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Course Instructor: Jordan Haug

Meeting Times: Tues. 9am, 10am, 2pm, and 3pm.

Classroom: JFSB 1053C

Office Location: KMBL 829

Office Hours: Tues. 11am-12pm, Fri. 9am-11am, or by appointment.

Have you ever wanted to know more about how different societies and cultures organize families and recognize gender? This course explores how kinship, or forms of “relatedness,” varies across the world and how culture influences the roles and statuses assigned to gender. Please take the time to review the Learning Objectives below, and watch this short video for a related introduction to the sociology of the family, which shares striking similarities to anthropological approaches to kinship and gender.

Course Learning Objectives

Students will learn:

  1. The nature of kinship, geneological basis of society, and cross-cultural importance of marriage relationships;
  2. How culture relates to gender roles and inequalities in societies;
  3. The basics of kinship data collection and analysis for anthropological fieldwork.

The Importance of Historical Knowledge to Contemporary Debates

Some of the texts we’ll be reading in this course are classics in the anthropology of kinship and gender. Occasionally, you may be tempted to question the value of reading something that is several decades old. Trust me, they are foundational to all contemporary writings on kinship and gender in anthropology. Without familiarity with these texts, you’d miss the contextual knowledge essential for understanding contemporary debates. This brief clip featuring Anwar Shaikh’s comments on the necessary knowledge of classical economics holds true for anthropological studies of kinship and gender.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_tta_section][vc_tta_section title=”Information” tab_id=”1527623588361-e1e6c1d6-f093″][vc_column_text]Required Text (2 books)

  • Godelier, M. (2011). The Metamorphoses of Kinship, Trans. N. Scott. London: Verso.
  • Haug, J., ed. (n.d.). Dictionary of Kinship Concepts and Behaviors.

Study Habits

Please read the newsletter guide, “How to Build a Class Schedule,” which states that “BYU expects students to spend at least 2 hours doing work outside of class” per credit hour. This means you should usually be spending at least 6 hours outside of lecture doing course work for a three credit course. Because we are only meeting as sections for only 1 hour a week, and this is till a 3 credit course, you’re expected to spend even more time working on course work outside of the seminar meeting times for this class. You’ll likely be spending at least 8 hours a week on coursework outside of the lecture.

Weekly Reading Annotations

Many of the assignments in the course use Persuall for text annotation. Please watch the following video for advice on how to annotate a text. In addition to your usual text annotation, you should be asking at least 5 questions and answering at least 2 questions in your Perusall comments.

Class Participation

You’re expected to attend one section meeting every Tuesday. During that section seminar we’ll be discussing the assigned text together. Please come prepared to pose and answer questions. You’ll receive credit for your participation during the seminar, and at the end of each seminar I’ll pose a question that will not be provided on Learning Suite. In the exam posted that afternoon (at 4pm) you’ll have the opportunity to self-grade your preparation for the seminar and answer the question I provided at the end of the seminar. Missed participation points are not recoverable.


Please message me directly through Learning Suite. When composing emails/messages, please follow the instructions from this useful guide. If you do not follow those instructions, I will not respond to your emails. Awaiting my response is never an excuse for not completing the assignments as described in the syllabus. When in doubt, check the syllabus.

Accessibility and Academic Accommodations

See the syllabus on Learning Suite for more information on University Policies.

Point Distribution and Late Assignments

Below is a breakdown of the points available in the course. Late assignments will be accepted, but the grade will be automatically reduced by a whole letter grade. There is no time limit on accepting late assignments, but they are also considered late immediately after the assigned time they are due.


The grade scale is the following– A: 940-1200; A-: 900-929; B+: 870-899; B: 830-869; B-: 800-829; C+: 770-799; C: 730-769; C-: 700-729; D+: 670-699; D: 630-669; and D-: 600-629.[/vc_column_text][/vc_tta_section][vc_tta_section title=”Schedule” tab_id=”1527623779727-9cf68d03-b218″][vc_column_text]Sep 3 (T)- Seminar: Course Introduction

  • Read: Tannenbaum, M. (2013, Apr. 2). The Problem When Sexism Just Sounds So Nice. Scientific American.
  • Watch: de Azevedo-Hanks, J. (2019, Jul. 22). The Costs of Idealizing Motherhood. TEDx.
  • Listen/read: Poole, J. (2018, Jun. 7). Why Grandmothers May Hold The Key To Human Evolution. NPR.

Sep 10 (T)- Seminar: Inequality, Social Control, and Patripotestal Violence

  • Read: Coontz, S. & P. Henderson (1986). “‘Explanations’ of Male Dominance.” In S. Coontz & P. Henderson, eds., Women’s Work, Men’s Property: The Origins of Gender and Class, Pp. 1-34. London: Verso.
  • Read: Ortner, S. ([1974] 1996). “Is Female to Male as Nature Is to Culture?” In Making Gender: The Politics and Erotics of Culture, Pp. 21-41. New York: Beacon Press.
  • Read: Staley, R. (2019, Mar. 30). In Papua New Guinea, witch hunts, torture, and murder are reactions to the modern world. South China Morning Post.

Sep 17 (T)- Seminar: Kinship in the Field

  • Read: Godelier, M. (2011). The Metamorphoses of Kinship, Trans. N. Scott, Pp. 1-74. London: Verso.

Sep 24 (T)- Seminar: Descent, Filiation, and Affiliation 

  • Read: Godelier, M. (2011). The Metamorphoses of Kinship, Trans. N. Scott, Pp. 75-121.

Oct 1 (T)- Seminar: Lineages, Property, and Labor

  • Read: Chevillard, N. & S. Leconte. (1983). “The Dawn of Lineage Societies: The Origins of Women’s Oppression.” In S. Coontz & P. Henderson, eds., Women’s Work, Men’s Property: The Origins of Gender and Class, Pp. 76-107. London: Verso.
  • Read: Coontz, S. & P. Henderson (1983). “Property Forms, Political Power, and Female Labour in the Origins of Class and State Societies.” In S. Coontz & P. Henderson, eds., Women’s Work, Men’s Property: The Origins of Gender and Class, Pp. 108-155. London: Verso.

Oct 8 (T)- Seminar: Alliance, Residence, and Kinship Terminologies

  • Read: Godelier, M. (2011). The Metamorphoses of Kinship, Trans. N. Scott, Pp. 123-218. London: Verso.
  • Watch: Rudder, J. (2018, Apr. 27). Family Trees in Other Languages: Our World’s 7 Kinship Systems. NativLang [9.30 mins].

Oct 15 (T)- Seminar: Conception, Begetting, and Parenthood

  • Read: Godelier, M. (2011). The Metamorphoses of Kinship, Trans. N. Scott, Pp. 219-298. London: Verso.

Oct 22 (T)- Seminar: The Sexed Body

  • Read: Godelier, M. (2011). The Metamorphoses of Kinship, Trans. N. Scott, Pp. 300-317. London: Verso.
  • Read: Knauft, B. (1999). “Bodily Images In Melanesia: Cultural Substances and Natural Metaphors.” In From Primitive to Postcolonial in Melanesia & Anthropology, Pp 24-88. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.

Oct 29 (T)- Seminar: Taboos

  • Read: Godelier, M. (2011). The Metamorphoses of Kinship, Trans. N. Scott, Pp. 319-430. London: Verso.

Nov 5 (T)- Seminar: The Past and Future of Kinship

  • Read: Godelier, M. (2011). The Metamorphoses of Kinship, Trans. N. Scott, Pp. 431-553. London: Verso.

Nov 12 (T)- Seminar: Materiality, Modernity, and Meaning

  • Read: Selections from Strathern, M. (1988). The Gender of the Gift. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Nov 19 (T)- Seminar: Strathernograms

  • Read: Gell, A. (1999). “Strathernograms, or, the Semiotics of Mixed Metaphors.” In E. Hirsch, ed., The Art of Anthropology: Essays and Diagrams, Pp. 29-75. London: Athlone Press.

Nov 26 (T)- NO SEMINAR [Friday Instruction]

Dec 3 (T)- Seminar: Revisiting Nature and Culture

  • Read: Valeri, V. (1990). “Both Nature and Culture: Reflections on Menstrual and Parturitional Taboos.” In J.M. Atkinson & S. Errington, eds., Power and Difference: Gender in Island Southeast Asia, Pp. 235-272. Stanford: Stanford University Press.
  • Read: Ortner, S. (1996). “So, Is Female to Male as Nature is to Culture?” In Making Gender: The Politics and Erotics of Culture, Pp. 173-180. Boston: Beacon Press.

Dec 10 (T)- Seminar: What Kinship Is

  • Read: Selections from Sahlins, M. (2015). What Kinship Is…and Is Not. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
  • Read: Carsten, J. (2019). “The Stuff of Kinship.” In S. Bamford, ed., The Cambridge Handbook of Kinship, Pp. 133-150. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_tta_section][vc_tta_section title=”Assignments” tab_id=”1527624097128-b0a6684a-8f7d”][vc_column_text]For this course you’ll write one paper as your final assignment (due Dec. 18th at 6pm). However, there are assignments that culminate in the final paper. They are:

  1. Paper topic proposal (10 points, due Oct. 8th, 11:59pm).
  2. Draft of the final paper (40 points, due Nov. 16th, 11:59pm).
  3. Peer review of student paper (30 points, due Nov. 23rd, 11:59pm).
  4. Final paper (100 points, due Dec. 18th, 6pm).

[/vc_column_text][/vc_tta_section][vc_tta_section title=”Films” tab_id=”1564102514029-5ba7a02d-6b90″][vc_column_text]Choose which assignments you want to complete.

  1. To Find the Baruya Story (20 points, due Sept. 17th, 9am).
  2. A World Without Fathers or Husbands (20 points, due Oct. 29th, 9am).