New Courses Fall 2017

Anthro 297EP: ST- Other Economies Are Possible!
Description: It's easier to imagine the end of the world than it is to imagine the end of capitalism"—Frederic Jameson

The conditions that we find ourselves in—extreme social inequalities, dislocations, and violence as part of increasingly unstable ecologies— implore us to rethink the very nature of our economies and ourselves. Yet, even as our economic activity pushes towards runaway climate change, there is a cynical sense of inevitability; the very foundations of our dominant economy are largely taken for granted and often explained away as the result of human nature.

At the same time, a multitude of efforts globally and locally are casting aside capitalism’s ideological constraints and intentionally building and organizing around alternative economies. This course draws from economic anthropology, political ecology, Marxism, and community economies theory to explore, critically examine, and theorize capitalism and its non-capitalist others. We first examine capitalism as a theoretical construct and lived experience. We contrast this dominant story of capitalism by investigating economic difference across time and place. In the second half of the semester we explore prominent efforts around the world that are making a claim that ‘other economies are possible’—including Solidarity Economies, the Cooperative Movement, Community Economies, and Buen Vivir. Through ethnographic readings, videos, discussions, and guest presentations from activists, organizers, and community developers, we examine the constraints on and possibilities for the cultivation of ethical economies that might enable us to learn how to live well with each other and non-human others.
Boone Shear (3 credits)   TuTh 4:00-5:15 PM

Anthro 297GA: ST-Anthropology Of & Through Games
Description: Game designer Eric Zimmerman recently proclaimed the 21st century to be the "Ludic Century." Jane McGonigal writes that "reality is broken" and games may be the solution for social problems. In this course, we will use tabletop, card, and computer games to explore themes in social, behavioral, and cultural theory such as play, cooperation, evolution and change, symbols, and power. The course presents an introduction to cultural anthropology using games as a focus and medium for learning. We will learn to analyze texts and games anthropologically.  As a creative, experiential learning component, we will learn about the basic elements of game design, and as a final culminating project, student teams will develop games based on a social theory which we will playtest at a UMass Libraries Game Night.
Krista Harper (3 credits)   TuTh 1:00-2:15 PM

Anthro 297GC: ST-Gaelic and Celtic Heritage
Description: This course will explore and analyze the perpetuation of Gaelic/Celtic cultural heritage. Throughout the Celtic Diaspora, Gaelic/Celtic heritage is claimed by communities, individuals and states. Focusing on the British Isles and Nova Scotia, Canada, students will utilize the holistic anthropological lens to study how archaeology, mythology, language and tourism contribute to perpetuating cultural heritage.
Jean Forward (3 credit)   TuTh 1:00-2:15 PM

Anthro 397LG: Language, Gender & Sexuality
Description: This course will consider how cross-cultural studies of language and language ideologies can challenge our received notions of what gender is and how language, gender, and sexuality are interconnected.
Among the topics covered are: institutional language and power; gender identity and language use;  cultural definitions of "masculinity" and "femininity" and their relationship to language use; sexual orientation and linguistic expression; and the social construction and expression of sexual and gender identities through linguistic performance.  No pre-requisites, but Anth 105 or 104 strongly recommended.  Instructor: TBA (3 credits)  MWF 12:20-1:10 PM


Anthro 497/697CR: ST-Comics, Cartoons & Communicating in Anthropology (CANCELLED)
Description: This course focuses on the potential of comics, animation and other visual approaches as a valuable part of the research toolkit. We will read what others have said about this topic, but will spend the bulk of our time learning to create comics and animations that communicate research. You will be required to produce a graphic novel and an animation about your dissertation, thesis, or a research topic that interests you. You will also be required to write reflections about the readings and about your comic/animation production process. Drawing skills are not required – many of the methods we explore don't rely on any form of drawing, other methods involve simple stick figure sketching.

In our hyper-visual culture, presenting research in a visually engaging way can have a powerful impact. Visual methods, like comics and animation, aid us in telling engaging, memorable stories about our work. Storytelling is an important skill in the research toolkit – successful grant writing, giving a compelling presentation, or authoring books and articles all require us to communicate the story of our research in a compelling way. Furthermore, creating visual stories through comics and animation is fun; it brings much needed creativity to our work lives and to our research, while at the same time helping to democratize knowledge, and fulfilling our ethical responsibilities to share scholarship outside the academy. These tools allow us to move academic knowledge into the hands and minds of public audiences, policy makers, community partners, and other scholars, in our own field and across disciplines.

Comics and animations are not only great for communicating, they are also excellent for thinking. They challenge you to clearly explain complex concepts and ideas, using words and images together to interweave multiple lines of evidence into a coherent, compelling, and engaging visual narrative. Through the process of creating a comic you are forced to explain abstract, ethical concepts or complex theoretical arguments in an accessible format, often prompting you to find local or on-the-ground examples that increase the relatability of your work. This process can help you conceptualize, develop, or outline a new research project as it compels you to identify the heart of your inquiry and research questions, and requires you to find clarity in the key points you want to examine. No pre-reqs. Preference given to Anthro majors.
Sonya Atalay (3 credits)  Thurs. 2:30-5:15 PM

Anthro 497/697FE: ST-Feminist Ethnography
Description: Through studies, testimony, and reflection, this course will examine the history, practice (or praxis), and challenges of feminist ethnography. We will also read examples not only of feminist ethnographies that are widely recognized, but also those that tend to be marginalized due to layers of economic, racialized, national, and global processes. Ethnographic projects and assignments will reflect tenets in feminist anthropology.
Amanda Walker Johnson (3 credits)   TuTh 1:00-2:15 PM

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