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Haverford College

Course Catalog

Anthropology: 2007-2008

DescriptionFacultyMajor RequirementsMinor RequirementsRequirements for HonorsCourses


At Haverford we teach social and cultural anthropology. Social and cultural anthropologists study human beings and human communities. We are interested in social life and organization, modes of subsistence, exchange practices, the family, politics and power, ritual and religion, gender, and all forms of expressive culture. Traditionally anthropologists have studied small-scale indigenous communities (once called “primitive societies”) and rural populations, but now anthropologists also study state societies, urban communities, and the effects of globalization. Social and cultural anthropology has three central traits. First, we are comparative. This means that we compare social and cultural phenomena in one place to those in another, and that we explore the particular features of a specific people and place in relation to general theories about humans and human societies. This comparative method allows us to tease out what is unique and distinctive about the subject we are studying and what generally tends to be true about that sort of thing. Second, we are holistic. We try to get a sense of the context in which a particular incident or practice is occurring, as a way of developing a fuller understanding of that specific practice and of that place and those people and how things work there. Third, we engage in participant-observation fieldwork. Social and cultural anthropologists live in the communities they are studying for extended periods of time, in order to build a perspective that integrates an insider’s and an outsider’s points of view.


Visiting Assistant Professor of Anthropology Leslie Dwyer
Associate Professor Maris Boyd Gillette, Chair
Stinnes Professor of Global Studies Laurie Kain Hart
Associate Professor Zolani Ngwane (on leave 2007-08)
John R. Coleman Professor of Social Sciences Wyatt MacGaffey, Emeritus

Affiliated Faculty at Bryn Mawr College: Professor of Growth and Structure of Cities Gary McDonogh Visiting Assistant Professor of Peace and Conflict Studies Tamara Neuman

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Students are required to take a total of 11 courses in the major, including five required courses within the department. Individual programs require the advisor’s approval.

  1. One 100-level introductory course, either: Anthropology 103a, Introduction to Anthropology (fall) or BMC Anthropology 102 (spring), Introduction to Anthropology; or Anthropology 110b, Anthropology of Food and Eating; or Anthropolgoy 155a, Themes in the Anthropology of Religion.
  2. Anthropology 210b, History and Theory of Anthropology.
  3. One area course, such as Anthropology 241, Mediterranean; Anthropology 245, Africa; Anthropology 243, East Asia; or a similar course on another campus.
  4. One other 200-level course in this department.
  5. One 300-level course in this department.
  6. Anthropology 450a and 450b Senior Thesis Seminars. The remaining courses may be courses offered in the department, in an anthropology department on another campus, or in approved related fields. Courses outside the department must be approved by the student’s advisor (Note: When required courses are not offered, equivalents will be designated). Students are expected to familiarize themselves with the use of e-mail, Blackboard, and the faculty server.

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Minor Requirements

The minor in anthropology consists of six courses, including: an Introduction to Anthropology (this requirement may be satisfied by an Introduction to Anthropology at either campus, or by other introductory courses); ANTH 303b, History and Theory of Anthropology; an ethnographic area course; and three other courses at the 200 or 300 level, including one course at the 300 level. As a general rule, a minimum of three courses must be taken in the Haverford department.

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Requirements for Honors

Honors are decided at the discretion of the faculty in the department of Anthropology. They are based upon overall excellence in the major. “Excellence” is defined by three criteria: outstanding work in the senior thesis (final written work and oral presentation), strong cumulative performance in all anthropological coursework (typically a grade point average of 3.7 or higher), and a record of consistent intellectual commitment and participation in the department. High Honors will be awarded, upon occasion, for exceptional contributions in all areas.

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  • 103 Introduction to Anthropology SO
    An introduction to the basic ideas and methods of social anthropology. Examines major theoretical and ethnographic concerns of the discipline from its origins to the present, such as family and kinship, production and reproduction, history and evolution, symbolism and representation, with particular attention to such issues as race and racism, gender and sexuality, class, and ethnicity. Prerequisite: Not open to students who have completed BMC Anth 102. (Satisfies the social justice requirement.)
  • 110 Anthropology of Food and Eating SO
    An introduction to anthropological modes of inquiry and interpretation through an examination of food and eating. Primarily concerned with symbolism, social stratification, and the relationship between local and translocal orders. Includes such topics as meat, rituals of sacrifice, etiquette, eating disorders, famine, and transnationalism. Offered occasionally.
  • 111 Introduction to Peace and Conflict Studies SO (Cross-listed in Peace and Conflict Studies)
    A broad overview of the study of conflict, peace and peace-building. Topics include: militarization, nuclearization, ethnic conflict, genocide, social movements, and non-violence, with special emphasis on understanding the historical and cultural contexts of conflicts and peacebuilding efforts. (Satisfies the social justice requirement.)
  • 130 Themes in the Anthropology of Religion SO (Cross-listed in Religion and Writing Program)
    (Satisfies the freshman writing requirement.)
  • 155 Themes in the Anthropology of Religion SO (Cross-listed in Religion and Writing Program and African and Africana Studies)
    (Satisfies the freshman writing requirement.)
  • 202 Among Men: Construction of Masculinities SO
    A comparative exploration of the socio-cultural politics of gender, with particular reference to masculinity, the course combines an intellectual historical approach (i.e.) how the related notions of maleness, manhood and masculinity have featured in the history of social thought and a thematic focus on issues such as the men's movements, popular culture, queer movement, etc. While the course will be grounded on an anthropological notion of the social basis of power, culture and identity formation, the readings will nonetheless be interdisciplinary -- including historical narratives, literature and film ethnographies (from Africa and the United States) and critical work from fields such as queer, feminist and postcolonial studies. Typically offered in alternate years.
  • 204 Anthropology of Gender SO (Cross-listed in Gender and Sexuality Studies)
    The cultural construction of gender and sexuality, kinship, inheritance, and marriage; the performative dimensions of sexual identity; the cultural politics of motherhood; myths of matriarchy; ideologies of masculinity and femininity. Not open to students who have completed Anthropology 216b or Bryn Mawr Anthropology 106. Offered occasionally.
  • 205 Social Anthropology: Artisans in Global Context SO
    In this course we examine systems of production and how they intertwine with other aspects of social organization, such as kinship and gender, and are affected by large scale social forces, such as market dynamics and globalization. Our focus will be artisans and artists. Students will conduct independent research on a productive system of their choice. Prerequisite: Anthropology 102, 103 or 110. Offered occasionally.
  • 206 Anthropology of Art SO
    Art as a Western institution: Art and anti-art in the 20th century. History and sociology of collecting ""primitive"" art. African art in cultural context. Icons and iconography. Prerequisite: One course in ANTH, ARTS, or consent of the instructor.
  • 207 Visual Anthropology SO
    Explores the history and development of anthropology's relationship to the visual, specifically photography and film, both as a mode for representing culture and a site of cultural practice. Examines the emergence of, as well as the contestations around, the genre known as ethnographic film and its relationship to wider debates about documentary and non-fictional film practice. Students will produce short ethnographic films. Prerequisite: One other course in ANTH. Typically offered in alternate years.
  • 208 Museum Anthropology SO (Cross-listed in Comparative Literature)
    This course investigates the rise and proliferation of museums and museological consciousness in comparative perspective. Topics to be considered include: Objects and their meanings and values. Collecting, ownership, and relations of power. Exhibitions, imperialism and colonialisation. Creating (disciplining) museum publics. Narrative genres in museums: ethnographic, nationalist, traumatic, artistic. Museological entertainment: theme parks and “ironic” museums. Politics of representation, ownership, and voice: contemporary squabbles over art, artifacts, and displays. Offered occasionally.
  • 209 Anthropology of Education: State of the Debate SO
    Education and schooling in anthropological literature. We will compare the concepts of  “socialization” in British Social Anthropology with “cultural transmission” in American Cultural Anthropology to look for the different ways in which the role of education in social reproduction and transformation has been framed over time. In addition to basic works by thinkers such as Durkheim, Malinowski, Mead, Benedict and Boas, we will read a selection of ethnographies of schooling from the United States, Africa and Japan. Prerequisite: One course in Anthropology or Education. Offered occasionally.
  • 216 Women and Power in Comparative Perspective SO (Cross-listed in Gender and Sexuality Studies)
    This course explores issues of power and its operation through examining women and women's experience. Course readings combine theoretical materials on power and women's empowerment with ethnographic studies that allow us to investigate theoretical questions in specific contexts. We consider the nature of power, the sources of social inequality, and the potential for powerful action on individual and collective levels. (Satisfies the social justice requirement.) Offered occasionally.
  • 234 Violence, Terror, and Trauma SO (Cross-listed in Peace and Conflict Studies)
    Prerequisite: One course in Anth or Peace and Conflict Studies (Satisfies the social justice requirement.)
  • 241 Anthropology of the Mediterranean SO (Cross-listed in Comparative Literature and Latin American and Iberian Studies)
    The study of Mediterranean societies and the problematics of ethnographic production. Debates over the particularity of, and continuity in, Mediterranean cultures. Classic and recent monographs, as well as local and expatriate fiction. Emphasis on the Muslim and Christian Eastern Mediterranean.
  • 244 Anthropology of China SO (Cross-listed in East Asian Studies and Gender and Sexuality Studies)
    Social institutions, cultural idioms, and forms of representation in and of Chinese society over the past 150 years. Through investigations of ethnographic monographs, missionary records, memoirs, and realist fiction, we develop skills in socialgraphs, missionary records, memoirs, and realist fiction, we develop skills in social analysis and cultural critique, and enrich our understanding of contemporary Chinese society. Prerequisite: One course in East Asian Studies or consent. Typically offered in alternate years.
  • 247 Anthropology and Literature: Ethnography of Black South African Writing 1888-1988 SO (Cross-listed in African and Africana Studies)
    Through analysis of the development of writing in colonial and apartheid South Africa this course examines the "crisis of representation" of the past two decades in literature and anthropology. We will consider debates about the textual status of ehtnographic monographs and the more general problems of writing and social power. Specifically, we will look at how such writing contributed to the construction and transformation of black subjectivity. Course material will include 19th and 20th century texts by black South Africans including life narratives, particularly collaborated autobiographies by women in the 1980's. Prerequisite: one course in literature or anthropology. Typically offered in alternate years.
  • 256 Political Anthropology SO
    This course considers politics as what groups of people do to affect their social conditions, and examines how their ability to affect those conditions is organized and controlled. Through the reading of ethnography and anthropological theory, we will raise questions about how "leaderless" societies organize social action, about the interrelations of gender, bodies, and politics, and about the ways in which power is exercised and contested in different societies. We will discuss how modern states arose and what impact they have had on the peoples they incorporate and on options for political action in contemporary complex global political systems. Prerequisite: One other course in ANTH or Peace Studies, or consent of the instructor. (Satisfies the social justice requirement.) Offered occasionally.
  • 257 Ethnic Conflict SO
    The comparative study of ethnic identity and collective violence. Ideological systems of classification and differentiation, such as kinship, race, class, ethnicity and nationality. Case studies of contemporary struggles and conflicts, informed by classic and recent anthropological theory. Prerequisite: One other course in Anthropology or Peace Studies or permission of the instructor. (Satisfies the social justice requirement.) Typically offered in alternate years.
  • 258 Politics of Culture and Identity SO (Cross-listed in Peace and Conflict Studies)
    This course will examine how "culture" and "identity" have become increasingly important frameworks through which claims to resources, rights, and power are articulted. Drawing on a diverse set of case studies, we will ask how we can approach politics of culture and identity ethnographically, and what role anthropology might have to play in such struggles. Offered occasionally.
  • 261 Memory, History, Anthropology SO
    The social aspects of memory. Collective representations and memorial genres. Institutional memory and the effects of institutions on individual memory. Memory in oral and literate societies. Memory as a political act and a tool of political legitimacy. Mourning and trauma. Role of narrative in memory and the relationship between non-narrative forms and memory. How memory relates to the present and to the past. The course will examine a number of influential theoretical texts on memory and look at selected case studies. Offered occasionally.
  • 263 Anthropology of Space and Architecture SO
    Space, place and architecture in anthropological theory; the contributions of anthropology to our understanding of the built and imagined environment in diverse cultures. Topics include: the body and its orientation in space; the house, kinship and cosmology; architecture as a communicative/semiotic system; space and sociopolitical segregation and integration; space and commodity culture. May be taken for Bryn Mawr Cities credit. Prerequisite: One other course in anthropology or architecture, or permission of the instructor. Offered occasionally.
  • 270 Psychoanalysis and Anthropology SO
    This course will trace areas of convergence of anthropology and psychoanalysis from the beginnings of the discipline of anthropology to the present through selected topics, including: kinship, society and the self: sexual difference; the interpretation of dreams; anthropological hermeneutics, ethnographic fieldwork and clinical practice (listening, transference, countertransference), magic and fetishism, individual and collective violence. Prerequisite: One course in Socio-cultural Anthropology or consent. (Satisfies the social justice requirement.)
  • 303 History and Theory of Anthropology SO
    The development of anthropological thought in the West. Enlightenment theories of society and the human subject, the study of social organization in 19th and early 20th centuries (including Marx and Durkheim), social anthropology and cultural anthropology . Structuralism, Marxist anthropology, postmodernism and the crisis of representation in the 1980s and 1990s. Prerequisite: One course in ANTH, excluding BMC ANTH 303.
  • 322 Field Methods in Peace & Conflict Studies SO
    This course will address the methodological, political and ethical challenges of understanding situations of conflict. We will take a critical look at traditional sources used in peace and conflict studies, such as the media, official accounts, and human rights reports, and we will explore methods of first-hand data gathering in conflict settings. During the semester, students will conduct their own research on local conflicts. Sustained attention will be paid to fieldwork methodologies, and to issues surrounding the researcher s position in social conflicts.
  • 323 Indonesian Cultures in Transnational Perspective SO (Cross-listed in East Asian Studies)
    This course will offer an overview of Indonesian history, culture and politics, combining classroom learning with service learning/field research in Philadelphia's Indonesian refugee community. Students will gain knowledge of Indonesian history, culutre and politics, and of social theories used to approach the study of a particular region of the world. Topics to be covered include: colonial power and resistance, the nationalist movement, state repression and violence, ethnic identity politics, religious and cultural difference, gender and sexuality, and transitional justice and reconciliation efforts in the post-Suharto era. Students will also spend approximately 3hrs/wk in internship placements or supervised field research with Indonesian refugees. A majority of these people are ethnic Chinese who fled to escape discrimination and violence. Out-of-classroom activities will be brought back into the classroom and will culminate in a final collaboratively-written research report. A commitment to active participation is essential. Prerequisite: Permission of instructor.
  • 350 Social and Cultural Theory: Contemporary Ethnography SO
    This class is an intensive, advanced reading seminar on contemporary ethnography with an emphasis on how the craft of anthropology draws on its disciplinary resources to address the predicaments of social marginalization in the contemporary 'globalizing' world. We will test the fate of key 20th century theoretical movements in anthropology (structural functionalism, culture and personality, structuralism, neo-Marxism, literary post-modernism, etc.) through their application in ethnography. Seminars will be organized through student presentations and responses.
  • 355 Anthropology and the New Faces of Modernity SO
    An examination of recent trends in reflection on modernity in the human and social sciences. This course addresses questions about social subjectivity, globalization and the endurance of modernity through a number of ethnographic snapshots from different parts of the world. Prerequisite: One 200-level course in Anthropology or by consent of the instructor Typically offered in alternate years.
  • 358 Anthropology of Capitalisms SO
    This course combines theoretical readings on capitalism (Karl Marx, David Harvey) with ethnographies about transitions to capitalism and current manifestations of capitalism. Students will conduct an independent research project on contemporary capitalism in the US. Prerequisite: One other course in ANTH, or consent. Typically offered in alternate years.
  • 361 Advanced Topics in the Anthropology of China SO
    Prerequisite: One course in anthropology, East Asian studies, or permission of instructor. Offered occasionally.
  • 415 Research Seminar in the Material Culture of China SO (Cross-listed in East Asian Studies)
    This advanced research seminar is about Chinese material culture in its historical and contemporary manifestations. Particular attention will be paid to Chinese ceramics. Students will design & complete individual research projects centered on objects, architectural installations, and other manifestations of Chinese material culture available in the Philadelphia area. Prerequisite: One course in Anth, East, or permission.
  • 450 Senior Seminar: Research and Writing SO
    M.Gillette, L.Hart, L.Dwyer
    Students research and complete a thesis in socio-cultural anthropology over the course of two semesters. The seminar includes course meetings and individual consultations. Prerequisite: Senior standing in ANTH at Haverford.
  • 460 Teaching Assistantships SO
    Discussion leader and course assistant in Anthropology 103, Anthropology 110, or other selected anthropology courses; includes responsibility for selected tutorials. Final Paper. Typically offered every Semester.
  • 480 Independent Study SO
    Offered occasionally.

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  • 101-102 Introduction to Anthropology
  • 203 Human Ecology
  • 204 North American Archaeology
  • 209 Human Evolution
  • 210 Medical Anthropology
  • 232 Nutritional Anthropology
  • 243 Cultures of Technology: Aesthetics, Senses and the Body
  • 253 Childhood in the African Experience
  • 261 Palestine and Israeli Society
  • 281 Language in Social Context
  • 286 Social Construction of Irish Identity
  • 303 History of Anthropological Theory
  • 312 Anthropology of Reproduction
  • 342 Middle Eastern Diasporas
  • 354 Identity, Ritual and Cultural Practices in Contemporary Vietnam


  • 185 Urban Culture and Society
  • 190 Form of the City
  • 209 Medical Anthropology
  • 335 Mass Media and the City
  • 360 Topics in Urban Culture and Society

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