University of Western Ontario
Professor, Department of Anthropology
Director, First Nations Studies Program
First Nations Studies 020E: Introduction to First Nations Studies 2003/2004
Anthropology 400E: Anthropological Thought (How to Think Like an Anthropologist) 2003/2004
An interdisciplinary survey of First Nations issues, from academic and community perspectives including indigenous knowledge, historical background, oral history, socio-political context, arts, language and culture. Specific practical examples will be explored by researchers and community members actually engaged in their contemporary documentation and resolution.
This course is based on guest lectures, readings, discussion, and written commentaries.
In the first term, the guests will be members of the UWO faculty. Research and teaching involving First Nations issues is found across the departments, faculties and professional schools of the university. Students will become familiar with the range of possibilities. Those who continue in FNS will have a baseline for focusing their particular interests. Interdisciplinarity is the key to First Nations Studies as a discipline and program.
In the second term, the guests will be members of the local Aboriginal community (London and Southwestern Ontario). They will discuss issues of contemporary concern, again crossing traditional disciplinary lines, and drawing upon the resources of the society outside the university. Students who continue in FNS may have the opportunity to design research projects in collaboration with local communities and organizations.
This course is the first stage of UWO's new First Nations Studies Program. The Minor, Major and Honors programs will be phased in over the next three years. Both Native and non-Native students are welcome.
The program is coordinated in consultation with the UWO Education and Employment Council (majority Aboriginal representatives). Students will be kept informed of events in the community and region that might be of interest.
The First Nations Studies offices (SSC 3254 and 3255) include a library and conference room. Students are encouraged to drop in and use the resources available there.
Sept 8 Introduction (cross-cultural mis-communication), Regna Darnell
Sept 15 Jerry White, Sociology
Sept 22 Carol Farber, Information and Media Studies
Sept 29 Michael Coyle, Law
Oct 6 Chris Ellis/Neil Ferris, Archaeology
Oct 13 Thanksgiving
Oct 27 Julia Emberle, English and Women's Studies
Nov 3 Ian Steele, History
Nov 10 Patrick Mahon, Visual Arts
Nov 17 Stewart Harris, Medicine
Nov 24 Kiera Ladner, Political Science
Dec 1 Rebecca Coulter, Education
Jan 5 Glen MacDougal
Jan 12 Mary Joy Elijah
Jan 19 Belanger Brown
Jan 26 Film on RCAP, Bernard Perley
Feb 2 Dean Jacobs
Feb 9 Dan and Mary Lou Smoke
Feb 16 David Kanatawakhon-Maracle
Feb 23 --Reading Week--
Mar 1 Atanarjuat
Mar 8 Dolleen Manning
Mar 15 John Mohawk and Yvonne Buffalo
Mar 22 Susan Hill
Mar 29 Karl Hele
Apr 5 Henry Ford
Students will read a brief (average 20 pages) article in preparation for guest lectures in the First Term. In the Second Term there will be a textbook. The lectures will be discussed with TA's and the instructor in the tutorial hour on Tuesdays.
Each student will write a one page commentary due Thursday afternoon at 4p.m. (FNS office or Anthro. office to Regna Darnell). These essays will be returned on the following week.
Each student will submit 8 one-page commentaries in each Term (out of 13 lectures in the First Term and 12 in the Second Term). The highest 6 marks in each term will count 5% each (total 30% + 30%).
10% of the mark will be based on class participation (with attendance as the first priority). Those who are uncomfortable talking may want to communicate by e-mail or unofficially during office hours of the instructor or TA's.
The final exam (short essay and identification) will be worth 30%. Students will be given detailed study guides for the exam.
30% First Term writing assignments
30% Second Term Writing assignments
30% Final Exam
Instructor: Regna Darnell
Office: Social Science Centre 3254/3255 or 3329
Hours: Tuesday 2-3, Wed 1-3 or any time door is open or by appointment.
Phone: 661-2111, x85087
Office: Social Science Centre 3254/3255
K. Jack Conley
Office: Social Science Centre 3254/3255
ANTHROPOLOGICAL THOUGHT (HOW TO THINK LIKE AN ANTHROPOLOGIST)
INSTRUCTOR: Regna Darnell
OFFICE: Social Science Centre 3329
OFFICE HOURS: Tuesday 2-3, Wednesday 1-3
(Any time office door is open or by appointment)
TIME/PLACE: Tuesday 3-6, SSC 3102
T.A.: Cynthia Leighton
I have ordered the following texts:
This is a heavy reading load, particularly in the first semester, both in quantity and density of argument. These are all magnificent books and articles with which you should be familiar. You should develop expertise in figuring out what the author is up to, not processing every fact or detail. To "read" a book is to extract from it what you need to know for your own purposes. The book is then available to you for your own critical thinking. N.B., critique is not necessarily negative, although it is usually addressed to changing the way things are done or thought about, whether in the academy or in the world outside it. One of the things that is FUN about contemporary theory, in anthropology and across the humanities and social sciences, is its often playful use of unconventional and nonliteral forms of representation. Anthropologists have had to learn how to read such material. And we all have the pleasure of learning how to write more lucidly and playfully.
We will develop these skills of critical thinking, in both reading and writing, through class discussion and short papers (5-8 pages) based on the readings during the first semester. Each ethnography will be discussed for two class sessions. Students will write three short papers. The first two will deal with ONE of a consecutive pair of readings (Desjarlais and Mahmoud on qualitative ethnography, Daniel and Todorov on violence and terror). The third paper will consider the nature of the ethnographic enterprise and its foundational status in anthropology (Fabian, Hastrup, Darnell). These texts will set up the second term work of integrating interdisciplinary theory with anthropological thought by means of the ethnographic method at the core of our discipline. We will consider how to write ethnography as well as how to write the history of anthropology and what it includes (national traditions, theoretical paradigms, individuals and their social networks, institutional frameworks). Papers will be due one class after the completion of discussion on the readings. You are not expected to read additional materials for these papers, although you may incorporate anything else you deem relevant to your argument.
We will be concerned with reading skills, textual analysis, and coherent argumentation from your own critical standpoint (which the course is designed to develop). There are no right or wrong answers. This may be frustrating initially, but it is the only way to empower your own critical voice. (I will, of course, try to persuade you of my own point of view, but you are encouraged to resist. I have been known to change my mind, and I respect well-made arguments, even those with which I disagree – exclusive of such anthropologically unacceptable positions as racism, sexism and homophobia.)
The works covered in the first semester are ethnographic, i.e., they are descriptions of particular cultures as an anthropologist came to know them through participant-observation fieldwork (albeit some of it is archival). We then turn to the standpoint and identity of the ethnographer to highlight the reflexive intersections of theory and ethnography, interpretation and description. Experimental ethnographies abound these days, with unconventional forms of writing exploring the nature of representation, the situated subjectivity of the ethnography, and the storied narratives whereby cultural knowledge is articulated and conveyed. This particularity of subjects and contexts, this instance of the particular case as a component of generalization, is one of the most important things distinguishing anthropologists from our colleagues in other disciplines.
In the second semester, each student will present a seminar as part of a panel dealing with one or more interdisciplinary theorists, with each disciplinary direction examined by a team. Obviously, there are inherent assumptions about the interdisciplinarity of anthropology itself. After the class presentation, each student will write a 20-25 page paper based on her/his research (due at the last meeting of the class). Students will divide the work so that everyone reads something different. You will be expected to become familiar with the oeuvre of at least one of these theorists and to use primary sources as well as critical commentary on these thinkers. Related thinkers may be added by individual students (with approval in advance).
The majority of these theorists are not, in the narrow sense, anthropologists. Indeed, many of them could benefit from more sophisticated cross-cultural perspective. Disciplinary boundaries are breaking down these days – yet, anthropologists potentially bring a unique standpoint to the human and cultural sciences. The anthropological approach has been profoundly misinterpreted by literary critics, philosophers, and even other social scientists. In order to counter these critiques, we will have to clarify for ourselves what it means to think like an anthropologist – and what the real-world consequences might be.
You will receive a combined mark of 30% for the oral presentation and written paper. The percentage allotted to each is not set because the scheduling of presentations affects the relationship between the two parts of the assignment. Weighting, therefore, legitimately varies from one student to another. I will use this weighting giving benefit of doubt to the student. More polished presentation is expected later in the semester. It may be to your advantage to present early, leaving time for revision of the written version. The two versions may differ considerably (although they need not).
Each panel will prepare a biographical sketch, basic bibliography and glossary of terms for each theorist to be discussed. This will be presented to the class (xerox sufficient copies and note that you will receive comparable materials from your classmates) one week in advance of the presentation. The team may recommend BRIEF readings, three copies of which will be available in the department library (with a copy provided to the instructor in case they disappear) one week in advance along with a copy of the background material. Each student should make a file or binder of this material. It is an invaluable resource – in addition to usefulness for studying for the final, it will provide you with an intensive guide to material you could not possibly read yourself within a single course.
Class discussion will constitute 10% of your mark. This is not a correspondence course and you cannot remain a passive learner. You are unlikely to do well without regular class attendance and participation. Students are responsible for knowing anything said in class (not factual details, but lines of argument and theorists, works and concepts discussed). You are expected to learn from your fellow students as well as from the instructor and T.A.
The final exam will explore issues of critical theory in anthropology and related disciplines in the social sciences and humanities (based on the edited text and class materials, including your colleagues’ seminar presentations). It will include both essay and short-answer identification questions. These will not be trick questions. Students who have attended class regularly, done the readings, and followed the discussions will be able to identify the theorists, ideas and major works.
This course is intended as the culmination of the Honours Anthropology degree at the University of Western Ontario. It is not supposed to be easy, though I hope it will be fun. It is designed to pull together things you have learned over four (or more) years, thereby increasing your confidence in your own control over the discipline of anthropology. Professional socialization is integral to continuing study beyond the undergraduate level. For those of you who move directly to employment or switch disciplines, this is your chance to try out the role of the critical social science scholar. Our society desperately needs an informed intelligentsia, both inside and outside the academy. This is the goal of our education and of my teaching. Its value is not restricted to those who aspire to become academic anthropologists. These will, however, be well prepared to perform as scholars with theoretical breadth and anthropological sophistication.
(Some comments from former theory students" "It is clear that she was interested in this material." "I have to come back to school (despite an excellent job) – there’s no one to talk to about books I’m reading." "I thought this stuff was interesting but irrelevant (from an archaeologist) but all my first year graduate courses cited Foucault and all those guys.")
The course description in the UWO Calendar (for which I take no responsibility) defines "anthropological thought" in terms of "current anthropological debates and contemporary theoretical frameworks as they may be used in the analysis of anthropological problems and thought." Anthropological projects filling this bill include:
reformulating the traditional concept of culture to incorporate factionalism, conflict, violence, internal diversity (e.g., class, gender, race, ethnicity), and individual agency;
the future of anthropology given the ongoing intellectual baggage deriving from its historic roots in colonialism and imperialism;
creating a conceptual space for politics grounded in social science research from the standpoint or situated perspective of the researcher(s), providing a viable balance between cultural relativism and moral nihilism;
qualitative ethnographic methodology based on participant-observation and face-to-face interaction; the nature of the generalizations arising from such particularism;
our ongoing disciplinary commitment to comparative, cross-cultural perspective as essential to adequate social science.
Final exam as scheduled by the University – 30%
(class participation – 10%)
Regna Darnell, Ph.D., F.R.S.C. Phone: 661-2111 x85087, 86429
Social Science Centre: 3329, 3254, 3255