Type of Credit: Elective
Number of Students
Anthropology is the integrative study of who we are and where we come from. Through the comparative study of different cultures, anthropology explores fundamental questions about what it means to be human. It seeks to understand how culture both shapes societies, from the smallest island in Oceania to the larger Asian metropolis; it seeks to understand how society effects the way institutions work. This module will provide a framework for analysing diverse facets of the human experience. It is designed to teach humanity non-reductively.
By the end of the module students will understand anthropology as a social science; they will critically engage with the concepts of culture and social stratification; they will reflect critically on studies of human evolution and archaeology, ethnographic field methods, the importance of climate and environment, development and subsistence patterns, global politics, and economy. By using case studies from within the Asia Pacific, this module will critically compare and contrast social structures, such as: family, gender, ethnicity, religion, and the arts.
Finally, the module provides a solid background in analytical and methodological issues. Students will critically read key intellectual contributions to the discipline and will be introduced to ethnographic methods and experiences of living among, and writing about, people from the Asia Pacific region.
Students will undertake individual and group exercises which will include tasks based on small-group and class work, including text-based study; essay-writing; oral presentations; information retrieval and processing exercises, together with the development of basic skills in critical thinking, analysis and evaluation through group and class discussion and debate. In particular, the module will make use of activity-based discussion to encourage student participation and foster a reflexive and creative approach to learning, also using materials and handouts, which invite response and open up the exploration of what it means to be human in the context of anthropological theory. A lecture/seminar format will be used to set out the background, thematic scope, key issues and concepts, with a varying delivery pattern using case studies, audio-visual materials and discussion questions as appropriate. The method of assessment for this module has been designed to test all the learning outcomes. Students must demonstrate successful achievement of these learning outcomes to pass the module.
Schemes of work
Introduction to the Course. Overview of Syllabus and Requirements. Discussion of Expectations.
An Introduction to Social Anthropology
Jared Diamond (2000), Taiwan’s Gift to the World, Nature 403 pp. 709-710.
Anthony Giddens (1993), Sociology (Polity), 29-58.
Adam Kuper (1999), Culture (Harvard University Press),1-23.
Kim Martins (2020), Polynesian Navigation & Settlement of the Pacific World History Encyclopedia https://www.worldhistory.org/article/1586/polynesian-navigation--settlement-of-the-pacific/
Adam Kuper (2015), Anthropology and Anthropologists (London: Routledge), 1-42.
George Stocking (1992), Paradigmatic Traditions in the History of Anthropology, The Ethnographer’s Magic and Other Essays in the History of Anthropology (University of Wisconsin Press), 342-361.
Clifford Geertz (1974), “From the Native’s Point of View”: On the Nature of Anthropological Understanding, Bulletin of the American Academy, 480-492.
A.R. Radcliffe-Brown (1952), Structure and Function in Primitive Society (MacMillan), 1-15.
Robert K. Merton (1957), Social Theory and Social Structure (Free Press), 121-161.
Anthony Giddens (1993), Sociology (Polity), 387-424.
Claude Levi-Strauss (1969), The Elementary Structures of Kinship (Beacon Press), 478-497.
Peter Bellwood, et al (1995), The Austronesian History: Common Origin and Diverse Transformation, in The Austronesians (ANU Press), 1-17.
Adam Kuper (2015), Anthropology and Anthropologists (London: Routledge), 42-64
Joan Bamberger (1974), The Myth of Matriarchy: Why Men Rule in Primitive Society, in Women, Culture, and Society (Stanford University Press), 263-280.
D Schneider and K Gough (eds) (1961), Matrilineal Kinship (University of California Press), 1-29.
Mary Farmer (1970), The Family (Longman), 1-47.
Martine Segalen (1986) Historical Anthropology of the Family (CUP), 1-73.
Seminar: Participant Observation
Fiona Bowie (2000), The Anthropology of Religion (Blackwell), 118-151.
Walraven Boudewijn (2009), National Pantheon, Regional Deities, Personal Spirits? Mushindo, Songsu, and the Nature of Korean Shamanism, Asian Ethnology 68 pp 55-80.
Rebecca Stein and Philip Stein (2017), The Anthropology of Religion, Magic, and Witchcraft (Taylor & Francis), 145-170.
Clifford Geertz (1973), Interpretations of the Culture (Basic), 87-126.
Adam Kuper (2015), Anthropology and Anthropologists (London: Routledge), 64-
Fiona Bowie (2000), The Anthropology of Religion (Blackwell), 190-259.
Mark Mosko (2014), Cards on Kiriwina: Magic, Cosmology, and the ‘Divine Dividual’ in Trobriand Gambling, Oceania 84:3, pp239-255.
Rebecca Stein and Philip Stein (2017), The Anthropology of Religion, Magic, and Witchcraft (Taylor & Francis), 1-32.
Seminar: Accounts of Fieldwork
M. Sahlins (1974) Stone Age Economics (Routledge), 149-183.
Marcell Mauss, The Gift (Hau Books), 65-85.
Nicholas Thomas (1995), Exchange Systems, Political Dynamics, and Colonial Transformations in Nineteenth Century Oceania, in The Austronesians (ANU Press), 287-309.
Adam Kuper (2015), Anthropology and Anthropologists (London: Routledge), 108
Claude Levi-Strauss (1969), The Elementary Structures of Kinship (Beacon Press), 52-68.
Caroline Humphrey and Stephan Hugh-Jones (Eds) (1994), Barter, Exchange and Value (CUP), 1-21.
Alfred Gell (1994), Inter-tribal Commodity Barter and Reproductive Gift-Exchange in Old Melanesia, in Caroline Humphrey and Stephan Hugh-Jones, eds. Barter, Exchange and Value (CUP), 142-169.
Seminar: Ethical Ethnography
Arnold Van Gennep (1960), Rites of Passage (University of Chicago Press), 1-26; 166-189.
Fiona Bowie (2000), The Anthropology of Religion (Blackwell), 151-185.
Yuko Ogasawara (1998), Office Ladies and Salaried Men: Power, Gender and Work in Japanese Companies (UCP), 1-17
Adam Kuper (2015), Anthropology and Anthropologists (London: Routledge), 108-129.
Matthew Spriggs (1995), The Lapita Culture and Austronesian Prehistory in Oceania, in The Austronesians (ANU Press), 119-143.
J.S. La Fontaine (1985), Initiation (Penguin), 38-58.
Rebecca Stein & Philip Stein (2017), The Anthropology of Religion, Magic, and Witchcraft (Routledge), 82-110
Margaret Mead (1930 ), Coming of Age in Samoa (Harper), 61-86.
Seminar: The Fieldworker’s Identity and Position
Week 7 Nature
Jenny Bryant-Tokalau, Indigenous Pacific Approaches to Climate Change (Palgrave): 1-95.
Graeme Hugo (2010), Climate Change-Induced Mobility and the Existing Migration Regime in Asia and the Pacific, in Jane McAdam (ed), Climate Change and Displacement (OUP): 9-37.
Tim Ingold (2000), The Perception of the Environment (Routledge),13-26.
Pamela Asquith et al (eds) (1997), Japanese Images of Nature (Curzon), 1-36.
Paul D’Arcy (2006), The People of the Sea (Hawaii UP): 98-144
Eveline Durt and Arno Pascht (2017), Environmental Transformations and Cultural Responses (Palgrave): 49-75.
Michael Sesit (1997), Monetary Union: A way to help small nations, Wall Street Journal
Colin Shaw (1988), Pacific: The Divided Territory, Far Eastern Economic Review p.32.
Jared Diamond (2019), Upheaval (Allen Lane): 383-423.
Arno Pascht and Eveline Durr (2017), Engaging with Environmental Transformation in Oceania, in Durr and Pascht (eds). Environmental Transformations and Cultural Responses (Palgrave): 1-19.
Seminar: Off Setting a Carbon Footprint
Rebecca Stein & Philip Stein (2017), The Anthropology of Religion, Magic, and Witchcraft (Routledge), 58-82.
Rossi, I. 1973. The Unconscious in the Anthropology of Levi-Strauss, American Anthropologist 75 (1): 20-48.
Mircea Eliade (1964). Shamanism (Princeton UP), 145-181.
Joy Hendry (2016), An Introduction to Social Anthropology (Palgrave), 102-123.
Seminar: Reflecting Traditional Knowledge (TK)
Field trip: NTU Museum of Anthropology
Angela Cheater (1999) Power in the Postmodern Era, in Angela Cheater, The Anthropology of Power (Routledge), 1-13.
Toon van Meijl (1993) Maori Meeting-Houses in and Over Time, in James Fox Inside Austronesian Houses: Perspective on Domestic Designs for Living (ANU), 201-223.
Franz Boas (1928), Anthropology and Modern Life (Dover Publications), 18-81.
Setha Low and Denise Lawrence-Zuniga (2003), the Anthropology of Space and Place (Blackwell), 129-185; 245-351.
Mircea Eliade (1957), The Sacred and the Profane (Harvest), 20-68.
Anthony Giddens (1993), Sociology (Polity), 251-283.
Seminar: Can an Anthropologist also be an Activist?
Sue Black (2018), All That Remains (Penguin), 1-13; 95-117.
Rebecca Stein & Philip Stein (2017), The Anthropology of Religion, Magic, and Witchcraft (Routledge), 172-205.
Roger Janelli et al (1982), Ancestor Worship and Korean Society (Stanford University Press), 58-86.
Mircea Eliade (1964). Shamanism (Princeton UP), 181-215.
Michael J. Pettid (2014), Ghostly Encounters: Perceptions of Death and Afterlife in Koryǒ and Early Chosǒn, in Charlotte Horlyck and Michael J. Pettid, Death, Mourning, and the Afterlife in Korea (University of Hawaii Press), 171-190.
Michael J. Pettid (2014), Shamanic Rites for the Dead in Chosǒn Korea, in Charlotte Horlyck and Michael J. Pettid, Death, Mourning, and the Afterlife in Korea (University of Hawaii Press), 137-155.
Seminar: Communicating Ethnography
Sarah Pink & Juan Francisco Salazar (2017), Anthropologies and Futures: Setting the Agenda, in Juan Francisco Salazar et al, Anthropologies and Futures (Bloomsbury), 3-23.
Tessa Leach (2020), Machine Sensation: Anthropomorphism and ‘Natural’ Interaction with Nonhumans (Open Humanities Press), 9-67; and 186-225.
Eleanor Hancock (2020), Should Society Accept Sex Robots? Paladyn 11. 428-442.
Seminar: The Future for Ethnographic Research
Case study: video production
Wrap up: Conclusion
1 on 1 meeting
To pass this module students must achieve a mark of 50% or above, aggregated across all the assessments.
Form of Assessment
Size of Assessment/Duration/
Category of assessment
Learning Outcomes being assessed
1, 3 & 4
Case Study Video
1,2, & 4
ASSESSMENT: Essay Due Date:
One 3,000-word essay (70% of total mark)
Deadline: 18 January 2021: 2359 hours.
Choose ONE of the following questions:
Using a quote from Malinowski as a starting point, discuss the depth of his understanding, the currency of his thought, or the influence of his concepts in comparative ethnography.
ASSESSMENT: Case Study Video (30% of total mark)
Deadline: 14 December 2019: 2359 hours.
The case study video requires students to produce and film, in a 15-minute presentation, a discussion on an ethnographic case study from the themed discussions in lectures. The chosen case can be one that has been discussed in the module or an additional example that was not covered. Discussions on that which was not covered will contribute towards obtaining a higher grade based on originality.
As seen in course schedule