- You can define and elaborate basic concepts of cultural anthropology and development studies, especially the key concepts of culture and development.
- You can outline the historical development of cultural anthropology and development studies since they originated in the nineteenth century.
- You can summarize and explain central questions and insights of the main domains of cultural anthropology and development studies, including economic anthropology, the anthropology of religion, the anthropology of kinship and social organization, political and legal anthropology, and the domain of development thinking.
- You can reproduce central aspects of most relevant theoretical schools in cultural anthropology and development studies.
- You can explain the continuing relevance of most relevant theoretical schools in cultural anthropology and development studies for the interpretation of contemporary problems and questions in the Global North and the Global South.
- You can apply elementary insights of cultural anthropology and development studies to contemporary debates about major socio-cultural, political and economic problems in the Global South and the Global North.
This introduction to cultural anthropology and development studies will familiarize students with the history of both disciplines, the basic concepts of these different domains of study that are intertwined yet have an autonomous institutional background, the various theoretical schools that have influenced the direction they have taken in recent decades, and the relevance of a perspective from the viewpoint of anthropology and development studies for contemporary problems related to cultural diversity and inequality.
First, students will be introduced to the various domains of anthropology, including economic anthropology, the anthropology of religion, the anthropology of kinship and social organization, and political and legal anthropology. Furthermore, questions of cultural relativism versus universalism, of empirical fieldwork and theoretical analysis, of interpretation and explanation, and of agency and structure will be addressed. The course involves ethnographic encounters with a wide range of societies studied in anthropology, from small-scale hunter-gatherer groups to multicultural societies.
Second, students will be introduced into the history of development studies, the changes that have taken place in thinking about development issues in recent decades, and the key debates in the discipline. We start by reviewing different conceptual approaches to assess ‘progress’ in reducing poverty and income inequality and discuss how these relate to the broader framework of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Next, we gain a deeper understanding of the root causes of these societal problems, including the role of the colonial experience, and examine how alternative problem analyses have resulted in different policy prescriptions. We discuss the success (and failure) of different types of development-oriented interventions and pay special attention to the potential of international flows of aid, (fair) trade and technology in shaping development trajectories. Finally, the course engages with fresh thinking on the future development agenda. An online tool will be available to practice/test your ability to apply the concepts and insights reviewed in class, especially in reference to real-world cases that feature in the news.
The course is aimed to introduce anthropology and development studies to all interested students. It is designed for students at beginner's level, but it is fundamental for further courses in anthropology and development studies since it introduces the ways in which scholars in the field do their empirical research, their ways of relating research results to overarching questions and how they present their work to the rest of the world.
The reading relating to the course is in English and the lectures in this course will also be delivered in English, but questions and discussions in Dutch are possible and there is a choice between the two languages in the written work of the students.
In order to successfully pass this course students are required to read the texts that are assigned, to reflect on the contents and to be able to demonstrate in a written exam that they have read and understood the materials. They should expect four hours of reading and preparation per week.
This course connects to SDG 1: No poverty; SDG 5: Gender Equality; SDG 10: Reduced inequalities; and SDG 12: Responsible consumption and production.
At the end of the course, you will sit a written exam that is made up of a mix of multiple choice questions and open essay questions. |