Anthropology

Culture and Representation

Module code: L6075
Level 5
15 credits in spring teaching
Teaching method: Workshop
Assessment modes: Coursework

In this module, you focus on the anthropological master trope of 'culture' and on the political dimensions of representing culture or 'cultures'.

You consider how anthropological understandings of 'culture', as well as anthropologists' modes of analysing and representing it in anthropological work, developed over the 20th century, partially in conversation with other disciplines.

You also examine how 'culture' operates as a key idea in the public domain, used by politicians, community and human rights activists, artists, scientists, museum curators and others, in relation to a wide range of issues and debates when distinctions between 'ourselves' and 'others' are at stake.

Finally, you look at some activities within the cultural domain (such as music, dance, theatre, verbal artistry), which have a performative dimension. You consider how anthropologists have approached these activities to address questions about structure and agency, embodiment, experience, art and aesthetics, creativity, power and protest.

Module learning outcomes

  • Knowledge of several key anthropological approaches and methods necessary for understanding culture, representation and performance.
  • Critical Understanding of the social contexts and political dimensions of cultural creation and representation.
  • Ability to critically assess intellectual arguments.
  • Ability to compare and contrast texts in a sophisticated manner.