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GEC3403 The Anthropology of Contemporary Culture: Home

Course Description

How to be human, and study humanity, in a world where worlds collide? This course introduces students to socio-cultural anthropology, the branch of anthropology that analyses and explains the diversity of peoples’ cultures and behaviors around the world. We will survey a broad range of topics of contemporary interest, such as gender, markets, media, tourism and globalization. Through these topics students will acquire an understanding of the commitments and sensibilities that inform contemporary socio-cultural anthropology. The underlying perspective the course adopts, and which the myriad materials point to, is the dynamic relation between cultural diversity and human nature. Accordingly, the course will give significant attention to fundamental philosophical and ethical questions in the human sciences. Is there an underlying human nature shared by all, e.g., are human beings primarily driven by self-interest and self-maximisation? Is there a singular and over-arching trajectory to human history? How does one account for cultural diversity? How do different cultures pose and resolve these sorts of questions? 

Recommended Books

Gender Diversity: Crosscultural Variations

This book is an introduction to the subject of sex/gender diversity. It is aimed at students in gender studies, human sexuality, cultural anthropology, and gay, lesbian, and transgender studies. Chapter 1 to 7 are ethnographic chapters that observe the role of religious nature and secular performance in Native North America as it was documented in 1860-1930, India and Bangladesh, Brazil, Polynesia, contemporary Thailand and the Philippines, Indonesia, etc. Chapter 8 summarizes some of the more important concepts discussed in the ethnographic chapters and reiterates some issues described in this introduction, including an expanded section on globalization.

Recommended Databases