Anthropology and Sociology
ANSO103Introduction to Society and Culture This course is an introduction to the academic study of culture and social structure, as developed through the fields of cultural anthropology and sociology. Students will develop a vocabulary of core concepts and analytical skills for the study of cultures and societies both local and global. Through readings, films, lectures, class discussions, and experiential projects, students will explore the nature of communities, organizations, and institutions; the system of meanings that form and inform them; and the interplay between individuals' lives and the societies in which they live. Along the way, students will be asked to apply course concepts to their own lives in a critical way, and to reflect upon how such issues as belief systems, social stratification, culture change, gender roles, etc. play out in an increasingly interconnected and globalized world.
ANSO210Medicine and Society Cross-cultural analysis of the relationship of society to health and the disease process through the examination of the evolution of knowledge about disease; views of disease by different societies, ethnic groups, and social classes; and alternative national health care systems.Prerequisite: ANSO-103 or CGHL-120
ANSO212Quantitative Research Methods An introduction to the use of quantitative analysis and statistical reasoning in the fields of sociology, anthropology, and human development and social relations. The course will emphasize understanding and critiquing data and conclusions, and students will produce data sets as well. Students will develop skill in using SPSS.Prerequisite: ANSO-103, ANSO-105 or ANSO-107
ANSO220Special Topics: Anthropology & Sociology This course will focus upon a topic in Anthropology and Sociology that is not addressed in the department's regular offerings. The course can be repeated with a different topic.Prerequisite: Take ANSO-103
ANSO220Landscapes, Environments, and Media in The Anthropocene The "Anthropocene", our current era of human-caused climate crisis, is defined by extinction, environmental disasters, displacement, and conflicts on a planetary scale. At the same time, from Global Climate Strike to Standing Rock, indigenous, anti-capitalist, and anti-globalization movements demand alternative, decolonized and radical modes of land use and environmental knowledge. This course will examine cases of environmental disaster and injustice, and forms of mobilization in response, through a global perspective towards new ways of re-imagining landscapes in their human and "more than human" ecologies. Students will be able to explore forms, media, and scales of place and the environment, from ethnography and ecocriticism to digital storytelling and mapping, both in collaborative assignments and in a final individual project.Prerequisite: Take ANSO-103;
ANSO220The Family This course examines the institution of The Family, primarily from a critical perspective. After situating The Family in cultural and historical structures of race/ethnicity, class, and gender, we explore the institution as a site for the production and reproduction of femininity, masculinity, and (hetero)sexuality.Prerequisite: ANSO-103
ANSO220Gentrifiction This course will provide a survey of theories, historical studies, and debates on gentrification. We will first examine popular conceptualizations of gentrification. Students will learn about the application of the "revanchist" model of gentrification. We will then examine research studies that focus on new forms of gentrification from the Global South. In the context of the climate crisis, we will focus on environmental gentrification and how it affects working-class communities.
ANSO220Chinatowns in the Americas This course will provide a survey of theories and historical studies on immigration and the formation of migrant neighborhoods. We will first examine the formation of trans-Pacific Chinese American communities. We will then examine the 19th Century "coolie" trade to former European colonies in Latin America. Lastly, we will give focus on the formation and transformation of Chinatowns in large US metropolitan areas. In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, students will learn about sexualized racial fears tied to public health concerns in late-19th Century US Chinatowns.
ANSO220ST: Saving Humanity: The Ethics of Politics of Humanitarianism The need to save humanity, alleviate human suffering, and inspire compassion for the "humanity" of others have become essential forces in contemporary global politics. Military interventions to help prevent war crimes or providing relief for people in need are instances where human rights activists and humanitarian nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) play an important role in shaping what it means to be human or have "humanity," whose suffering is legitimized, and who deserves care. Calling on the work of anthropologists, sociologists, and legal scholars, this course will surface assumptions of human rights work and humanitarianism and reveal the tensions they contain. We will examine the common origins and differences among human rights and humanitarianism, the transformations of transnational regimes of care, and the construction and reproduction of "humanitarian crises" as key elements in contemporary politics. The course covers topics such as human rights activism, refugees and forced displacement, transitional justice, and humanitarian intervention.Prerequisite: ANSO-103
ANSO225Sex and Sexualities This course provides students with an overview of influential theories about the social aspects of sex and sexuality, as well as some direct engagement with ethnographic representations of sexual worlds and their politics. It examines the diversity of human sexual identities and activities in their historical, philosophical, legal, cultural, and social contexts. This course will consider sex and sexualities in an intersectional way, that is, in and through their intersections with issues of race, class, gender, nationality, and globality.Prerequisite: ANSO-103 or CGHL-120
ANSO/SEMN226Theory in Action: Context, Positionality And Practical Application Theories have been described in different ways across social movements. They have been defined as integral to liberation, as ancestral legacies, as weapons, and/or as inhabiting our bodies and dictating our actions and knowledges. However, prominent ideas remain that describe theory as abstract and disconnected from reality, considering it an elite and privileged process while divorcing it form action. Nevertheless, all social movements are informed by theories that dictate an understanding of a problem and possible solutions. This course, through an examination of praxis, social movements, and intersectional literature, invites students to consider the ways theory served a key role in social justice projects like the Civil Rights Movement, Black Lives Matter, Mothers of East L.A., and tuition equity for undocumented migrants. Students will be exposed to hopeful and flexible theory that foregrounds the possibility of social change. Specifically, they will reflect on their own positionality as an entry point to understanding social problems and endeavor to put theory into practice, or as Aida Hurtado explains, deconstructing while reconstructingPrerequisite: Sophomores only
ANSO232Nature & Society: Intro Pol. Ecology This course will introduce students to the sub-discipline of political ecology, a field broadly concerned with the relationships between nature and social power. In other words, this course will focus on developing an understanding of how social relations and politico-economic systems produce environmental problems, structure access to natural resources, the resulting struggles over 'nature' and how and in whose interests these may or may not be resolved.Because the field is broad, the course has been structured into themes that we will explore each week.Prerequisite: ANSO-103
ANSO234Latin America in Global Context This course examines contemporary Latin American societies in historical and global context. The first part of the course will explore indigenous societies in pre-Columbian Latin America and the role of colonialism and imperialism in the making of modern Latin America. In the second part of the course, the role of U.S. foreign policy will be discussed, particularly the specific policies the U.S. deployed in Latin America to "contain" alternative economic models deemed dangerous to U.S. capitalism. We also examine the underlying assumptions that inform Western-centered development models imposed on Latin American nations, and their relation to neo-colonialism and globalization. The final part of the course explores revolutionary movements as they respond to the encroaching forces of neo-liberal capitalism.Prerequisite: ANSO-103
ANSO236Race and Racism This course equips students with a comprehensive understanding of "race" as a socio-political construct, and of racism as a structural and institutional process. Focusing primarily on the twentieth and twenty-first century United States, the course explores how race operates as an organizing principle of American life. It examines the historical development of notions of racial difference and the creation of racial inequality through science, philosophy, the law, and public policy; analyzes how contemporary social institutions perpetuate racial inequality; and considers the landscape of modern racial politics.Prerequisite: ANSO-103
ANSO245Qualitative Research Methods This course provides students with the methodological tools and concepts that provide the foundation of sound, ethical, qualitative, ethnographic research. Using a project-based approach, students learn about and gain experience with conceptualizing, designing, implementing, and writing up the results of a qualitative research project.Prerequisite: ANSO-103 and Sophomore Standing
ANSO252Political Ecology of Waste This course introduces students to the realities and constructions of waste as a complex economic, political, environmental, public health and cultural 'problem' in diverse global settings. Drawing upon a diverse set of literatures in social sciences, humanities, engineering, and economics, the course encourages students to gain an appreciation of inter-and trans-disciplinary knowledge forms, each of which constructs, problematizes, and proposes solutions for the issue of waste.Prerequisite: ANSO-103
ANSO/SEMN255You Are What You Eat: Food and Identity In a Global Perspective The goal of this course is to examine the social, symbolic, and political-economic roles of what and how we eat. While eating is essential to our survival, we rarely pay attention to what we eat and why. We will look at the significance of food and eating with particular attention to how people define themselves differently through their foodways. We will also study food's role in maintaining economic and social relations, cultural conceptions of health, and religion. Finally, the class examines the complex economic and political changes in food systems and the persistence of food's role as an expression of identity, social and ethnic markers. This course is a Shared Passages Sophomore Seminar.
ANSO/SEMN262Real and Imagined Cities This course explores the city as an idea, as material reality and the interconnections between the two. As an interdisciplinary field, urban geography draws from theories and frameworks in urban planning, anthropology, sociology and economics. This course introduces students to that field. Because the field is broad, the course has been structured into themes that we will explore each week.Prerequisite: ANSO-103
ANSO270Communities and Schools Drawing on anthropological theories, this course will explore the role of schooling and other educational practices in the production of knowledge and the reproduction of hierarchies both in the United States and abroad. Through their participation in the service-learning component of the course, students will be able to examine firsthand how reproduction occurs in the local educational system.Prerequisite: ANSO-103
ANSO272Incredible India This course will introduce students to a range of contemporary Indian Problems, from the modern Indian state and its economy to the hierarchical systems of caste, class and gender that structure modern Indian society. In addition to reading a range of texts from diverse disciplines such as history, anthropology, literature, and economics, students will also engage with primary texts.Prerequisite: ANSO-103
ANSO/HIST288Sports in East Asia Whether it's Naomi Osaka on the basketball tennis court, Otani hitting homeruns in Seattle, or the ubiquitous martial arts, "East Asian" sports seem to be everywhere these days. How did this come about? What can we learn about East Asian societies -- and our own -- from studying sports? These are some of the questions we will be tackling as we explore the history and significance of sports in East Asia. Drawing from a combination of theoretical writings, comparative studies, and works focused on East Asia, we will consider sports in terms of several issues: invented traditions, nationalism, body culture, gender, stardom, and the modern Olympics, to name just a few.
ANSO/AFST290Africa in Global Context This course examines the ways that people and places on the African continent have been and continue to be connected to global dynamics and explores the implications of these past and present connections for people's lives as they are lived today.Prerequisite: ANSO-103
ANSO/SEMN292Development and Dispossession This course takes a critical approach to the study of development, focusing particular attention on the displacement and dispossession of local populations. Using contemporary case studies, we examine how neoliberal policies and practices play out in various development sectors, including agriculture, infrastructure, and the extractive industry, in both rural and urban spaces in the U.S. and around the world. This course is a Shared Passages Sophomore Seminar.
ANSO295Special Topics Theories have been described in social movements as integral to liberation, ancestral legacies, and/or inhabiting our bodies and dictating our actions and knowledges. However, prominent ideas describe theory as abstract and disconnected from reality, considering it an elite and privileged process. Nevertheless, all social movements are informed by theories explain a problem and possible solutions. This course invites students to consider how theory served a key role in social justice projects. Students will be exposed to hopeful and flexible theory that foregrounds social change. Specifically, they will reflect on their own positionality as an entry point to understanding social problems.Prerequisite: ANSO-103
ANSO295ST: World At Work In this course, we will explore work practices of individuals and social groups in different sectors and societies with particular attention to how people form particular identities in various work processes while their work experiences also affect their lives outside of work. We will address the intersectionalities of class, racial and ethnic, and gender and sexual inequalities at work and explore pressing issues of the new economy such as job (in)security, work-life balance, health and wellbeing, and family-work relations along with the formations of consent and resistance to work discipline.Prerequisite: Must have taken ANSO-103.
ANSO310Social Research for Social Change This course is structured around an action research project designed in partnership with an organization in the city of Kalamazoo. Students in the class will form a research team, and through the implementation of the project, will learn about how social research can be used to catalyze social change.Prerequisite: ANSO-103 and one 200-level ANSO course. Sophomore Standing Required.
ANSO/MUSC315Sound & Culture in the Middle East An introduction to the popular culture and cultural politics of the modern Middle East, as heard through the medium of sound. Exploring the varied soundscapes and musical cultures of the region, we will examine how sound shapes, reinforces, critiques, and transforms social life, from the local to the international level. Listening to music as both an aesthetic object and a site for the contestation of ideas, we will learn about the ways in which music is used to articulate an array of competing visions: of the nation, colony and post-colony; religion, gender, and sexuality; globalization, hybridity, and modernity.Prerequisite: MUSC-103, ANSO-103 or Instructor Permission
ANSO320Advanced Seminar: Special Topics in Anthropology and Sociology A seminar for students who wish to explore significant issues in sociology or anthropology at a more advanced level. Topics may vary from year to year.Prerequisite: ANSO-103 and one 200-level ANSO course
ANSO320Reel Blacks: Conversations in African Am Erican Visual Culture Black identity on film has been formed and fractured by historical and political-economic forces both within and outside of the Black community itself and, more problematically, by those in control of the means of production (i.e. Hollywood). This course explores African American history, art and culture by drawing on a range of scholarly approaches including critical race theory, gender and sexuality studies, cinema studies, and visual anthropology, to name a few. This course will place African American films in conversation with theoretical, philosophical, historical and literary texts, and will provide conceptual frameworks for understanding film's relationship to reality, to other art forms, to audiences and individual viewers, as well as society at large.Prerequisite: Must have taken ANSO-103 and 1 200-level ANSO class
ANSO322Prisoners and Detainees Prisoners and Detainees: Race, Citizenship, and Imprisonment: This course examines the ways laws and imprisonment have become means to discipline bodies imagined as dangerous, disposable, and detrimental to the state, in short, non-citizens. It specifically merges two social processes that define non-citizenship -the prison industrial complex and deportability- as mechanisms that actively prohibit entry into the space of belonging for those who are illegalized and strips citizenship from those who are criminalized. We will analyze illegalization and criminalization as social, political, and cultural processes that function to police, discipline, distinguish, and re/form the "other".Prerequisite: ANSO-103 and one 200-level ANSO course
ANSO325States, Bodies & Epidemics This course examines epidemics as social events. Students will become familiarized with major anthropological and sociological works on contagion and social responses to epidemic disease. This course explore epidemics through the frames of national security discourse, migration and diaspora studies, and social justice activism and scholarship. This course analyzes the historical and philosophical genealogy of social and state responses to epidemics and the politicized representations of such epidemics. Students engage with key works in theories of the state, theories of the body and embodiment, and social analyses of communicable disease through the framework of critical medical anthropology.Prerequisite: ANSO-103 and one 200-level ANSO course
ANSO335Money, Technology and Material Culture This course will examine the relationship among money, material culture and technology. Human culture revolves around "things." We use money to buy things and we use things to tell the world that about our relationship with money. Recent technological advancements, i.e., credit cards, internet banking and mobile banking, threaten to render money (currency) obsolete. Throughout the quarter we will look at the ways that things, money and technology create and maintain relationships, identities and cultures. Prerequisite: ANSO-103 and one 200-level ANSO course
ANSO350Political Histories of Western Environmental Thought This course explores a partial (Western) history of how humans have understood themselves in relation to nature. To do so, this course relies on a landmark text in the field along with a series of primary texts, tracing the continuities and ruptures in thought during different historical periods have engaged with the idea of nature and the place of the human within it. Although, the course relies mostly on a broadly defined Western thought tradition in this course but students are encouraged to undertake research on other traditions and bring those into the classroom.Prerequisite: ANSO-103 and one 200-level ANSO course
ANSO357Immigrants and Exiles From its classical reference to displaced communities as a result of wars of conquests or natural disasters to current movements of population across borders as a result of global capitalism, the concept of diaspora has accumulated an archive of academic and imaginative literature. This course, a comparative introduction to the study of diaspora, focuses on the development of diverse diasporic communities and their role on the current global stage. Our specific focus will be on how members of these communities stake their claims both to their home countries and to the countries in which they reside.Prerequisite: ANSO-103 and one 200-level ANSO course
ANSO365Humans and Non-Humans What does it mean to be human? What is the history of the notion of the human, and who or what has been excluded from it? What does it mean to study non-humans through a humanistic frame? How can we know non-human beings? What kinds of knowledges exist at the edges of the discourse on the human? This course will introduce students to these issues through a combination of readings that engage with the field known as new materialisms to consider the ways in which the study of humanity has been challenged by new modes of thinking about being, producing situated answers to these questions.Prerequisite: Must have taken ANSO-103 and any 200 level ANSO course.
ANSO395Far-Right and Opposition: Neoliberalism, Mobilization, Resistance And Alternatives A specter is haunting the world; the specter of far-right politics. At the dawn of the 21st century, far-right politics have been on the rise in various societies, reflecting the relationships between deepening social inequalities and authoritarian politics. Yet, this moment also offers hope with increasing opposition and collective action. In this course, we will discuss recent works on political mobilization and social activism to develop critical perspectives on the rise of far-right politics. We will address recent discourses of conservative politics, youth radicalization in everyday life, and the organization of resistance in instances like the Black Lives Matter Movement.Prerequisite: Must have taken ANSO-103 and at least one 200-level ANSO class.
ANSO/RELG395Religion and Capitalism Relationships between religion and capitalism influence our lives in multifaceted ways. Religion plays a crucial role not only in formation of identities, social interactions and communities but also in work experiences, political engagement and social activism. In this course, we will explore critical approaches to address how individuals and social groups both mediate and get affected by these dynamic affiliations between religion and capitalism. We will build on critical social theorists like Marx, Weber, Foucault, and Gramsci to focus on religious and neoliberal discourses at work, the role of religion in political mobilization and hegemony, and religion in resistance to capitalism.Prerequisite: Must have taken at least one 200-level ANSO class.
ANSO410Missionaries to Pilgrims: Diasporic Retu This course explores the synergistic relationship between Africa and its diaspora through an analysis of return voyages. From 19th century formerly enslaves Africans who returned home after emancipation to contemporary religious and ethnic pilgrims seeking connection with their African ethnicity and or spirituality; the meeting space between the diaspora and Africa represents a contested terrain. Because Africa and the diaspora are ideological and political constructs, the class will engage the ways these constructions are negotiated and deployed across space and time. We will pay particular attention to questions of belonging, identity, and place and moments of miscommunication as Africa seeks to claim its diaspora and the diaspora makes claims on Africa.Prerequisite: 300-level ANSO course
ANSO412Capitalism and Its Discontents This course aims to get students to read and explore the contemporary relevance of Marx's writings. By reading the writings of Marx and Marxist scholars, students will develop an understanding of key politico-economic concepts such as capital, value, and labor power.Prerequisite: 300-level ANSO course.
ANSO422Anticolonial & Antiracist Theory What is the "anti" in Anti-Colonial theory and Antiracism? How have communities across the globe theorized their experience as colonial subjects both in their lands as well as in the heart of empire? This course serves as a platform to collectively review key writings in both of these tomes of literature. Students will look at the basic tenants for each theory as well as ways they have been utilized to examine social structures and institutions.Prerequisite: 300-level ANSO course.
ANSO424Border Epistemologies Border Epistemologies offers a framework for thinking about thinking borders. Through the analysis of theories and ethnographies of the border, this course responds to the theoretical challenges presented by Border Studies to Anthropology and sociology. This course engages questions about solidarity work and border gnosis in relation to scholarship. We engage focused, critical questions about mobility, difference, exclusion, production, reproduction, and resistance. This course asks students to consider the relationship between nationalism, capitalism, ethnocentrism, and violence through the reading of social theory that centers the praxis of migrants and other marginalized people; interrogate the epistemological and ontological bases of social science practice; and build their capacity for coalitional work.Prerequisite: One 300-level ANSO course.
ANSO495ST: Capitalism and Freedom The course covers subject formations in neoliberal times, with a particular focus on self and social identity, social influence, interpersonal relations, cultural links, prejudice, discrimination and diversity, gender, and social activism. In this course, we will uncover how liberal notions influence thoughts, feelings and behaviors of individuals, how people internalize and reproduce these ideas, norms and values in everyday life, how they can challenge and oppose these principles, and what they might offer as alternative ways of being.Prerequisite: Must have taken at least one 300-level ANSO class.
ANSO495Freedom and Nothing But This course is an exploration of the contours of freedom. The central focus of the course will be freedom, what it means, how it arises, what blocks it, and how we might sustain it. Using the women's movement and the Haitian revolution as case studies, we will consider the following questions: How do social, political, and gender identities produce and limit access to freedom? Can different kinds of freedoms be incompatible? Students will have to explore other freedom movements through their research papers, which they will share with the class.Prerequisite: Must have taken 1 300-level ANSO course.
ANSO593Senior Integrated Project Each program or department sets its own requirements for Senior Integrated Projects done in that department, including the range of acceptable projects, the required background of students doing projects, the format of the SIP, and the expected scope and depth of projects. See the Kalamazoo Curriculum -> Senior Integrated Project section of the Academic Catalog for more details.Prerequisite: Permission of department and SIP supervisor required.