TEACHING

CULTURAL ANTHROPOLOGY

Detailed studies of several societies that are geographically and culturally distant from mainstream American society. Focus on issues of ecology, political economy, and social and cultural change as they influence the diverse behaviors and traditions of selected peoples. Several regions are studied in the context of their global and internal similarities and differences, as well as their cross-cultural and internal dynamics.

PEOPLES & CULTURES OF LATIN AMERICA 

The term "Latin America" covers a wide range of cultures and peoples: from the Caribbean Islands to Mexico, from Central America to South America, from the Amazon to the Andes. Latin America, therefore, is a world of great contrasts--contrasts between megacities and rural hinterlands, between the wealthy and the impoverished, between industrialized zones and areas of rudimentary subsistence production, and between images of a peaceful paradise and those of extreme violence and terror. This course will examine the construction of various cultural identities in this diverse region and introduce students to the key issues confronting Latin Americans today as they are revealed in selected ethnographic studies. 

ANTHROPOLOGY OF GLOBALIZATION

This course aims to establish a firm understanding of what globalization is, who it affects, what the term means to different people, what the controversies are, and how it impacts our everyday lives. This online summer course will give you an opportunity to learn about globalization's impacts on culture -- and cultural resistance to globalization -- through detailed ethnographies and from analysis of your own firsthand experiences and research.  

TERRORISM/TOURISM: STATE REINVENTION IN LATIN AMERICA

This course is a survey of state violence in Latin America at the end of the twentieth century and the subsequent efforts of states to reinvent themselves as tourism destinations. These reinventions often capitalize on contradiction. On the one hand, a viable tourism economy relies on political stability.  On the other, more and more states are profiting from the allure of a history of conflict, violence, and insurgency. States eager to erase histories of violence will often cover up local culture and recent history, marketing tourism packages that, in their non-specificity, belie regional realities. 

VICTIMS OF PROGRESS

A critical examination of the interaction between industrial nations of the developed world and the tribal societies of the third world. The course will focus on the increasingly efficient exploitation of these peoples, not only by the industrialized world, but also by third world elites. The notion of progress itself will be critiqued.

ANTHROPOLOGY OF TOURISM

For centuries, anthropologists and tourists have travelled along parallel courses, both interested in experiencing new cultures and people, but with different approaches and aims. Anthropology of tourism acknowledges this shared history, but also recognizes that tourists themselves constitute a cultural group and that tourism, like anthropology, leaves an imprint on the cultures we visit. 

MAGIC, RELIGION, AND SHAMANISM

An introduction to global concepts and theories surrounding magic, shamanism, and religion. We will learn how anthropologists think about questions of spirituality and cosmology, how they research these topics, and how these themes compare across cultures. Students will learn to read ethnographically and to identify their own cultural biases. 

SEX AND GENDER IN ANTHROPOLOGY

This course will familiarize students with the cultural and analytical categories of sex and gender and the way anthropologists have approached research on sex and gender in a number of ethnographic contexts. Students will explore how sex, gender, and sexuality, rather than being natural or biological inevitabilities, are culturally and historically contingent identities. 

APPLIED COMMUNITY WORKSHOP

This course teaches students to apply ethnographic and social science perspectives and methods to sociocultural problems. Students will learn: Evaluation and introductory ethnographic research, evidence-based decision-making and policy advocacy, the role of research and reporting in organizations and in sociocultural change, and research ethics and professionalism. Students will have the opportunity take part in an existing applied research program with a collaborating organization . The class is based on the premise that research best serves the community when it is grounded in social science, linked to community organizations, and guided by a commitment to social justice. 

MEDICAL ANTHROPOLOGY

Throughout this course you will learn about the cultural dimensions of health, illness, medicine, disease, and healing. We will explore the role of social inequalities in health outcomes and focus on cross-cultural interpretation of language, symbols, and practices related to health.

THEORY IN ANTHROPOLOGY

“Theory in Anthropology” is designed to introduce you to some of the most important and oft-referenced theories and arguments in anthropology and ground them within our shared home. Los Angeles, Angelenos, Hollywood film culture, and the long-held idea that the nation’s future can be predicted by California’s present will serve as the context on which to apply the theory we learn in class. We will simultaneously read two texts, Anthropology in Theory, a collection of excerpted essays, and City of Quartz, an “excavation of the future of Los Angeles.” Interspersed will be additional texts grounded in Los Angeles, which can be found on Moodle. Three times during the semester we will have fieldtrips to sites in LA that resonate with our reading.

EXPLORATIONS IN SOCIAL THEORY

The major goal of this course is to help students identify and understand explanations of the social world and social actors that have become elevated to the status of social theory. Lectures will present certain “classical” directions of thought in sociology and anthropology. Students will undertake “critical” analyses of primary sources and write a series of reflective essays on their intellectual engagement with theoretical schools. These essays will serve as foci for seminar format sessions during the semester.