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Department of Anthropology

700 Level Anthropology

Spring 2020

ANTH 730.001 / Cultural Theory Through Ethnography

Professor: Kimberly Simmons

(3 credits) 

Course Readings:

Please go to the USC Bookstore to find what books you will need for this course: 

“Ethnography is a research method central to knowing the world from the standpoint of its social arrangements. It is a qualitative research method predicated on the diversity of culture at home (wherever that may be) and abroad. Ethnography involves hands-on, on-the-scene learning — and it is relevant wherever people are relevant. Ethnography is the primary method of social and cultural anthropology, but it is integral to the social sciences and humanities generally, and draws its methods from many quarters, including the natural sciences.”

  • “What is Ethnography?”

Course Description

How do we define "culture" in anthropology, and how has the definition changed over time? What can anthropology teach us about the everyday relationships, realities, and social problems we face?  How do we explore and explain different ideas, worldviews, and cultural practices? How do we talk about similarities that link us all as human beings as well as the differences that make us unique? Understanding culture implies recognition of similarities and differences, along with a desire to understand why such differences exist, and to appreciate those differences on their own terms and in their own historical, social, and cultural contexts. 

This seminar explores culture and the relationship between ethnography and anthropological theory.  Our readings feature contemporary ethnographies focusing on the cultural construction of identity, race/ethnicity, color, gender, class, and sexuality. During the course of the semester, we will discuss the ideas presented in the ethnographies with culture and theoretical questions and frameworks in mind. Students will engage in critical analysis and reflections and have the opportunity to lead discussions. During the course of the semester, we will contemplate the following questions: 

  • How do anthropologists establish authority through ethnography?
  • Even as anthropologists seek to move from an etic (outsider’s) perspective to an emic (insider’s) perspective, blurring the “us” versus “the Other” distinction, the distinction still remains.  How, if at all, do you see these distinctions played out in the readings?
  • In what ways does the theoretical choice of the author shape their approach to the framing the situations and realities she/he writes about? 

Learning Objectives

By the end of the course, students should be able to:

  1.  Demonstrate knowledge of the relationship between culture, ethnography and anthropological theory.
  2.  Demonstrate knowledge of different theoretical frameworks used in contemporary ethnographies.
  3.  Demonstrate knowledge of how authoritative voice is expressed in ethnographies.
  4.  Demonstrate knowledge of race/ethnicity, color, gender, social class, sexuality and identity as areas of study (ideas, approaches, and frameworks).

Course Requirements

Attendance and class participation: 20% of final grade; Students in the seminar will help moderate our weekly seminars.  For each class, please come to class with a one-page outline of questions and/or comments related to the assigned readings that you prepared for discussion.  

Reaction papers (5 papers of 2-4 pages, worth 10% each; worth 50% of final grade). These are based on the five required books. 

Final presentation and written paper. The final paper will consist of an individual essay related to themes in the course drawing on anthropological sources (further guidelines will be provided later). This is worth 30% of the final grade. 

Final Grade Scale:

A         92 - 100%

B+       89 - 91%

B         80 - 88%

C+       76 - 79%

C         68 - 75%

D+       64 - 67%

D         55 - 63 %

F          54% or below

 ANTH 748.001 / Introduction to Linguistic Anthropology

Professor: Jennifer Reynolds

(3 credits) 

 Cross-listed LING 748.001 

Course Readings:

Please go to the USC Bookstore to find what books you will need for this course: 

Course description:

This course provides a comprehensive introduction to the emergence of linguistic anthropology as one of the four core sub-fields within Anthropology, its relationship(s) to sociolinguistics, (critical) discourse analysis, and conversation analysis.  Emphasis will be placed on the scholarly contributions that this tradition has made to social theory as well as theories of language and discourse. 

Course Presentation:

Seminar format driven by student led presentations of prescribed readings on a particular topic. 


Graduate students in linguistics, anthropology, education, and other related fields interested in the social scientific examination of language in context.

 ANTH 751.001 / Archaeological Research Design & Analysis

Professor: Steve Smith

(3 credits) 

Course Readings:

Articles on Blackboard

Course Description:

How archaeologists know what they know. The application of the scientific method in archaeology.  Creating and designing research problems in archaeological studies. Integrating theory and methodology. Formulation and testing of hypotheses. Methodological issues in theory, field work, and laboratory analysis. Evaluating results and publishing.


Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.