Cultures of the Pacific
Anthropology 1786 (CRN37034)
University of Pittsburgh
Fall Term 1998 (99-1)
Instructor Todd R. Hooe
Department of Anthropology
University of Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh, PA 15260
Mondays 1:00-3:30 p.m.
1987 The Sambia: Ritual and Gender in New Guinea. Fort Worth: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich College Pub.
Weiner, Anette B.
1988 The Trobrianders of Papua New Guinea. New York: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston.
1993 The Ngatik Massacre: History and Identity on a Micronesian Atoll. Washington D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press.
Small, Cathy A.
1997 Voyages: From Tongan Villages to American Suburbs. Ithica, NY: Cornell University Press.
Purpose of this Course
The South Pacific often conjures up images of pristine tropical islands, with long white-sand beaches, swaying palm trees, and attractive "free spirited" natives. These images have entered our national consciousness, perhaps in part through the books of Robert Louis Stevenson and James Michener, the Tahitian paintings of Paul Gauguin, or films such as Mutiny on the Bounty and The South Pacific. But what is the South Pacific really like? What lies behind the regions romantic facade?
This course will examine the people and cultures of the Pacific from an anthropological perspective. Special attention will be given to the people and cultures of the three main regions of the Pacific: Melanesia, Micronesia, and Polynesia. The similarities and differences among the these three culture areas will be discussed and analyzed. Furthermore, information on the peoples of the three culture areas will be used to explore a variety of anthropological theories, ideas, and debates, as well as a number of important anthropological topics such as migration, social stratification, leadership, exchange, sex and gender roles, conflict and warfare, ritual and symbolism, among others.
While the majority of this course will focus on the contributions of cultural anthropology to the understanding of Pacific cultures, the contributions of archaeology, linguistic anthropology, and physical anthropology will also be examined, as well as geology, ecology, and history. Eight anthropological films on Pacific cultures will be shown throughout the course, and will complement lectures, readings, and discussions. Anthropology 0780 (Introduction to Cultural Anthropology) or consent of the instructor is a prerequisite for the course.
Your grade will be based upon: (1) two exams, (2) five short quizzes, (3) attendance, and (4) classroom participation.
Two exams will be given throughout the term. Each exam is worth 100 points, and will consist of 15 multiple choice (3 points each), 5 short answer and identification (5 points each), and one essay question (30 points). Make-up exams will only be given to those with a legitimate excuse , and will consist of three essay questions. It is highly recommended that students contact the instructor ahead of time if they cannot take an exam at the scheduled time.
Exam 1 (October 26): The first exam will focus on all lecture material, all films covered up to this point, and the Herdt and Weiner books.
Exam 2 (December 14): The second exam will focus on all lecture material, all films covered since the first exam, and the Poyer and Small books.
Five short quizzes will be assigned throughout the course of the term. Four of these quizzes will concern the four required texts and one will involve Pacific geography. Each quiz is worth 20 points for a total of 100 points.
Quiz 1 (September 14): The first quiz will focus on Pacific geography. A map of the the Pacific will be distributed at the first class meeting, and will provide the content of Quiz 1.
Quiz 2 (October 12): The second quiz will cover the Herdt book, The Sambia: Ritual and Gender in New Guinea.
Quiz 3 (October 19): The third quiz will cover the Weiner book, The Trobrianders of
Papua New Guinea.
Quiz 4 (November 16): The forth quiz will cover the Poyer book, The Ngatik Massacre: History and Identity on a Micronesian Atoll.
Quiz 5 (December 7): The fifth quiz will cover the Small book, Voyages: From Tongan Villages to American Suburbs.
Attendance is required for this course and since this course meets only once a week, absence will severely damage your grade. The instructor reserves the right to raise or lower your grade based on attendance.
Classroom participation may considerably help your overall grade. Your effort in the classroom will only result in raising your grade, especially if your final course grade is borderline (i.e. between an A and a B).
The instructors office is on the third floor of Forbes Quad, Room 3B19 in the Department of Anthropology. The office telephone number is 648-7528. Office hours are Mondays between 10:30-12:30 and 3:45-4:45. Appointments may be made during non-office hours by contacting the instructor in person, by telephone or e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org).
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