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GEC3404 Families and Modernities: Home

Course Description

This course will examine issues of family and modernity through two lenses: (i) the relationship between “the individual” and “the collectivity” and (ii) the relationship between “tradition” and “modernity.”

Recommended Books

Political Theory Today

A collection of 13 essays jointly examine some of the central traditional questions of political theory- the nature of obligation, equality, liberty, the public, the private, democracy, and justice. The application and scope of these notions are examined in a broader framework- in the face of changes to the nation-state, changing forms of sovereignty, the relations between domestic and international law, questions of violence and warfare, the interconnections between the domestic and international political economy and the matters of justice within the nation-state and in the broader international system.

The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down: A Hmong Child, Her American Doctors, and the Collision of Two Cultures

This book explores the clash between a small county hospital in California and a refugee family from Laos over the care of Lia Lee, a Hmong child diagnosed with severe epilepsy. Lia’s parents and her doctors both wanted what was best for Lia. However, while the doctors used anticonvulsant medication, Lia’s parents believed that symptoms were rooted in spiritual causes (soul loss) but was unable to communicate with the doctors due to their inability to speak English. Lia’s parents turned to traditional Hmong traditional remedies- herbal medicines, massage, and a Hmong shaman. Eventually, Lia had a massive seizure which led her to brain death and on the verge of death.

Cultures of Relatedness: New Approaches to the study of kinship

This book focuses on the boundary between the biological and the social in the recognition of kinship. Carsten suggests that kinship can be reformulated more broadly as “relatedness”. What this suggests is that in any society there are types of social and emotional feelings of connectedness, of which biological relationships are only one part. By requiring that kinship be placed in a wider frame of social connections, "relatedness" opens the door to a broad social contextualization of kinship. Carsten further proposes that by suspending or questioning the social and biological divide in kinship, anthropologists can return to the task of cross-cultural comparison rather than lapse into cultural particularism.

Recommended Databases