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

Postgraduate Course: Generation and Inheritance: Anthropological Concepts (PGSP11619)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Social and Political Science CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryTalk about generation and inheritance seem to be everywhere these days. In this course, we will examine anthropological work on these related concepts. We will reflect on how anthropologists have thought about and mobilised these concepts to understand pressing and enduring issues that cut across seemingly distinct areas of life, including kinship, politics, economics, health, and the environment. We will reflect, too, on the usefulness of generation and inheritance in understanding and realising social change.
Course description Generation and inheritance loom large in contemporary public culture. A new generation one with a distinct sensibility and outlook when it comes to politics, work, gender and sexuality, romance, family, the environment, and so on has supposedly emerged. If these accounts are to be believed, older and younger generations are engaged in a relentless struggle over the world and ways of living and dying past, present, and future. At the same time, inheritance is on the radar, particularly how it structures opportunities and possibilities in a world marked by loss and deepening inequalities. How might these aspects of contemporary life be understood anthropologically?

This course examines the place of generation and inheritance in anthropological thought. It queries how anthropologists have understood these two concepts and their interrelationship. It traces, too, how anthropologists have mobilised these concepts to shed light on pressing issues and intervene in public culture. In pursuing this focus, this course reflects on how generation and inheritance are fundamental to understanding and effecting change, including in ways that cut across seemingly distinct areas of social life and anthropological enquiry.

This course addresses a broad range of questions that may include: How and why do generation and inheritance structure and transform societies? What is the relationship, if any, between generation and inheritance and how has this relationship been subject to change across various historical and social milieus? In what ways are generation and inheritance inflected by, and inflect, axes of social difference, including gender and sexuality, class, race and ethnicity, and citizenship? How have anthropological approaches to generation and inheritance changed over time and with what consequences?

Topics to be covered by this course may vary each year, but these may include: generation and inheritance as social organization; generational consciousness, identity, and belonging; tradition and heritage; politics, activism, and their legacies; generational gaps and conflicts; material and immaterial transmissions; inequalities and social reproduction; bodies and health across generations; ageing and intergenerational care; future generations and uncertain inheritances.
At the heart of this course are weekly two-hour seminars that will centre on selected readings. Through these seminars, students will engage with accounts of generation and inheritance in social and cultural anthropology, as well as adjacent disciplines, such as history, sociology, economics, and literature. These accounts will explore inheritance and generation in different cultural and historical milieus. Students will also have the opportunity to engage with films, music, and other genres that complement assigned readings. In working with these materials, students will hone their analytical skills and their understanding of what it means to develop anthropological concepts and arguments.
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 2023/24, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  15
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 20, Other Study Hours 4, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 172 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 90 %, Practical Exam 10 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Blog posts of 200-300 words, generated in groups during weekly seminars and uploaded to the course blog (10%) «br /»
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Seminar participation and presentation (10%) «br /»
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Mid-semester short essay (book/media review) (20%; 1500 words) «br /»
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A final essay at the end of the term addressing one question selected from a given list (60%; 3000 words)
Feedback Short essays will be returned before the submission of the final essay. Further guidance on how to approach the two essays will be provided in class, and during guidance and feedback hours.

Formative feedback on seminar participation and group blog posts will be given during Weeks 4-5. Summative feedback will be given at the end of the semester.

Feedback on class presentations will be given within 7 days after these are delivered.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate extensive and specialist knowledge of anthropological conceptualisations of generation and inheritance, including their wider social science and historical contexts
  2. Provide advanced-level assessment of anthropological accounts of generation and inheritance from different parts of the world and their respective strengths and weaknesses
  3. Explain at an advanced level the significance of inheritance and generation in processes of social change
  4. Show an advanced, critical understanding of recent and ongoing public debates on the importance of generation and inheritance, and relate these to relevant anthropological work
  5. Convey complex ideas in a concise and clear way
Reading List
Cruz, Resto. 2019. An Inheritance that Cannot Be Stolen: Schooling, Kinship, and Personhood in Post-1945 Central Philippines. Comparative Studies in Society and History 61 (4): 894924.
Ghosh, Sahana, and Megha Sharma Sehdev. 2022. Generations. Feminist Anthropology 3 (2): 24653.
Han, Clara, and Andrew Brandel. 2020. Genres of Witnessing: Narrative, Violence, Generations. Ethnos 85 (4): 62946.
Jackson, Michael. 2021. The Genealogical Imagination: Two Studies of Life Over Time. Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press.
Pina-Cabral, João, and Dimitrios Theodossopoulos. 2022. Thinking About Generations, Conjuncturally: A Toolkit. The Sociological Review 70 (3): 45573.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills This course will help students to become University of Edinburgh graduates who:
- have the passion to engage pressing local and global issues through exposure to anthropological accounts pertaining to a wide range of historical and social contexts.
- are curious and independent learners through active participation in seminars, and critical evaluation of ideas, evidence, and experiences from various sources.
- are skilled communicators through discussing complex topics in a respectful manner that entails not only talking with, but listening to, others.
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Resto Cruz
Course secretaryMr Adam Petras
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