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Course Instructor: Jordan Haug

Classroom hours: T,R 2pm-3:15pm

Office Hours: By appointment

Course Summary

This course will cover:

  1. The history of theory in 20th century Social and Cultural Anthropology (at least until the mid-1980s).
  2. How theoretical traditions have build on the foundations of their predecessors.
  3. How differing theoretical perspectives contribute to alternative interpretations.
  4. The value of theory to anthropological analysis and argumentation.

Course Learning Objectives

Students will gain:

  1. A knowledge of the foundational theorists of both sociocultural and archaeological anthropology, particularly at the turn of the 20th century.
  2. Personal skills in evaluating the relevance and/or applicability of foundational theorists in sociocultural anthropology and archaeology.
  3. A recognition of our reliance on foundational theory in our world today.
  4. An increased aptitude for critical thinking and expression through course assignments.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_tta_section][vc_tta_section title=”Information” tab_id=”1527623588361-e1e6c1d6-f093″][vc_column_text]Required Text (0 books)

There is no need to purchase a text book for this course. All of the readings will be provided as PDFs.

Coursework Standards

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.

Seminar Readings

Each seminar will have required readings or videos marketed with bullet points.

Note Taking

Please refrain from using laptops, tablets, or smartphones during class. Many studies have found that allowing laptops, tablets, or smartphones in a classroom drastically effects the learning environment of all students, not just the ones using the technology. Content comprehension and memory retention are also drastically improved if you use a pen or pencil and a simple pad of paper to take notes on during class seminars. You will be tested on the content discussed in the following videos.

If you are unable to take notes without a computer, please let me know. I’ll try my best to accommodate you. However, if I notice any inappropriate use of technology during class, only students with notes from the accessibility office will be allowed to use electronics in class.

Assignment Instructions

I’ll be providing you with further instructions concerning assignments during our regular meeting times. If you have questions about an assignment, please ask for clarifications during class. You will need to attend the course lectures if you want thorough instructions.

Class Participation

There are few students enrolled in this course. Therefore, you must attend and participate in discussions. Full participation points will be awarded according to the frequency of attendance and participation in class discussions. We’ll discuss during the seminar precisely what those standards may be. Participation in the course is worth 60 points.


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.

Sensitive Subjects

The study of anthropology may address potentially sensitive topics that a broad range of people face throughout the world. While I will try to guide us through these topics in a careful manner, it is important to recognize that the discussion of these topics is central to understanding of cultures throughout the world. Constructive participation in these discussions means respectful engagement with the issues and sensitivity to how these discussions may impact fellow students. I will be respectful as well. However, recent research has confirmed that the use of “trigger-warnings” can actually be harmful to people, especially those dealing with trauma. I believe issues should challenge us and confronting many of the disturbing aspects of the human experience is essential for understanding human cultural diversity.

Some of you may find yourselves strongly disagreeing with some of the arguments we’ll be reading in this class. I do not expect, or want, you to agree with every author; however, I do expect you consider the strengths and weaknesses of their arguments carefully. Doing so is essential for strengthening your own convictions. John Stuart Mills, perhaps, said it best, “He who knows only his own side of the case, knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them. But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side; if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion” (On Liberty [1859], Ch. 2). You are free to disagree with any perspective offered in the assigned readings, by me, or another student, however, you must do so in a respectful manner. Please remember that appeals from authority are defeasible, and if used without supporting evidence, other than the authority itself, they are formally fallacious. Do not engage in competing appeals from authority without supporting evidence. If you fail to treat the course material, myself, or another student respectfully and thoughtfully (providing questions and comments in good faith), I will invite you to attend class no longer. Missed participation points are not recoverable.

University Policies

Please review the syllabus available on Learning Suite for more information concerning university polities, such as accessibility and mental health accommodations, the prevention of sexual harassment/violence, and plagiarism.

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]


Jan 10 (T)- Seminar: Introduction- Syllabus

Jan 12 (R)- Seminar: Trobriand Islands and Fieldwork

  • Read: Selections from Malnic, J. & J. Kasaipwalova (1998). Kula: Myth and Magic in the Trobriand Islands. Wahroonga: Cowrie Books.
  • Read: One of the three provided selections by Bronislaw Malinowski.


Jan 17 (T)- Seminar: The Ethnographers’s Magic

  • Read: One of the three provided selections by Bronislaw Malinowski.
  • Read: Stocking, Jr., G.W. (1983). “The Ethnographer’s Magic: Fieldwork in British Anthropology from Taylor to Malinowski.” In G.W. Stocking, Jr., ed., Observers Observed: Essays on Ethnographic Fieldwork, Pp. 70-120. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press

Jan 19 (R)- Seminar: The Science of the Irrational

  • Read: One of the three provided selections by Bronislaw Malinowski.
  • Read: Stocking, Jr. G.W. (1986). “Anthropology and the Science of the Irrational: Malinowski’s Encounter with Freudian Psychoanalysis.” In G.W. Stocking, Jr., Malinowski, Rivers, Benedict and Others: Essays on Culture and Personality, Pp., 13-49. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press


Jan 24 (T)- Seminar: Historical Particularism

  • Read: Boas, F. (1920). The Methods of Ethnology. American Anthropologist 22(4): 311–321 [Edited version].
  • Read: Silverstein, M. (2009). “Boasian Cosmographic Anthropology and the Sociocentric Component of Mind.” In R. Handler, ed., Significant Others: Interpersonal and Professional Commitments in Anthropology, Pp. 131-157. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press

Jan 26 (R)- Seminar: Identity and Cultural Relativity

  • Read: Linton, R. (1937). One Hundred Per Cent American. American Mercury (April): 427-429.
  • Read: Fernandez, J.W. (1990).  Tolerance in a Repugnant World and Other Dilemmas in the Cultural Relativism of Melville J. Herskovits. Ethos 18(2): 140-164.
  • Read: Brown, L. (2017, Jan. 7). Voodoo and the Work of Zora Neale Hurston. JSTOR Daily.


Jan 31 (T)- Seminar: Linguistic Relativity

  • Read: Sapir, E. (1912). Language and Environment. American Anthropologist 14 (2): 226–242.
  • Read: Whorf, B.L. ([1939] 1956). “The Relation of Habitual Thought and Behavior to Language.” In J.B. Carroll, ed., Language, Thought, and Reality: Selected Writings of Benjamin Lee Whorf, Pp. 134-159. Cambridge: M.I.T. Press.

Feb 2 (R)- Seminar: Culture, Psychology, and Personality

  • Read: Silverstein, M. (1992). Sapir’s Psychological and Psychiatric Perspectives on Culture. CLN 23(2): 11-16.
  • Read: Benedict, R. (1932). Configurations of Culture in North America. American Anthropologist 34(1): 1–27 [edited version].
  • Read: Selections from Mead, M. ([1935] 1963). Sex and Temperament in Three Primitive Societies. New York: Morrow Quill.


Feb 7 (T)- Seminar: Mead and Bateson’s Bali

  • Begin reading: Bateson, G. & M. Mead. (1942). Balinese Character: A Photographic Analysis. New York Academy of Sciences.
  • Visit: https://www.loc.gov/exhibits/mead/field-bali.html
  • Watch: Mead, M. Trance and Dance in Bali.
  • Watch: Mead, M. Childhood Rivalry in Bali and New Guinea.
  • Watch: Mead, M. Bathing in Three Cultures.

Feb 9 (R)- Seminar: Contextualizing Bali

  • Read: Bateson, G. (1949). “Bali: The Value System of a Steady State.” In M. Fortes, ed., Social Structure: Essays Presented to A.R. Radcliffe-Brown, Pp. 35-53. Oxford: Clarendon.
  • Read: McDermott, R. (2006). “A Century of Margaret Mead.” In J.B.R. Cherneff & E. Hochwald, eds., Visionary Observers: Anthropological Inquiry and Education, Pp. 56-86. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press.


Feb 14 (T)- Seminar: The Gift Economy

  • Read: Selections from Mauss, M. (1924-25] 2016). The Gift: Expanded Edition. Chicago: HAU Books.

Feb 16 (R)- Seminar: The Substantivism vs. Formalism Debate

  • Read: Polanyi, K. (1957). “The Economy as Instituted Process.” In K. Polanyi, C.M. Arensberg, & H.W. Pearson, eds., Trade and Market in the Early Empires: Economies in History and Theory, Pp. 239-270. Glencoe: The Free Press.
  • Read: Friedman, M. (1991). The Island of Stone Money. Working Papers in Economics, No. E-91-3. Stanford: Hoover Institution Press.
  • Watch: Bitcoin and blockchains: The future of money explained with ancient stones on the tiny Pacific island of Yap. Quartz [11.5 mins].


Feb 21 (T)- [NO SEMINAR]: Monday Instruction

Feb 23 (R)- Seminar: Unilineal Descent and the Segmentary Systems of the Nuer

  • Read: Fortes, M. & E.E. Evans-Pritchard (1940). “Introduction.” In M. Fortes & E.E. Evans-Pritcahrd, eds., African Political Systems, Pp. 1-23. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.
  • Read: Evans-Pritchard, E.E. (1940). “The Nuer of the Southern Sudan.” In M. Fortes & E.E. Evans-Pritcahrd, eds., African Political Systems, Pp. 272-296. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.


Feb 28 (T)- Seminar: The Values of Nuer Religion

  • Read: Evans-Pritchard, E.E. (1956). Nuer Religion, Pp. 123-143, 231-247. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
  • Read: Dumont, L. ([1968]1975). “Preface to the French edition of E.E. Evans-Pritchard’s The Nuer, by L. Dumont, Professor.” In J.H.M. Beattie & R.G. Lienhardt, eds., Studies in Social Anthropology: Essays in Memory of E.E. Evans-Pritchard, Pp. 328-342. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

Mar 2 (R)- Seminar: The Katchin and Oscillating Social Structures

  • Read: Selections from Leach, E. (1954). Political Systems of Highland Burma: A Study of Katchin Social Structure. G. Bell & Son.


Mar 7 (T)- Seminar: Cultural Ecology

  • Read: White, L. (1944). The Symbol: The Origin and Basis of Human Behavior. Philosophy of Science 7(4): 451-463.
  • Read: Rappaport, R. (1967). Ritual Regulation of Environmental Relations among a New Guinea People. Ethnology 6(1): 17-30.

Mar 9 (R)- Seminar: The Social Drama

  • Read: Turner, V. ([1957] 1996). Schism and Continuity: A Study of Ndembu Village Life, Pp. 1-3, 22-23, 35, 44-52, 58-60, 82-115, 234-257. Oxford: Berg.


Mar 14 (T)- Seminar: Institutions of Difference

  • Read: Selections from Lowie, R. (1935). The Crow Indians. New York: Farrah & Rinehart.

Mar 23 (R)- Seminar: Structuralist Interpretation

  • Read: Lévi-Strauss, C. ([1945] 1963). “Structural Analysis in Linguistics and in Anthropology.” In Structural Anthropology, Trans. C. Jacobson and B.G. Schoepf, Pp. 31-54. New York: Basic Books.
  • Read: Lévi-Strauss, C. ([1949] 1969). The Elementary Structures of Kinship, Rev. ed., Trans. J.H. Bell, et al., Pp. 10, 12, 24-25, 29-30, 32, 45-48, 52-68, 478-497.


Mar 21 (T)- Seminar: From Nature to Culture

  • Read: Lévi-Strauss, C. (1966). “The Culinary Triangle.” The Partisan Review 33: 586–96.
  • Stasch, R. (2018). “Structuralism.” In M. Candea, ed., Schools and Styles of Anthropological Theory, Pp. 60-78. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Mar 23 (R)- Seminar: Equality and Hierarchy in the Kula Ring

  • Read: Forge, A. (1972). The Golden Fleece. Man 7(4): 527-540.
  • Read: Weiner, A. (1992). “Kula: The Paradox of Keeping While-Giving.” In Inalienable Possessions: The Paradox of Keeping-While Giving, Pp. 131-148. Berkeley: University of California Press.


Mar 28 (T)- Seminar: Of Canoes and Women

  • Read: Munn, N. (1977). The Spatiotemporal Transformations of Gawa Canoes. Journal de la Société des océanistes 33(54): 39-53.
  • Read: Tambiah, S. (1983). “On flying witches and flying canoes: the coding of male and female values.” In J.W. Leach & E. Leach, eds., The Kula: New Perspectives on Massim Exchange, Pp. 171-200. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Mar 30 (R)- Seminar: Nature, Culture, and the Traffic in Women

  • Read: Ortner, S. ([1974] 1996). “Is Female to Male as Nature is to Culture?” and “So, Is Female to Male as Nature is to Culture?” In Making Gender: The Politics and Erotics of Culture, Pp. 21-42. Boston: Beacon Press.
  • Read: Rubin, G. (1975). “The Traffic in Women: Notes on the ‘Political Economy’ of Sex.” In R.R. Reiter, ed., Toward an Anthropology of Women, Pp. 157-210. New York: Monthly Review Press.


Apr 4 (T)- Seminar: Revisiting Balinese Drama

  • Read: Selections from Geertz, H. (1994). Images of Power: Balinese Paintings Made for Gregory Bateson and Margaret Mead. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press.
  • Read: Geertz, C. (1972). Deep Play: Notes on the Balinese Cockfight. Daedalus 101(1): 1-37.

Apr 6 (R)- Seminar: Walk Through of Tajen Interactive

  • Watch: Tajen.


Apr 11 (T)- Seminar: Revisiting the Nuer and Katchin

  • Read: Sahlins, M. (1961). The Segmentary Lineage: An Organization of Predatory Expansion. American Anthropologist 63(2): 322-345.
  • Read: Friedman, J. (1975). “Tribes, States, and Transformations.” In M. Bloch, ed., Marxist Analyses and Social Anthropology, Pp. 161-201. London: Tavistock.

Apr 13 (R)- Seminar: Revisiting the Nuer and Katchin

  • Barth, F. (1969). “Introduction.” In Ethnic Groups and Boundaries: The Social Organization of Culture Difference, ed. Fredrik Barth, Pp. 9-39. Boston: Little, Brown and Company.
  • Wagner, R. (1974). “Are There Social Groups in the New Guinea Highlands?” In M.J. Leaf, ed., Frontiers of Anthropology: An Introduction to Anthropological Thinking, Pp. 95-122. New York: D. Can Nostrand Company.

WEEK 15- Since the ’60s…

Apr 18 (T)- Seminar: Closing Statement

  • Read: Ortner, S. (1984). Theory in Anthropology since the Sixties. Comparative Studies in Society and History 26(1): 126-166.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_tta_section][vc_tta_section title=”Assignments” tab_id=”1527624097128-b0a6684a-8f7d”][vc_column_text]Choose which assignments you’ll complete

  1. The Balinese Character.
  2. The Crow.
  3. Tajen Interactive.
  4. The Meaning of the Kula.
  5. Final Paper.

[/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. All film reviews are due on December 19th.

  1. The New Oceania (25 points).
  2. Moana Mythology (25 points).
  3. In Football We Trust (10 points).
  4. Protectors (25 points).
  5. Climate Refugees (35 points).
  6. Marks of Mana (20 points).