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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Social and Political Science : Postgrad (School of Social and Political Studies)

Postgraduate Course: Anthropology of Violence (PGSP11374)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Social and Political Science CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Course typeStandard AvailabilityAvailable to all students
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) Credits20
Home subject areaPostgrad (School of Social and Political Studies) Other subject areaNone
Course website None Taught in Gaelic?No
Course descriptionThis course examines a variety of anthropological approaches to the study of violence, ranging from evolutionary explanations for male aggression to studies of changing American attitudes toward terrorism in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. It looks critically at the theoretical, methodological and ethical questions raised in studies of violence through ethnographic case studies from around the world. The course considers attempts to define violence as a concept in the social sciences and explores the possible causes, meanings, and uses of violent practices from a variety of different cultural contexts and perspectives. It gives particular attention to the political and economic conditions that promote war and other violent behaviour as well as specific cultural expressions within violent practices. It also discusses ethnographic descriptions of "peaceful societies" and examines the challenges of reconciliation in the aftermath of conflict.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Additional Costs None
Information for Visiting Students
Displayed in Visiting Students Prospectus?No
Course Delivery Information
Delivery period: 2013/14 Semester 1, Available to all students (SV1) Learn enabled:  Yes Quota:  None
Web Timetable Web Timetable
Course Start Date 16/09/2013
Breakdown of Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 10, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 10, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 176 )
Additional Notes
Breakdown of Assessment Methods (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
No Exam Information
Summary of Intended Learning Outcomes
By the end of this course students will be able to:

- Demonstrate an advanced understanding how and why violence has become a major area of anthropological research in recent decades.
- Distinguish between and critically analyse a wide variety of theoretical approaches to violence in the social sciences and beyond.
- Relate specific historical and ethnographic case studies of violence to current debates in anthropology in conceptually sophisticated ways.
- Draw on the course readings, contemporary events and class discussions to engage in key debates about contemporary violence.
- Critically examine the political and ethical dimensions of research on violence.
- Recognise the ways in which the study of violence draws on multiple disciplinary approaches from the natural and social sciences.
- Write critically and creatively about violence from an anthropological perspective.
- Demonstrate an advanced ability to critically evaluate evidence from specific case studies, and use such material in building coherent arguments in essay writing and seminar presentations.
Assessment Information
Assessment will be based on an essay for 4,000 words
Special Arrangements
Additional Information
Academic description Not entered
Syllabus Week Topic

1 What is Violence and how do we Study it?
2 Violence and Human Nature
3 Historical Perspective: Conflicts in Colonialism
4 Remembering Violence
5 The Violence of Everyday Life
6 Gender and Violence
7 The Body
8 Cosmology and the Poetics of Violence
9 Interventions of the State: The War on Terror
10 Peace and Reconciliation
Transferable skills Not entered
Reading list Scheper-Hughes, N. and P. Bourgois (eds.) (2004) Violence in War and Peace: an anthology. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing.

Bourgois, P. (1995) In Search of Respect: selling crack in El Barrio. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Taylor, C. (1999) Sacrifice as Terror: the Rwandan genocide of 1994. Oxford: Berg.
Study Abroad Not entered
Study Pattern Not entered
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Casey High
Course secretaryMs Jessica Barton
Tel: (0131 6)51 1659
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