ANTH 208
Dr. Judkins
Spring 2016




Course Description


This course provides intensive reading experience with the most significant ethnographic writing describing non-Western ways of life.  The readings are a wide-ranging, select set of recognized "classic" ethnographic accounts, representing cultures world-wide and dating mostly from the late nineteenth century to the end of the twentieth century.  This reading familiarizes students with samples from a broad range of the most influential anthropological writing, its intellectual significance, and its specific ethnographic content.


These readings provide a sound basis for study of social and cultural anthropology. 



Purpose and Objectives


This course is designed to fulfill a need for students to have an opportunity for experiencing and dealing with the major data resource and presentation technique used by cultural and social anthropologists, namely the written ethnography.  It also fills a need for undergraduate students to have an opportunity for becoming substantially familiar with key ethnographies which have influenced the growth and development of anthropology in the past century.  Teaching objectives include consideration of the following: what "ethnography" means; how to read an ethnography; the functions of ethnographies both within and beyond the domain of anthropology; the recognition and evaluation of general ethnographic techniques; the recognition and evaluation of intellectual content; and the intellectual implications of ethnographic writing.  The course enhances the student's ability to appreciate some of the most significant writing in the modern social sciences. 



Enrollment is for Anthropology majors and other seriously interested students during the sophomore or junior years, after having had introductory level courses in Cultural Anthropology.  Freshmen are not to enroll in this course, nor are those who have not successfully completed introductory anthropology course work.  Non-majors should consult with the instructor before taking this course, particularly if their anthropology experience is limited.



Office: Bailey 149   Phone: 245-5433

Office Hours: Tues/Thurs: 10:15-11:00; 3:45-6:00    Wed: 11:30-1:00 (by appointment only)





Cushing. Zuni Fetishes. K C Publications reprint

Evans-Pritchard. The Nuer. Oxford University Press

Judkins. Morgan’s League of the Iroquois. Persimmon Press

Malinowski. Argonauts of the Western Pacific. Dutton

Rappaport. Pigs for the Ancestors. Yale University Press



Additional readings & handouts: TBA



***Unusually substantial reading is required by the nature and contents of this course. 

Each student is responsible for all of the reading and for adhering to the reading schedule as contained in the course outline and as announced and/or modified in class.  Regular and consistent attendance, along with positive contributions to class on a daily basis, are expected of every student – and will be reflected in the final grade. ***



Bibliographies, additional ethnographic reading materials and further reading suggestions are available from the instructor for the interested student.





Midterm Exam (essay format): 50 % of Final Grade

Comprehensive Final Exam (essay format): 50% of Final Grade

Regular class attendance and contribution are expected; their absence will lower the final grade substantially.



Final Exam Date:    Monday, May 9 (12:00-2:30 PM)






Date                Topics/Texts


Week 1            Introduction                                                                                  (Jan 19 & 21)

                        Setting the Stage for the course

                        Introduction to specific readings & authors: who is in and who was left out & why

                        Course overview; fundamental methods and objectives in ethnography

                        Pre-modern ethnographic writing: Greek &    Roman; Arabic & Persian; Chinese Western exploration and colonial literatures

                        Anthropology’s first war: Academic researchers vs. Museum & field researchers



Week 2            Formative Era of Ethnography I                                                 (Jan 26 & 28)

                        Text: R. Judkins, Morgan’s League of the Iroquois (1851), Book I (Structure)

                        Video: “The Senecas”


                        League of the Iroquois was published in 1851 in Rochester, NY; Morgan bio

                        Historical summary and contexts = format of Book I

                        Key social anthropological discoveries embedded in Book I:                        

  1. (a)  Social role of kinship (i.e., [matrilineal] descent systems)
  2. (b) Dispersal of clans across tribes = the basis of peace in Confederacy

                        Essentials of ethnography; why and how to read an ethnography;

                        Intellectual & social functions of ethnography (manifest/latent; micro/macro)

                        Insiders view: native texts & contribution to modern ethnography; emic/etic

                                    Native informants & colleagues; the role of exegesis; role of Ely S. Parker

                        Native American contributions preceding Morgan: oral and print

                        Anthropology and Law (Morgan, McLennan, and Bachofen

                        Anticipation of Functionalist thought: de Coulanges (1864) & Durkheim (1912)




Week 3            Formative Era of Ethnography II                                                  (Feb 2 & 4)

                        Texts: R. Judkins, Morgan’s League of the Iroquois (1851), Book II  (Spirit)

                        Video: “Longhouse People” (1951) National Film Board of Canada


                        NYS Iroquois Studies and modern Ethnography

  1. (a)  Roles of collegial work with participants in Native culture
  2. (b) Role of linguistic ability
  3. (c)  Role of native texts
  4. (d) Role of native explication of behaviors & institutions

                        Iroquois ritual: calendar as core institution; Thanksgiving as fundamental theme


ANTH 208

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Date                Topics/Texts


Week 4            Formative Era of Ethnography III                                                   (Feb 9 & 11)

                        Text: R. Judkins, Morgan’s League of the Iroquois (1851), Book III  (Fabrics)

                        Video: “Oren Lyons, Faithkeeper,” (PBS: Oren Lyons/Bill Moyers interview)


                        “Fabrics of the Iroquois” and the invention of Material Culture Studies

                        Ethnography and pattern seeking

                        Ethnography & standards; finding significance in “the exotic” and “the alien”



Week 5            Formative Era of Ethnography IV                                       (Feb 16 & 18)

                        Text: Frank Hamilton Cushing, Zuni Fetishes (1883)



Week 6            British Social Anthropology & Ethnography I:                            (Feb 23 & 25)                                                             (Feb 25 & 27)

                        Text: B. Malinowski, Argonauts of the Western Pacific (1922), Pref-Chapter VII


                        Examples of ethnographic contribution 1880s-1920s:

                                    Shway Yoe (Sir J. George Scott), The Burman: His Life & Notions (1882)

                                    Adolph Bandelier, The Delight Makers [Pueblo & Navajo] (1890)

                                    Henry Ling Roth, The Natives of Sarawak & British North Borneo (1896) 

                                    W.W. Skeat, Malay Magic (1900)

                                    Matilda Coxe Stevenson, The Zuni Indians (1904)

                                    Frank Hamilton Cushing, Outline of Zuni Creation Myths (1894)

                                    R.S. Rattray, Ashanti (1923)

                                    John Wesley Powell, BAE & BAE-AR multitudinous contributions



Week 7            British Social Anthropology & Ethnography II                        (Mar 1 & 3)

                        Text: B. Malinowski, Argonauts of the Western Pacific (1922) VIII-XVI

                        Video: “Ongka's Big Moka: The Kawelka of Papua New Guinea” (1976)


                        Invention of “participant-observer” fieldwork tradition: Cushing & Malinowski



Week 8            British Social Anthropology & Ethnography III                          (Mar 8 & 10)

                        Text: B. Malinowski, Argonauts of the Western Pacific (1922), XVII-XXII


                        Kula and Prestation: Marcel Mauss, The Gift (1954 [1925])

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Week               Topics/Texts



MIDTERM EXAM: Tuesday, March 22



Week 9            British Social Anthropology & Ethnography IV                          (Mar 22 & 24)

                        Text: E. E. Evans-Pritchard, The Nuer (1940), Intro-Chapt 2

                        Video: “Grass: A Nation’s Battle for Life” (1925)  Bakhtiari (Iran)

                                    Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack


                        Descent Systems: Pastoralism and Patrilineal kinship

                        Social corporations; Unilineal Descent Groups (UCGs)



Week 10          British Social Anthropology & Ethnography V               (Mar 29 & 31)

                        Text: E. E. Evans-Pritchard, The Nuer (1940), Chapters 3 & 4

                        Video: “The Nuer” (1951) Hilary Harris, George Breidenbach, & Robert Gardner  



Week 11          British Social Anthropology & Ethnography VI                            (Apr 5 & 7)

                        Text: E. E. Evans-Pritchard, The Nuer (1940), Chapters 5 & 6

                        Video: “Seasons of the Navajo”


                        Descent Systems: Horticulture and Matrilineal kinship



Week 12          American Cultural Ecology & Ritual I                                          (Apr 14 & 16)

                        Text: R. Rappoport, Pigs for the Ancestors (1968/1984), Forward-Chapt 4

                        Video: “Dead Birds” (1963) Dani (New Guinea) - Robert Gardner


                                    Ecology, environment and landscape as part of ethnography

                                        Orchestration of ethnographic detail in analysis 1




Week 13          American Cultural Ecology & Ritual II                                  (Apr 19x & 21)

                        Text: Rappaport, Pigs for the Ancestors (1968/1984), Chapts 5 & 6


                                    Ecology, environment and landscape as part of ethnography

                                        Orchestration of ethnographic detail in analysis 2


ANTH 208

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Week               Topics/Texts



Week 14          American Cultural Ecology & Ritual III                                       (Apr 26 & 28)

                        Text: Rappaport, Pigs for the Ancestors (1968/1984), Epilogue: pp 301-361

                        Video: “Three Worlds of Bali”


                        Bali & Papua New Guinea in American ethnography

                                    Meta-processes: warfare, migration, long-term cycles and ethnography

                                    Cf. Social-Ecological System (SES) analysis: Stephen Lansing, Bali                                                             



Week 15          American Cultural Ecology & Ritual IV                                            (May 3)

                        Text: Rappaport, Pigs for the Ancestors (1968/1984), Epilogue: pp. 362-444






Final Exam DateMonday, May 9 (12:00-2:30 PM)