Anthropology 298. Experimental Courses
Women in Islam
Stereotypes of Muslim women’s oppression abound: they are forced to wear the veil, sequestered at home, and unable to access education or to work. This course debunks these common misunderstandings of Muslim women by examining interpretations of the Qur’an and Islamic law, and by way of historical and contemporary examples of powerful and remarkable Muslim women. We will consider Muslim women’s movements in relation to political Islam, nationalism, and social justice aims; piety and religious practices; Islamic feminisms, and recent controversies over veiling. The course pays close attention to the colonial and orientalist legacies that often mediate such understandings, and debates about modernity and authenticity. Cases are drawn from across the Muslim world in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Turkey, Lebanon, Iran, and Indonesia.
Peoples and Cultures of the Middle East
This course will introduce students to the Arab Middle East from Morocco to Iraq and Syria to the Persian Gulf. We will explore how the experiences of ordinary men, women, and children are shaped by their cultures and how these have changed over time from before the great state-making events of the 20th century. A particular focus of the course will be Islam as a major influence in everyday life and the way that its implementation alters structures of power and authority. The course will also examine other influencing factors such as development and modernization efforts, work patterns, family and community, and gender relations as they shape individuals’ lives, beliefs and hopes.
Archaeology of the Southwest
This course will provide an overview of the ancient American Southwest. Students will learn about how the archaeological record is used to define the major prehistoric culture groups of the Southwest: the Ancestral Puebloan (Anasazi), Mogollon, and Hohokam. Students will discover how material culture is used to infer what life was like in the desert Southwest from the arrival of the first humans into the area to the coming of the Spanish. Areas of focus will include: prehistoric environmental adaptation, technology, art, architecture, socioeconomic structures, abandonment, and reorganization. Controversial topics, such as cannibalism, warfare, and archaeoastronomy will also be discussed.