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Studies in Culture and Performance

Studies in Culture and Performance concerns issues of:

Course Descriptions

1120 6.0 Making Sense of a Changing World: Anthropology Today

Course Directors: Profs. Chris Stephens, Tania Ahmad

Time: Monday 10:30-12:30 VC 135


Wednesday 12:30-2:30 VC 135

In this course you will use anthropological approaches to increase your understanding of global issues in diverse locales. This course challenges you to engage with other ways of knowing and being, and to rethink your taken-for-granted knowledge and beliefs through the comparative analysis of the human condition. This course will take a problem-based approach to a range of topics such as: the effects of race and racism, sources of religious conflict, alternate genders and sexualities, First Nations and health, international development and issues of social inequality. Students are encouraged to bring their own knowledge and experience as the first step in "thinking like an anthropologist" (i.e. rethinking the taken-for-granted). The emphasis in this course is developing skills (analytical thinking, writing).

This course will be team taught by two professors, each sharing and exploring their own research.

An intensive 6 credit, one term section of this course will also be offered in the winter term.

1130 6.0 Images of Resistance / Irresistible Images: Anthropology Through the Visual

Time: Not Offered 2014-15

This course uses film, video, visual art, photography and social media such as webcams to explore foundational concepts in anthropology. We examine race, ethnicity, nationality, globalization, power, authority, politics, religion, gender, class, and sexuality through images produced by anthropologists as well as commercial and documentary filmmakers, photographers and artists. The course also examines visual representations of non-western cultures within and outside of western contexts, and asks questions about how visual technologies that can look deep into our bodies as well as far out into space are changing our understandings of what it means to be human in the 21st century.

2120 6.0 Visualizing Ourselves, Visualizing Others: Media, Representation & Culture

Course Director: Dr Lynda Mannik
Time: Mon. 12:30-2:30 CLH-F


We live in a media saturated society. In our everyday lives, we are bombarded by media images whether it be through newspapers, television, film, radio, the internet, and/or billboards. However, we seldom pause to think about the relationship between media, ourselves and others: Media are a form of communication, but what is being communicated? How do media affect understandings of ourselves and others? Is the increasing presence of media creating a global, homogenized culture or preserving cultural diversity?

An anthropological perspective on media requires us to always situate media productions in particular social, political, and cultural contexts. It also requires us to think of media as global and local phenomena: this means we will need to investigate the effects of global media in other societies, but we will also need to examine 'locally' produced media. Throughout this course we will be concerned with issues of power and how media figure in maintaining, resisting or transforming social inequality.

NOTE: 2 hrs lecture, 1 hr tutorial

3020 6.0 Race, Racism & Popular Culture

Course Director: Prof. Arun Chaudhuri

Time: Tues. 11:30-2:30 ACW 304

This course critically explores ideas of race and racist practice, both past and present. Through a range of readings and audio-visual materials, we will examine how race is produced and reproduced, as well as how racism is perpetuated and sustained, in multiple, shifting, and context-dependent ways. Of particular concern will be the ways in which various forms of popular culture are shaped by, and shape, race and racism.

The course will also look at how race and racisms intersect with, and in, the production of other identity categories and experiences, including gender, nation, class, ethnicity and sexuality. Overall, the course proceeds with the understanding that race is a social (often ideological) construction rather than a biological given. Attention will thus be given to histories of the idea of race and racist practice, and the social forces giving rise to these, both past and present.

The course will also try to illuminate some of the more subtle 'new racisms' characteristic of the contemporary period. A highlighting of Canadian context-specificities will be important in this regard, and throughout. We will also look at how (thinking about) conditions of globalization, diaspora and creolisation can complicate and help to enrich our understandings of race and the workings of racism in the contemporary period. Various strategies of resistance to racism will also be considered and debated in the process of exploring 'race from below'. A range of explanatory models and approaches will be examined from political economy and historical materialism, to discourse theory and performance theory.

NOTE: 3 hrs lecture

3120 6.0 The Anthropology of Tourism

Course Director: Prof. Teresa Holmes
Time: Mon 2:30-5:30 ACW 305

Disneyland and Las Vegas, Yosemite National Park and East African safari parks, the Royal Ontario Museum and Maya ruins in Belize. Why are such varied places major sites in the western tourist imagination? What exactly are modern tourists looking for as they travel "into the heart of Africa" or up the Sepik River of New Guinea, and what effect does the presence of these guests have on the host societies?

What is the allure of "sun, sex, sea, and sand" and who are the people who consume these sights? How is international tourism changing in the early twenty-first century and what are the implications of these changes for local cultures throughout the world? These are just some of the questions and issues that we will be addressing in this course.

In the first section of the course we will be considering approaches taken by social scientists to the study of 'The Tourist' in an attempt to understand some of the reasons behind the desire to travel and/or sight-see. First we will be considering the cultural construction of meaning through modern tourist practice - focusing on theories of authenticity and the "tourist gaze." Then we will be looking at recent theories of the 'postmodern' tourist that examine commodification and desire as central to late 20th c and early 21th c tourist practice.

In the next section of the course we will shift to a consideration of the tourist site, looking at what happens when we travel. Here we will consider the global inequalities that underlie tourism, the impact of tourism on expressive culture, sex tourism, the issue of alternative tourism, and the problem of 'nature' in tourist practice. We will also be considering recent interest in the role of tourism in the construction of politically and economically salient forms of local identity.

NOTE: 2 hrs lecture, 1 hr tutorial

3130 3.0 Archaeology and Society: Local Pasts in Global Present

Course Director:
Time: Not Offered 2015-16

Archaeology and society are intertwined, locally and globally. This course interrogates those connections, examining the role of archaeological heritage and investigation within contemporary society, as well as the influence of social and political forces on archaeological interpretation, governance and practice.

Course credit exclusions: ANTH 3000N 3.0

Note: 3 hour seminar

3230 6.0 Women, Culture & Society

Course Director: Prof. Tania Ahmad
Time: Thurs 11:30-2:30 ACW 305

This course explores the contributions of anthropology to the study of gender, and the contributions of feminism to anthropology. We begin with a critical look at the history of androcentric bias in anthropological field work and theory and then trace the anthropological study of women's lives from the emergence of the "anthropology of women" in the 1970s to contemporary feminist anthropology.

Drawing on ethnographic examples from around the world, we will explore women's lives in depth, taking the perspective that sex, gender, and sexuality are best understood as socially and culturally constructed categories cross cut by race, class, religion and nation.

Among the specific topics covered in this course are: marriage and the family, adoption and parenting, midwifery and childbirth, fashion and beauty, globalization and women's work, and women's agency and political activism. We will also address a number of theoretical and methodological dilemmas raised by the relationship between feminism and anthropology.

Note: 3 hour seminar

3240 6.0 Sexing the Subject: Sexuality from a Cross-Cultural Perspective

Course Director:  Dr Lynda Mannik
Time: Wed. 2:30-5:30 ACW 304

This course examines theories and practices of sexuality in our own lives and in the lives of people in other societies. In Canada 'common sense' notions about sexual behaviour assume essential and natural traits common to all humanity i.e., there are two genders, man and woman; they are related to each other through sexual attraction; sex is either for pleasure or for reproduction; and some sexual practices are deviant and immoral.

We begin this course by critically interrogating some of these assumptions, highlighting the development of biological determinism and social constructionism as dominant Western paradigms. We then turn to the study of sexuality in other societies, examining how anthropologists have tried to understand sexual practices and concepts that are, at times, very different from their own, and the various theoretical models through which these practices have been analyzed.

Throughout the course, we will critically reflect on how our own discourses about sex, sexuality, gender and society influence our understanding of people, and how these discourses have contributed to maintaining unequal social relationships. We will discover how in studying sexuality, history, politics, economics, race, and media must be all factored into the analysis. By the end of this course, we should have a better understanding of the range and meanings of sexual practices and discourses about sex cross-culturally.

Note: 3 hour seminar

3410 6.0 Us & Them: Race, Ethnicity, Nation
Course Director: Prof. Daphne Winland
Time: Tues. 2:30-5:30 VH 3006


This course examines the concepts and practices of ethnicity and nationalism as bases of belonging and differentiation globally. Whether revealed in ethnocide/genocide or in multiculturalism and minority rights legislation, identity claims are deeply implicated in political changes including secession and violent conflict. Ethnic and ‘tribal” labels, once imposed in colonial contexts are now being remade in the contemporary world under pressures of citizenship, borders and im/migration, political upheavals and civil war, pop culture, tourism and environmentalism. Our analytical starting point for this course is that identities, ethnic and/or national, diasporic and/or cosmopolitan, are continually constructed and re/defined according to changing social conditions. We will explore how people negotiate identities in their daily lives, in their relationships and affiliations and how these are configured, mobilized or manipulated in local, national and international settings. Cases from the Balkans and former Soviet Republics, the Middle East, North America and Africa will be examined.

Course credit exclusion: AP/ANTH 3410 6.00 (prior to term Fall 2012).


3350 6.0 Culture as Performance: The Anthropology of the Arts

Course Director: Dr Lynda Mannik
Time: Tues 2:30-5:30 TEL 1016

Think about world's fairs, raves, shopping malls, national dance companies, museums, national parks, the circus, mass advertising, wrestling matches, ritual performances, situationalist happenings, art galleries, tourist adventures and all other means of mass cultural performances. These are forms of cultural representation that enact the modern world as exhibition and spectacle. They are also forms of expressive culture that share a logic, the structure, power, and effects of which we will examine in this course.

We begin the course by investigating what it means to talk about cultural performance in the age of spectacle consumption, and then take up a series of historical and contemporary examples of popular culture, artistic expression, and entertainment in order to develop a clear understanding of the role of performance and spectacle in the making of contemporary social and cultural worlds. Throughout the course, we will be building on theoretical arguments in poststructuralist anthropology related to the process of cultural production, affect, and materialist semiotics.

The expected learning outcomes of this course are as follows: 1) to provide students with an overall introduction and understanding of the structure, context, and power of cultural performances as everyday activities or as framed public spectacles; 2) to provide students with the tools to recognize the effects and affective forces of spectacle consumption in the contemporary world anywhere they find them; to ensure the students become familiar with, and have the ability to utilize, the ideas developed in this course in their everyday lives.

Note: 3 hour seminar

AP/ANTH 3610 3.0/HUMA 3365 3.0A African Oral Tradition

Course Director: G. Butler

Time: TBA

This course introduces students to aspects of the traditional cultures of Africa. Drawing upon historical and contemporary examples, the course examines the particular features of verbal art as performance and the social functions it serves in everyday social contexts.

Reserved Spaces: Spaces reserved for Humanities & African Studies Majors & Minors

Course credit exclusion: Prior to Fall 2009: AS/HUMA 3365 3.00.

AP//ANTH 3620 3.0/HUMA 3664 3.00 The Oral Tradition in Caribbean Culture

Course Director: G. Butler

Time: TBA

This course introduces students to traditional oral cultures of the African-Caribbean diaspora. Adapting an ethnographic approach, the course focuses on the culture's African origins, its evolution in the Caribbean nations, and its subsequent transplantation to urban contexts such as Toronto.

Course credit exclusions: Prior to 2009: AS/HUMA 3664 3.0

4030 6.0 Intercultural Training Skills

Course Director:: Not Offered 2015-16


What does one do with an anthropology degree if one does not become a field anthropologist or go on to graduate school? This course attempts a partial answer to that question by helping to equip students with a body of theoretical knowledge and a repertoire of tools and skills that can be applied to each of these areas of specialization. Intercultural relations, anti-sexism, anti-racism, educational and employment equity are critical issues in today's workplaces and in everyday interactions.

The curriculum provides an understanding of how training and other organizational change strategies can be applied in different social systems (e.g., education, health care, social services, cultural organizations, mass media, government, and employment, etc.). The students will analyze relevant theories, explore different models, and practice specific experiential training skills. The underlying approach to these diverse learning experiences is social change at the level of the individual, group, organization, institution and collective culture.

4130 6.0 The Professional Anthropologist: The Anthropologist as Practitioner

Course Director: Dr. Victor Barac

Time: Thurs. 2:30-5:30 VH 3005

Applied Anthropology uses the theory and methods of anthropology in the analysis and solution of practical, legal and policy problems for non-academic clients such as governments, development agencies, NGOs, tribal and ethnic associations, advocacy groups, social-service and educational agencies, and businesses. This course discusses the different set of ethical considerations, research constraints and report formats confronting Applied anthropologists as professionals. Prerequisites: AP/ANTH 3110 6.00. Note: This course is open to Anthropology majors/minors only.

4220 6.0 The Cultures of the Web

Course Director:: Not Offered 2015-16


This course offers an opportunity to combine anthropological knowledge with ethnography of the Internet. The result is a perspective on contemporary culture that is useful in many other courses in both anthropology and elsewhere. In the Fall Term, we consider current issues relating to virtual culture, in the larger sense, the Culture of the Web. The work of Sherry Turkle is the focus of the first Fall Term essay. Another concern is virtual ethnography, from the perspective of Christine Hine.

In Winter Term, the course focuses on the generational impact of the Internet. Specific topics include: (Web logs, the networks and "weak ties" of cyberspace, and the recent convergence of the real and the virtual and its significance). Winter also focuses on how to do an ethnographic study of a virtual community.

Classes will combine lecture material on current publications dealing with interpretations of the "cyborgization" of contemporary society. At this time, students begin virtual field research based on observation of one of a wide variety of virtual communities. In the winter term, course participants prepare a presentation dealing with a virtual community they choose and observe. In this way, this course balances published material with indirect field experience.

Working in a virtual field requires a perspective and a method outside of conventional approaches to the Internet, a form of ethnography of Internet culture. In this way this course complements courses on social and cultural studies. Some background in social science is strongly recommended (Anthropology, Social Science, or Sociology).

Note: 3 hour seminar

4270 3.0 Imagined Societies: An Anthropology of Nations Without Boundaries

Course Director: Prof. Daphne Winlands
Time: (Winter) Thurs 11:30-2:30 VH 3005

Nation-building is unique in modern societies where national spaces are created and reinvented with boundaries based on cultural (linguistic) and symbolic (e.g. artistic) criteria. This course focuses on the creation of imagined or distinct societies emerging from the nationalism of ethnic groups which do not share the geographic boundaries of the nations created by map-makers such as the signatories of The Treaty of Versailles in 1919.

The first six weeks of the course considers the work of Benedict Anderson and his model of the Imagined Nation. The next month examines the complex ethnic and linguistic nationalism of the Balkans, by your looking at the Macedonian Question. The Diaspora of Macedonians is relevant in Canada and in Toronto. From Macedonia and the Balkans the focus of the class becomes the Middle East with particular attention to the Kurds, a nationality left out of the redrawing of the map of the world in Paris, 1919.


From Kurdistan, the course shifts to British Columbia, and the study of Nuxalk nationalism and its relationship with art. All of these cases challenge the exclusiveness of the nation state as the sole focus of national identity. Students from a wide variety of backgrounds will be attracted to this course: from anthropology, sociology, history and political science to literature.

Note: 3 hour seminar

4350 3.0 Perspectives on Visual Anthropology

Course Director: Not offered 2015-16

This course examines how humans produce, receive and use visual media (i.e., photographs, film, etc.) in different societies and cultures, how the visual is differentiated from other forms of expression, and the social and culture apparatus that support such processes.

Note: 3 hour seminar

4430 6.0 The Anthropology of Reproduction, Personhood & Citizenship

Course Director:  Not offered 2015-16

Time: Tues. 11:30-2:30 VH 3005

Human reproductive events and experiences are made meaningful through the complex interplay of biology, culture, and society. Powerful institutions within society such as biomedicine, law, and politics, also shape the way people imagine and manage their reproductive lives, as do global economic and development trends.

This course draws on feminist perspectives on women's health and the body as well as theory and methods in medical anthropology to explore the complex relationships between reproduction, personhood, and citizenship through the study of contemporary and historical issues.

Topics will include: family planning and maternity care interventions in the name of colonialism and development; state and faith sanctioned uses of new reproductive and genetic technologies in realizing goals of nation, citizenship and family; pregnancy and motherhood as "skills of consumption" in North America; the globalization of the abortion debate through NGO funding policies; maternity care in contexts of poverty, violence, and migration; the implications of technology for parental and fetal personhood, and birthplace and citizenship issues worldwide. Students enrolling in this course should have some familiarity with health, reproduction or science studies through previous courses.

Note: 3 hour seminar

4440 3.0 Towards an Anthropology of Masculinities

Course Director: TBA          Time:(Winter) Tues. 2:30-5:30 VH 3000


Taking its lead from feminist anthropology, an anthropology of masculinities is dedicated to analyzing formations of and relationships between gender, power, and culture in order to destabilize what is often taken for granted as a 'natural' category of being (which obfuscates a privileged positionality).

NOTE: 3 hour seminar

4550 3.0 Anthropology of Cosmopolitanisms


Course Director: Not Offered 2015-16


Cosmopolitanism is used to describe the multiple and sometimes complex ways by which nationalism, globalization, transnationalism and multiculturalism converge in the making of our contemporary 'globalized' world. The conditions of the late twentieth and the twenty first century, distinguished by rapid movements and changing technologies, make redundant older anthropological models of peoples and cultures in their place.

The anthropology of cosmopolitanism therefore focuses on cultural flows, interactions and mixing as well as on how people make sense of their lives -how relationships and communities and new forms of citizenship are forged under such 'globalized' conditions. It is also concerned with displacements, travel, up-rooting and re-rooting, which may be forced, as in the consequence of war, disease, economic disparities, social and political persecution, or, voluntary and a matter of choice. Cosmopolitans may also stay 'rooted' in a single place but nevertheless feel estranged from the cultural practices that would otherwise tie them to that place.

The course also focuses on how cultural flows and interactions as well as multiple encounters with different cultural practices produce cosmopolitan places and spaces. The course also pays attention to the tensions that may arise when cosmopolitan aspirations encounter anti-cosmopolitan tendencies, in the form of fundamentalisms, the insistence upon closed identities and the erection of 'insider/outsider' boundaries of inclusion and exclusions.

The course provides an overview of the history of cosmopolitanism beginning with its origins in Ancient Greece, followed by a revival of the concept in European Enlightenment thought and ending with an exploration of the ways the concept has been re-worked and re-theorized in contemporary times. The course emphasizes the plural 'cosmopolitanisms' to signal the multiple ways in which the concept is deployed. Thus a variety of terms such as 'critical cosmopolitanism,' 'discrepant cosmopolitanisms,' and 'rooted cosmopolitanism' are drawn from the literature to describe the diversity of social relationships and configurations that the concept subsumes.

Course objectives may be summarized as follows: to explore and examine the history of cosmopolitanism; to apply cosmopolitanism as a conceptual and analytical tool in reviews and examinations of selected ethnographic and literary sources; to describe and explain how cosmopolitanism as a working concept contributes to anthropological concerns with culture and identity under conditions of globalization; to explain the merits and/or demerits of cosmopolitanism as a concept for thinking beyond multiculturalism.

NOTE: 3 hour seminar