Simon Fraser University
INTRODUCTION TO CULTURAL ANTHROPOLOGY
Prof. Michael Hathaway
Thursday, 10:30am-12:20pm, 3260 WMC (West Mall Centre)
Tutorial Sessions and Instructors:
Bicram Rijal [email protected]
Katie Forman [email protected]
Courtney Span [email protected]
Thurs 12:30 - 2:20 Fri 8:30 - 10:20
D101-TUT(4874) Courtney D105-TUT(4882) Bikram
D102-TUT(4876) Katie D106-TUT(4884) Katie
Thurs 2:30 - 2:20 Fri 10:30 - 2:20
D103-TUT(4878) Bikram D107-TUT(4886) Courtney
D104-TUT(4880) Katie D108-TUT(4980) Bikram
Prof. Michael Hathaway: Thursday 9:30-10:30 am, AQ 5073;
Monday 1:15-2:15 pm at Harbour Centre 2138 (by appointment) or other
hours by appointment. Email: [email protected]
TA offices are in AQ 6187 a, b or c-- depending on availability. The rooms are adjacent.
Courtney: Friday 12:30 - 1:30 pm
Bikram: Thursday 4:30 - 5:30 pm
Katie: Tuesday 12:30 - 1:30 pm
This course will examine what we mean by “culture” and cultural
anthropology. In this class we will explore a number of topics, such as space,
time, and gender, to understand the various ways these have been
experienced and lived in different places and times. We will use one
anthropology textbook, and two detailed accounts of social life. The first book
examines changing notions of self, romance, and marriage in Nepal. The
second book looks closely at the everyday lives of families in Brazilian shanty
towns near Rio de Janeiro. As a class, we will also think about intersections
between these readings and our own lives and histories, and gain a broader
perspective on difference. One of the main goals of this course will be
learning how to think analytically and anthropologically about the lives of
others and ourselves. We will use lectures, small-group break out sessions,
and films, as well as tutorial for more in-depth discussions.
• Delaney, Carol Investigating Culture: An Experiential Introduction to
Anthropology. 2 ndEdition, Blackwell Publishing, 2011.
• Goldstein, Donna M. Laughter Out of Place. University of California
Press, 2004. • Ahearn, Laura Invitations to Love: Literacy, Love Letters, and Social
Change in Nepal. University of Michigan Press, 2001.
Graded course assignments include exams, short essays, and various
learning exercises. Attendance at tutorials is a major part of the participation
Your grade will be based on the following:
Midterm exam (Week 7): 25%
Final exam: 25%
Ethnographic exercises (from the Delaney text): 30% Note the due dates on
Tutorial participation (including ungraded written assignments): 20%
Extra Credit Turned in by the last lecture at the beginning of class. You may
only choose one extra credit. These will earn an extra 1---5%.
1) In relation to the body assignment #2 (Delaney p. 239), create a spoof of
an ad in a way that highlights cultural expectations (i.e. gender, ethnicity).
Provide a copy of the original and your modified version, with a one page
write-up of how your version challenges such expectations. See Adbuster’s
website for some examples: http://adbusters.org/spoofads/index.php
2) Clip a newspaper article and analyze its cultural assumptions. Refer to one
of the class readings in your one page analysis.
3) Create a family tree going back five generations for your family using the
correct kinship symbols. For the last three generations, compare the gender
expectations of each generation. Write a one-paragraph analysis for each
gender for each generation (six paragraphs in total). This should describe
expected behaviors, social roles, and actions within the family. It is likely that
you will get better details by consulting with your parents and/or
NOTE: All the assignments in this course must be completed for a final grade
to be assigned. The Department of Sociology and Anthropology follows SFU
policy in relation to grading practices, grade appeals (Policy T 20.01) and
academic honesty and misconduct procedures (Policy T 10.03). It is the
responsibility of students to inform themselves of the content of these
policies. See http://www.sfu.ca/policies/
This syllabus may be modified as needed. Dates for exams and assignments
will remain the same, but the order of readings or films may change. As well,
there may be one or more guest speakers. If I make any changes, I will
announce these in class and post an updated version of the schedule
on the course web site.
REGISTERING FOR CLASS:
If you are unsure whether you are registered, check your registration status
under “myCourses” in my.sfu.ca. HOW THIS COURSE WORKS AND HOW YOU CAN BEST LEARN IN IT
• Lectures, tutorials, assignments, and readings are linked but not all
identical. You will be presented with many different examples and
ways of framing ideas -- we will provide you with maps but you need to
find your way through this landscape. It is therefore important that you
make every effort to complete the assigned reading on time.
• Take the short exercise assignments seriously. You will learn by doing.
Separately, each of these exercises is worth a small portion of your
final grade. Cumulatively, they are worth more than the mid-term
exam because they are so important for understanding the course
• Pay attention to the notices you may receive on the course email list. It
is your responsibility to stay informed of any updates, additions,
• If you have a question (about assignments, the reading, or the lecture)
chances are someone else has the same question. You might want to
check with other students first. If they are not sure, please feel free to
email your questions to me (Prof. Hathaway) or your TA.
• Your assignments and your exams will be marked by your tutorial
leader. I consult with the TAs throughout the semester and agree on
criteria for marking to insure fairness across the course as a whole.
• As anthropology is often open-ended, some students worry that they
don’t know what to pay attention to or what level of detail they will be
responsible for. We expect you to be able to use examples to illustrate
or explore key ideas. This course emphasizes conceptual thinking. The
two ethnographies (by Goldstein and by Ahearn) are primary examples
and you will be asked to think about these cases in terms of the
concepts in your textbook (Delaney). We will tell you if there are
particular names, dates, facts, or definitions we expect you to
• You are expected to attend class regularly and to conduct yourself in a
responsible way out of respect for others. Please don’t talk with your
neighbour, use your cell phone, read the newspaper, or surf the web
• You are responsible for reading through the course syllabus and all
instructions, obtaining the required readings, and arranging to receive
• Questions are welcome during lecture. If time restrictions prevent me
from completely addressing your question during class, I am happy to
continue the discussion after class.
• BREAK: The break will come at a natural stopping point more or less
midway in the lecture. Please be prompt in returning.
• Assignments should be brought to the tutorial on the due date. If you
miss tutorial, assignments can be dropped off in your TA’s mail box
(these are located in the main office for Sociology and Anthropology in AQ 5054). You may need to knock on the door for entry. Ask the
secretary to stamp your assignment with the date and time.
• Make sure that your name and tutorial section number is on all
• All written assignments (except in-class exams) should be TYPED and
• Page expectations: Exercise 1 (map plus 2-3 pages of text); exercise 2
(one page); exercis