African Music Economies (graduate seminar)This course examines the performance, production, circulation, and protection of African music in African countries, as well as in the African diaspora. Many countries have thriving music economies with numerous radio stations, recordings studios, performance venues, and collective management organizations. Many artists also become wealthy from their music, though at the same time, many more struggle to make ends meet in the highly competitive music market. Focusing primarily on music with forays into other art forms, such as film and fashion design, this class explores 1) the changing popularity of African arts forms across the continent and other parts of the world; 2) the economic significance of these new or expanding industries associated with the arts; and 3) the influence that these changes has on both musicians and their music. Each week, we explore a new theme associated with the arts, including the political significance of popular music; the expanding role of private radio broadcasters and recording studios; law and rights in relations to notions of ownership in music; and the sounds of contemporary popular music on the continent.
Honors Anthropology of GlobalizationIn this course, students interpret contemporary forms of social, political, and cultural transformations through studying anthropological texts and films that provide in-depth analyses of local-level instances of globalization. These ethnographic studies allow students to improve both their specific knowledge of people and places throughout the world, and also develop more theoretically rigorous approaches toward explaining what is meant by the term globalization. To this end, students examine ethnicity to better comprehend issues of power; resources and land that occur in conflict situations; the movement of textiles to realize post-Fordist social and economic practices; human trafficking to conceptualize commodification of the human body; and refugee migrations to understand transnationalism.
Social Justice (First-Year Seminar)The theme of the Seminar is “Social Justice,” a subject that is vitally important in our increasingly interdependent world. We will explore this topic by applying concepts and investigative tools from a range of liberal arts disciplines, including history, anthropology, political science, philosophy, and literature, to a number of related questions. What are the characteristics of a just society? What historical, economic, social, and cultural factors contribute to social justice? Which tend to result in oppression and dehumanization? What should be done to create a more just society? What are our obligations as individuals and communities regarding the creation and preservation of social justice, both locally and globally? How should we respond to socially unjust conditions and actions?
Fieldwork in Local Communities
Ethnography is the systematic study, analysis, and presentation of human communities. In conducting ethnographic research, a researcher uses a variety of methods, including interviews, focus groups studies, participant observation, and surveys, to interpret meaning and experiences within specific cultures. This course uses anthropological fieldwork methods to document and understand local communities. Students become an ethnographer by conducting interviews, surveys, participant-observation, and other methods to interpret and understand people's daily lives. Students also learn to photograph, film, and document people's actions, behaviors, and beliefs in order to understand local communities. Each student is required to conduct his or her own research project, which they will then write into a final research paper.