AAS 615/ANTH 612 – Fall 2015
SEMINAR ON PROBLEMS IN AFRICAN ETHNOLOGY
The discipline of anthropology owes much of its foundational knowledge and paradigms
to studies in African ethnology. Yet what has anthropology contributed in turn to the
field of African Studies? How have anthropologists approached contemporary problems
affecting the continent, problems that normally fall within the interpretative domains of
law, political science, and economics, such as: human rights; neoliberal reform;
corruption; the nature of state power; the role of civil society and NGOs; disputes over
land and other natural resources; urbanization and migrancy; the continued salience of
witchcraft; and the effects of violent conflict or epidemics?
In this seminar, we will read and analyze recent works by anthropologists and
ethnologically-leaning scholars. We will select our readings collectively, tailoring the
seminar to the interests of those taking it. Additionally, since our seminar overlaps in
meeting time with the Africa Workshop and the Africa History and
Anthropology Workshop (AHAW) series, on certain weeks we will incorporate those
lectures into our seminar.