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Sc2218 Lecture 1 (2010)


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Introduction to the Course SC2218: Anthropology and the Human Condition (2010)

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Sc2218 Lecture 1 (2010)

  1. 1. SC2218: Anthropology and the Human Condition Lecture 1: Introduction to Anthropology and the Human Condition Eric C. Thompson Semester 1, 2010/2011
  2. 2. Outline for Lecture 1 <ul><li>What is ANTHROPOLOGY? </li></ul><ul><li>What is REQUIRED FOR THE COURSE? </li></ul><ul><li>The Wonderful World of Albert Kahn – “Archive of the Planet.” </li></ul><ul><li>Anthropology as a Personal Journey… </li></ul>
  3. 3. Anthropology <ul><li>anthropos = humankind </li></ul><ul><li>logia = study of </li></ul><ul><li>the study of people </li></ul>
  4. 4. Anthropology and Other Disciplines People who study their own society call themselves Sociologists People who study other societies call themselves Anthropologists People who study markets and exchange in their own society call themselves Economists People who study markets and exchange in other societies call themselves Anthropologists People who study individual thought and behavior in their own society call themselves Psychologists People who study individual thought and behavior in other societies call themselves Anthropologists You get the idea . . . The same is true for history, art, geography, language, genetics, physiology, politics, and every other aspect of “ the human condition .”
  5. 5. Anthropology Past & Present <ul><li>The relationship between anthropology and other “human sciences” is based on a specific history and intellectual tradition (which we will discuss in greater detail throughout the course). </li></ul><ul><li>Anthropologist have always studied “their own” societies, and increasingly do so in the early 21 st century. </li></ul><ul><li>But, the emphasis on studying all aspects of “ other ” societies continues to influence the “anthropological perspective” of the discipline… </li></ul>
  6. 6. Elements of the “Anthropological Perspective” <ul><li>Anthropology has a “holistic” and integrative perspective . . . Meaning that different aspects of human experience are seen as interrelated and non-reducible. You cannot study politics in isolation from family structures or economics in isolation from cultural values. </li></ul><ul><li>Anthropologists have a “multi-field” approach – incorporating cultural and social anthropology, linguistic anthropology, archaeology, and physical anthropology (“stones & bones”). (This course will focus mainly on cultural and social anthropology). </li></ul>
  7. 7. Elements of the “Anthropological Perspective” <ul><li>Anthropologists have a strong “ethnographic” tradition , focusing on “thick descriptions” of societies and cultures. (The book by Richard Lee, The Dobe Ju/’hoansi is a good example of ethnography) </li></ul><ul><li>Social and Cultural Anthropologists are especially interested in the qualitative study of meaning . What do people think, feel and believe? Why do they think, feel and believe those things? How do their thoughts, feelings and beliefs influence their behavior? </li></ul>
  8. 8. About the Course: Materials and Methods <ul><li>Lectures & Tutorials </li></ul><ul><li>Readings </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Course Pack: Forum COOP & RBR e-reserve . </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Richard B. Lee, The Dobe Ju/’hoansi – Available at the COOP Bookstore. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Films – Available on IVLE (may not be able to view from home). </li></ul><ul><li>Tutorial Exercises </li></ul><ul><li>Course Wiki </li></ul>
  9. 9. Assignments & Evaluation <ul><li>Tutorial Participation – 10% </li></ul><ul><li>Wiki Participation – 15% </li></ul><ul><li>World Cultures Project – 15% </li></ul><ul><li>Final Exam – 60% </li></ul>
  10. 10. Tutorials (Discussion Groups) <ul><li>The following topics will be covered in tutorials: </li></ul><ul><li>Session 1: Origins of Anthropology, Human Diversity, Concept of Culture (Wk 1-4 Material) </li></ul><ul><li>Session 2: Kinship and Gender (Wk 5-6 Material) </li></ul><ul><li>Session 3: Economics & Exchange (Wk 7-8 Material) </li></ul><ul><li>Session 4: Ethnicity, Nation, & Other Communities (Wk 9-10 Material) </li></ul><ul><li>Session 5: Issues of Representation, Anthropology in the 21 st Century (Wk 11-12 Material) </li></ul>
  11. 11. About the Readings, Films, Tutorials <ul><li>You are responsible for coming prepared to discuss the topics for each tutorial. </li></ul><ul><li>We recommend that you: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Read materials from the course pack and view films on a weekly basis. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Read The Dobe Ju/’hoansi from cover-to-cover during the first two weeks of the course, then refer back to specific chapters week-to-week. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Keep up-to-date with materials on the course Wiki. </li></ul>
  12. 12. About the Films <ul><li>We will view parts of all films during class session. </li></ul><ul><li>All films will be available on IVLE. </li></ul><ul><li>If you wish to review the films on IVLE, you may have to do this on campus. </li></ul>
  13. 13. Course Wiki <ul><li>A Wiki is “a collection of web pages designed to enable anyone who accesses it to contribute or modify content.” </li></ul><ul><li>Why a Wiki? – Participation, Collaboration, Learning, Producing, Creating </li></ul><ul><li>Go to the Wiki (“Working with the Wiki”) to learn more. </li></ul>Anthropology and the Human Condition
  14. 14. World Cultures Project <ul><li>You will be assigned to a World Cultures Project Group in your first tutorial session. </li></ul><ul><li>Details of the project will be explained in the second lecture and the first tutorial. </li></ul>
  15. 15. Questions… (so far)
  16. 16. Anthropology as a Personal and Intellectual Journey <ul><li>Anthropologists are known for studying “others” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Anthropology and the “Savage Slot” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>But anthropologists always reflect upon themselves and their “own” societies. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The importance of “Reflexivity” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Questioning categories of self/other? “Going native”? … Intersubjectivity </li></ul>
  17. 17. About the Lecturer: <ul><li>Eric C. Thompson is Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology at the National University of Singapore. Before joining NUS, he completed a PhD in sociocultural anthropology at the University of Washington and was a postdoctoral fellow at the Center for Southeast Asian Studies , University of California Los Angeles. He teaches anthropology, gender studies, urban studies and research methods. His research interests include transnational networking, urbanism, culture theory, and ASEAN regionalism . His work has appeared in the journals American Ethnologist, Urban Studies, Political Geography, Asian Studies Review, Contemporary Sociology, and Contemporary Southeast Asian Studies among others. He is author of Unsettling Absences: Urbanism in Rural Malaysia (NUS Press, 2007) . </li></ul>
  18. 18. About the Lecturer: Eric C. Thompson <ul><li>PhD – Sociocultural Anthropology, University of Washington (2000) </li></ul><ul><li>Postdoctoral Fellow – Southeast Asian Studies, UCLA (2000-2001) </li></ul><ul><li>Assistant Professor – Sociology, NUS (2002-2008) </li></ul><ul><li>Associate Professor – Sociology, NUS (from about a month ago) </li></ul>
  19. 19. NUS Anthropologists John Miksic Southeast Asian Studies Tong Chee Kiong Sociology Roxana Waterson Sociology Vineeta Sinha Sociology Pattana Kitiarsa Southeast Asian Studies Thang Leng Leng Japanese Studies Maribeth Erb Sociology Irving Chan Johnson Southeast Asian Studies Eric Thompson Sociology Mokshika Gaur South Asian Studies Liz MacLachlan Japanese Studies Goh Beng Lan Southeast Asian Studies Mika Toyota Sociology
  20. 20. Anthropology: Your Personal and Intellectual Journey <ul><li>Origins: Where does anthropology come from? </li></ul><ul><li>Anthropological perspectives: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Why do people do what they do? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The concept of Culture </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Anthropological approaches to: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Gender, Sexuality, Kinship </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Exchange, Economics </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ethnicities, Nations and other Communities </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Anthropology today and tomorrow: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>From culture to discourse? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Who are the anthropologists of today and tomorrow? </li></ul></ul>
  21. 21. Go forth and learn….