50:070:213:01, Fall 2017
Tuesdays & Thursdays, 11:10-12:30
Fine Arts, Room 110

Professor Cati Coe
405-407 Cooper Street, Room 203
Office hours: Tuesdays, 12:30-2:30pm, or by appointment
phone: (856) 225-6455
email: ccoe@camden.rutgers.edu

Course website: http://caticoe.camden.rutgers.edu/courses/introduction-to-cultural-anthropology/

Course Description

The purpose of this course is to introduce you to one of the four major fields of anthropology—cultural anthropology—and to give you an appreciation of the diversity of ways that people organize their social life, from their marriages to their politics, from their goals in life to the ways that they organize social and financial resources.  After a brief introduction to key concepts in the field of cultural anthropology and a discussion of methods of research, we will begin to immerse ourselves in the worldviews and perspectives of tapa makers in Papua New Guinea, development workers in Uganda, migrant fishermen from Ghana, factory workers in Morocco, and addicts along the Rio Grande. Attention will be given to the themes that cut across these ethnographies: modes of production, conceptions of the self, modes of relating, ways of knowing and not knowing, and power.

Five books are available at the campus bookstore and on reserve at the circulation desk at Robeson library:

John Barker’s Ancestral Lines

China Scherz’s Having Heart, Having People

Angela Garcia’s The Pastoral Clinic

Hans Lucht’s Darkness before Daybreak

M. Laetitia Cairoli’s Girls of the Factory


Please note: This is a reading intensive course. You will fail this course if you do not keep up with the readings. Please plan your time well to complete the books. Do not let yourself fall behind!

Global Communities

This course fulfills the new general education requirement in Global Communities.

Taking a variety of disciplinary approaches to the examination of societies, economies, and political systems, as well as ideas and beliefs and how they are formed, courses in Global Communities should introduce students to the diverse ways in which humans have organized their social relations.

Upon completing a course in this category, students should be able to do at least two of the following:

  1. Describe ways in which communities around the globe have been interconnected and interdependent historically and/or in the present in terms of the movement of ideas, culture, people, money, and goods.
  2. Identify central practices, institutions, and ideas of regions, nations, or peoples outside the U.S. as well as how the representations of those regions, nations, or peoples have been used and contested.
  3. Recognize how issues of difference (racial, religious, gender, etc.) have been treated in non-U.S. cultures and societies and/or in a global context.
  4. Analyze a cultural, economic, environmental, geographic, historical, political, linguistic or literary, scientific and/or sociological issue facing one or more countries, or globally.
  5. Explore issues that transcend national borders and their implications for policy and practice.
  6. Describe the point of view of peoples from outside the U.S. on specific issues.

The course fulfills all these goals.


1) Three Examinations (20% each)

  • Dates: Midterm on March 7, Final exam Tuesday, May 9, 11:30-2:30
  • Questions (definitions, short answer, and essays) on the exams will be derived from the readings, films, class lectures and discussions
  • You should attend class and pay careful attention to class lectures and discussions, taking detailed notes. Powerpoints are located on sakai.

2) Five Quizzes (6% each)

  • Dates: February 2, February  21, March 9, March 30, April 13
  • Quizzes (short answer, multiple choice, true and false) are to measure your comprehension of material in the assigned readings.
  • These quizzes are given at the start of class, with closed notes and closed book.
  • No one will be admitted once the quiz begins until after the quizzes are collected.

3) Attendance and Participation (10%)

  • Participation is strongly encouraged.
  • Late arrivals and early leavings are disruptive to your learning and the concentration of others, and will be noted as part of your participation grade.  Plan to come to class on time and stay until the class ends.
  • There are several films scheduled for the course. Some of the films are available online through the Rutgers library; others are not. Material from the films will be included in the midterm and final exam.

To do by the end of January 17th at the latest:




Schedule of Readings, Films, Quizzes and Examinations

Date Topics Exams Reading due
September 5- September 19
Some Concepts, A Bit of History, and a Guide to Reading the Texts    
September 5
Orientation and Requirements
Lecture: What is Cultural Anthropology?
  Begin reading Ancestral Lines
September 7
1) Due: “Body Ritual among the Nacirema” by Horace Miner, American Anthropologist (1956) (on reserve)
2) Continue reading Ancestral Lines
September 12
  Continue reading Ancestral Lines
September 14
Lecture: The Concept of Culture and the Nature of Cultural Systems, continued

Class Resources: Tibetan Rap and Obrafor, “Kwame Nkrumah” (1999) and Cloth

  Continue reading Ancestral Lines
September 19
Continue reading Ancestral Lines
February 2-16
Tapa Making and Environmental Activism in Papua New Guinea
September 21
Lecture: Modes of Production
Quiz 1: On Ancestral Lines
Ancestral Lines completed.

Begin reading Having People, Having Heart
September 26
Lecture: Kinship

Film: Brideprice video
Read Having People, Having Heart
September 28
Lecture: Reciprocity, Gift Exchange, and the Market
Film: “Kuo Hina E Hiapo” (2001)
  Continue reading Having People, Having Heart
October 3
Lecture: Globalization  
Continue reading Having People, Having Heart
October 5 Exam #1 Exam #1  
October 10- October 19
Development and Interdependence in Uganda
October 10 Lecture: Development Quiz 2: On Having People, Having Heart Having People, Having Heart completed
Begin reading The Pastoral Clinic
October 12
Lecture: Return to Modes of Exchange   Read The Pastoral Clinic
October 17
Lecture: Religion  
Continue reading The Pastoral Clinic
October 19
Comparing Ancestral Lines and Having People, Having Heart   Continue reading The Pastoral Clinic
October 24- November 2 Addiction in the Rio Grande
October 24
Lecture: Fieldwork, Health and Environmental Dispossession Quiz 3: The Pastoral Clinic
The Pastoral Clinic completed
Begin reading Darkness before Daybreak
October 26
Lecture: Kinship and Other Kinds of Relatedness   Read Darkness before Daybreak
October 31
Lecture: What is Care? A Comparison with Having People, Having Heart   Continue reading Darkness before Daybreak
November 2
Lecture: What to do? A Comparison with Having People, Having Heart   Continue reading Darkness before Daybreak
November 7 Exam #2 Exam #2  
November 9- November 23
Migrant Fishermen from Ghana in Italy
November 9
Lecture: Modes of Exchange, Round 3
Quiz 4: On Darkness before Daybreak
Darkness before Daybreak completed
Continue reading Girls of the Factory
November 14
Lecture: Migration and the State
  Read Girls of the Factory
November 16
Lecture: Agency and Structure: How to Survive in an Unfair World   Continue reading Girls of the Factory
November 21
Film: “Mediterranea”   Continue reading Girls of the Factory
November 23
No Class: Thanksgiving
November 28- December 7
Garment Factories in Morocco
November 28
Lecture: Fieldwork, Comparison with Darkness before Daybreak Quiz 5On Girls of the Factory
Girls of the Factory completed
November 30
Lecture: Globalization, Work and the Feminization of Factory Workers
Film: “Ouvrieres du Monde (Women Workers of the World”

December 5
Lecture: Globalization, Work and the Feminization of Factory Workers
Film: “Ouvrieres du Monde (Women Workers of the World” (continued)
December 7
Lecture: Marriage and Kinship, Health and Illness
December 12

Class Resources:
Online stopwatch
 Final Exam
Final Exam