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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
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis 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.
Course description 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
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2015/16, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  17
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
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 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Assessment will be based on an essay for 4,000 words
Feedback Not entered
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Understand how and why violence has become a major area of anthropological research in recent decades, as well as critically analyse a wide variety of theoretical approaches to violence in the social sciences.
  2. Relate specific historical and ethnographic case studies of violence to major debates in anthropology and contemporary society.
  3. Critically examine the political and ethical dimensions of research on violence
  4. Recognise the ways in which the study of violence draws on multiple disciplinary approaches from the natural and social sciences.
  5. Demonstrate the ability to critically evaluate evidence from specific case studies, and use such material in building coherent arguments in essay writing and seminar
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.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Casey High
Course secretaryMs Jessica Barton
Tel: (0131 6)51 5066
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