INTRODUCTION TO SOCIAL AND CULTURAL ANTHROPOLOGY
Syllabus, Fall 2007
Santa Clara University
Amy A. Donovan, Ph.D., Instructor
Class: M & W 10:30 – 11:35am Location: O’Connor 109
Instructor Office: O’Connor 311 Phone: 408/551-3000 x 6160
Office Hours: M & W 2:15-3:15 pm Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
This course offers familiarity with a wide range of salient and prescient issues in
social and cultural anthropology. Studying how things work at a societal level
means taking a scrutinizing look at global and local processes and the ways in
which they are linked. As a seminar we will study what Appadurai called the
“social life of things” from the social systems that support commodities -- their
productions, distribution and consumption -- to the interpretive study of garbage,
that which is considered without value. We will look at anthropologists’ efforts to
document the Green Movement, as well as efforts to win civil rights. A significant
focus of the course is on cultural survival – whether this be related to kinship and
social networks, religious celebration, ritual practice, or the uses of linguistic
forms. We will study the experiences of workers in the Santa Clara Valley, both
in the computer industry and in the canneries, and we will look at migration in
terms of the globalization of labor. In this context, we take up the gendered
division of labor both within and outside the domestic sphere. In studying
processes of social control, we study the experiences of different ethnic groups,
which have struggled with discriminatory and sometimes exclusionary laws and
policies. Here, we look at the role of anthropology in documenting belief
systems, life-ways, and cultural practices in ways that are later constructively
used by these groups and their advocates. Unlike many introductory courses,
this course offers training in ethnographic fieldwork through participation in an
inter-disciplinary research team of approximately seventy students.
Required Texts: Stack, Cole, and a Reader will be made available to you.
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Calculus for Determining the Grade
20% In-Class Essays and their Presentation in class discussions.*
25% In Class presentations about the film or readings.
20% Field Activity Assignments Getting Out There and Making It Happen and
then coming home to document it all, Community Based Learning.
10% Final Fieldwork Mixed Media Presentation by each Research Working
Group due after Break, (pictures, and other documents will be incorporated)
5% Submit Two Abstracts –
One abstract of approx. 430 words for 2008 American
Anthropological Association Meetings November 19 - November 23
in San Francisco and
A one page abstract for the 35th Annual Western Departments of
Anthropology and Sociology Undergraduate Research Conference to
be held at Santa Clara University on Saturday, April 5, 2008.
20% Final Paper for End of Term
Five to seven pages. (Double spaced, 12 point Verdana Font)
This is your opportunity to demonstrate the insights you have gained from the course
readings and filmic texts, reference can be made to fieldwork, here, but only as it illustrates
and supports arguments and ideas that you have developed in conjunction with the course
*To make for lively engagement with the course material I have borrowed a teaching
technique from Dr. Mary Hegland, a senior member of our faculty in Anthropology.
Our in class presentations made by individual students (and graded by the class) will be
complemented by in-class essay writing. The class will break into groups of about 6
people and each group will be assigned a question relating to the material. After about 15
minutes we will stop writing; and groups will share insights among themselves. One
member of the group will act as group facilitator making sure that each group member
shares individual insights, and tentative conclusions. Another member of the group will
play the role of reporter, taking notes on each person’s contribution. At the end of this
session, the reporters will present group findings to the class. This assignment will
account for 20 percent of the grade, initially described as “Class Participation” and
“Responses to the Readings and Films”. The lowest grade that you receive during the
term will be dropped. Pease note that after each in-class presentations all students will
submit a grade of the fellow classmate’s presentation in the provided drop box on Angel.
This grade will be factored in with that provided by the instructor.
PLEASE ALSO NOTE:
Potential Guest Lecturer – Time and Date to be announced. Lisabeth Castro-Smythe on “Assisting
Largely Undocumented Monolingual Spanish-speaking Domestic Workers in Negotiating More
Favorable Terms of their Labor.”
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There is no good reason to appropriate the work of another. We all learn from one
another and it is exciting to acknowledge and cite this interconnectedness in our work. I
fully expect that you will honor yourselves and one another as you conduct your
academic lives as you would in your personal lives. The University wording with respect
to this issue is as follows: ACADEMIC INTEGRITY
The University is committed to academic excellence and integrity. Students are
expected to do their own work and to cite any sources they use. A student who is
guilty of a dishonest act in an examination, paper, or other work required for a
course, or who assists others in such an act, may, at the discretion of the
instructor, receive a grade of F for the course.
In addition, a student found guilty of a dishonest act may be subject to sanctions
up to and including dismissal from the University as a result of the student judicial
process as described in the Community Handbook.
A student who violates copyright laws, including those covering the copying of
software programs, or who knowingly alters official academic records from this or
any other institution is subject to similar disciplinary action.
As a note: some consider the threshold for plagiarism to be three or more words in a row
lifted/copied/stolen from the original text.
Students in Need of Assistance
Please feel free to contact me at anytime with issues that you are struggling with inside or outside
of school that are having an impact on your work; and I will assist you in getting the help you need.
The University policy with respect to this issue is as follows: “To request academic
accommodations for a disability, students must contact Disability Resources located in The
Drahmann Center in Benson, room 214, (408) 554-4111; TTY (408) 554-5445. Students must
provide documentation of a disability to Disability Resources prior to receiving accommodations.”
Please let me know during the first couple of weeks in the quarter if you will be needing
accommodations for medical, physical, psychological, or learning disabilities; related
documentation must also be provided.
Please Note: Some of these films and readings may surprise you or show you something you
haven't seen before. In the field of anthropology, we get beyond our own cultural knowledge and
often stretch our own parameters in doing so. This process brings about personal
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transformation as we learn to recognize that different groups of people and societies hold different
values. Within different group and societies this is also wide variation. Cultures are not
homogeneous, and as Louis Henry Morgan, emphasized culture is also plastic -- is ever changing
and in the process of remolding, possesses the quality of plasticity is dynamic. Within societies,
there are, of course, a wide range of individual and collective behaviors and practices. Some of
those beliefs, norms, and behaviors may be unfamiliar and, in some cases, disturbing or
unacceptable to us. In this anthropology class, we are studying multiple ways of doing things in all
realms of life -- economics, politics, religion, kinship, sexuality and gender. Learning about the
plurality of our world is one of our primary objectives in this class; and one of the good faith
practices that we will enact here is RESPECT for these values, norms and practices whether they
appeal to us or not. We will differentiate between analyzing and understanding beliefs, norms, and
practices and making value judgments and expressing our opinions about them. If you do not want
to be exposed to texts which may be unappealing, disturbing, and potentially reprehensible to you,
you should not take this class.
Please also see the Good Faith Principles distributed in class.
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Course Fieldwork Component
Central to this class is becoming familiar with doing fieldwork. To accomplish this goal
Students of Introduction to Social and Cultural Anthropology will join the students in the
Anthropological Methods course and students of Professor Lucia Varona’s Advanced
Conversational Spanish course to create a sixty-nine person Bilingual Research
Working Group. This working group will share the goal and objective of researching
and documenting the needs and experiences of the clients who utilize services at
Sacred Heart Community Center.
Sacred Heart Community Center http://www.shcstheheart.org/flash.html
has twelve different program areas including English as a Second Language classes,
after school homework support, a child care center, parenting classes and programs for
legal assistance, food, and clothing. Alongside the Spanish Students the Intro. and
Methods students will sign up with the Arrupe Center at the University which facilitates
Partnerships for Community-Based Learning. The Associate Director for Community-
Based Learning, Laurie Laird will be visiting our classes to explain the process, which
includes orientation in the beginning and a reflection process at the end of the term.
On Monday Sept. 24th at 6pm, Volunteer Program Manager, Todd Madigan will be giving
us all a tour of Sacred Heart Community Center and so this event will function as our
collective orientation and launch party of sorts. After the orientation, our team of sixty-
nine will break into smaller Research Working Groups of about 5 students each, which
will focus on different programs within Sacred Heart Community Center.
Building the Community <---> University Bridge
I have also arranged for the agency Executive Director, Poncho Guevara to visit the
campus. He will be contextualizing the work of the agency within the changing socio-
economic realities of the Greater San Jose Area/Santa Clara Valley. Todd Madigan will
also be giving a talk, telling about a special initiative that he has developed in which a
group of concerned persons has developed a collective assisting homeless youth in
need through a routinized economic re-distribution plan. These talks will help us to think
more broadly about the challenges of sustaining an agency and delivering services;
while also giving you all a chance to ask questions of agency directors as you come to
develop them in the course of the term. I am also inviting Cristina, a Sociology Student
who worked at Sacred Heart all last year to present her data, from interviews she
conducted with clients, staff, and through archival and government data on the
neighborhood. All of these talks will better inform us and help us to develop research
questions that we can ask while we are in the field.
Fieldwork through the Arrupe Center is 2 hours per week for the last 8 weeks of the
term. In addition to the two hour field contribution, I will be asking you to meet for a one
hour session with your Research Working Group. This Working Group session is the
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weekly meeting in which Intro students, Methods students, and Spanish students, will do
what is called triangulation of the data – that is you all will share accounts of your field
experiences and increase your collective knowledge base. I will be meeting regularly
with these Working Groups, and together as we discuss our field experiences we will
begin to see patterns in what people report from the field. In a continuous dialogue with
the Intro. students and informed by their observations and insights as participants at the
organization, the Bilingual Interviewing Team comprised of Methods and Advanced
Spanish Students, will work with the Sacred Heart clients (about 70% of whom are
monolingual Spanish Speakers) to conduct interviews, mapping, and perhaps a photo
voice project at Sacred Heart and in the surrounding neighborhood.
On Monday and Wednesday we will be meeting in the classroom. Friday class is not
meeting in the classroom. Instead, you will be expected to meet for an hour or more
with your research team. These working group meetings will be taped, and a person
from the group will be appointed as scribe. The responsibility of the scribe will be to take
notes at the research meeting, documenting the contributions of each person in the
group, as well as the insights reached collectively. Over the course of the term, these
notes will prove helpful in the development of salient issues that will shape the research
Distribution of Research Findings
The last and final field assignment will be to write a paragraph (which is called an
abstract) that describes your research findings. These abstracts will be submitted to the
American Anthropological Association. If the association accepts the proposed paper (or
poster) I will assist the student in preparing a paper to present her/his research findings
at the 2008 meetings which are to be held in San Francisco (November 19 - November
23). We will also share our research findings at the Research Conference here at Santa
Clara University sponsored jointly between by the Departments of Anthropology and
Sociology Departments. Spanish students will be reporting on their field experiences in
Spanish and are encouraged to share any written documentation of their experiences
with Sacred Heart.
Giving Back to the Community: Uses of the Research Product
At the end of the semester when we have consolidated our data we will present copies
to the agency – to Poncho Guevarra and Todd Madigan, to increase their knowledge
base about the lives of their clients, and the experience of their clients at the agency. In
addition to best practices, they are particularly interested to know about what is difficult
or problematic for clients, so that they can figure out how to improve client services.
They are also interested to know about power relations in the agency, how do different
staff interact and how do staff and clients interact. They explained that they are
interested in opening their center for student research, because students will see their
program from another set of eyes and will have insight about the program that they who
work there everyday will not have. Sacred Heart and the Arrupe Center have offered our
three classes a chance to do in-depth research and to give them something meaningful
that they can work with to improve their ability to support clients in need.
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Evidence of Culture: Objects, Treasures, Artifacts, and Garbage
Overview of the Course
17 Good Faith Principles
Laurie Laird from Arrupe Center presents on Partnerships for Community Based Learning
“Introduction” p. 1-6; “The Practice and Ethics of Field Work” p. 7-13;
“Entering the Ivory Tower: The Life Histories and Experiences of First Generation College
Students at Santa Clara University”: Read Introduction plus one testimonial.
Complete NIH web-based training on Research Ethics
“Human Participant Protections: Education for Research Teams.” Directions for accessing the
tutorial website and completion of the computer based test are as follows:
http:\ \ cme.nci.nih.gov\
Choose Course One and complete
Copy completion certificate in an email to your self and to instructor, print 3 copies.
Wed. Cross-Cultural Perspectives: Garbage, Artifacts and Treasure
Delaney, C. L., “Clothing Matters”
Miss Evers Boys
Donovan, A. (1995) Refuse & Refuge: Youth at the Edge of Consumer Society
Exhibition Tape, Material Culture Tape
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Fri. Extra Credit Field Trip at End of Week One
21 Reception for Student Artist In Residence, Micah Gibson
Sept. 'Casual Fridays @Art At The Dump'
& Friday, September 21 from 5 pm to 9 pm
Sat. Saturday, September 22 from 1 pm to 5 pm
22 Directions From The Peninsula: Go north on Highway 101 and get off at the exit marked
Sept. "Monster Park." At the end of the exit you will come to a stop sign. Turn left onto Alana Way
and go under the freeway. The road curves sharply to the left and you will come to another sign
at Beatty Road (but there is no street sign for Beatty Rd. Turn right and go to the end of Beatty.
Turn right on Tunnel Ave. Go a half block to 503 Tunnel Ave.
The Social Life of Things
Guest Lecture: Cristina Sanidad, Former Intern at Sacred Heart Community
“Aspects of Culture” p.73-77, “Language and Culture” p. 79-85;
Sept. “Social Systems” p. 149-154; and
6pm Sacred Heart Community Center Tour and “Launch Party for Research Team
The Wrath of Grapes
26 On-Line Reading: Bridget Anderson article:
Berreman, G., “Race, Caste, and Other Invidious Distinctions in Social Stratification.”
Green, S. S. Silicon Valley's Women Workers: A Theoretical Analysis of Sex
Segregation in the Electronics Industry Labor Market.
Katz, N. a K., “David Fast forward: the Internationalization of Silicon Valley”
Secrets of Silicon Valley
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“Economic Systems, Changing Technology, and the Impact of the West” p.
“Political Systems” p.331-335.
Mintz, S. W., Sweetness and power : the place of sugar in modern history
Wed. Appadurai, A. “Global Ethnoscapes: Notes and Queries for a Transnational
Oct. Colen, S., "Like a Mother to Them"
A Rap on Race! (If Available through Library / on order Recording)
Wilson, A., “American Catalogues of Asian Brides” p. 114-125.
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Law, Policy & Exclusion
Space & Place:
Monday Penny Game
“Political Systems” p.331-335.
Hayden, D., The power of place : urban landscapes as public history.
Carved in Silence (approx. 1h.)
Potlatch…a strict law bids us dance (approx. 1 hr.)
Trouillot, M.-R., “Anthropology and the Savage Slot: The Poetics and Politics of
The Couple in the cage: a Guatinaui odyssey
Fernandez-Kelly, P., “The ‘Maquila’ Women” p. 324-330.
Columbus on Trial
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WEEKS FIVE & SIX
Kinship & Social Networks: Inclusion & Caretaking
Zavella, P., “Race and Class Perspectives on Women, Work, and Family”
Weiner, A. B., “Reassessing Reproduction”
Disappearing Worlds: The Trobriand Islanders of Papua New Guinea
Kinship, Gender & Sexuality:
Weston, K., Families We Choose: Lesbians, Gays, Kinship.
Stack, C. B., All our kin: strategies for survival in a Black community
Papa & Daddy (Protential guest lecture by filmmaker)
Steinberg, S., The ethnic myth : race, ethnicity, and class
Paris is Burning
Liebow, E. (2003). Tally's corner: a study of Negro streetcorner men
Number our Days
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Myth, Belief, Ritual, Religion
Oct. “Ritual and Belief Systems” p. 381-388.
Brown, K., Mama Lola
Wed. In Class Discussion:
31 1. Linda Green’s work on the Condition of Chronic Trauma, Guatemala during the Civil
Oct War, and
2. Mercedes Dorretti’s international human’s rights work with the Argentine Forensics
Turner, V. W., “Social Dramas and Stories about Them”
Limon, J., “Representation, Ethnicity, and the Precursory Ethnography: Notes of a
Sinha, S., “Religion in an Affluent Society” p. 429-447.
Fri. Dia De Los Muertos
Meet at Mission Cultural Center, 2868 Mission St in San Francisco,
(Time to be Announced)
Those who choose not to attend may alternatively watch and submit a one page
report on either of the films:
Eduardo the Healer
The Split Horn: Life of a Hmong Shaman in America
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The Practice of Healing & the Politics of Disease
Nichter, M. (1987). " Kyasanur Forest Disease: An Ethnography of a Disease of
Wed. In Class Reports on Observations of the SF Day of the Dead Celebration
7 And for those who didn’t choose to attend, Presentations of Films:
Eduardo the Healer
The Split Horn: Life of a Hmong Shaman in America
The Power of Language & Political Action
Political & Economic Control:
“Toward a New Anthropology: On Systems of Inequality” p. 463-469; and
Nader, L., “Up the Anthropologist – Perspectives Gained from Studying Up” p.
Politicized Cultural Resistance:
Wilson, L., “Epistemology and Power: Rethinking Ethnography at Greenham” p. 42-
Screaming Queens or
Roger & Me or
Cole: Spear, A., “Black American English”;
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Nov. 17 NO CLASSES!!!!!!!
Nov. 25 (Enjoy your turkey!)
Monday No Day Class
6-9pm – Final Fieldwork Mixed Media Presentation by each
Nov Research Working Group
Wed. No class. Instructor Unavailable (Away at the American Anthropological Association
Nov. (Due on submission website)
Final Individually Posted Response on “How What I Learned on
Presentation Night Changed My Interpretation of the Fieldwork
30 (Due on submission website)
Two Abstracts –
Nov. One abstract of approx. 430 words for 2008 American Anthropological Association
Meetings November 19 - November 23 in San Francisco and
A one page abstract for the 35th Annual Western Departments of Anthropology
and Sociology Undergraduate Research Conference to be held at Santa Clara
University on Saturday, April 5, 2008.
* Week 11: Instructor Unavailable – I will be away at the American
Anthropological Association Meetings from Tuesday, Nov. 27th to Sunday, Dec.
2nd. (No office hours during this time.)
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Monday Paper Due!!!!!! (Post to submission website)
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