1. Key Readings 5 items
    1. Imagined communities: reflections on the origin and spread of nationalism - Benedict R. O'G. Anderson 2006

      Book Recommended reading

    2. Distinction: a social critique of the judgement of taste - Pierre Bourdieu (electronic resource)

      Book Recommended reading

    3. Orientalism: [western conceptions of the Orient] - Edward W. Said 1995

      Book Recommended reading

    4. The anthropology of the state: a reader - Aradhana Sharma, Akhil Gupta 2006

      Book Recommended reading

  2. Week 1. Introduction 0 items
  3. Week 2. Montaigne Montesquieu, Rousseau: precursors of political anthropology. 13 items
    In Renaissance France, the essayist Michel de Montaigne (1533-1592) wrote about the peoples of the newly discovered Americas with an objectivity and an open-mindedness that led to his being referred to as the first ethnographer, if not the first anthropologist. A century later, during the Enlightenment, Montesquieu (1689-1755) followed his Persian Letters, a veiled critique of the French monarchy, with the multi-volume Spirit of the Laws in 1748; a work that has often been cited as the foundation of sociology and anthropology. The Genevan Jean Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778) published the Social Contract a few years later, in 1762, transfixing generations of political scientists, politicians, and ordinary people ever since, including several of the instigators of the French Revolution and Karl Marx. This session explores how these three thinkers influenced the emergence of social anthropology in the late 19th century.

      Essential reading:

    2. The complete essays

      Chapter Essential reading Read pp 52-72, That the taste of good and evil things depends in large part on the opinion we have of them.


      And either:

    4. The spirit of the laws - Charles de Secondat Montesquieu, Anne M. Cohler, Basia Carolyn Miller, Harold Samuel Stone 1989

      Book Essential reading





    6. Persian letters - Charles de Secondat Montesquieu, Margaret Mauldon, Andrew Kahn 2008

      Book Essential reading


      Supplementary Reading:



    8. Montesquieu, Rousseau, Marx: politics and history - Louis Althusser, Ben Robert Brewster 1982, c1972

      Book Other reading

    9. Montesquieu and Rousseau: forerunners of sociology - Emile Durkheim, Georges Davy, Armand Cuvillier, Ralph Manheim 1965, c1960

      Book Other reading

    10. The social contract and the discourses - Jean-Jacques Rousseau, G. D. H. Cole, Alan Ryan 1993

      Book Other reading

    11. The anthropology of the state: a reader - Aradhana Sharma, Akhil Gupta 2006

      Book Other reading ‘Introduction: Rethinking Theories of the State in an Age of Globalization’

    12. The anthropology of the Enlightenment

      Chapter Other reading Whole book recommended but especially read Chapter 1, pp 3-32, Discovering Cultural Perspective: The Intellectual History of Anthropological Thought in the Age of Enlightenment.

  4. Week 3. The anthropological study of political structures and dynamics. 9 items
    It could be said that the first question ought not to be how anthropologists have theorised political power through the decades, but whether they have. One of the greatest critiques levelled at the discipline, especially in its earlier phase before decolonisation, is that anthropologists tacitly supported imperialist regimes by ignoring power structures, or by helping to identify or invent local structures of authority for colonial regimes to use or to undermine in their quest for power. In this session, we examine these critiques and go on to look at how the discipline eventually began to develop sophisticated questions and analyses about power and society.
    1. Power and its disguises: anthropological perspectives on politics - John Gledhill 2000 (electronic resource)

      Book Essential reading [Read especially Chapter 1]

    2. Society against the state: The leader as servant and the humane uses of power among the Indians of the Americas - Pierre Clastres, Robert Hurley 1977

      Book Essential reading (Chapters 1 and 11)

    3. The anthropology of the state: a reader - Aradhana Sharma, Akhil Gupta 2006

      Book Other reading Read 'Notes on the difficulty of studying the state'. Pp.112-130

    4. Political anthropology: an introduction - Ted C. Lewellen 2003 (electronic resource)

      Book Other reading

    5. State/Culture: State Formation after the Cultural Turn - George Steinmetz

      Book Other reading Read 'Society, Economy, and the State Effect', pp.76-97


      Also in:


    7. The anthropology of the state: a reader - Aradhana Sharma, Akhil Gupta 2006

      Book Other reading Society, Economy, and the State Effect, pp. 169-186 (Ch 7).

    8. Stone Age economics - Marshall David Sahlins 2004

      Book Other reading

  5. Week 4. Bourdieu and structural theory 8 items
    Beginning his intellectual life as a structuralist with an interest in Marxist theory, the French anthropologist Pierre Bourdieu (1930-2002) became dissatisfied with these ‘objectivist’ approaches because of their failure to account for the actual experience of ordinary people’s everyday lives. Seeking to meld aspects of structuralism and Marxism with phenomenology, Bourdieu came up with his ‘praxiological’ method of analysis: a theory intended to avoid the disappearance of the individual in the objectivist positions while not being limited by the subjectivism and the individualism of phenomenology. In this session, we examine Bourdieu’s praxeology and his concomitant idea of the habitus as a social theory meant to account for how lived experience and free will can be at once improvised and predictable, individual and collective, governed by historical conditions and productive of history.
    1. Outline of a theory of practice - Pierre Bourdieu, Richard Nice 1977

      Book Essential reading Read Chapter 1: Section 1, ' Analyses' Pp. 1-29; Chapter 2: 'Structures and the Habitus' Pp. 72-95

    2. Distinction: a social critique of the judgement of taste - Pierre Bourdieu (electronic resource)

      Book Essential reading Read Chapter 3: The Habitus and the space of life-styles' Pp. 169-225

    3. The Logic of practice

      Chapter Other reading Read Appendix, pp 271-283, The Kabyle House or the World Reversed.

    4. Distinction: a social critique of the judgement of taste - Pierre Bourdieu (electronic resource)

      Book Other reading

    5. Bourdieu: critical perspectives - Pierre Bourdieu, Craig J. Calhoun, Edward LiPuma, Moishe Postone 1993

      Book Other reading Read 'A collection of essays on Bourdieu', some of which may be of interest, including Taylor ‘To follow a rule...

    6. The constitution of society: outline of the theory of structuration - Anthony Giddens 1984 (electronic resource)

      Book Other reading Read chapters 1 and 4

    7. Social theory today

      Chapter Other reading Read pp 272-308, Structuration Theory and Social Praxis.

    8. Spatial formations

      Chapter Other reading Read Chapter 2, pp 63-95, On the determination of Social Action in Space and Time.

  6. Week 5. Power and Resistance. 13 items
    For the first three quarters of the twentieth century, Anthropologists explained how social structures reproduced themselves over time and across generations. Anthropology, in this sense, was a discipline about stasis and permanence, not about change and transformation. The political dimension of this emphasis was a concentration on how power works, how rulers achieve legitimacy, and why the ruled always acquiesce to their positions of subordination. The realization, after decolonization, that power is not permanent, that legitimacy can be questioned, and that domination is not always accepted with complete resignation led by the mid 1980’s to studies of resistance. This new field of enquiry would examine how those subject to power may not often overtly rebel against it, but might nevertheless confront it in a myriad of relatively covert, hidden, and unacknowledged ways. This session examines examples of these practices, assesses the advances marked by these studies, and looks also at their possible limitations.
    1. Domination and the arts of resistance: hidden transcripts - James C. Scott c1990

      Book Essential reading [Read especially Chapter 1]

    2. Fear of small numbers: an essay on the geography of anger - Arjun Appadurai, John Hope Franklin Research Center for African and African American History and Culture 2006 (electronic resource)

      Book Other reading

    3. Carnival in Romans: a people's uprising at Romans 1579-1580 - Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie 1981, c1979

      Book Other reading

    4. African art and agency in the workshop - Sidney Littlefield Kasfir, Till Fèorster c2013

      Book Recommended reading Follow the wood: carving and political cosmology in Oku, Cameroon pages 65-90

  7. Week 6. Essay workshop 1 item
    1. The anthropology of the state: a reader - Aradhana Sharma, Akhil Gupta 2006 (electronic resource)

      Book Essential reading Read chapter 5: 'Governmentality' by Michael Foucault Pp. 131-143

  8. Week 7. Reading week 0 items
  9. Week 8. Clothing and identity 21 items
    ‘You are what you wear’ could have been the motto of many of those involved in social movements and processes of social transformation, colonial contact, and anti-colonial resistance. This session examines some of the movements in which clothing played a central role, and asks how what one wears might affect who one essentially is.
    1. Being in the World: Globalization and Localization - Jonathan Friedman 06/1990

      Article Essential reading 311-328.

    2. Dressed to Kill - Paul Richards 12/2009

      Article Essential reading

    3. Clothing matters: dress and identity in India - Emma Tarlo 1996

      Book Essential reading

    4. The Secret Life of Sarongs - Catherine Allerton 03/2007

      Article Other reading

    5. The sari - Mukulika Banerjee, Daniel Miller, Dixie 2008

      Book Other reading

    6. Contemporary African fashion - Edith Suzanne Gott, Kristyne Loughran c2010

      Book Other reading Read the chapter, 'La Sape exposed! High fashion among lower class Congolese youth'. pp.157–173.

    7. Congo-Paris: transnational traders on the margins of the law - Janet MacGaffey, Râemy Bazenguissa-Ganga, International African Institute 2000

      Book Other reading

    8. Blue jeans: the art of the ordinary - Daniel Miller, Sophie Woodward c2011 (electronic resource)

      Book Other reading

    9. Global denim - Daniel Miller, Sophie Woodward 2011 (electronic resource)

      Book Other reading

    10. Islamic fashion and anti-fashion: new perspectives from Europe and North America

      Chapter Other reading Read Chapter 1, pp 33-54, Burqinis, Bikinis and Bodies: Encounters in Public Pools in Italy and Sweden.

    11. Clothing as material culture - Susanne Kèuchler, Daniel Miller 2005

      Book Other reading

    12. Hijab in London - Emma Tarlo 07/2007

      Article Other reading

    13. Visibly Muslim: fashion, politics, faith - Emma Tarlo 2010

      Book Recommended reading

    14. Au Coeur de la Sape: moeurs et aventures des Congolais a Paris - Justin-Daniel Gandoulou c1989

      Book Recommended reading

  10. Week 9. Orientalism. 10 items
    Is academic study the disinterested pursuit of pure knowledge accumulated from a standpoint of objective, empirical enquiry, or has it arisen hand-in-glove with the spread of Western imperial power? Is the history of others gathered in the West a font of knowledge about the remote past of distant peoples, or little more than an agglomeration of stories we tell ourselves about ourselves; about everything we think we are not? In this session, we examine Edward Said’s argument that Orientalism – and the humanities in general – should not be understood simply as the study of the East, but rather as a historical process of self-definition in the West that has arisen in dialectical opposition to a largely imagined world of difference.
    1. Orientalism - Edward W. Said 2003

      Book Essential reading Chap. 1

    2. Black skin, white masks - Frantz Fanon 2008 (electronic resource)

      Book Other reading

    3. The wretched of the earth - Frantz Fanon 1990

      Book Other reading

    4. The anti-politics machine: "development", depoliticization, and bureaucratic power in Lesotho - James Ferguson 1994

      Book Other reading esp. Chaps 1 and 9

    5. Archaeology of knowledge - Michel Foucault 2002 (electronic resource)

      Book Other reading

    6. The red fez: art and spirit possession in Africa - Fritz Kramer, Malcolm R. Green 1993

      Book Other reading

  11. Week 10. State formation, violence and displacement 9 items
    While it seems obvious that the upheaval and the pain of political conflict and its consequences – including the forced displacement of people – might be remembered for generations, it is perhaps less clear how the objects that people live with, produce, watch over, or worship with might mediate those memories and the emotions that they elicit. This session examines what the relationships might be between objects and memory in post-conflict societies.
    1. Heirs of the Greek catastrophe: the social life of Asia Minor refugees in Piraeus

      Chapter Essential reading Read Chapter 1, pp 1-14, Refugees for fifty years

    2. Ghosts of war in Vietnam

      Chapter Essential reading Chapters 1 and 6

    3. The magical state: nature, money, and modernity in Venezuela - Fernando Coronil 1997

      Book Other reading

    4. Remembering violence: anthropological perspectives on intergenerational transmission - Paola Filippucci

      Chapter Other reading Read Chapter 7: 'In a ruined country: place and the memory of war destruction in Argonne, France Pp. 165-189,

    5. The art of forgetting

      Chapter Other reading Read Chapter 6, pp 129-145, Remembering to Forget: Sublimation as Sacrifice in War Memorials.

    6. Imagined communities: reflections on the origin and spread of nationalism - Benedict R. O'G. Anderson 2006

      Book Other reading

    7. The invention of tradition - E. J. Hobsbawm, T. O. Ranger 1992

      Book Other reading Read chapters 1, 5 and 6

  12. Week 11. Nationalism, memory and the lived environment 7 items
    This session examines new theoretical approaches to the experience and transmission of the past through time. All of the articles in the ‘Post-Ottoman topologies’ collection listed in the readings below explore themes to do with the transmission of collective memories of post-Ottoman state formation and of the malaise associated with a contemporary epoch that we might term – echoing late modernity – late nationalism. This lecture explores the several manifestations of this general phenomenon under the rubric of post-Ottoman topologies, suggesting that where history creates a fixed, empiricist record of the past, topologies denote the flux of collective memory in its multiple and mutable incarnations across time.
    1. The poetics of space - Gaston Bachelard, M. Jolas, Etienne Gilson 1994

      Book Other reading

    2. The make-believe space: affective geography in a postwar polity - Yael Navaro-Yashin 2012 (electronic resource)

      Book Other reading

    3. Islands of history - Marshall David Sahlins 1985 (electronic resource)

      Book Other reading

    4. Imagined communities: reflections on the origin and spread of nationalism - Benedict R. O'G. Anderson 2006

      Book Recommended reading

  13. Week 12 0 items
    Revision session.
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