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SOCIAL FORMS: ANTHROPOLOGICAL THEORIES OF SOCIAL RELATIONSHIPS

ANTHROPOLOGY 332

University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

 

 

Fall 2004                                                       Instructor: David Akin (dwakin@umich.edu)

MWF 11:10–12:00                                       Office: 4418 MLB (office phone: 647-2100)

Lecture Room: 1401 Mason                          Office hours: Mon & Wed. 12:30–1:30 (and appt.)

 

COURSE OBJECTIVES: We will examine anthropological approaches to social relationships, broadly defined, both historically and across the field of anthropology today. A diverse range of topics will be addressed, including kinship, marriage, exchange, relationships to place, and various relational aspects of religion such as rituals, taboos, ancestral spirits and means of communication with them, and sorcery and witchcraft. We will give particular attention to how these and other aspects of social relationships are changing as part of and in response to global processes, and their association with various forms of social inequality. Our ethnographic cases will be drawn mostly from Africa and Melanesia.

 

COURSE GRADING (100 points total)

(1) Mid-term exam                25 points

(2) Final examination             30 points

(3) Research paper               30 points (includes meeting deadlines)

(4) Discussion section           15 points (includes attendance and participation)

 

EXAMS: Two essay exams will cover the lectures, readings, and films.

 

RESEARCH PAPER: Everyone must submit a 12–15 page, double-spaced typed research paper (12- point type, 1.25” margins). You must submit a one- to two-paragraph paper proposal by start of class on September 27, which you will discuss with Dr. Akin, and agree on your final topic. Any topic related to the class may be acceptable, but it must be approved. It is recommended that you submit your proposal as early as possible in case revision is needed. Your final papers are due by the start of class on December 10. Early submissions, and consultation during office hours as your paper progresses, are welcome.

 

COURSE READINGS: Unless otherwise specified in class, I will assume that you have read assigned readings before the lecture they are listed under. This will be crucial to your understanding the lectures.

Books:

(1) Ladislav Holy. 1996. Anthropological Perspectives on Kinship. Chicago: Pluto Press. Available at Shaman Drum Bookstore (313 South State Street).

(2) Edward Schieffelin. 1976. The Sorrow of the Lonely and the Burning of the Dancers. New York: St. Martin’s Press. Available from Dr. Akin at cost (used copies—is out-of-print).

Coursepack: A course pack of the assigned readings can be purchased at Dollar Bill Copying (611 Church.). In the lecture schedule below, the number in parentheses after each reading is the number of text pages (i.e., omitting photos and bibliographies). This is to help you schedule your reading.

 

FILMS: The Kawelka: Ongka’s Big Moka can be viewed in UGLI Film and Video Library (room 2178). It is not on reserve except on the day it is shown in class. Akin will also show fieldwork film clips.

 

LECTURE AND READING SCHEDULE

 

September 8

Lecture: Class Overview

Handouts: (1) Glossary of kinship terms; (2) Basic kinship diagrams.

Reading for this lecture: Start readings for Friday.

 

PART I: KINSHIP

September 10

Lecture: What is Kinship? Basic Techniques of Collection and Notation.

Handouts: (1) Sample complex kinship diagrams; (2&3) Maps of Africa and Melanesia showing groups referred to in the course

Reading for this lecture:

W.H.R. Rivers, “The Genealogical Method of Anthropological Enquiry.” (11)

Ladislav Holy, Anthropological Perspectives on Kinship, Introduction. (7)

Look over “Glossary of Kinship Terms” handout from September 8.

 

September 13

Lecture: Basic Units of Kinship

Reading for this lecture:

Ladislav Holy, Anthropological Perspectives on Kinship, Chapter 1. (30)

 

September 15

Lecture: Kinship, Descent, and Marriage

Reading for this lecture:

Ladislav Holy, Anthropological Perspectives on Kinship, Chapter 2. (11)

 

September 17

Lecture: Lineage Theory I

Reading for this Lecture:

Ladislav Holy, Anthropological Perspectives on Kinship, 71–90. (19)

(handout) John Middleton and David Tait, “The Lineage and the Lineage System; and Segmentary Structures.” (4)

 

September 20

Lecture: Lineage Theory II: Segmentary Lineage Systems

Reading for this lecture:

E. E. Evans-Pritchard, “The Nuer of the Southern Sudan.” (25)

Optional reading: Adam Kuper, “Lineage Theory: A Brief Retrospective.” (22)

 

 

 

 

September 22

Lecture: Doubts, Critiques, and Revisions

Reading for this lecture:

Ladislav Holy, Anthropological Perspectives on Kinship, 90–101, 102, and 115–23 (20); optional reading: Holy pp. 103–14 (12).

John Barnes, “African Models in the New Guinea Highlands.” (5 long pages)

(handout) Meyer Fortes, “Foreword” to The Garia. (4)

September 24

Lecture: Expanded Approaches to Kinship I

Note: your initial paper proposals are due next Monday

Reading for this lecture:

Ladislav Holy, Anthropological Perspectives on Kinship, Chapter 7. (31)

September 27

Lecture: Expanded Approaches to Kinship II: Gender, Substance, and Relationships

Assignment: Turn in your initial paper proposals by today (earlier submissions are welcome)

Reading for this lecture:

Sylvia Yanagisako and Jane Collier, “Gender and Kinship Reconsidered.” (10)

Janet Carstens, “The Substance of Kinship and the Heat of the Hearth: Feeding, Personhood, and Relatedness among Malays in Pulau Langkawi.” (15)

 

PART II: EXCHANGE

September 29

Lecture: Mauss, the Gift, and Reciprocity

Reading for this lecture:

Marcel Mauss, The Gift, Chapters I and II. (45)

 

October 1

Lecture: Commodities as Gifts

Reading for this lecture:

James Carrier, “Reconciling Commodities and Personal Relations in Industrial Society.” (15)

October 4

Lecture: Case Study: Big Men and Competitive Exchange

Reading for October 4–8 (next three classes):

Edward Schieffelin, The Sorrow of the Lonely and the Burning of the Dancers.

Three handouts, for October 4: (a) Marshall Sahlins, Excerpt about big men from the book Tribesmen. (2); (b) Ma`aanamae, and Jonathan Fifi`i, “Social Power of Big Men” (1); (c) Bronislaw Malinowski, “Reciprocity as the Basis of Social Cohesion” (1).

October 6

Note: Akin has no office hours today or Friday, but will hold extra hours next Monday by appt.

Lecture: Principles of Exact Equivalence in Exchange

 

October 8

Film: The Kawelka: Ongka’s Big Moka.

 

October 11 and October 13

Two lectures: Spheres of Exchange: Objects, Relationships, and Modes of Exchange

Reading for these two lectures:

Paul Bohannan, “The Impact of Money on an African Subsistence Economy.” (13)

Marshall Sahlins, “On the Sociology of Primitive Exchange.” (46)

 

October 15

Lecture: Marriage as Exchange I

Reading for this lecture:

Ladislav Holy, Anthropological Perspectives on Kinship, Chapter 6. (18)

(Review Schieffelin, The Sorrow of the Lonely, 58–63)

 

October 18: NO LECTURE—FALL STUDY BREAK. Akin will hold extra pre-midterm office hours by appointment.

 

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October 20

MIDTERM EXAM (in class)

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October 22

Lecture: Marriage as Exchange II: Marriage Payments

Reading for this lecture:

Dan Jorgensen, “Money and Marriage in Telefomin: From Sister Exchange to Daughter as Trade Store.” (20)

George Famaea, Biblical arguments for the legitimacy of brideprice (1996). (19 easy pages)

 

October 25

Lecture: Enclaving Exchange

Reading for this lecture:

D. Akin, “Cash and Shell Money in Kwaio.” (22)

Film clips: Kwaio shell money making and mortuary shell valuable presentations (Akin, 1996).

 
PART III: RELIGION AND SOCIAL RELATIONSHIPS

October 27

Lecture: Durkheim and the Collective Conscience

Reading for this lecture:

Emile Durkheim, selections from The Division of Labor in Society. (18)

Ken Thompson, extract from Emile Durkheim. (11)

 

October 29 and November 1

Two lectures: Totem, Taboo, and Identity

Reading for these two lectures:

(handout) Extracts from Brian Morris, Anthropological Studies of Religion [on Freud, and Radcliffe-Brown]. (6)

E. E. Evans-Pritchard, extract from Theories of Religion [on Durkheim]. (10)

Mary Douglas, “The Abominations of Leviticus.” [Relevant passages from Deuteronomy and Leviticus attached]. (5 long pages)

(handout) Craig Smith, “This Rabbi’s Mission: Making Sure China is Keeping it Kosher.” (1)

(Review Schieffelin, The Sorrow of the Lonely, 63–72)

 

November 3

Lecture: Ancestors and Groups

Reading for this lecture:

Gudeman, Stephen, “The Bemba and the Bisa: Intentions of Nature.” (19)

(handout) excerpt from Audrey Richards, Land, Labour and Diet in Northern Rhodesia. (3)

 

November 5 and November 8

Two lectures: Communicating with Spirits: Divination and Possession

Reading for these two lectures:

Victor Turner, “Divination as a Phase in a Social Process.” (8)

E. E. Evans-Pritchard, “The Poison Oracle in Daily Life” (25); optional reading, “Problems Arising from Consultation of the Poison Oracle.” (18)

(handout) D. Akin, “Kwaio Divination.” (4)

I. M. Lewis, “Possession Cults in Context.” (28)

(Review Schieffelin, The Sorrow of the Lonely, 94–107)

Film clips: Kwaio divination; and Kwaio ancestral skull house ritual (both Akin, 1996).

 

November 10

Lecture: Spirits as Dynamic Forces of Change

Reading for this lecture:

Ivan Karp, “Power and Capacity in Rituals of Possession.” (15)

(handout) Thomas Eriksen, “The Logic of Ancestral Cults.” (1)

(handout) D. Akin, “Ancestress La`aka Speaks.” (2)

 

November 12

Lecture: Classic Approaches to Witchcraft and Sorcery

Reading for this lecture:

Philip Mayer, “Witches.” (19)

(handout) Clyde Kluckhohn, “Witchcraft as a Technique of Social Control.” (2)

 

 

November 15

Lecture: Witchcraft, Sorcery, and Explanations of Misfortunes

Reading for this lecture:

E. E. Evans-Pritchard, “The Notion of Witchcraft Explains Unfortunate Events.” (14)

(handout): Extracts from M. Marwick, “Sociology of Sorcery in a Central African Tribe.” (1)

(Review Schieffelin, The Sorrow of the Lonely, 101–3, 127–28)

 

November 17

Lecture: Witchcraft and Social Structural Conflict

Reading for this lecture:

Max Marwick, “Witchcraft as a Social Strain-Gauge.” (14)

Lucy Mair, extract from “Witchcraft and Lineage Fission.” (8)

 

November 19

Lecture: Case Study: Witchcraft and Life Force in Etoro

Reading for this lecture:

Raymond Kelly, “Witchcraft and Sexual Relations.” (16)

(Review Schieffelin, The Sorrow of the Lonely, 121–28)

 

November 22

Lecture: Pollution, Power, and Danger

Reading for this lecture:

Thomas Buckley and Alma Gottlieb, “A Critical Appraisal of Theories of Menstrual Symbolism.” (37)

 

PART IV: RESPONDING TO MODERNITY

November 24

Guest lecturer: Eric Montgomery: Voodoo Religion in a Contemporary African Society

Reading for this lecture:

Afolabi A. Epega and Philip Neimark, “Preface” and “Introduction,” The Sacred Ifa Oracle. (8)

 

November 26 and November 29

Two lectures: Modernity as Social Evil

Reading for these two lectures:

Jean and John Comaroff, “Introduction,” to Modernity and Its Malcontents: Ritual and Power in Postcolonial Africa. (20)

Henrietta Moore and Todd Sandars, “Magical Interpretations and Material Realities: An Introduction.” (19)

Andrew Apter, “Atinga Revisited: Yoruba Witchcraft and the Cocoa Economy, 1950–1951.” (13)

(handout) Jill Lepore, review of Mary Beth Norton’s In the Devil’s Snare. (1)

 

 
December 1

Lecture: A Case Study: Menstruation and the Social Causes of New Misfortune

Reading for this lecture:

(handout) Mary Douglas, excerpt from “Couvade and Menstruation.” (1968). (1)

(handout): Drawing of Kwaio hamlet layout. (1)

D. Akin, “Concealment, Confession, and Innovation in Kwaio Women’s Taboos.” (18)

 

December 3 and December 6

Two lectures: Good Money, Bitter Money, and Social Reproduction

Reading for these two lectures:

Maurice Bloch and Jonathan Parry, “Money and the Morality of Exchange.” (30).

(handout) Parker Shipton, review of Bloch and Parry’s Money and the Morality of Exchange. (1)

(handout) Extract of myth from Chris Gregory, “Cowries and Conquest.” (1)

Parker Shipton, “Bitter Money.” (20)

 

 

PART V: SOCIAL ASPECTS OF SPACE AND PLACE

December 8 and December 10

Two lectures: Relationships of Space and Place

Assignment: Term papers are due by the start of class on Friday.

Reading for these two lectures:

Raymond Kelly, “The Strickland-Bosavi Tribes.” (18)

(handout) Extract from Dan Bauer, “The Sacred and the Secret.” (1)

(Review Schieffelin, The Sorrow of the Lonely, 41–45, 178–89)

December 13 [final lecture]:

Lecture: Summing up

Reading for this lecture: No more readings!

 

To Be Arranged: Informal Final Exam Review (Attendance Optional)


Anthropology 332 Coursepack Readings: Full References

Akin, David. 1999a. Cash and Shell Money in Kwaio, Solomon Islands. In, D. Akin and Joel Robbins (eds.), Money and Modernity: State and Local Currencies in Melanesia.. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 103–30.

Akin, David. 2003. Concealment, Confession, and Innovation in Kwaio Women’s Taboos. American Ethnologist 39(3): 381–400.

Apter, Andrew. 1993. Atinga Revisited: Yoruba Witchcraft and the Cocoa Economy, 1950–1951. In, Jean Comaroff and John Comaroff, eds., Modernity and Its Malcontents: Ritual and Power in Postcolonial Africa. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 111–28.

Barnes, John. 1962. African Models in the New Guinea Highlands. Man 62(2): 5–9.

Bohannan, Paul. 1967 [1959]. The Impact of Money on an African Subsistence Economy. In, G. Dalton, ed., Tribal and Peasant Economies: Readings in Economic Anthropology. N.Y.: Natural History Press, 123–35.

Bloch, Maurice and Jonathan Parry. 1989. Introduction: Money and the Morality of Exchange. In, J. Parry and M. Bloch, eds., Money and the Morality of Exchange. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1–32.

Buckley, Thomas and Alma Gottlieb. 1988. A Critical Appraisal of Theories of Menstrual Symbolism. In, T. Buckley and A. Gottlieb, eds., Blood Magic: An Anthropology of Menstruation. Berkeley: University of California Press, 3–40.

Carrier, James. 1990. Reconciling Commodities and Personal Relations in Industrial Society. Theory and Society 19(4): 579–98.

Carstens, Janet. 1995. The Substance of Kinship and the Heat of the Hearth: Feeding, Personhood, and Relatedness among Malays in Pulau Langkawi. American Ethnologist 22(2): 223–41.

Comaroff, Jean and John Comaroff. 1993. Introduction. In, Modernity and Its Malcontents: Ritual and Power in Postcolonial Africa. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, xi–xxxvii.

Douglas, Mary. 1972. The Abominations of Leviticus. In, William Lessa and Evon Vogt, eds., Reader in Comparative Religion. N.Y.: Harper & Row, 149–52.

Durkheim, Emile. 1963 [first French pub. 1893]. Selections from The Division of Labor in Society. In, George Simpson, ed., Emile Durkheim. N.Y.: Thomas Y. Crowell, 41–59.

Epega, Afolabi A. and Philip Neimark. 1995. Preface and Introduction to The Sacred Ifa Oracle. (8) San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, vii–xvii.

Evans-Pritchard, E. E. 1985 [1937]. “The Notion of Witchcraft Explains Unfortunate Events” (pp. 18–32); “The Poison Oracle in Daily Life” (pp. 120–45); and “Problems Arising from Consultation of the Poison Oracle” (pp. 146–63). In, Witchcraft, Oracles and Magic Among the Azande. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Evans-Pritchard, E. E. 1940. The Nuer of the Southern Sudan. In, Meyer Fortes and E. E. Evans-Pritchard, eds., African Political Systems. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 272–96.

Evans-Pritchard, E. E. 1975 [1965]. Theories of Primitive Religion. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 56–61.

Famaea, George. 1996. Biblical arguments for the legitimacy of brideprice (unpublished manuscript).

Gudeman, Stephen. 1983. The Bemba and the Bisa: Intentions of Nature. In, Economics as Culture: Models and Metaphors of Livelihood. Boston: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 90–109.

Jorgensen, Dan. 1993. Money and Marriage in Telefomin: From Sister Exchange to Daughter as Trade Store. In, Richard Marksbury, ed., The Business of Marriage: Transformations in Oceanic Matrimony. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 57–82.

Karp, Ivan. 1989. Power and Capacity in Rituals of Possession. In, W. Arens and I. Karp, eds., Creativity of Power: Cosmology and Action in African Societies. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, 91–109.

Kelly, Raymond. 1976. Witchcraft and Sexual Relations: An Exploration in the Social and Semantic Implications of the Structure of Belief. In, Paula Brown and Georgeda Buchbinder, eds., Man and Woman in the New Guinea Highlands. Washington, D.C.: American Anthropological Association (special publication 8), 36–53.

Kelly, Raymond. 1993. The Strickland-Bosavi Tribes. Ch. 1 of Constructing Inequality: The Fabrication of a Hierarchy of Virtue among the Etoro. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 27–51.

Kuper, Adam. 1982. Lineage Theory: A Brief Retrospective. Annual Review of Anthropology 11: 71–95

Lewis, I. M. 1986. Possession Cults in Context. In, Religion in Context: Cults and Charisma. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 23–50.

Mair, Lucy. 1969. Witchcraft and Lineage Fission (extract). In, Witchcraft. N.Y.: New University Library, 116–28.

Marwick, Max. 1970 [1964]. Witchcraft as a Social Strain-Gauge. In, Max Marwick, ed., Witchcraft and Sorcery. Baltimore: Penguin Books, 280–95.

Mauss, Marcel. 1990 [1925]. “The Exchange of Gifts and the Obligation to Reciprocate”; and “The Extension of this System.” Chapters I and II of The Gift: The Form and Reason for Exchange in Archaic Societies. N.Y.: W.W. Norton, 8–46.

Mayer, Philip. 1972 [1954]. Witches. In, Max Marwick, ed., Witchcraft and Sorcery. Baltimore: Penguin Books, 45–64.

Moore, Henrietta and Todd Sandars. 2001. Magical Interpretations and Material Realities: An Introduction. In, H. Moore and T. Sandars, eds., Magical Interpretations, Material Realities: Modernity, Witchcraft and the Occult in Postcolonial Africa. NewYork: Routledge, 1–27.

Rivers, W.H.R. 1910. The Genealogical Method of Anthropological Enquiry. The Sociological Review 3: 1–12.

Sahlins, Marshall. 1972. On the Sociology of Primitive Exchange. In Stone Age Economics. N.Y.: Aldine Atherton. Also in Michael Banton (ed.) 1965 The Relevance of Models for Social Anthropology. London: Tavistock, 185–230.

Shipton, Parker. 1989. Bitter Money. In, Bitter Money: Cultural Economy and Some African Meanings of Forbidden Commodities. Washington, D.C.: American Anthropological Association, 28–47.

Thompson, Ken. 1995 [1982]. Emile Durkheim. N.Y.: Routledge, 125–35.

Turner, Victor. 1975 [1961]. Divination as a Phase in Social Process. Extract from Revelation and Divination in Ndembu Ritual. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 234–42.

Yanagisako, Sylvia and Jane Collier. 1994. Gender and Kinship Reconsidered: Toward a Unified Analysis. In, Robert Borofsky, ed., Assessing Cultural Anthropology. N.Y.: McGraw-Hill, 190–200.

 

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