URBAN ANTHROPOLOGY
ANT 335 T/Th 2:10PM-4:00PM (TW 109)

I. OVERVIEW
II. OBJECTIVES AND AIMS
III. GRADING AND EXPECTATIONS
IV. SCHEDULE OF READINGS AND ASSIGNMENTS

I. OVERVIEW

What is urban and what is rural? Can we think of one without the other? What assumptions come into play when we discuss urban vs. rural life? Or modern vs. traditional practices? Or cosmopolitan vs. local styles? In addressing some of these questions, this course puts forth a series of anthropological theories that account for urban life and urban identities in a multitude of forms, spaces, and structures. To help ground these theories, this course draws on a set of ethnographic case studies from Brazil, China, Kenya, Thailand, the Sudan, and the United States. As a collective, these case studies reveal broad processes and trends such as urbanization, modernization, globalization, neo-liberalism, and transnational migration. Nonetheless, while highlighting these trends, this course also takes care to contextualize them within specific settings, cultural practices, and social meanings. As such, this course pays close attention to power relations -- particularly those that give rise to extreme forms of inequality as well as those that open up possibilities for resistance, including the re-appropriation and reinterpretation of urban space and life.

II. OBJECTIVES AND AIMS

  • to think creatively and critically about processes of urbanization, modernization, globalization, and transnationalism
  • to understand and appreciate the role of culture, and its intersections with politics and economy in the shaping of everyday, urban lives
  • to work collaboratively on a group project that applies a sensitive and well-informed anthropological perspective to the issue of transnational migration

III. GRADING AND EXPECTATIONS

Grade Distribution
  • Attendance and Class Participation = 100 points total or 10% of final grade
  • Reflection Questions = 50 points total or 5% of final grade
  • Critical Essays (x3) = 300 points total or 30% of final grade
  • Midterm Exam = 150 points total or 15% of final grade
  • Proposal Mini-Assignments = 100 points total or 10% of final grade
  • Final Group Proposal = 100 points total or 10% of final grade
  • Final Group Presentation = 50 points total or 5% of final grade

Attendance and Class Participation (100 points total)
Attendance is required and will be recorded on an attendance sheet in every class. This will be used to monitor your participation and serve as an aid for student services and midterm grade reporting. Attendance and active participation - in the form of questions, comments, and group discussion - will be duly noted and factored in the tallying of your final grade.

Reflection Questions (5 points each for a total of 50 points)
To maintain an interactive class dynamic, this course builds on weekly reading and reflection questions posed by students. These questions are meant to provoke thoughtful analysis and should focus on the main arguments of the authors. It is expected that each week students will bring in
three typed questions for group discussion. At the end of class, students will be selected to summarize the main points and insights of the class discussion, which will count towards the final participation grade as well.

Critical Essays (100 points each for a total of 300 points)
Over the course of the semester, students are expected to write three critical essays - of five pages each - based on the assigned readings, films, and class lectures. For specific guidelines regarding the structure, formatting, and due date of each essay please look
here.

Midterm Exam (150 points total)
The midterm exam will be administered in class on Thursday, October 12th. It will consist of identification terms and short essay questions. It is recommended that you take diligent notes in class and on the readings and films, for the exam will be based on these materials.

Group Project Mini-Assignments (100 points total)
In the second half of the semester, students will work on a group project that researches the life experiences of a select refugee population. This project culminates in a final report - i.e. a "refugee orientation proposal" - that students will present to the class. Smaller assignments have been set up to guide you through the research process and final write up. Please look
here for specific guidelines and the deadlines for the assignments. A major objective of this group work is to help students develop research skills -- independently and collaboratively. This project also aims to illustrate the complex connections between the global/local and urban/rural, which includes the town of Ripon!

Group Project Final Presentation (50 points total)
As part of the group project, students will make a formal power-point presentation to the class. Students will have twenty minutes to present the proposal, followed by ten minutes of questions and comments. For recommended guidelines on effective presentation and public-speaking techniques, please look here. I also am available to meet outside of class for individual consultation. Presentations will occur during the last week of class.

Group Project Final Report (100 points total)
The final report is the culmination of the group project and will follow the structure of a research proposal. The proposal is due on Friday, December 15th by 1:00PM. For specific guidelines on how to write the proposal, please look here. Also each student should fill out this form, which asks about your specific contributions to the group project. Be prepared to provide an honest assessment of your work, including a recommended grade. Please turn the form in with the final group report.

Grading Policy
Written assignments are due via email on the date indicated on the course schedule. These assignments need to be submitted by the start of class time. An assignment will be penalized 10% of its total points if it is submitted late. After two weeks, the assignment will be penalized another 10% of its total points. After three weeks, the assignment will receive no credit.

Academic Honor Code
Students are expected to uphold the academic integrity of Ripon College. Please consult the student handbook for more information about plagiarism and the responsibilities of maintaining the Academic Honor Code. If you have questions about the Honor Code I also am available to meet outside of class to discuss particular concerns about the writing assignments and exams.

Required Texts
Textbooks are available for purchase through the campus on-line bookstore or other on-line vendors, like Amazon. Copies have been placed on reserved reading in the library as well. Please bring all readings to class.

Bourgois, Philippe and Jeffrey Schonberg
2009
Righteous Dopefiend. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Goldstein, Donna
2003
Laughter Out of Place: Race, Class, Violence, and Sexuality in a Rio Shantytown. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Smith, James and Ngeti Mwadime
2014
Email from Ngeti: An Ethnography of Sorcery, Redemption, and Friendship in Global Africa. Berkeley: University of California Press.

IV. SCHEDULE OF READINGS AND ASSIGNMENTS
All readings and assignments are due on the date indicated in the schedule presented below. An outline of my lecture will be posted to the website the evening before class meets. This is not meant to replace class attendance or note taking but rather to direct you to key concepts. Please hit the “refresh” button regularly on your browser, as content will be updated continuously over the semester.

WEEK 1 WHAT IS URBAN ANTHROPOLOGY?

Tuesday, August 22nd

Lecture 1: Overview of Course Material

Thursday, August 24th
Lecture 2: Urban Anthropology: A Historical Context
Reading Due
* Caldwell, Melissa 2010 Moscow Encounters: Ethnography in a Global Urban Village
IN Urban Life: Readings in the Anthropology of the City. George Gmelch, Robert Kemper, and Walter Zenner, eds. Pp. 55-71. Long Grove: Waveland Press.

WEEK 2 WHAT IS URBAN FIELDWORK?

Tuesday, August 29th
Discussion of Readings: Urban vs. Rural Fieldwork
Readings Due
* Gmelch, George and Sharon Bohn Gmelch 2010 Student Fieldworkers in Village and City
IN Urban Life: Readings in the Anthropology of the City. George Gmelch, Robert Kemper, and Walter Zenner, eds. Pp. 82-96. Long Grove: Waveland Press.
* Bestor, Theodore 2010 Networks, Neighborhoods, and Markets: Fieldwork in Tokyo
IN Urban Life: Readings in the Anthropology of the City. George Gmelch, Robert Kemper, and Walter Zenner, eds. Pp. 20-35. Long Grove: Waveland Press.
[Reflection Questions #1 Due]


Thursday, August 31st
Lecture 3: Culture of Poverty: Debates and Denouncements
Reading Due
* Wirth, Louis. 2010. Urbanism As a Way of Life
IN Urban Life: Readings in the Anthropology of the City. George Gmelch, Robert Kemper, and Walter Zenner, eds. Pp. 101-118. Long Grove: Waveland Press.
* Merry, Sally Engle 2010 Urban Danger: Life in a Neighborhood of Strangers
IN Urban Life: Readings in the Anthropology of the City. George Gmelch, Robert Kemper, and Walter Zenner, eds. Pp. 119-130. Long Grove: Waveland Press.

WEEK 3 URBAN PERIPHERIES I: RACE AND CLASS IN BRAZIL

Tuesday, September 5th
Lecture 4: Introducing Brazil: Laughter Out of Place
Reading Due
Laughter Out of Place (pp. xiii-xvii, 1-49)

Thursday, September 7th
Discussion of Reading and Documentary:
Housemaids (2013, dir. Gabriel Mascaro, 76 min.)
Reading Due
Laughter Out of Place (pp. 58-101)
[Reflection Questions #2 Due]


WEEK 4: URBAN PERIPHERIES II: VIOLENCE AND SEXUALITY IN BRAZIL


Tuesday, September 12th
Discussion of Reading
Reading Due
Laughter Out of Place (pp. 136-173)

Thursday, September 14th
Lecture 5: Theorizing Urban Violence: Street Gangs and Multiple Marginality
Reading Due
Laughter Out of Place (pp. 174-225, 259-274)
* Recommended Reading:
Once Unsafe, Rio's Shantytowns See Rapid Gentrification (All Things Considered, NPR)
[Reflection Questions #3 Due]

WEEK 5 URBAN MIGRATION: SOCIAL ENGINEERING IN CHINA

Tuesday, September 19th
Lecture 6: China: Rural and Urban Social Systems
Essay #1 Due

Thursday, September 21st
Discussion of Readings
Reading Due
* Loyalka, Michelle 2012 Introduction, Chapters One and Three IN Eating Bitterness: Stories From the Frontlines of China's Great Urban Migration. Pp. 1-35, 64-96. Berkeley: University of California Press.
* Recommended Reading: Johnson, Ian 2013
China's Great Uprooting: Moving 250 Million into Cities and Pitfalls Abound in China's Push from Farm to City. New York Times.
[Reflection Questions #4 Due]

WEEK 6 URBAN COMMUNITIES I: STREET LIFE AND STREET SUFFERING

Tuesday September 26th
Lecture 7: Social Theory: Suffering, Violence, and Abuse
Documentary:
Lost Angels: Skid Row is My Home (2010, dir. Thomas Napper, 77 min.)
Reading Due
Righteous Dopefiend (pp. 1-23, 26-45)

Thursday, September 28th
Discussion of Reading and Documentary
Reading Due
Righteous Dopefiend (pp. 48-77, 80-115)
[Reflection Questions #5 Due]

WEEK 7 URBAN COMMUNITIES II: GLOBAL CITIES AS MEGA-SLUMS?

Tuesday, October 3rd
Lecture 8: Housing Typologies
Reading Due
Righteous Dopefiend (pp. 148-181)
* Recommended Website: A Short History of the Highrise (New York Times)

Thursday, October 5th
Discussion of Reading and Documentary
Reading Due
Righteous Dopefiend (pp. 210-239, 272-294, 297-320)
[Reflection Questions #6 Due]

WEEK 8 MIDTERM REVIEW

Tuesday, October 10th
Lecture 9: Midterm Review
Essay #2 Due

Thursday, October 12th
In-Class Midterm Exam

* * * MID-SEMESTER BREAK * * *


WEEK 9 URBAN CONSUMPTION AND MORAL ECONOMIES

Tuesday, October 24th
Lecture 10: Intimate Economies: Case Study of Bangkok
Reading Due
* Wilson, Ara 2004 The Economies of Intimacy in the Go-Go Bar
IN The Intimate Economies of Bangkok: Tomboys, Tycoons, and Avon Ladies in the Global City. Chapter 2. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Thursday, October 26th
Discussion of Reading and Group Projects
Reading Due
* Wilson, Ara 2004 MBK: The Retail Revolution and the Infrastructure of Romance IN The Intimate Economies of Bangkok: Tomboys, Tycoons, and Avon Ladies in the Global City. Chapter 3. Berkeley: University of California Press.
[Reflection Questions #7 Due]

WEEK 10 RETHINKING THE URBAN I: REIMAGINING THE LOCAL AND GLOBAL

Tuesday, October 31st
Group Project Research (Meet in Waitkus Computer Lab)
Reading Due
Email from Ngeti (pp. 1-53)

Thursday, November 2nd
Lecture 11: Kenya: Introducing a Global Africa
Discussion of Reading
Reading Due
Email from Ngeti (pp. 54-104)
[Reflection Questions #8 Due]

WEEK 11 RETHINKING THE URBAN II: THE POWER OF PLACE

Tuesday, November 7th
Lecture 12: Witchcraft: Socioeconomic Inequality and Subversive Power
Reading Due
Email from Ngeti (pp. 105-167 but can skim diary excerpts, pp. 141-158)
Group Project Assignment #1 Due

Thursday, November 9th
Discussion of Reading
Reading Due
Email from Ngeti (pp. 168-211)
[Reflection Questions #9 Due]

WEEK 12 TRANSNATIONAL MIGRATION I: WAR AND REFUGEES


Tuesday, November 14th

Lecture 13: War, Displacement, and Migration
Documentary:
Lost Boys of Sudan (2004, dir. Megan Mylan, 87 min.)
Essay #3 Due

Thursday, November 16th
Discussion of Readings and Documentary
Reading Due
* Peters-Golden, Holly 2009 The Nuer: Cattle and Kinship in Sudan IN Culture Sketches: Case Studies in Anthropology. Pp. 153-170. Boston: McGraw Hill Higher Education.
* Shandy, Dianna 2010 [2007] Nuer-American Passages IN Perspectives on Africa: A Reader in Culture, History, and Representation. R.R. Grinker and C. Steiner, eds. Pp. 660-670. Malden: Blackwell Publishing, Ltd.
[Reflection Questions #10 Due]

WEEK 13 TRANSNATIONAL MIGRATION II: RESETTLEMENT

Tuesday, November 21st
Discussion of Readings
Reading Due
* Foner, Nancy 2010 Transnationalism, Old and New: New York Immigrants
IN Urban Life: Readings in the Anthropology of the City. George Gmelch, Robert Kemper, and Walter Zenner, eds. Pp. 363-377. Long Grove: Waveland Press.
* Igielnik, Ruth and Jens Krogstad 2017
Where Refugees to the U.S. Come From. Pew Research Center. February 3rd.
[Reflection Questions #11 Due]

Thursday, November 23rd
No Class (Thanksgiving Break)

WEEK 14 TRANSNATIONAL MIGRATION III: RETHINKING BOUNDARIES

Tuesday, November 28th
Discussion of Group Projects and Final Presentations
Assignment
Work on Group Project
Group Project Assignment #2 Due

Thursday, November 30th
Group Project Meetings
Assignment
Work on Group Project

WEEK 15 REFUGEE PROJECT PRESENTATIONS

Tuesday, December 5th
Student Presentations AND Participation
Group Project Assignment #3 Due

Thursday December 7th
Student Presentations AND Participation

WEEK 16 FINAL RESEARCH PROPOSALS

Friday, December 15th

Final Research Proposal Due (via email) by 1:00PM