Contemporary Debates Course Spring 2021

Course Content

The course will provide a broad introduction to the tradition of ethno-graphic film. We will focus on key figures in this tradition – for example Haddon, Flaherty, Mead, Asch, Rouch, MacDougall and Gardner. Through a close examination of selected films, we will explore issues concerning the nature of evidence, salvage anthro-pology, the politics of representation, concepts of participation and collabo-ration, aesthetics and ethnography.

Examining teachers: Mats Utas & Don Kulick

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Advanced Study of Anthropological Theory (7.5 credits)

Theory is always an abstraction of reality, an idea that helps us to direct our look and explain phenomena. This course approaches anthropological theories from three perspectives: historically, thematically, and through contemporary anthropological research.

Historically, the course explores some of the key problems to which modern social and cultural anthropology emerged as a response. Thematically, we focus on major theories and debates that have informed anthropological inquiry. Finally, the course exemplifies how anthropologists revisit and remediate classical theoretical discussions in their analytical work today.

Anthropology in Practice (7.5 credits)

Anthropology changed from a rather solitary, immersive, slow-tempo endeavour based on long fieldwork to an often collaborative, short, and quick-tempo engagement. This course will ask you to focus on aspects such as how anthropological practice works in applied contexts, especially that of international development cooperation. How does anthropological writing meet policy-making and interventions? The course captures your imagination on the various careers a Master’s degree in cultural anthropology may offer you. We will focus on the different transferable skills anthropology fosters, which may be used to analyse and improve organisations along future career paths. As anthropology is both a politically and socially engaged discipline, what is the role of anthropology in the public arena?

Meet academics and professionals with experience of international development working in ministries, government organisations, consultancy firms and NGOs. Learn how to do the job, on the job!

Contemporary Debates and Developments in Cultural Anthropology (7.5 credits)

Drawing from recently published ethnographic, theoretical, and/methodological texts in cultural anthropology, the course surveys contemporary developments in one or more subfields of cultural anthropology by means of a series of case-studies and/or thematic reviews presented in lectures, seminars and workshops.

The objective of the course is to provide in-depth knowledge and insights regarding one or more key debates in contemporary cultural anthropology and related developments in anthropological theory, method and ethnography.

Contemporary Issues in Medical Anthropology (7,5 credits)

Medical anthropology faces today novel and productive challenges in its relation to biomedicine, public health and international health policy, whether as fields of investigation or collaboration. What are the specific contributions of a medical anthropological approach to carrying out research within a biomedical context, in the global north and the global south? Health, illness and medicine are ubiquitous in contemporary public debates, but are rarely investigated critically. We will examine the challenges medical anthropologists face in research collaborations with public health, international health organisations, and medical professionals.

This course takes you to examine issues such as ‘the body’, digital health, mental health, hospital ethnography, pharmaceuticals, anatomy, and assisted reproductive technologies.

Ethnography and Multiculturalism (7,5 credits)

Contemporary anthropology has the capacity to enter new productive spaces. At the same time, it has been quite slow engaging in dialogues with policy makers and practitioners. Using anthropological tools, how can we help the fight against ethnic segregation, social exclusion and outright racism? How do we discover and improve methods while contributing perspectives that strengthen a culturally diverse society? How can we best make use of anthropological positions to challenge a hardened political climate with careless debates on migrants and attacks on a “multicultural society”?

Ethnography (7,5 credits)

Ethnography is a qualitative method with origins in cultural and social anthropology, although in recent years it is becoming increasingly popular amongst scholars in many other disciplines in the social sciences and humanities. The aim of this course is to discuss and practice ethnography and other anthropological methods. During this ten week course we combine practical exercises with reading texts about research methodology.

After the course you will in a comprehensive way know how to do ethnography and appreciate its endless possibilities.

Political Ecology (7.5 credits)

Ecology is inherently political. In this course the 'eco-cosmologies' of indigenous peoples are compared to the ecological paradigms of Western science. Contemporary case studies serve to illustrate ongoing contests for stewardship over resources, and as background to discussing modern buzzwords such as 'sustainable development' and to debating the Tragedy of the Commons model.

Political Ecology, is a rapidly growing cross-disciplinary field of study which merges human ecology, political economy, critical geography, philosophy of science, and anthropology in order to grasp the interactions between society and nature in all their complexity. The course will introduce you to the foundations and the latest theoretical perspectives and research methods of this broad field of scholarly practice.