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  1. Week 1: Introduction 0 items
  2. Week 2: Tylor and Frazer 12 items
    1. Attacking theology and superstition as he did, Edward Burnett Tylor (1832-1917) could be said to be less a product of the Darwinism of his day than of the period of the Enlightenment. Called a diffusionist because of his interest in the common origins of mankind in the prehistoric past, he went beyond this theory to construct a developmentalist model of human progress. Together with Lewis Henry Morgan in the United States, Tylor proposed cultural stages in the evolution of humankind: from savagery, though barbarism, to civilisation – and to account for the fact that modern society still seemed to exhibit symptoms of savagery and barbarism, he devised his theory of survivals. This lecture examines Tylor's theoretical contribution to anthropology, and how his disciple Frazer, who developed the 'comparative method' in his compendium The Golden Bough, sustained his approach long after Tylor's death.

    2. Required reading 4 items
      1. The golden bough: a study in magic and religion - James George Frazer 1922

        Book Essential reading ch1

      2. The golden bough: a study in magic and religion - James George Frazer 1922

        Book Essential reading ch3

      3. The golden bough: a study in magic and religion - James George Frazer 1922

        Book Essential reading Chaps 1-4.

    3. Supplementary reading 7 items
      1. Objects and others: essays on museums and material culture - William Ryan Chapman

        Chapter Recommended reading Read pp.15-48, Arranging Ethnology A.H.L.F. Pitt Rivers and the Typological Tradition.

      2. E. B. Tylor and the problem of primitive culture - Laavanyan Ratnapalan 06/2008

        Article Recommended reading

      3. Matthew Arnold, E. B. Tylor, and the uses of invention - George W. Stocking, Jr. 1963

        Article Recommended reading

      4. Victorian anthropology - George W. Stocking 1991

        Book Recommended reading

  3. Week 3: Durkheim and Mauss 11 items
    1. Emile Durkheim (1858-1917), a disciple of Montesquieu's who wrote one of his two doctoral dissertations on his work, self-consciously founded the discipline of sociology with his insistence on the existence of 'social facts' and the possibility of an empirical science that would examine them. Of his many works, this lecture looks at his most anthropological book The Elementary forms of the Religious Life (1912). In contrast to Tylor's evolutionist assumption that early religions were simply based on error, Durkheim expounds his argument here that 'there are no religions which are false. All are true in their own fashion; all answer… to the given conditions of human existence'.

    2. Essential reading 2 items
      1. The elementary forms of the religious life - Émile Durkheim, Joseph Ward Swain 2008 (electronic resource)

        Book Essential reading Read the Introduction: 'Religious Sociology and the Theory of Knowledge' Pp. 1-18, and Chapter 1: 'Definition of Religious Phenomena and of Religion' Pp.21-44

      2. The gift: forms and functions of exchange in archaic societies - Marcel Mauss, Jane I. Guyer 2016

        Book Essential reading Read Chapter 1: 'The exchange of gifts and the obligation to reciprocate (Polynesia)' Pp.8-18

    3. Supplementary reading 8 items
      1. Classical sociological theory - Craig J. Calhoun 2012

        Book Recommended reading Part IV Introduction

      2. Classical sociological theory - Craig J. Calhoun 2012

        Book Recommended reading Chapter 17 (excerpts from EFRL).

      3. Primitive classification - Émile Durkheim, Marcel Mauss, Rodney Needham 1969

        Book Recommended reading

      4. The division of labor in society - Emile Durkheim 1964

        Book Recommended reading

      5. The rules of sociological method and selected texts on sociology and its method - Émile Durkheim, W. D. Halls, Émile Durkheim 2013

        Book Recommended reading

      6. A free gift makes no friends - James Laidlaw 12/2000

        Article Recommended reading

      7. Introduction to the work of Marcel Mauss - Claude Levi-Strauss 1987

        Book Recommended reading

      8. Emile Durkheim - Kenneth Thompson 1982 (electronic resource)

        Book Recommended reading

  4. Week 4: Functionalism 13 items
    1. In his study of the Trobriand Islands and the publications of his research in his monograph Argonauts of the Western Pacific, Bronislaw Malinowski (1884-1942) gave to anthropology its distinctive method of long-term participant observation as well as its theory of functionalism. Like Durkheim, he characterised his research as a positivistic scientific endeavour to argue that 'savage' life is no such thing, that barbarism is merely what is unfamiliar to us, and that tribal society is organised along principles just as orderly and rule-governed as European society. This lecture examines how the theory of functionalism and the method of participant observation were devised by Malinowski, applied by Evans-Pritchard in Africa, and developed into structural functionalism by Radcliffe-Brown in relation to his work in Australia.

    2. Essential reading 2 items
      1. A scientific theory of culture and other essays - Malinowski, Bronislaw 1960

        Chapter Essential reading Please read Chapter on 'The Functional Theory' Pp. 145-176.

      2. Structure and function in primitive society: essays and addresses - A. R. Radcliffe-Brown 1952

        Book Essential reading Please read the Introduction

    3. Supplementary reading 10 items
      1. Kinship and marriage among the Nuer - Edward Evans-Pritchard 1951

        Book Recommended reading

      2. The Nuer: a description of the modes of livelihood and political institutions of a Nilotic people - Edward Evans-Pritchard 1940

        Book Recommended reading (Chapter 6. ‘The age-set system.’)

      3. Anthropology and anthropologists: the british school in the twentieth century - Adam Kuper 2015

        Book Recommended reading Kuper, Adam. 1983. Chapter 1: Malinowski, 1-35. (On Blackboard, 8 copies available in Brunel library, GN308.3.G7K86)

      4. The social anthropology of Radcliffe-Brown 2004 (electronic resource)

        Book Recommended reading

      5. After Tylor: British social anthropology, 1888-1951

        Chapter Recommended reading Read Chapter 6, pp. 233-297, From Fieldwork to Functionalism, Malinowski and the Emergence of British Social Anthropology.

      6. Malinowski, Rivers, Benedict, and others: essays on culture and personality - George W Stocking JR

        Chapter Recommended reading Read pp.13-49, Anthropology and the Science of the Irrational: Malinowski's Encounter with Freudian Psychoanalysis.

      7. Magic, science and religion and other essays - Bronislaw Malinowski, Robert Redfield 1948

        Book Recommended reading The Art of Magic and the Power of Faith, 69-72. (On Blackboard, 1 copy available in Brunel library, GN8.M35).

      8. Witchcraft, oracles and magic among the Azande - Edward Evans-Pritchard 1937

        Book Recommended reading

      9. A Natural Science of Society - A.R. Radcliffe-Brown 1957

        Book Recommended reading

  5. Week 5: Lévi-Strauss and structuralism 14 items
    1. Functionalist anthropology was concerned with the rules of the game, the explicit code of social behaviour. In this single-minded focus, the functionalists had left behind the Victorian anthropological concern with the inner life of human beings, the logic of religion, myth and ritual that had fascinated Frazer, Tylor and others. Levi-Strauss' structuralism revived this focus on the psychological, subjective aspects of human sociality without reproducing the evolutionary assumptions of the Victorians. His thought takes as its starting point the structural linguistics developed by Ferdinand de Saussure and Saussure's pupils of the Prague school Trubetzkoy and Jakobson. What Saussure, Jakobson and Trubetzkoy theorised for language, L-S applied to social structures to myth and to culture: Conscious, subjective meaning gains its significance from unconscious underlying structures, the elements of a system have significance only in relation to each other, and the relations between these elements form minimal pairs just as phonemes do.

    2. Essential reading 2 items
      1. The savage mind - Claude Lévi-Strauss 1966

        Book Recommended reading ch1

      2. The savage mind - Claude Lévi-Strauss 1966

        Book Recommended reading Lévi-Strauss, Claude. 1972. The Savage Mind. London: Weidenfeld and Nicholson. Chaps 1 & 2.

    3. Supplementary reading 11 items
      1. The way of the masks - Claude Levi-Strauss 1983, c1982

        Book Recommended reading

      2. The structural study of myth - Claude Levi-Strauss 1968

        Book Recommended reading

      3. Totemism - Claude Levi-Strauss 1969

        Book Recommended reading

      4. Levi-Strauss, Claude. Mythologiques I–IV (trans. John Weightman and Doreen Weightman)

        That is to say:

      5. The raw and the cooked ; translated from the French by John and Doreen Weightman - Claude Lévi-Strauss 1983

        Book Recommended reading

      6. Introduction to a science of mythology: 2: From honey to ashes - Claude Lévi-Strauss 1973

        Book Recommended reading

      7. Introduction to a science of mythology: 3: The origin of table manners - Claude Lévi-Strauss 1978

        Book Recommended reading

      8. The naked man - Claude Lévi-Strauss 1990

        Book Recommended reading

      9. Lévi-Strauss - Edmund Ronald Leach, James Laidlaw 1996

        Book Recommended reading

      10. Readings for a history of anthropological theory 2017 (electronic resource)

        Book Recommended reading Leach, E. 2001. Structuralism in social anthropology

  6. Week 6: Turner and Dramaturgy 14 items
    1. A student of Max Gluckman's of the Manchester School of the 1960's, Victor turner went beyond his mentor's theory of 'rites of rebellion' in Africa, developing the French historian van Gennep's theory of rites of passage to describe life crisis rituals as effecting real transitions in the life of the individual and wider society. This lecture examines Turner's theory of dramaturgy in relation to the Ndembu of Zambia among whom he worked.

    2. Essential reading 2 items
      1. The forest of symbols: aspects of Ndembu ritual - Victor Turner 1967

        Chapter Essential reading Read Chapter VII, pp.151-279, Mukanda: The Rite of Circumcision.

      2. The ritual process: structure and anti-structure - Victor W. Turner 1969

        Book Essential reading Read chapter Liminality and Communitas, pages 94-130.

    3. Supplementary reading 11 items
      1. Order and rebellion in tribal Africa: collected essays with an autobiogrraphical introduction

        Chapter Recommended reading Read chapter 3, pp 110-136 Rituals of rebellion in South-East Africa.

      2. Islam and Muslim politics in Africa - Benjamin F. Soares, Renâe Otayek 2007

        Book Recommended reading Masquelier, Adeline. 2007. ‘Negotiating futures: Islam, youth and the state in Niger,’

      3. Chisungu: a girl's initiation ceremony among the Bemba of Zambia - Audrey I. Richards 1995 (electronic resource)

        Book Recommended reading

      4. The drums of affliction: a study of religious processes among the Ndembu of Zambia - Victor Turner, International African Institute 1981

        Book Recommended reading

      5. Dramas, fields, and metaphors: symbolic action in human society

        Chapter Recommended reading Read Chapter 5, pp.166-230, Pilgrimages as Social Processes

      6. Dramas, fields, and metaphors: symbolic action in human society - Victor W. Turner 1975

        Book Recommended reading Read Social Dramas and Ritual Metaphors.

  7. Week 7: Reading Week 0 items
  8. Week 8: Marxism 26 items
    1. Marx's anthropological contemporaries, Tylor and Frazer amongst them, did not adopt Marxist theory in their approaches to ethnographic analysis. In the 20th century, Malinowski's rejection of Tylorian evolutionism had the effect of encouraging subsequent generations of British functionalist anthropologists to reject Marxism as well since it was also seen as an evolutionist theory. But from the 1960's critiques started to mount in anthropology against the ahistoricity of functionalist and structuralist analyses. The challenge was therefore to identify ways in which Marx's sketchy descriptions of non-European 'modes of production' might apply to contemporary non-Western societies. This session examines the attempts of Marshall Sahlins, Michael Taussig and others to develop Marxist theory for ethnographic analysis.

    2. Essential reading 2 items
      1. Stone Age economics - Marshall David Sahlins 2004

        Book Essential reading Chapters 1 and 2

      2. The devil and commodity fetishism in South America - Michael T. Taussig c2010 (electronic resource)

        Book Essential reading Chapters 1, 2 and 8.

    3. Additional reading 23 items
      1. Anthropology & the colonial encounter - Talal Asad 1998], c1973

        Book Recommended reading

      2. Essays in comparative sociology - André Béteille 1987

        Book Recommended reading Read 'Is there a Marxist anthropology?' Appendix 2

      3. Essays in comparative sociology

        Chapter Recommended reading Read chapter 8, pp 141-166 Béteille, A. 'Is there a Marxist anthropology

      4. Marxism and anthropology: the history of a relationship - Maurice Bloch 2004 (electronic resource)

        Book Recommended reading especially chapters 1 and 6

      5. Maidens, meal and money: capitalism and the domestic community - Claude Meillassoux 1981

        Book Recommended reading

      6. Marxist analyses and social anthropology - Maurice Bloch 2004

        Book Recommended reading Read Firth, R. 'The skeptical anthropologist? Social anthropology and Marxist views on society’, pp.29-60.

      7. Perspectives in Marxist anthropology - Maurice Godelier, Robert Brain 1977

        Book Recommended reading

      8. Prison notebooks: Volume I - Antonio Gramsci, Joseph A. Buttigieg c1992

        Book Recommended reading

      9. Prison notebooks: Volume II - Antonio Gramsci, Joseph A. Buttigieg c1996

        Book Recommended reading

      10. Prison notebooks: Volume III - Antonio Gramsci, Joseph A. Buttigieg c2007

        Book Recommended reading

      11. Critical theory, Marxism, and modernity - Douglas Kellner 1989

        Book Recommended reading ch 5

      12. Critical theory, Marxism, and modernity - Douglas Kellner 1989

        Book Recommended reading Chap.’s 5 & 8

      13. An introduction to theory in anthropology

        Chapter Recommended reading Read chapter 5. pp 127-156

      14. The moral economy of the peasant: rebellion and subsistence in Southeast Asia - James C. Scott 1976 (electronic resource)

        Book Recommended reading (Also appears in Béteille's collection, Essays in comparative sociology and also chapter 22 of H. Moore and T. Sanders (eds), Anthropology in theory: Issues in Epistemology).

      15. Marxist analyses and social anthropology - Maurice Bloch 2004

        Book Recommended reading Terray, E. 1975. 'Classes and class consciousness in the Abron kingdom of Gyaman

      16. Peasant wars of the twentieth century - Eric R. Wolf 1999

        Book Recommended reading

      17. Europe and the people without history - Eric R. Wolf c1982

        Book Recommended reading Chap 3: ‘Modes of production,’ pp.73-100

  9. Week 9: Foucault 7 items
    1. Michel Foucault (1926-1984), French philosopher and historian of ideas, has often been called one of the most influential thinkers of the contemporary world. Teaching psychology and philosophy at different periods in his career, he read widely in anthropology, sociology and history, and his thought is beyond disciplinary categorisation. Sexuality, power, knowledge, and the state were all fields that he addressed critically, elaborating the theory of 'discourse' to question their construction.

    2. Essential reading 4 items
      1. Discipline and punish: the birth of the prison - Michel Foucault 1991

        Book Essential reading Read I1: The Body of the Condemned, III1: Docile Bodies, III3: Panopticism, IV3: The Carceral. [Also in P. Rabinow (ed.) The Foucault Reader.]

      2. OR:

      3. The history of sexuality: Vol.1: An introduction - Michel Foucault 1990

        Book Essential reading Parts 1, 2 and 5: Pp. 1-49, 135-159. (A truncated version of these passages is available in Paul Rabinow The Foucault Reader (258-272; pp. 292-329).

      4. The history of sexuality: Vol.1: An introduction - Michel Foucault 1990

        Book Essential reading part 2

    3. Additional reading 2 items
      1. Language, counter-memory, practice: selected essays and interviews - Michel Foucault, Donald F. Bouchard, Sherry Simon 1980

        Book Recommended reading

  10. Week 10: Postmodernism 16 items
    1. Pierre Bourdieu and Michel Foucault in France and Clifford Geertz in the US questioned the limitations of structuralist theory from the 1970's onward, and they have accordingly been termed post-structuralist thinkers. Then, in 1979, the French philosopher Lyotard published The Postmodern Condition, fundamentally challenging any attempt at constructing theories with universalist, monolithic pretensions and questioning whether there could be any objective reality to describe with any authority. Where all social theories to date – including post-structuralism – have been modernist in their universalizing claims and aspirations, Lyotard called for a post-modern analytical approach that would represent a more democratic form of knowledge production and dissemination, and which would permit voices of dissent, plurality, and multiplicity. Together with the French socio-linguist Roland Barthes and the philosopher Jacques Derrida, he ushered in the post-modern epoch in anthropology. The work of these French theorists was eagerly taken up in the US, where they influenced the Writing Culture movement, including James Clifford, Vincent Crapanzano George Marcus, Michael Fischer, Renato Rosaldo, Stephen Tyler and Edward Said, whose approach was no longer to critique structuralism with a view to ameliorating it, but to deconstruct totalising social theories altogether with a view to dispersing authority away from the author/social scientist to his or her informants and readers.

    2. Essential reading 2 items
      1. The predicament of culture: twentieth-century ethnography, literature, and art - James Clifford 1988

        Book Essential reading Please read Chapter: 1 'On ethnographic authority' Pp. 21-54

      2. Key debates in anthropology - Tim Ingold 1996

        Book Essential reading Ingold, Tim (ed.) 1996. Social anthropology is a generalizing science or it is nothing

    3. Additional reading 10 items
      1. S/Z - Roland Barthes, Honoré de Balzac 1990

        Book Recommended reading

      2. Writing culture: the poetics and politics of ethnography - James Clifford, George E. Marcus, School of American Research (Santa Fe, N.M.) 2011?], c1986

        Book Recommended reading Chapters by Clifford, Rosaldo, Asad, Rabinow.

      3. Time and the other: how anthropology makes its object - Johannes Fabian 2014 (electronic resource)

        Book Recommended reading Chap. 3. ‘Time and writing about the other.’

      4. Dissemination - Jacques Derrida, Barbara Johnson 2004

        Book Recommended reading

      5. Writing and difference - Jacques Derrida, Alan Bass 1978

        Book Recommended reading

      6. Anthropology as cultural critique: an experimental moment in the human sciences - George E. Marcus, Michael M. J. Fischer 1999

        Book Recommended reading

      7. Ethnographies as texts - George E. Marcus, Dick Cushman 1982

        Article Recommended reading

      8. Culture and truth: the remaking of social analysis - Renato Rosaldo 1989

        Book Recommended reading

      9. Orientalism - Edward W. Said 2003

        Book Recommended reading

      10. Anthropology as a kind of writing - Jonathan Spencer 1989

        Article Recommended reading

    4. Critiques 3 items
      1. Culture: the anthropologists' account

        Chapter Recommended reading Read chapter 6. pp 201-225

      2. Postmodernism, reason and religion - Ernest Gellner 1992

        Book Recommended reading

  11. Week 11. History and Memory 14 items
    1. Essential reading 2 items
      1. Violent reverberations: global modalities of trauma 2016

        Book Essential reading Please read Chapter:10 ‘Laughter without borders: embodied memory and pan-humanism in a post-traumatic age’ by Argenti, N. Pp. 241-268

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

        Book Essential reading Please read the Introduction Pp. 1-24

    2. Supplementary reading: 12 items
      1. Remembering violence: anthropological perspectives on intergenerational transmission - Nicolas Argenti, Katharina Schramm 2010

        Book Essential reading Chapter 5 Nationalising personal trauma: personalising national redemption: Performing testimony at Auschwitz-Birkenau

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

        Book Essential reading Chapter 8 ‘Silent legacies of trauma: a comparative study of Cambodian Canadian and Israeli Holocaust trauma descendant memory work’

      3. Tense past: cultural essays in trauma and memory - Paul Antze, Michael Lambek 1996

        Book Recommended reading

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

        Book Recommended reading Chapter 1

      5. How societies remember - Paul Connerton 1989

        Book Recommended reading

      6. On collective memory - Maurice Halbwachs, Lewis A. Coser 1992

        Book Recommended reading

      7. The weight of the past: living with history in Mahajanga, Madagascar - Michael Lambek 2002

        Book Recommended reading

      8. Memory cultures: memory, subjectivity and recognition - Susannah Radstone, Katharine Hodgkin 2005

        Book Recommended reading Pp. 202-216 Memory in a Maussian universe

      9. Realms of memory: the Construction of the French past - Pierre Nora, Lawrence D. Kritzman c1997

        Book Recommended reading ‘Between memory and history

      10. Embodying colonial memories: spirit possession, power, and the Hauka in West Africa - Paul Stoller 1995

        Book Recommended reading

      11. Memory and the postcolony: African anthropology and the critique of power - Richard P. Werbner 1998

        Book Recommended reading . (See especially chapters by Werbner, De Boeck, van Dijk, and Meyer).

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