History 210S / Cultural Anthropology 207

Anthropology and History

Fall, 2002

Instructor: William M. Reddy

(919) 684-2497; wmr@duke.edu

Meetings: Wednesdays, 7:00 – 9:30 pm, in Carr (East Campus), Room 242.

My plan for fall is to begin with a grounding in some classics.  I want students to appreciate what was great, as well as what was deficient, in the practice of anthropology and of social history before the two disciplines began to come together in the 1970s.  Because poststructuralist thinking has influenced both disciplines heavily (and somewhat independently), I also want to pause for a moment and examine how Foucault’s thinking was shaped in part by a critical reflection on Lévi-Strauss’s “structural anthropology.”  Foucault was, in effect, trying to work out a truly historical approach to ethnography himself. 

Under “first efforts” we will look at some works by anthropologists and historians who, between 1963 and 1980, were consciously attempting to learn the lessons of the other discipline.

Under “realizations” we will examine four fully realized historical ethnographies—one by a “historian,” and three by “anthropologists.” 

These readings are highly integrated.  There are implicit “before and after” pairings: Hobsbawm vs. Thompson, Evans-Pritchard vs. Rosaldo, Scott vs. Sabean—where the material is the same but approaches and conclusions are at odds, or the material is defined in a similar manner, but handled very differently.

The problem is how to give a deep account of how a society or community works (the kind associated with cultural interpretation) and then to set it in political and historical motion.

Grades will be based on class participation, and on a term paper due after Thanksgiving break (15-20 pp.).  These papers may focus on research material the student is already familiar with, or on themes or issues that come up in the course, or a wide variety of issues or geographical areas that don’t fit into the syllabus: Marxism and political economy, subaltern studies, peasants, gender, India, Japan, the Pacific, etc.

NOTE: Books ordered through the Regulator Bookshop, 720 Ninth St. Asterisk indicates a reading available only on Reserve in Lilly Library


August 28


September 4

Anthropology without history:

Team A

Evans-Pritchard, E. E., The Nuer (Oxford, 1940, Introduction and chs. 1, 3, 4, 5

Team B

Geertz, Clifford "Person, Time, and Conduct in Bali," Interpretations of Culture (Basic Books, 1973)*

September 11

Social history without culture:

Team A

Scott, Joan W., The Glassworkers of Carmaux (Harvard, 1974)

Team B

Hobsbawm, Eric J., Age of Revolution (David McKay Co., Inc., 1961), pp. 17-101, 180-258


Anthropological origins of poststructuralism:

September 18

Lévi-Strauss, Claude, Totemism (Beacon, 1962)
Wells, Rulon S. “De Saussure’s System of Linguistics,” Word 3(1947):1-31*

September 25

Foucault, Michel, The Order of Things (Random House, 1970), chs 3, 6, 8, 9


First efforts:

October 2

Thompson, E. P., The Making of the English Working Class (Random House, 1963), Preface, chs 6-8, 14

October 9

Thompson, E. P., “The Moral Economy of the English Crowd in the Eighteenth Century,” Past and Present No. 50 (1971): 76-136*
Davis, Natalie Z., “Rites of Violence,” in Society and Culture in Early Modern France (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1975)*

October 16

Sewell, William Work and Revolution in France: The Language of Labor from the Old Regime to 1848 (Cambridge 1980), chs 1-4, 7, 9-12

October 23

Rosaldo, Renato, Ilongot Headhunting, 1883-1974: A Study in Society and History (Stanford, 1980), Parts I and II



October 30

Sabean, David W., Property, Production & Family in Neckarhausen, 1700-1870 (Cambridge 1991), chs. 1-10

November 6

Ortner, Sherry, High Religion - A Cultural & Political Historical History of Sherpa Buddhism (Princeton 1989)

November 13

Comaroff, John L., and Jean Comaroff, Of Revelation and Revolution (Chicago, 1991), chs. 1, 2, 4, 5, 6

November 20

Kelly, John D., and Martha Kaplan, Represented Communities: Fiji and World Decolonization (Chicago, 2001), chs. 1, 4, 5, 6

(Nov. 27-30

Thanksgiving Break)

December 4, 5:00 p.m.

Term paper due