FALL 2003 COURSE GUIDE
ART HISTORY 125g
Please contact the Art History department for course description.
This course will introduce students to the basic analytical tools with which anthropologists have come to understand and interpret the societies and cultures of the non western world. In the process, students will become familiar with a small sample of those societies and cultures including northwest Coast American Indians, Trobriand Islanders of the south Pacific, Chinese, and East Africans.
The main objective of this course is to provide students with an idea of the case study method in anthropology through intensive viewing of films and photographs about non-Western people whose culture is also well-represented in ethnographic texts. We will focus on three cultures: the !Kung San or Ju/'hoansi (Bushmen) of Southern Africa, the Yanomamö Indians of Venezuela, and the Tiv of Nigeria. Up until very recent times, all of these cultures lacked the political institutions characteristic of the state or empires and thus provide examples of peoples for whom power and authority are largely imbedded within the categories of family, friend or foe. Up until the 1980s, some Ju/'hoansi lived in small, localized bands supported by a primarily hunting and gathering ecology. The Yanomamö represent a 'big-man" type of social system and they still retains some autonomy because of their remote location; they are ecologically dependent upon slash-and-burn agriculture and some hunting. The Tiv are market-oriented hoe agriculturalists whose traditional segmentary lineage system was capable of mobilizing thousands of people in feuds, wars and judicial proceedings. The Tiv and the Yanomamö are examples the kind of peoples usually called 'tribal', even though their scale of social integration differs greatly. All of these peoples have been studied extensively by anthropologists and each has also been the subject of a series of ethnographic films or photographic essays. The Kung San by John Marshall; the Yanomamo by Timothy Asch and Napoleon Chagnon; the Tiv by Paul Bohannan. Recently Peter Biella and Gary Seaman collaborated with Chagnon to produce a computer interactive study on the Yanomamo entitled The Ax Fight. A similar project is underway for the Tiv. We therefore possess detailed written and filmed ethnographies of these three peoples as well as interactive media resources. It is these films and texts and interactive media that will allow us to form some sense of what it is like to live and act in a Ju/'hoansi or Yanomamo or Tiv mode.
A second important course objective is to learn to relate written materials to the audiovisual information contained in filmic and visual media. To accomplish this, the student is required to maintain a structured 'film journal' to transfer information from visual to textual format. A model form to organize the journal will be provided. These journals will be done in the discussion sections at the end of every class period.
Grades and Assignments:
Note: For another ANTH 263g section, see the next two entries.
This course will introduce the student to the subject matter and theories of social anthropology through the extensive use of visual media, especially through film. Topics will cover a spectrum of issues, including: marriage and the family; economics; ritual and religion; conflict and conflict resolution; and culture change, among others. The approach will be broadly comparative. Traditions covered in the course will include those of Africa, Latin America, and the Balkaus, among others.
Readings and Assignments:
The course introduces students to the subject matter of anthropology through a combination of ethnographic readings on particular species or cultures, and by use of films as a medium that furthers an unbiased understanding of cultural differences. The purpose is to assist the student in understanding nonliterate cultures that represent different stages of cultural evolution, and also in understanding the evolutionary precursor of human beings, the chimpansee, with whom we share a common ancestor some five million years ago. The general objective is to understand how chimpanzees and four human cultures mangae to exist in nature, and how their social organization and political behavior make sense in terms of the cultural tradition they share and the adaptive problems they face.
Specifically, we will begin studying Pan troglodytes schweinfurtheii, the same East African chimpanzees that have been studies by Jane Goodall in her well known research. With chimpanzee behavior as a reference point, we will examine first two human societies of a type that is widely distributed in the nonliterate world, in which there is a wide seperation between women's and men's roles. These are the warlike Yanomamo, who live by slash-and-burn horticulture, and the feuding pastoral Serbs of Montenegro, both patrillineal societies in which all males are considered politically equal to their leaders and in which values placed on male valor drive people to violent deeds. Next, comes a Pacific Island people whose sex roles are far more egalitarian; they have social classes and powerful chieftains, but they place a high premium on romantic life as our own culture does; they are distinctive in that they do not believe in biological paternity, yet they have families in the normal human pattern. The final culture to be studied is the eskimo, who lack warfare and concentrate their efforts on gaining a subsistence in an unusually challenging environment.
Emphasis on Film
This course explores the incredible and (largely) unperceived cultural diversity across the indigenous peoples of North America. Through lectures, slides, written and filmed ethnographies, and guest presentations by Native Americans, USC students are familiarized with the rich cultural heritages and vibrancy of contemporary Native American lifestyles. This course aims to provide USC students with an understanding and appreciation of the diversity of human cultural choices and to encourage students to develop a more analytical and relativistic view of their own cultures vis-à-vis one American "other." Native American students at USC are encouraged to share their life experiences with their fellow class mates. Eight Native American culture areas are studied each semester the course is taught. Pre-, historic and contemporary lifestyles are presented written and filmic records of the Northeast, Southeast, Prairie/Plains, Southwest, California, Northwest, Arctic, and Mexico culture areas.
COMPARATIVE LITERATURE 382g
Please contact the Comparative Literature department for course description.
EAST ASIAN LANGUAGES AND CULTURES 110g
This course introduces the fundamental humanistic traditions of China, Japan, and Korea through representative works of traditional literature, esthetics, social philosophy, religion, and historical writing. The readings are mostly from primary sources as translated into English. No previous knowledge of an East Asian culture or language is expected.
EAST ASIAN LANGUAGES AND CULTURES 130g
The following course description belongs to Professor Birge.
The principle aim of the course is to heighten the student's awareness of the traditional and modern patterns of the Japanese people. This is done by surveying the main characteristics and historical development of Japanese philosophy, religion, literature, art, and political and social institutions, from earliest times to the present era, and by exploring the cultural traditions of Japan.
EAST ASIAN LANGUAGES AND CULTURES 350g
This course presents basic features and highlights of Chinese civilization from neolithic times down to the present day. It explores both the development and the continuities of this great civilization, including aspects of philosophy, religion, politics, gender, literature, and art. We will also look at some areas of Chinese culture as it is encountered here in Los Angeles. No prior knowledge of China is required.
Course Requirements & Grading
EAST ASIAN LANGUAGES AND CULTURES 352g
This course will introduce traditional Chinese literature through representative works of history, philosophy, poetry, fiction, and drama, as translated into English. No previous knowledge of Chinese culture or language is assumed.
EAST ASIAN AREA STUDIES 150g
The following course description belongs to Professor Cooper. Please contact the East Asian Area Studies Center for Professor Rosen's course description.
This course is designed to provide an introduction to the societies and cultures of contemporary East Asia. Required readings are ethnographic studies of agricultural and industrial communities in China, Japan, and Korea. Lectures will provide historical and political background to each country. Readings will serve as a basis for discussion of cultural and economic themes and issues in the recent history of each country.
This class introduces students to some key themes in the history of China from the origins of the civilization down to our own day. The emphasis is not on volume of material read or facts mastered, but on reading, thinking, and writing. Wills, Mountain of Fame provides some continuity of exposition and introduction to some key themes and problems through the study of a series of famous and infamous lives of individuals in Chinese history. Ebrey, Chinese Civilization gives you a sense of the variety of Chinese experience and the challenges of trying to make sense of sources in translation. Very short writing exercises are required regularly, to give you practice in the kinds of writing and thinking we want you to work on in this course, and to push you to keep up with the readings.
Readings and assignments:
This course has two essential purposes. The first is to acquaint you with a survey of Japanese history. Our purpose will not be to memorize names, dates and places, but rather to see how a civilization quite different from those of the West evolved, developed, and met human needs. We may thereby learn quite a bit not only about Japan, but about our own cultural traditions. At a time when comparisons between contemporary Japan and America appear daily in the mass media, seeing the patterns of Japanese history may help us understand the patterns of contemporary Japan, and evaluate those comparisons with a more educated eye.
The second purpose is to explore what "history" means as an intellectual discipline, and how materials from other branches of knowledge, such as archaeology, economics, fine arts, literature and political science may be deployed to enrich our understanding of the past. The major cultural traditions explored are Japan's agrarian-village tradition, warrior (samurai) tradition, aristocratic/bureaucratic (court nobility) tradition, and the patterns of embracing or rejecting traditions encountered from foreign sources.
The main goal of this class is to equip students with the basic empirical information and analytical approaches that will enable them to understand the dynamics of religion, culture and politics in shaping one of the world's major civilizations. Hence, guided by a comparative perspective, this class focuses on the study of those societies of the former Soviet Union whose identities and cultures were shaped by Islam but also by their encounter with the colonial "other", be it in Tsarist or Soviet form. Given its focus on an area outside the "core" Middle Eastern countries, this course also contributes to a better understanding of the cultural diversity of the "Muslim World" against the background of its unity of faith while also identifying the remarkable diversity of "Russian Islam" forged as it was, by the interaction of the settled and nomadic; urban and rural; Muslim and non-Muslim societies.
This course will begin with a general discussion of Islam as a religion and way of life; it will then turn to its main focus, the exploration of the beliefs, religions practices, cultural traditions, social institutions, and political culture of the Muslims of the former Soviet Union from the tenth century until the emergence of independent states such as Azerbaijan, Kazakhastan, Uzbedistan, and others.
The purpose of this course is to trace the development of religious thought in India, China and Japan, from earliest times until the present, paying attention to certain recurrent themes or motifs while also taking note of some profound discontinuities, especially as we move from India to East Asia. Although the importance of popular and elite practice as both a complement to and source of innovation in religious thought will be noted, as will the influence exerted by socio-economic and other "non-religious" forces? The primary focus of this course will be trends in religious/philosophical thought, as well as the relevance of these trends for contemporary Western thought.
* Failure to attend discussion section will be taken very seriously. One unexcused absence will be tolerated, but further unexcused absences will effect the "section participation" portion of the student's grade (not the overall grade) as follows:
** Field trips to local religious communities (times and places TBA) will also be arranged; attendance will be optional and for extra credit.
Note: For the most recent course information, see the instructor's website.
Please contact the Religion department for course description.