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

    Book Recommended reading

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

    Book Recommended reading

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

    Book Recommended reading

  4. Week 1. Introduction 0 items
  5. Week 2. Montaigne Montesquieu, Rousseau: precursors of political anthropology. 14 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 - Michel de Montaigne, M. A. Screech 2003

      Book Essential reading Of cannibals’, and ‘That the taste of good and evil depend 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. Montesquieu: quid secundatus politicae scientiae instituendae contulerit - âEmile Durkheim, Emma Griffiths 1997

      Book Other reading

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

      Book Other reading

    12. 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’

    13. Anthropology of the Enlightenment - Larry Wolff, Marco Cipolloni 2007

      Book Other reading Esp. Chap 1

  6. 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 - 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 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 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

  7. Week 4. Essay workshop 1 item
    1. The anthropology of the state: a reader - Aradhana Sharma, Akhil Gupta 2006

      Book Essential reading ‘Governmentality’ Pp. 131-143 (Ch. 5)

  8. Week 5. Power and Resistance. 14 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 Recommended reading [Read especially Chapter 1]

    2. Violent reverberations: global modalities of trauma 2016

      Book Other reading ‘Laughter without borders: embodied memory and pan-humanism in a post-traumatic age’ . Pp.241-268

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

      Book Other reading ‘Follow the wood: carving and political cosmology in Oku, Cameroon.’ Pp.65-90

    4. 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

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

      Book Other reading

  9. Week 6. Clothing, identity and power 20 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 change 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. Visibly Muslim: fashion, politics, faith - Emma Tarlo 2010

      Book Other reading

    5. Hijab in London - Emma Tarlo 07/2007

      Article Other reading

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

      Article Other reading

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

      Book Other reading

    8. Au c¶ur de la Sape: m¶urs et aventures des Congolais áa Paris - Justin-Daniel Gandoulou, Justin-Daniel Gandoulou c1989

      Book Other reading

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

      Book Other reading La Sape exposed! High fashion among lower class Congolese youth. pp.157–173.

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

      Book Other reading

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

      Book Other reading

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

      Book Other reading

    13. Islamic fashion and anti-fashion: new perspectives from Europe and North America 2013

      Book Other reading Chap 1. Burqinis, Bikinis and Bodies: Encounters in Public Pools in Italy and Sweden

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

      Book Other reading

  10. Week 7. Reading week. 0 items
  11. Week 8. Orientalism. 9 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

  12. Week 9. History and Memory 4 items
    How does violence affect remembering? How are the large-scale cataclysms, crises, disasters and dispersals that befall communities entrusted by one generation of witnesses to the next? Looking at how memories of large-scale man-made catastrophes are passed on from the original generation of victims and perpetrators to their children, the question arises how individual experiences of political violence coalesce into an accepted body of knowledge that can be coherently uttered and invested in collectively as legitimate and representative: how, in other words, individual memory contributes to social memory before social memory can once again shape individual subjective experience in the dialectic of self and society.
    1. Remembering violence: anthropological perspectives on intergenerational transmission - Nicolas Argenti, Katharina Schramm 2010

      Book Essential reading ‘Nationalising personal trauma: personalising national redemption: Performing testimony at Auschwitz-Birkenau' (Chap 5) AND ‘Silent legacies of trauma: a comparative study of Cambodian Canadian and Israeli Holocaust trauma descendant memory work’ (Chap 8).

    2. Remembering violence: anthropological perspectives on intergenerational transmission - Nicolas Argenti, Katharina Schramm 2010

      Book Other reading Chap 1 Introduction

    3. Memories of the slave trade: ritual and the historical imagination in Sierra Leone - Rosalind Shaw 2002

      Book Other reading

  13. Week 10. State formation, violence and displacement 7 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 art of forgetting 1999

      Book Other reading ‘Remembering to forget: sublimation and sacrifice in war memorials. Chap 6

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

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

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

      Book Other reading

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

      Book Other reading

  14. Week 11. State, conflict and memory in the lived environment 5 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 architecture of memory: a Jewish-Muslim household in colonial Algeria, 1937-1962 - Joèelle Bahloul, Catherine Du Peloux Mâenagâe 1996

      Book Essential reading Chapter 1

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

      Book Other reading

    3. The poetics of space - Gaston Bachelard, M. Jolas, Etienne Gilson 1994

      Book Other reading

  15. Week 12 0 items
    Revision session.
  16. digital reading 2 items
    1. The kula: new perspectives on Massim exchange - Jerry W. Leach, Edmund Leach 1983

      Book Essential reading Read Nancy Munn's chapter on 'Gawan Kula: spatiotemporal control and the symbolism of influence'

    2. Economic anthropology: history, ethnography, critique - C. M. Hann, Keith Hart 2011

      Book Essential reading Read Chapter 4

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