- Code ANTH6136
- Unit Value 6 units
- Offered by School of Archaeology and Anthropology
- ANU College ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
- Course subject Anthropology
- Areas of interest Anthropology, Development Studies, Gender Studies, Sociology, Criminology
- Academic career PGRD
- Mode of delivery In Person
- Co-taught Course
What is piracy? Is it: outright theft, a critique of exploitative pricing and labour systems, a culture outside of law? All societies define a boundary between sanctioned and illegitimate ownership, and this course considers the role of piracy in mediating those struggles. We explore these conflicting perspectives on piracy in a range of historical and contemporary settings in order to ask broader questions about the cross-cultural role of property, ownership, marginalization, and security today. In developing an anthropology of piracy, the course emphasises power, identity, and resistance as key thematics. From histories of slave revolts to the hacker collective ‘Anonymous,’ we track new political configurations and the rebels they engender. A vital aspect of the course involves applying anthropological theories of value to everyday forms of economic governance in families, communities, states and global institutions. Students will consider wider issues of sovereignty, intellectual property, race, colonialism, gender and sexuality, morality, mobility, and globalization.
Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:
Upon successful completion of this course, students will have the knowledge and skills to:
- Develop an advanced understanding of the cultural and
historical transformation of property and interpret its variation across
- Draw upon and provide a theoretically informed analysis
of primary sources. Apply advanced concepts in political, legal, and economic
anthropology to real world examples of piracy.
- Identify major issues with modern property and piracy to
reflect on their impact in anthropological theory and areas of social life
including work, kinship, gender, morality, mobility, and globalization.
- Write essays that develop an original argument about struggles over property, and their relationship to social issues of power, identity, and resistance.
Discussion leader, tutorial 10% [LO 1]
Two Applied practicums 1,500 words each (20%) [LO 2,3]
Biography of a "pirated" property 1,000 words (25%) [LO 3,4]
Annotated Bibliography 1,000 words (10 items, 10%) [LO 1,3]
Final Writing Project (3,000 words 35%) [LO 3,4]
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Workload130 hours of total student learning time made up from:
a) 43 hours of contact over 12 weeks: 12 hours of lectures and 11 hours of tutorials and 20 hours of film screenings and discussions; and
b) 87 hours of independent student research, reading and writing.
Requisite and Incompatibility
Dawdy, Shannon Lee. "Why pirates are back." Annual Review of Law and Social Science 7 (2011): 361-385.
Dua, Jatin. "A sea of trade and a sea of fish: piracy and protection in the Western Indian Ocean." Journal of Eastern African Studies 7.2 (2013): 353-370.
van Velzen, Diura Thoden. "The world of Tuscan tomb robbers: Living with the local community and the ancestors." International Journal of Cultural Property 5.01 (1996): 111-126.
Coleman, Gabriella. Hacker, hoaxer, whistleblower, spy: The many faces of Anonymous. Verso Books, 2014
Musaraj, Smoki. "Tales from Albarado: The materiality of pyramid schemes in postsocialist Albania." Cultural Anthropology 26.1 (2011): 84-110.
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- Student Contribution Band:
- Unit value:
- 6 units
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