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Pacific Ethnology

Anthropology 2740 (CRN:32228)
Fall Term 1996-97, Thursday 2:00 - 4:50
Level: Advanced Graduate Class

Dr. Richard Scaglion
Department of Anthropoplogy
University of Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh, PA 15260


I. Texts

A. The Evolution of the Polynesian Chiefdoms by Patrick Kirch, (1984). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

B. Coming of Age in Samoa by Margaret Mead, (1928). New York: William Morrow.

C. Women of Value, Men of Renown: New Perspectives in Trobriand Exchange by Annette Weiner, (1976). Austin: University of Texas Press.

D. Like People You See in a Dream: First Contact in Six Papuan Societies by E. L. Schieffelin and R. Crittenden (eds.), (1991). Stanford: Stanford University Press.

E. South Coast New Guinea Cultures: History, Comparison, Dialectic by Bruce M. Knauft, (1993). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

F. The Ngatik Massacre: History and Identity on a Micronesian Atoll by Lin Poyer, (1993). Washington: Smithsonian Institution Press.

II. Aims:

The course uses the cultures of the Pacific Islands (including Polynesia, Melanesia, Micronesia, and Australia) as a framework for examining problems of general anthropological interest. These may include such issues as the origins of agriculture, the nature and development of social stratification, the interrelationships between people and the natural environment, the nature of gender, etc. The course will include an ethnographic survey of the Pacific area and an examination of contemporary problems in the region.

III. Course Requirements:

Grading will be based on quizzes (25%), midterm (25%), final exam (25%) and an individually chosen research assignment (25%).

IV. Prerequisites:

Core course in cultural anthropology or equivalent.

V. Tentative Schedule:

August 29 Introduction to Pacific Ethnology. The development of Anthropological theory in the Pacific. Political geography and culture areas.
September 5 Introduction to Pacific ethnography. Film: Fa'a Samoa. Geology and ecology of the Pacific.
September 12 Prehistory of the Pacific. Film: The Navigators. Quiz on geography.
September 19 Development of social stratification in Polynesia and its relationship to ecology. Quiz on Kirch.
September 26 The Polynesian Culture area.
October 3 Samoan culture. Quiz on Mead/Freeman.
October 10 The Mead/Freeman debate. Film: Margaret Mead and Samoa
October 17 "Egalitarianism" in Melanesia. Bigmanship, Trade and Exchange. The functional perspective. Quiz on Weiner/Malinowski.
October 31 Origins of agriculture and "bigmanship" in the Highlands. The sweet potato: evolution or revolution? Film: Ongka's Big Moka or First Contact
November 7 "Colonialism" and "Applied Anthropology" in the Pacific. Quiz on Schieffelin and Crittenden.
November 14 Australia: the complexity of non-material culture.
November 21 History, Comparison and Dialectic. Quiz on Knauft.
November 28 Thanksgiving Vacation
December 5 Micronesian "Empire-building": Hierarchical relations or mutual support and aid? Quiz on Poyer.


[Subject: Anthropology; Pacific/Comparative]

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