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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Social and Political Science : Social Anthropology

Undergraduate Course: Ethnography of the USA (SCAN10059)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Social and Political Science CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryNorth America as an anthropological region is marked by diversity, not simply from the First Nations indigenous inhabitants, but from the settler societies that have been arriving in waves for now over five hundred years. Despite this seemingly fractured and fractious constitution, early sociological writings by authors such as Weber and Alexis de Tocqueville emphasized modes of constructing collective sociality through a host of associations, organizations, and denominations.

This balance of centripetal and centrifugal forces, always tested, has been given particular shocks during the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. During that time accelerations in the flow of capital, shifts in the inter- and intra-American circuits of human movement, new technological capacities, and religious revivals and mutations all catalyzed each other, transforming some modes of sociality, while intensifying others. And this concatenation of forces has had effects that have played out well beyond the North American borders.

This course will attempt to trace out this phenomenon, using the above-mentioned four aspects (capital flows; population movement; technology; and religious change) as unifying thematics to guide the selections from the series of ethnographic texts that will be covered.
Course description Not entered
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesVisiting students should have at least 3 Anthropology courses at grade B or above (or be predicted to obtain this). We will only consider University/College level courses.
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Gain an expert and substantial knowledge of anthropological accounts of changes to American immigration patterns, of internal movement of populations, of changes in American demographics, and of the American construction of categories of race and ethnicity.
  2. Gain an expert and substantial knowledge of anthropological accounts of changes in forms and techniques of bio-technological governmentality that simultaneously catalyze and restrain American economic and population changes.
  3. Through closely working with ethnographies and ethnographic data, students will gain a capacity to think both ethnographically and critically about the United States as a region, but also to think critically about the possible production of their own ethnographic texts at a latter stage of their academic development.
Reading List
Additional Information
Course URL
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Jon Bialecki
Tel: (0131 6)51 5534
Course secretaryMr Ewen Miller
Tel: (0131 6)50 3925
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