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Undergraduate-level elective courses

The Anthropology of Food, Krista Harper
This course surveys how cultural anthropologists have studies the big questions about food and culture.  How and why do people restrict what foods are considered "edible" or morally acceptable? How is food processed and prepared, and what does food tell us about other aspects of culture like gender and ethnic identity? How have power issues shaped people's access to food? How has industrialization changed food, and where are foodways headed in the future? Along the way, students will read and see films about foodways in Europe, Asia, the United States, and Latin America.

Human Ecology, Brigitte Holt
This course explores the causes and consequences of environmental problems on human groups from am anthropological, biocultural, perspective. After reviewing basic evolutionary and ecological principles, we will survey the main subsistence systems (foragers, pastoralists, horticulturalists, agriculturalists) and the impact they have on humans and the environment.  We will examine the social, political, and ethical values of our own culture and how these values affect the way we use environment resources. The final units focus on case studies about the relationship between globalization, environmental degradation, poverty and inequality.

Italy: Fascism to Fashion, Elizabeth Krause
This course complements the department's strength in the anthropology of Europe. The point of departure is Antonio Gramsci's The Prison Notebooks, an influential text within and beyond anthropology particularly for its concept of hegemony. This course uses Italy as a case study to investigate key themes: the state and civil society; kinship, gender, and reproduction; the economy and modernity; and race, immigration and globalization. Throughout, we will consider symbolic as well as materialist approaches to grasping experiences of everyday life as they play out in one of Europe's southern territories.

Memory, Narrative and Community, Elizabeth Krause
The interaction between history and memory generates ongoing intellectual controversy and public debate. This course examines memory, narrative and history in relation to cultural and political forces. It explores how individuals and social groups construct versions of the past through active engagement with history. What are the limits and possibilities of remembering and of forgetting? What are the processes by which official, or normative, versions of the past come into circulation and have material effects as opposed to unofficial, or subjugated, versions? Students will engage in meaningful, possibly collaborative, projects to provide practice interviewing, transcribing, analyzing, and writing up. Creative final capstone projects will involve digital ethnographies or other community-oriented ethnographic genres.
http://blogs.umass.edu/anthro397mm-ekrause-2/digital-stories-2/

Ancient Civilizations, Michael Sugerman
In this course we will examine the emergence of social complexity and early state- level
societies in Asia, Africa, and the Americas. We will investigate the development of primary states and urbanism in each of these regions, as well as the emergence of "secondary" states: civilizations which developed as a result of contact with the primary states. We will also investigate examples of cultures that may provide evidence for non-state level cultural complexity. Discussion section topics include methods of research, such as archaeology, history, and material analysis. We will also discuss issues of theory and interpretation as they are applied to the archaeological record.

The Mediterrannean and the Bronze Age, Michael Sugerman
The cultures of the circum-Mediterranean region are rarely addressed in a single course because of the belief that the sea served to separate the coastal regions. In this course we will investigate the Bronze Age cultures (3500-1000 BC) of Greece, Anatolia, Cyprus, the Levant and North Africa (including Egypt). We will also consider the role played by maritime contact and communication in the development of each culture and of the region as a whole.

Language Revitalization, Jacqueline Urla
The dramatic decline of language diversity world wide has promoted many new language preservation movements. The global picture of language diversity is changing rapidly. Of the now approximately 5000 languages existing in the world, as many as 4000 are expected to near extinction by the end of this century. This course will examine language preservation as a social movement in various parts of the world. We will read about language endangerment and revival and do some work on strengthening skills in writing research papers.
 
Visual Anthropology, Jacqueline Urla
This course examines the politics and poetics of visual representation in the field of anthropology, focusing primarily, but not exclusively, on the moving image. In this class, we will be critically examining how information about cultural diversity is conveyed through visual images and the historical contexts and theoretical frameworks that have shaped these images.