of Chendamangalam. Launched by the Government of Kerala in 1998 to wipe out poverty through concerted community action under the leadership of Local Self Governments, Kudumbashree is today one of the largest women-empowering projects in the country. The program covers more than 50% of the households in Kerala and is built around three critical components: micro credit, entrepreneurship, and empowerment. The village visit includes a dance performance, visit to a weaving cooperative, observing the preparation of our lunch at a local home, and opportunity to meet with villagers. The Field Lab allows us to reflect on many of the issues that are covered in this course, such as economic and political organization, gender-based roles and statuses, and community development, as well as local responses to regional, national, and global institutions and ideologies.
Academic Objectives:
You will be organized into sets of field partners or teams who submit a jointly written paper (4-5 pages). The paper is to describe your understanding of the information gained during the Field Lab and its relevance to specific course materials (readings, lectures, class discussions). Each team will focus on one aspect of the field experience in consultation with the instructor. The paper is to address some of the issues that are covered in this course, such as the variety of ways that humans have organized economic activity, political leadership, or gender roles and statuses, as well as local community responses to dominant institutions, ideologies, and external pressures. You may also focus on what we do with the knowledge we gain on this voyage, on the sub-discipline of Applied Anthropology, or on the ethics of social research. Or, you can use the Kudumbashree model as vantage point from which to critically appraise dominant U.S. notions of economic development, foreign aid, and charity. You are also invited to analyze similarities and differences in your team members' interpretations of the field experience. All teams are expected to share their findings in brief class presentations. This lab encourages you to hone your observational, listening, and note-taking abilities and to develop your writing and public speaking skills.