21A.00 | Spring 2022 | Undergraduate

Introduction to Anthropology


[G] = Graeber, David, and David Wengrow. The Dawn of Everything: A New History of Humanity. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2021. ISBN: ‎9780374157357. [Preview with Google Books]

Session 1: Overview of Class

No readings assigned.

Session 2: The Problem of “Human Nature” (Plus Introductions)

[G] Chapter 1: Farewell to Humanity’s Childhood. 

Session 3: Highlands Trilogy, Part 1

[G] Chapter 2: Wicked Liberty. 

Session 4: Cross-cultural Contact

No readings assigned.

Session 5: Highlands Trilogy, Part 2

[G] Chapter 3: Unfreezing the Ice Age In and Out of Chains: The Protean Possibilities of Human Politics.

Session 6: Human Origins and Social Evolution

No readings assigned.

Session 7: Ethnographic Methods and Participant Observation

Abidin, Crystal. “Somewhere between Here and There: Negotiating Researcher Visibility in a Digital Ethnography of the Influencer Industry.” Journal of Digital Social Research 2, no. 1 (2020): 56–76.

Johnson, Norris Brock. “Sex, Color, and Rites of Passage in Ethnographic Research.” Human Organization 43, no. 2 (1984): 108–20.

Session 8: Highlands Trilogy, Part 3

[G] Chapter 4: Free People, the Origin of Cultures, and the Advent of Private Property. 

Session 9: Politics and Ritual

No readings assigned.

Session 10: Feels Good Man

Durkheim, Emile. “Origin of These Beliefs (Conclusion): Origin of the Notion of Totemic Principle, or Mana.” Chapter 7 in Elementary Forms of the Religious Life. Translated by Karen E. Field. Free Press, 1995. ISBN: ‎9780029079379. 

Wong, Jamie, Crystal Lee, et al. “‘Let’s Go, Baby Forklift!’: Fandom Governance and the Political Power of Cuteness in China.” Social Media + Society 7, no. 2 (2021): 1–18.

Session 11: Ritual and Expressive Culture

No readings assigned.

Session 12: Presentations (1)

No readings assigned.

Session 13: Presentations (2)

No readings assigned.

Session 14: Can Rituals Be Designed?

Gordon-Lennox, Jeltje. “The Rhyme and Reason of Ritualmaking.” Chapter 4 in Emerging Ritual in Secular Societies: A Transdisciplinary Conversation. Edited by Jeltje Gordon-Lennox. Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2017. ISBN: ‎9781785920837. [Preview with Google Books]

Lévy, Pierre. “Exploring the Challenge of Designing Rituals.” Paper presented at the 6th International Congress of International Association of Societies of Design Research, Brisbane, Australia, November 2015.

Session 15: Ritual Workshop I: The “Ritual Design Toolkit”

Baxter, W., S. Roots, et al. “Ritual Design Toolkit.” Interaction Foundry, 2020.

Session 16: Peabody Museum of Archaeology & Ethnology Field Trip

[G] Chapter 5: Many Seasons Ago.

Session 17: Representing and Displaying Culture

No readings assigned.

Session 18: Bored in Heaven

Jiménez,  Alberto Corsín, and Adolfo Estalella. “Ethnography: A Prototype.” Ethnos 82, no. 5 (2017): 846–66.

Farquhar, Judith, and Qicheng Zhang.  “Biopolitical Beijing: Pleasure, Sovereignty, and Self-Cultivation in China’s Capital.” Cultural Anthropology 20, no. 3 (2005): 303–27.

Session 19: Ritual Workshop II

No readings assigned.

Session 20: Guest: James Shen, Principal, People’s Architecture Office

[G] Chapter 8: Imaginary Cities.

Session 21: City as Theater

No readings assigned.

Session 22: Nomadland

[G] Chapter 12: Conclusion.

Session 23: Uncertainty, Precarity, Futurity

No readings assigned.

Session 24: Ritual Workshop III: Final Plans and Prototypes

No readings assigned.

Session 25: Ritual Performance

No readings assigned.

Session 26: Ritual Workshop IV: Ritual Performance

No readings assigned.

Course Info

As Taught In
Spring 2022
Learning Resource Types
Activity Assignments
Instructor Insights
Written Assignments with Examples