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Cultural Narratives

ANTH 3060

Human beings are natural storytellers. Whether reciting oral traditions or recounting personal experience, people everywhere use narratives as a way to express and to understand themselves. This course approaches cultural narratives from two angles. First, it explores the ways that anthropologists, usually trained in the social sciences, make use of and study narratives, whether through ethnographic observation, conducting an interview, gathering folklore or archaeological interpretation. Second, the class investigates narratives that, although produced by non-anthropologists, engage with anthropological issues such as kinship, gender, work, tradition and identity. The narratives range broadly from fiction, to poetry, to film. These two approaches are framed by theoretically informed readings about narrativity, both from the social sciences and the humanities. The class involves intensive reading and writing, as it makes use of both discussion and workshop formats. Each student in the course completes a research and writing project culminating in his or her own cultural narrative. Must be junior standing or above.