this class meets on Mondays, from 5:10 to 6:50 in 70 Dodge [NOTE THE CHANGE FROM EARLIER]

[where to look for these sources]


I - Introduction: The problem of culture as communication

1/27 -- The major issues: consensus, or constraint? Reproduction of the learned or production of the new?

Dewey, John Democracy and education. New York: The Free Press. 1966 [1916]. (Chapters One& Two [on line])

Varenne, Hervé "America and I" in America as a foreign culture. Ed. by P. DeVita and J. Armstrong, 29-38. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Publishing. 1992

2/3 -- Classical discussions in anthropology and sociology

Lévi-Strauss, Claude "Nature and culture," Chapter 1 of The elementary structures of kinship. Tr. by J. Bell and J. von Sturmer. Boston: Beacon Press. 1969 [1947].

Duranti, Alessandro Linguistic Anthropology. New York: Cambridge University Press. 1997. (Chapter 2)


  • Boon, James "Further operations of 'culture' in anthropology: A synthesis of and for debate." Social Science Quarterly: 221-252. 1972
  • Singer, Milton "The concept of culture." International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences3: 527-543.1968
  • Smelser, Neil "Culture: coherent or incoherent." in Münch, Richard, and Neil Smelser, eds. Theory of culture, 3-28. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. 1992

2/10 -- Popular (high) culture: new developments in an old controversy

Fiske, John Understanding popular culture. Boston: Unwin Hyman. 1989. (Chapters 1, 2, 3, 5, 6)



II -- Historical Roots: Intuitions and Developments

2/17 -- Intuitions and difficulties in the concept of 'A' culture

Benedict, Ruth "Configurations of culture in North America," American Anthropologist 34: 1-27. 1932


  • Benedict, Ruth Patterns of culture. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. 1934
  • Kroeber, A.L. "The superorganic." in The nature of culture. Edited by A.L. Kroeber, 22-51. Chicago: The University of Chicago. 1952 [1917]
  • Sapir, Edward Culture, language and personality. Berkeley: University of California Press. 1966 [1949]]

2/24 -- Language: pattern and change

Saussure, Ferdinand de Course in General Linguistics. Tr. by W. Baskin. New York: McGraw-Hill. 1966 [1915]. Introduction (Chapters 1-3), Part I (Chap. 1-2), Part II (Chap. 4), Part III (Chap. 1-2).


  • Lévi-Strauss, Claude Structural anthropology. Tr. by C. Jacobson and B. Schoepf. New York: Basic Books. 1963 [1958] Chapter 2-5.

3/3 -- The act, others, and the identified self

Mead, G.H. Mind, self and society. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. 1934. (Chapters 3, 7, [8, 9,] 10, 11, 22)

Bateson, Gregory "Why do Frenchmen" in Steps to an ecology of mind. New York: Balantine Books, 1972 [1951]


  • Mead, G.H. "The social self." The journal of philosophy, psychology and scientific methods 10: 374-380, 1913
  • Mauss, Marcel "A category of the human mind: The notion of person; the notion of self." in The category of the person. Edited by M. Carrithers, S. Collins and S. Lukes, 1-25. New York: Cambridge University Press. 1985 [1938]

3/10-- Speaking: possibilities elaborated in the use of language

Jakobson, Roman "Concluding statement: Linguistics and poetics." in Style in language. Edited by T. Sebeok, 350-377. New York: Wiley. (particularly the first 10 pages)

Duranti, Alessandro Linguistic Anthropology. New York: Cambridge University Press. 1997. (Chapter 7)


  • Barthes, Roland, Mythologies. London: Jonathan Cape. (1957) 1972
  • Hymes, Dell, Foundations in sociolinguistics. Chapter 2. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. 1974.
  • Labov, William Sociolinguistic patterns. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. 1972


3/24 -- Speaking together as a matter of collective patterning

Duranti, Alessandro Linguistic Anthropology. New York: Cambridge University Press. 1997. (Chapter 8)


  • Goodwin, Charles "The interactive construction of a sentence in a natural conversation," in Everyday Language, 97-121. Edited by G. Psathas. New York: Irvington Publishers, 1979
  • Sacks, Harvey "An Analysis of the Course of a Joke's Telling in Conversation." in Explorations in the ethnography of speaking, ed. by R. Bauman and J. Sherzer, 337-353. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1974.
  • Scheflen, Albert "On communicational processes." in Nonverbal behavior. Edited by A. Wolfgang, 1-16. New York: Academic Press. 1979


III - Contemporary problematics - 1: Artifacts and their consequences

3/31 -- Making cultural facts

Latour, Bruno Reassembling the social. New York: Oxford University Press, 2005. (Particularly chapters 2, 4, 5, 7)

student project presented by


  • Sacks, Harvey "On doing 'being ordinary'," in Structures of social action. Edited by J.M. Atkinson and J. Heritage, 413-429. New York: Cambridge University Press. 1984b
  • Garfinkel, Harold

4/7 -- Internal complexities: what difference gender?

Lamphere, Louise et al.  Situated Lives.  New York: Routledge. 1997
(read minimally the introduction and chapters by Rapp, Ginsburg, Comaroff, as well as one chapter at least in each of the sections of the book)

student project presented by Ugochukwu Onyewuchi


  • recommended: Rosaldo, Michelle, and Louise Lamphere, eds. Woman, culture, and society. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press. 1973.

4/14 -- (Dis-) Ability

McDermott, R. and Varenne,H. "Culture as disability" Anthropology and Education Quarterly 26: 324-348. 1995. (expanded version published on line by Serendip)

student project presented by Nadine Qashu Lim


  • Wuthnow, Robert "Infrastructure and superstructure: Revisions in Marxist sociology of culture." in Münch & Smelser, 145-172]
  • Williams, Raymond Marxism and literature. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 1977. (Parts I [particularly Chap. 1,2,4] & II; [particularly Chap. 1,2,4,6,7,8])


IV - Contemporary problematics - 2: The ongoing evolution of artifacts

4/21 -- Control and resistance, discourse and dialogue: the construction of culture in temporal struggles

Foucault, Michel "The order of discourse" in Untying the text: A post-structuralist reader. Edited by R. Young, 51-78. Boston: Routledge & Kegan Paul. 1971 [1981]

Bakhtin, Mikhail "Discourse in the novel" in The dialogic imagination. Tr. by C. Emerson and M. Holquist. Austin: University of Texas Press. 1981 (259-65, 270-77, 288-94)

student project presented by Jane Dicker


  • Bakhtin, MikhailRabelais and his world. Tr. by H. Iswolsky. Cambridge, Mass.: The M.I.T. Press. 1968 [1936]
  • Boon on P.T. Barnum
  • De Certeau, Michel The practice of everyday life. Berkeley: University of California Press. 1984 [1980]
  • Foucault, Michel Discipline and punish. Tr. by A. Sheridan New York: Penguin Books. 1978 [1975]

4/28 -- Local transformation: Culture in process?

Miller, Daniel "Appropriating the state on the council estate," Man, 23: 353-372, 1988

Myerhoff, Barbara "Life not death in Venice," in The anthropology of experience. Edited by V. Turner and E. Bruner, 261-285. University of Illinois Press, 1986

student project presented by Linda Kourkoulis


  • Geertz, Clifford "'From the native's point of view': On the nature of anthropological understanding." in Meaning in anthropology. Edited by K. Basso and H. Selby, 221-237. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press. 1976
  • Rosaldo, Michelle "Toward an anthropology of self and feeling." in Culture theory. Edited by R. Shweder and R. LeVine, 137-157. New York: Cambridge University Press. 1984
  • Varenne, Hervé " Collective representation in America anthropological conversations about culture: Culture and the individual." Current Anthropology 25: 281-300. 1984

5/5 -- Popular possibilities and their paradoxes

Drummond, Lee American dreamtime. Lanham, MD: Littlefield. Chapters 5 and 7

Ducille, Ann "Dyes and dolls." Differences 6: 46-68. 1994

student project presented by Elizabeth Reddington


5/12 -- Education as cultural production



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