Western University AntropologyWestern Social Science

Elective Courses 2016-17

Professor Randa Farah (4th from left) with students of the 2017 graduate seminar “Displacement & Diasporas.” The students come from a variety of backgrounds including Bangladesh, Iraq, Nigeria, Palestine, Uruguay, Canada, Peru, Venezuela, Lebanon and Iran.

Fall Term Optional Courses

9001A – Professional Development

Anthropologists develop a suite of valuable transferrable skills that can be effectively applied in a wide range of job settings. This course aims to help students identify and strengthen their marketable skills and learn to present themselves effectively to prospective employers both within and outside of academia. These skills include time management, oral communication, grant writing, teaching, leadership, research, project management, editing, knowledge mobilization, interpersonal skills, and an appreciation of ethical and civic responsibility. The course emphasizes peer and participatory learning and includes a series of collaborative and individual exercises that will not only serve to enrich students’ skills, but also provide them with concrete experiences to add to their CVs. In 2014 these exercises will include developing the content and design of a new “Careers” page for the department website, and designing and implementing an anthropology - based public outreach activity, among others.

  • This course is open to students in all fields of anthropology
Lisa Hodgetts Thursdays, 9:30-12:30
SSC 3315
Course Outline

9103A – Regional Topics in Archaeology: Topic: Peopling the Americas

The primary concern in this seminar course will be to review the evidence for when, how and from where aboriginal people first came to the Americas and what sorts of cultural equipment these earliest occupants (often called Paleo-Indians by archaeologists) brought with them.

  • Cross-listed with Anthropology 4494F
Chris Ellis Thursdays, 1:30-4:30
SSC 3227
Course Outline

9225A - Special Topics in Sociocultural Anthropology: Topic: Qualitative Method Must Be Defended

Over the last half century, Positivism has dominated the social sciences. This seminar challenges the hegemony of quantitative method as the only mode of doing rigorous science. Qualitative social scientists have tended to pursue their own work and ignore the devaluation of their work relative to the so-called STEM disciplines, with immense negative consequences for academic funding and public acknowledgement of multiple kinds of expertise. We will reclaim the stature of qualitative method as scientific, redefining such concepts as validity, reliability, and community in ways that allow for meaning, intentionality, reflexivity, and generalizability.

Regna Darnell Mondays, 2:30-5:30
SSC 3227
Course Outline (Tentative)

9900A - Special Topics in Anthropology: Topic: History of Anthropological Thought

We are standing on the shoulders of giants – some of anthropology’s most brilliant minds have grappled with how to understand social organization. In this course we will explore the history of some important anthropological theories about social organization, analyzing how anthropological concepts and categories have been constructed and reconstructed over time. We will do so by examining the work and lives of some foundational figures in sociocultural anthropology from the late-19th and 20th centuries. We will read examples of their original (primary) work, in order to understand how particular kinds of anthropological questions or perspectives emerged out of the intersection of specific life circumstances and interests, intellectual networks and formation of schools of thought, and particular ethnographic circumstances in specific political and historical contexts. The intention is not to try to cover all major figures – many are left out! – but rather to turn an anthropological eye on anthropology itself, exploring both a series of anthropological concepts and the social processes through which anthropological perspectives are actively produced. This course will be of special interest to students who do not have a strong background in the history of anthropological thought, or simply want to enjoy reading/re-reading and discussing some foundational works.

  • Cross-listed with Anthropology 3301E (first term only)
Kim Clark Thursdays, 8:30-11:30
SSC 2257
Course Outline

Winter Term Optional Courses

9104B – Special Topics in Bioarchaeology: Topic: Bioarchaeology

This course is an introduction to current theoretical and methodological issues in bioarchaeology. Use of ancient human, animal, and plant tissues to reconstruct relationships among biology, culture and environment in international contexts is emphasized. Topics include: diet, demography, disease, identity, mobility, landscape, childhood, gender, ideology, political economy, violence, work, urbanism, and globalization.

  • Cross-listed with Anthropology 3311G
Andrew Nelson Tuesdays 9:30-12:30
SSC 2257
Course Outline

9105B – Special Topics in Archaeology: Topic: Artifact Analysis and Collections Management

This course will explore the approaches used in archaeology in identifying and analysing artifact object collections (this course will not be exploring materials such as floral or faunal remains).  This course will provide graduate students with advanced level discussion on the identification, analysis and interpretation of major types of cultural materials commonly recovered from archaeological sites in Ontario. Emphasis will be placed on developing practical skills and knowledge related to conducting analyses and reporting results of archaeological investigations. The course will provide an overview of a broad range of cultural materials including: lithics, ceramics, metals, glass, and organic artifacts. As well, students will be introduced to matters of managing archaeological collections long term, including issues of conservation, access and maintaining collection integrity and contextual data. In addition, students will be introduced to logics, or lack of it, with respect to: classification, typology, measurement, and digital analyses. By the end of the course students will be able to work with, manage and report on archaeological collections, and identify limitations in conventional typological and classification schemes, direct in the lab material analyses, and plan for specialist analyses on classes of artifacts from these collections. The course has a significant "hands-on" component with collections.

  • Cross-listed with Anthropology 3396B
Neal Ferris Thursdays, 2:30-5:30
SSC 2257
Course Outline

9213B – Displacement and Diasporas

In this course, we will discuss and problematize the uncritical use of the “diasporic” condition as by default anti-essentialist, as politically radical, or as detachment. The course emphasizes the diverse trajectories, cultures, histories and political aspirations of diasporic populations (some with modern political projects), and underscores the significance of politics, power structures and socio-economic differentials in variously shaping diasporic subjects (migrants, refugees, exiles, etc.) in the twenty-first century. The crossing of geo-political boundaries involves gendered cultural encounters. Yet such boundary crossings do not necessarily mean we also journey physically, ideologically or politically towards global citizenship, or do they?

  • This course can be taken for credit towards the MER Collaborative program.
Randa Farah Thursdays, 11:30-2:30
SSC 3227
Course Outline (tentative)

9216B – Advanced Research in Language and Society: Topic: Language and Identity

The course will examine the sociocultural construction of identity through linguistic practices and linguistic features. We will explore how individuals and groups are marked as certain kinds of people by the way they speak in a given context and how speakers use language in different ways to accomplish particular kinds of interactional goals. We may also look at how media and political discourses construct identities and relations among social groups.

Karen Pennesi Mondays, 1:30-4:30
SSC 3315
Course Outline

9300A/B (MA) or 9800A/B (PhD) - Directed Reading Courses

If you plan to take a Directed Reading Course, you should first consult with your supervisor and with the faculty member who will be supervising the reading course, and then obtain the Graduate Chair's approval. Please complete the Directed Reading Course form and return it to the Graduate Assistant in SSC 3324.