The remarkable economic emergence of Asia in recent decades has transformed many impoverished and largely agriculturally based societies into the most dynamic region of the contemporary world. Asia’s burgeoning aspirational middle classes, rapid urbanisation, the expansion of participatory democracy and the shift from command economies to de-regulated markets have had profound effects on people’s everyday lives and the diverse cultural practices that have long shaped local livelihoods and community expectations. This course offers an introduction into anthropological approaches to the study of culture, modernity and globalisation in Asia. Relevant themes that have attracted anthropological interest include changing traditions and popular culture, adaptive custom and cosmopolitanism, migration and citizenship, identity politics and social movements as well as distinctive and emergent forms of governance in both collective and self-cultivating forms of expression. Drawing on a rich corpus of social theory and ethnographic research from anthropologists past and present, the course will provide students with conceptual and analytical tools to appreciate adaptive cultural practices in comparative terms, to review and appreciate the key anthropological debates and influential works in the study of modernity, and to introduce students to ethnographic approaches for researching and writing on modernity and contemporary ethnographies of global connection.
Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:Upon successful completion, students will be able to:
1 Demonstrate understanding of theories and debates around modernity and concepts of culture
2. Demonstrate knowledge of key concepts in anthropology and its central research method - ethnography
3. Critically utilise case studies and relevant source material when arguing analytical points in writing.
4. Summarise, digest and present the contents of analytical readings for a wider audience.
Indicative AssessmentTutorial participation 20% (learning outcomes 1,2,3,4) Assessment of critical contributions to discussion
Short essay 1500 words 30% (learning outcomes 3,4)
Long essay 3000 words 50% (learning outcomes: 1,2 ,3,4)
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WorkloadTwo lectures and one tutorial per week with expectations of 40 pages of reading a week on average.
Requisite and Incompatibility
Prescribed TextsAll readings will be available on-line
Anderson B, 1983 Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism, London.
Arjun Appadurai 1996 Modernity at Large: cultural dimensions of globalization. University of Minnesota Press.
Boellstorff T The Gay Archipelago: Sexuality and Nation in Indonesia: Princeton University Press.
Doron A and R Jeffrey 2013 The Great Indian Phone Book: How the cheap cell phone changes business, politics and daily life.
Geertz C 1973 The Interpretation of Cultures, Basic Books
Inda J X and R Rosaldo 2008 The Anthropology of Globalisation (2nd ed) Blackwell Publishing
Keane W 2006 Christain Moderns: Freedom and Fetish in the Mission Encounter, University of California Press.
Kipnis A 2012 Governing Educational Desire: Culture, Politics and Schooling in China, Chicago University Press.
McKay D 2012 GLobal Filipinos: Migrants Lives in the Virtual Village, Indiana University Press.
Scott J 1998 Seeing Like a State: How certain schemes to improve the human condition have failed, Yale University Press.
Scott J 2009 The Art of Not Being Governed: An Anarchist History of Upland Southeast Asia. Yale University Press.
Taylor P 2008 Modernity and Re-enchantment: Religion in post-revolutionary Vietnam, ISEAS Lexington Books.
Tsing A 2005 Friction: an ethnography of global connection. Princeton University Press.
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