Freshman Honors Course
Spring 2003

Professor Cati Coe
Armitage Hall, Room 358
phone: (856) 225-6455

Class hours: Wednesdays, 1:30-4pm
Office hours: Mondays, 1:30-4pm, Armitage 358

Course Description
What is the relationship between politics and cultural practices? How do everyday cultural practices uphold practices of power and resistance and how they are shaped by social conflict? How does political power express itself through public display and what does this accomplish? Why do political movements—revolutionary and reactionary—seek to rejuvenate traditions of the past and invent new traditions? What happens to the heterogeneity and vitality of cultural traditions when they are represented and, in a sense, “frozen” in museums and tourist displays? In thinking through these questions, we will focus on the revival, invention, and representation of parades and festivals, songs and music, clothing, customs, and oral narrative and poetry in nationalism, colonialism, tourism, and museums displays, across a wide variety of historical periods and societies around the world.

Required Texts
The following books are at the campus bookstore:
1) Lila Abu-Lughod. Veiled Sentiments: Honor and Poetry in a Bedouin Society. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1999.
2) David E. Whisnant. All That is Native and Fine: The Politics of Culture in an American Region. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1983.

The remainder of the readings can be found online via the library’s reserve readings or at the library’s reserve reading desk. I highly recommend printing or photocopying a copy of each reading to bring to class.


Course Schedule

Culture and “Culture”
January 22
Introduction to the course
Film: “In and Out of Africa”
Map of Cote d’Ivoire

January 29
Lila Abu-Lughod, Veiled Sentiments, pp. 1-117
Discussion of research proposal

February 5
Lila Abu-Lughod, Veiled Sentiments, pp. 118-167
Emerson, Fretz, and Shaw, Writing Ethnographic Fieldnotes, pp. 1-38
Discussion of fieldwork.
Due: Project proposal

February 12
Lila Abu-Lughod, Veiled Sentiments, p. 171-259
Library trip.
Deposit of $5 for Museum trip due at the Honors College office

February 19
David Whisnant, All that is Native and Fine, pp. 1-101

February 26
David Whisnant, All that is Native and Fine, pp. 183-267

Saturday, March 1st In and Out of Focus: Images from Central Africa, 1885-1960, Exhibit at the Museum of African Art, Smithsonian, Washington DC, 9:30am

March 5
1) Barbara Kirschenblatt-Gimblett. 1998. “Objects of Ethnography.” Destination Culture: Tourism, Museums, and Heritage. Berkeley: University of California Press. Pp. 17-78.
2) Curtis M. Hinsley. 1991. “The World as Marketplace: Commodification of the Exotic at the World’s Columbian Exposition, Chicago, 1893.” In Exhibiting Cultures: The Poetics and Politics of Museum Display. Ed. Ivan Karp and Steven D. Levine. Washington: Smithsonian University Press. Pp. 344-385.

Images from Exhibit
Gaze and Images

March 12
1) Adrienne L. Kaeppler. 1991. “Ali’i and Maka’ainana: The Representation of Hawaiians in Museums at Home and Abroad.” In Museums and Communities: The Politics of Public Culture. Ed. Ivan Karp and Steven D. Levine. Washington: Smithsonian Institution Press. Pp. 458-475.
2) Stephen Eddy Snow. 1993. “Pilgrims and Tourists: The Performer-Audience Interaction.” Performing the Pilgrims: A Study of Ethnohistorical Role-Playing at Plimouth Plantation. Jackson: University of Mississippi Press. Pp. 153-182
Due: Literature Review


Public Display as Power
March 26
1) David Cannadine. 1985. “Splendor out of Court: Royal Spectacle and Pageantry in Modern Britain, c. 1820-1977.” In Rites of Power, Symbolism, Ritual, and Politics Since the Middle Ages. Ed. Sean Wilentz. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. Pp. 206-244.
2) Terence Ranger. 1983. “The Invention of Tradition in Colonial Africa.” In The Invention of Tradition. Ed. Eric Hobsbawn and Terence Ranger. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Pp. 211-262.
Film: “Trobriand Cricket: An Ingenious Response to Colonialism”

Culture as Resistance
April 2
1) Natalie Zemon Davis. 1984. “Charivari, Honor, and Community in Seventeenth-Century Lyon and Geneva.” In Rite, Drama, Festival, Spectacle: Rehearsals Toward a Theory of Cultural Performance. Ed. John J. MacAloon. Philadelphia: Institute for the Study of Human Issues. Pp. 42-57.
2) David E. Whisnant. 1995. “Culture as Revolution, Revolution as Culture: The Sandanista Cultural Project.” In Rascally Signs in Sacred Places: The Politics of Culture in Nicaragua. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press. Pp. 189-235.

Culture & Nationalism
April 9
1) Richard Handler. 1988. “Some Salient Features of Québécois National Ideology.” Nationalism and the Politics of Culture in Quebec. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press. Pp. 30-51.
2) Richard Handler. 1988. “‘Having a Culture’: The Preservation of Quebec’s Patrimoine.” Nationalism and the Politics of Culture in Quebec. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press. Pp. 140-158.
3) William A. Wilson. 1975. “The Kalevala and Finnish Politics.” Journal of the Folklore Institute 12 (2/3): 131-155.
4) Katherine Verdery. 1990. “The Production and Defense of ‘the Romanian Nation,’ 1900 to World War II.” In Nationalist Ideologies and the Production of National Cultures. Ed. Richard G. Fox. Washington DC: American Anthropological Association.
Video presentation: “Song & Nationalism in Ghana”
Discussion of coding
Due: Fieldnotes

April 16
1) Kathleen Adams. 1995. “Making Up the Toraja?” Ethnology 34(2): 143-154.
2) Michel Picard. 1997. “Cultural Tourism, Nation-Building, and Regional Culture: The Making of a Balinese Identity.” In Tourism, Ethnicity, and the State in Asian and Pacific Societies. Ed. Michel Picard and Robert E. Wood. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press. Pp. 181-214.
Discussion with peers of outline.
Due: Outline of final paper (2 copies)

April 23
1) Timothy Oakes. 1997. “Ethnic Tourism in Rural Guizhou: Sense of Place and the Commerce of Authenticity.” In Tourism, Ethnicity, and the State in Asian and Pacific Societies. Ed. Michel Picard and Robert E. Wood. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press. Pp. 35-70.
2) Edward M. Bruner. 1996. “Tourism in Ghana: The Representation of Slaveryand the Return of the Black Diaspora.” American Anthropologist 98 (2): 290-304.

April 30
Due: Final Paper

Course Requirements



You will be expected to do ethnographic fieldwork on an event or exhibit that is related to the politics of culture, whether that be a museum exhibit, tourist locale, living history presentation, festival, parade, or other kind of presentation of cultural reification.

Here is a breakdown of assignments (greater detail will be provided later):

  • A research proposal. A one-page proposal stating the topic you are exploring and how you will explore it. What will you observe? What will you be looking at? Due: February 5. (5%)
  • Analysis of the literature. Here you will find and read three articles on the group that you are studying. One of the three articles may be a website or a newspaper article. In this short paper, you should summarize and analyze these articles. Due: March 12. (15%)
  • Fieldnotes of an observation. Here you will turn in detailed notes of your observation. Due: April 9. (20%)
  • Outline of your final paper, in which you outline your argument and your evidence. Due: April 16. (5%)
  • Final paper. A final paper detailing your research. Due: April 30. (25%)
  • Presentation. Here you will present your research findings to the rest of the class. Due: April 30th. (10%)
  • Participation. You are expected to do the reading and participate in class discussion. For each class, you will be expected to write an approximately one-page, single-spaced reflective journal on the reading, which should include an overview of the main point(s) of the author’s argument and critical reflection upon the author’s ideas and arguments. You may miss one week of your reflective journals. (20%)

I DO NOT ACCEPT ASSIGNMENTS AFTER THE DEADLINE. Obsessively back-up all your computer files for this course and keep paper copies of all your work. Stock up on back-up media (floppy or zip disks, CD’s), paper, and printer ink. Your computer troubles will elicit my sympathy but NOT an extension.

I do not accept late work principally because this is a large class and the primary assignment is cumulative. Falling behind in assignments will make both you and me hopelessly backlogged.

If you find yourself in exceptional circumstances that call for special consideration, you must provide me with the appropriate documentation: a doctor’s note in the event of an illness, a letter forwarded from the dean in event of a death; a police report in the event of a robbery.

An excused absence consists of: 1) I am informed prior to class that you will be unable to make it. 2) On the day that you return, you provide me with documentation for your absence. If these two conditions are not met, your absence will be considered unexcused.

As you will note, I have not taken into account religious holidays. If you have a conflict with any of the dates for assignments or readings because of your religious background and beliefs, please see me the first week of class, and we will arrange something convenient for both of us.

Fieldwork Ideas

Multicultural Month Celebration, Garden State Discovery Museum, Cherry Hill, January 5th-January 27th

Mummenschanz (Swiss mask and mime troupe), NJPAC, Newark, January 31th-February 2nd

Chinese New Year in February

  • New Jersey State Acquarium, Camden, February 8th, 11am-3pm,
  • In Chinatown, Philadelphia

Greek Cultural Week, International House, Philadelphia, March 6-8th

Laotian and Cambodian New Year in April

Latin American Fiesta, April 3, 6:30-8:30pm, Stedman Gallery, Camden

American Roots Festival on Native American Music, Newark Museum, 49 Washington Street, Newark,

St. Patrick Day Parade

Chua Bo De Buddhist Temple (Vietnamese), 13th & Washington, Philadelphia (near the Italian Market)

Christ Apostolic Church of Philadelphia (Nigeria Pentecostal), 5800-02 Baltimore Avenue, Philadelphia 215-472-5001, 11am Sunday

Oromo Evangelical Church of Philadelphia (Ethiopia), Summit Church, Green Street, Philadelphia 717-684-3653

Vietnamese Alliance Church, 931 E. Lycoming Avenue, Philadelphia

Augustine Roman Catholic church, 4th Street, Philadelphia (Filipino), 11am Sunday

Mount Zion United African Church (Sierra Leonean), 5117 Chester Avenue, Philadelphia, 10:30am Sunday

Polish Easter Customs, Polish & American Cultural Center, Philadelphia

Passover Festival, JCC of Metropolitan NJ, West Orange, April 6th-April 9th

Independence Hall, Philadelphia

225th Anniversary of Hancock House Massacre, Hancock House, c/o Fort Mott State Park, 454 Fort Mott Road, Pennsville, Saturday, March 22, 9am (856) 935-3218

These generally cost money.

Dancing Granny, Walt Whitman Performing Arts Center, Camden, February 7th

Nai-Ni Dance Company, NJPAC , One Center Street, Newark, February 8th-9th

Charlotte Blake Austin, Walt Whitman Performing Arts Center, Camden, February 12th

Children’s Folk Ballet of Korea, John Harms Center for the Arts , Englewood, February 13th

Samulnori Drummers and Dancers of Korea, Richard Stockton College of NJ, Pomona, February 15th, 8pm

Ali Akbar Khan, McCarter Theater, Princeton, March 5th

Shafaatullah Khan on sitar and tabla (music from India), Walt Whitman Performing Arts Center, Camden March 7th

From Jaffa With Love, JCC of Metropolitan NJ, West Orange, April 6th-April 7th

Tales of the Jersey Devil, Wheaton Village , Millville, to January 31st

Ethnic food stores
Arts organizations
Community organizations

The Balch Institute

A Collector’s Vision of Puerto Rico, Smithsonian Institution

Philadelphia Folklore Project