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

Postgraduate Course: East Central Africa (SCAN11009)

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 region of Africa is known to us largely through images of war, disease and poverty. From genocide in Rwanda and Sudan, violent armed conflict in the Great Lakes Region and the Horn of Africa, to some of the worst outbreaks of the global pandemic of HIV and AIDS, and to frequent outbreaks of famine and food insecurity, we relate to this region largely through images of disaster and suffering fed to us through the media. In this course we ask, how can these issues be addressed, without perpetuating the idea that hunger, death and suffering are somehow 'natural' in this part of Africa? Can ethnography be mobilised to bring to life the 'everyday-ness' of life in the region, without doing disservice to the very real problems that exist? How do the people living in the region reflect on their position in the global economy? Each week in the course we will look at these issues, among others, to ask ourselves what an anthropological perspective can bring to bear on our understanding of life in East Central Africa.
Course description Not entered
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
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
Students should gain a sophisticated and historically-informed knowledge of contemporary affairs in East Central Africa. They should be able to:
- bring an ethnographic understanding to debate about complex current issues in the region
- assess critically taken-for-granted representations of East Central Africa
- obtain a sense of the interplay between ethnography and the politics of identity in the history of Africanist anthropology
- appreciate why constructions of ethnicity, including those of anthropologists, have led to violent conflict
- structure and frame youth in the context of Africanist anthropology
- contribute to the debates surrounding the politics and morality of witchcraft and sorcery
- understand the contribution that anthropological perspectives have brought to the HIV and AIDS epidemic
- consider the politics of rainmaking
- analyse the role of musical performance in the national imagination
Reading List
A list of essential and further reading for each session is given in the course handbook on WebCT and must be consulted.

In addition, students who are new to ethnography should consider consulting some of the texts below for a useful introduction:

Agar, M.H. 1980. The Professional Stranger: An informal introduction to ethnography. New York: Academic Press

Brockington, D. & S. Sullivan. 2006. 'Ethnography: Participant observation, oral testimony and the production of texts' in Scheyvens, R., D. Storey, eds. Development Fieldwork: A practical guide, pp. 65-68. London: Sage

Bryman, A. 2004. 'Ethnography and participant observation' in Bryman, A., ed. Social Research Methods, pp. 291-317. Oxford: Oxford University Press

Clifford, J. 1986. 'Partial Truths' in Clifford, J., G.E. Marcus, eds. Writing Culture: The poetics and politics of ethnography, pp. 1-26. Berkeley: University of California Press

Ellen, R.F., ed. 1984. Ethnographic Research: A guide to general conduct. London: Academic Press

Fetterman, D.M. 1989. Ethnography: Step by step. Newbury Park: Sage

Fife, W. 2005. Doing Fieldwork: Ethnographic methods for research in developing countries and beyond. New York and Houndmills: Palgrave Macmillan

Gusterson, H. 2008. 'Ethnographic research' in Klotz, A., D. Prakash, eds. Qualitative Methods in International Relations: A pluralist guide, pp. 93-113. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan

Hammersley, M. & P. Atkinson. 2007. Ethnography: Principles in practice. London: Routledge, pp.1-96

Patton, M.Q. 2002. 'Ethnography; Autoethnography and evocative forms of inquiry' in Patton, M.Q., ed. Qualitative Research and Evaluation Methods, pp. 81-91. Thousand Oaks: Sage

Silverman, D. 1993. 'Ethnography and observation' in Silverman, D., ed. Interpreting Qualitative Data: Methods for analysing talk, text and interaction, pp. 43-82. London: Sage

Tedlock, B. 2000. 'Ethnography and ethnographic representation' in Denzin, N.K., Y.S. Lincoln, eds. Handbook of Qualitative Research, pp. 455-486. Thousand Oaks: Sage

van Donge, J.K. 2006. 'Ethnography and participant observation' in Desai, V., R. Potter, B., eds. Doing Development Research, pp. 180-188. London: Sage

van Maanen, J. 1988a. 'Fieldwork, culture, and ethnography' in van Maanen, J., ed. Tales of the Field: On writing ethnography, pp. 1-12. Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press

van Maanen, J. 1988b. 'In pursuit of culture' in van Maanen, J., ed. Tales of the Field: On writing ethnography, pp. 13-44. Chicago and London: Chicago University Press

van Maanen, J. 1995. 'An end to innocence: The ethnography of ethnography' in van Maanen, J., ed. Representation in Ethnography. Thousand Oaks: Sage

There are many other book-length ethnographies that you may wish to read in addition to the monographs that appear on the weekly reading lists. Some other classics and contemporary ethnographies are listed below:

Abrahams, R. 1967. The Peoples of the Greater Unyamwezi. London: International African Institute.

Beidelman, T.O. 1971. The Kaguru. A matrilineal people of East Africa. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston Inc.

Caplan, P. 1997. African Voices, African Lives: Personal narratives from a Swahili village. London and New York: Routledge.

Douglas, M. 1963. The Lele of the Kasai. London: International African Institute.

Evans-Pritchard, E.E. 1976 (1937). Witchcraft, Oracles and Magic among the Azande. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Evans-Pritchard, E.E. 1940. The Nuer. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Ferguson, J. 1999. Expectations of Modernity: Myths and meanings of urban life on the Zambian copper belt. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press.

Green, M. 2003. Priests, Witches and Power. Popular Christianity after mission in Southern Tanzania. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Hutchinson, S. 1996. Nuer Dilemmas: Coping with money, war, and the state. Berkeley, Los Angeles, London: University of California Press.

James, W. 1988. The Listening Ebony: Moral knowledge, religion and power among the Uduk of Sudan. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Leopold, M. 2005. Inside West Nile: Violence, history and representation on an African frontier. Oxford: James Currey.

Middleton, J. 1965. The Lugbara of Uganda. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston.

Middleton, J. 1960. Lugbara Religion: Ritual and authority among an East African people. London: Oxford University Press.

Middleton, J. 1992. The World of the Swahili. New Haven and London: Yale University.

Mitchell, C. 1956. The Kalela Dance: Aspects of social relationships among urban Africans in Northern Rhodesia (Rhodes-Livingstone Paper 27). Manchester: Manchester University Press. [Access online:]

Moore, H.L. & M. Vaughan. 1994. Cutting Down Trees: Gender, nutrition and agricultural change in the Northern Province of Zambia, 1890-1990. London: James Currey.

Moore, H.L. 1996. Space, Text, and Gender. An anthropological study of the Marakwet of Kenya. New York, London: The Guilford Press.

Parkin, D. 1991. Sacred Void: Spatial images of work and ritual among the Giriama of Kenya. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Richards, A. 1939. Land, Labour and Diet among the Bemba of Northern Rhodesia. London: Oxford University Press.

Smith, J.H. 2008. Bewitching Development. Witchcraft and the reinvention of development in neoliberal Kenya. Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press.

Turner, V. 1967. The Forest of Symbols. Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press.

Weiss, B. 1996. The Making and Unmaking of the Haya Lived World: Consumption, commodification and everyday life. Durham N.C.: Duke University Press.

Weiss, B. 2009. Sweet Dreams and Hip Hop Barbershops: Global fantasy in urban Tanzania. Indiana University Press.

Wilson, G. 1941. An Essay on the Economics of Detribalization in Northern Rhodesia (part 1) (Rhodes-Livingstone Paper No 5. Livingstone, Northern Rhodesia: Rhodes-Livingstone Institute.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
Additional Class Delivery Information The course will be taught in ten sessions, with a two hour class each week, normally divided between a presentation that leads into discussion-based learning. Preparation for each class is based on suggested readings. All students should do the essential reading before each class.
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Rebecca Marsland
Tel: (0131 6)51 3864
Course secretaryMiss Kate Ferguson
Tel: (0131 6)51 5122
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