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Mead and Samoa

Mead and Samoa




Thomson 125 MTWF 9:30-10:20
Sections Thursday 9:30

Instructor: Stevan Harrell
Office: Denny M41
Office hours: Make an appointment; I'm flexible.
Phone: 543-9608 (But I'm hardly ever there)

Teaching Assistant: Robertson (Rob) Allen
Office: Cafe Solstice, 4116 U Way N.E.
Office Hours: Tuesday and Friday, 10:30-11:30

Class Description
This course is about ethnography as a kind of writing. It is less about the people and communities described in the ethnographic writings, and more about how anthropologists write about people and communities. We will be reading in depth books by ethnographers from three different eras: Margaret Mead in the 1920s, Lila Abu-Lughod and Smadar Lavie in the 1990s, and Philippe Bourgois and Jeff Schonberg in the early 21st century. In each case, we will look at what the ethnographers were saying and how they said it, and how it came across to critics and to you

You will be expected to write three major essays; your grades on the essays will be averaged to determine your grade for the class. There will also be about 12-15 short, in-class writing assignments. Each day, you will be asked to prepare for an assignment, but you will actually have to write the assignment only once or twice a week. You will find out when you get to class. You are also required to contribute to discussions in the class sections each Thursday. There will be no examinations.

To pass the class, you must turn in all the major essays and participate in at least 8 of the 10 section discussions. You must also turn all but two in-class assignments. Detailed rules about missing assignments and other matters of academic conduct can be found on the grading page.

Books and Other Readings
There are four required books for this class:
Coming of Age in Samoa, by Margaret Mead
Veiled Sentiments, by Lila Abu-Lughod
The Poetics of Military Occupation, by Smadar Lavie
Righteous Dopefiend, by Philippe Bourgois and Jeff Schonberg

Most other readings are accessible as .pdf files or as UW library resources from links on this website.