Anthropology is the study of humankind. This course will introduce students to the four subfields of anthropology: archaeology; cultural; physical/biological; and linguistics. Materials will emphasize the holistic nature of the field. Students will learn about the various theoretical and methodological approaches for studying living people and their social, cultural and natural environments. Through the lens of cultural anthropology students will gain insight into the belief systems, behaviors, social norms, attitudes and perceptions of cultures different from their own. Students will learn how to pay close attention to the symbols, actions and rituals employed by a specific culture in order to create a web of meaning for its members. By providing students with the tools for better understanding the lives of others, they will also have a way in which they can explore their own culture and their place within it.
Field WorkCountry: Mauritius
Date: October 19, 2018
In this field class we will visit colonial sites and museums dedicated to the history of Mauritius, specifically the history of slavery and sugar, to learn about the role of slavery and the industrial production of sugar (mono-cropping) played in colonial Mauritius and its sticky legacy today. Throughout the day, students will make detailed observations on how that past is represented in the sites visited with an eye towards the use of representation, symbols and language to reify and produce a commonly understood national “truth.” Once back on ship the students will write a report drawing on these observations and comparing and contrasting them with at least two other countries visited during out voyage where European colonization and/or mono-cropping played an important role in shaping the modern culture.
- Learn more about the history of sugar, the slave trade, and the formation of the Mauritian nation
- Reflect on and discuss the role of museums and memorials in representing the past and shaping the present.
- Practice observational and recording techniques in taking field notes, and will write a report based on their notes