Geography-Anthropology

Fall 2020 courses focusing on race, ethnicity, diversity and social justice

GEO 105/ANT 105 Society, Environment, and Change (Dr. Firooza Pavri)
This course examines the complex and changing relationship between communities, cultures, and the environment over time and across multiple geographic scales. Readings will include selections from: Brian Tokar’s Toward Climate Justice: Perspectives on the climate crisis and social change; EPA’s Environmental Justice Collaborative Model; Sutton & Anderson’s case studies on environmental resource management by the Mbuti, the Nuu-chah-nulth, the Masai, and the Navajo. Students will also read select articles and reports, including Minor et al. Greenlandic perspectives on climate change; Amanda Gokee’s examination of Mexico City and Aztec-era floating gardens; and an examination of social-ecological resilience and its implication for environmental governance by Anne Salomon et al.

GEO 101 Human Geography (Dr. Amy Mills)
In an early part of the course, we examine the creation and role of race in the process of colonization. We study environmental determinism, and how European "science" justified the forced labor of black and brown peoples in colonies. We read and analyze a research article published in the journal of the Royal Geographical Society from the 1920s that argues that white people are less suited to labor in the tropics than indigenous Africans. We compare its descriptions of the relationship between climate zones and mental and physical ability to the information conveyed in climate and human geography maps published in geography textbooks in the 1930s. We also study racialized representations of indigeous peoples in a much earlier colonial context, in a 17th century British map of the New World.
In a later section of the course, we study racialization as a spatial, cultural process, and compare the processes of urban segregation in apartheid-era Durban, South Africa and in Jim Crow era USA. Students are introduced to the Green Book, a travel guide produced by an African-American for Black travelers who would need to know where they could safely stay, eat, and recreate in various parts of the United States.
Towards the end of the course we study race and urban planning in the United States and cover topics like redlining. We read a recent article published by the New York Times that links the problem of current traffic congestion in cities like Atlanta and Austin to the history of white protestation of public transportation and the white desire to isolate from people of color.

GEO 295: Topics: Middle East (Dr. Amy Mills)
This class begins with a collective exploration of the ideas and images associated with the region of the Middle East and of the religion of Islam. Throughout the course we juxtapose secondary material and the textbook with texts, research, and videos produced by people in the Middle East to try and hear and empower local voices. We study Orientalism as a way of seeing and an ideology developed in Europe together with the process of colonization. We study late nineteenth/early twentieth century representations of peoples and places in the Middle East as part of a larger process of Western ways of seeing Others, which legitimizes Western control over other people and parts of the world. I have compared those images to racialized images of Chinese immigrants in the US as a "Yellow Fever" and we study and compare images from cartoons and movies to understand American Orientalism and how ingrained this way of seeing is in our own popular culture. This Fall semester of 2020 in response to the need for increasing awareness of racialization in the context of the Black Lives Matter movement, I will include research on and examples of representations of Black people in American popular culture as an additional counterpoint to the material we already study with regard to Orientalism.
In the section of the course that introduces students to Islam, we examine why the religion has been the basis of liberation theologies in various parts of the world, and briefly explore Islam and Black liberation theologies in the United States, including in the Nation of Islam.
Recent research in Middle East Studies has begun to explore the history of slavery in the Middle East, and I am surveying this work and considering some of it for inclusion in the course. Additionally, we study culture and resistance in the Middle East and the ways in which young people are inspired by resistance cultures in other parts of the world: examples include videos of Arabic hip hop, rap, and breakdancing that use these cultural forms rooted in African-American culture to express visions of resistance and freedom in various parts of the Middle East.


ANT 101: The Cultural View: Introduction to Anthropology (Dr. Marcia-Anne Dobres)
Includes the running theme of identity and race, starting with the anthropological view: that race is an invented social category of Other with no factual tie to biology. It explores how the Other is demonized (by the mainstream) to construct “Us”; reveals the insidiousness of white privilege; explores how racial ideologies shape certain fields of scientific research and thereby legitimizes inequalities as “natural”; and concludes with the role that rhetoric plays in institutionalizing racism in large-scale cultures.
Readings include: “Confessions of a Nice Negro, or Why I Shaved my Head” (by R. Kelley reprinted in numerous anthologies); numerous selections by R. Robbins in Cultural Anthropology: A Problem-Based Approach); “How Facts Backfire” (by J. Keohane in The New Yorker Magazine); "Identity" (by S. Faludi in In the Darkroom); "Race and Racism" (by K. Guest in Cultural Anthropology: A Toolkit for a Global Age); "Steel Axes for Stone-Age Australians" (by L. Sharp in Human Origins); and “None of the Above” (by. M. Gladwell in The New Yorker Magazine).


ANT 101: The Cultural View: Introduction to Anthropology (Professor Sarah Lockridge)
This course will address BIPOC issues as related to Racism, Ethnocentrism, and Ethnocide at both National and International Levels. Related topics include: the social construction of race, cultural hegemony and white supremacy, colonialism, Neo-liberalism, backlash to multiculturalism, anti-immigration, the Black Lives Matter movement, environmental racism, indigenous rights, social justice and human rights.
Readings will include: The Gullah: Rice, Slavery, and Sierra Leone-American Connections (Opala); On the Road Again (Mackenzie); The Illegality Industry: A Failed System of Border Control (Kottak); The Lost World (Shoumatoff); Green Grab, Red Light (Pearce), Ruined (Marshall); The Price of Progress (Bodley); The Unexpected Origins of Human Values (Morris); Generous by Nature (Holmes). Selected films include: Ethnic Notions, The Lost Boys of Sudan, A Lost Boy Finds His Purpose, The Language You Cry In, and The Kayapo: Out of the Forest.

ANT 255: Cultures of Africa (Professor Sarah Lockridge)
This course will analyze the negative impacts of Racist Ideas, Racist Policies and Racist Power on African people by analyzing in-depth case studies representing cultures South of the Sahara Desert. Related topics include: White Supremacy, Racism and Colonialism, Racism and Neo-liberalism, Racism and Forced Assimilation, African Resistance Movements, Decolonization, Cultural Survival and Cultural Rights.
Readings will include: Africa: Facing Challenges in the 21st Century (Krabacher, Kalipeni, & Layachi); Guns and Rain: Guerillas and Spirit Mediums in Zimbabwe (Lan); Listen, Here is a Story: Ethnographic Life Narratives from Aka and Ngandu Women of the Congo Basin (Hewlett); The Dobe Ju/’hoansi (Lee); Christmas in the Kalahari (Lee). Films include: The Human Family Tree, The Journey of Man, The Language You Cry In, Living Memory: Six Sketches of Mali, N’ai Story of a Kung Woman.

ANT 308 Environmental Archaeology (Dr. Joshua Robinson)
This course will include discussion of decolonizing and indigenous archaeology, environmental justice, and traditional ecological knowledge.
Readings will include: "Indigenous archaeology as decolonizing practice" (Sonya Atalay), "Possibilities for a postcolonial archaeology in sub-Saharan Africa: indigenous and usable pasts" (Paul Lane), and "Towards a just and inclusive environmental archaeology of southwest Madagascar" (Kristina Douglass et al.). The course will also discuss the Eurocentric narrative of environmental 'collapses' (Jared Diamond), and re-frame the archaeological evidence through decolonization theory. This will include selections from the "Heritage Voices" podcast and the "Tending the Wild" multimedia series that highlights the ways traditional ecological knowledge has been, at best, misunderstood, and, at worst, ignored and relates these lessons to current issues such as wildfires in the western US and the decimation of east coast fisheries.

ANT 350: International Development (Professor Sarah Lockridge)
This course will lay out the historical stages of international development with overarching attention to racism, racist policies, and racial inequality at all levels of international development as a way to understand racial inequality across the globe today. Related topics include: White Supremacy, Racist Policies and Colonial Power, Racial Capitalism and the Rise of the Third World, Racism and Sexism in Globalization Developments, Racism and Anti-Immigration in the USA, Black Feminism and Global Countermovements, Global Environmental Racism.
Readings will include: Development and Social Change (McMichael); Excerpts from How to be an Anti-Racist (Kendi); Excerpts from Black Feminist Thought: Knowledge, Consciousness, and the Politics of Empowerment (Patricia Hill Collins); Power of the Purse: The Importance of Women’s Economic Power (Blumberg and Cohn); The Created Biology of Gender Stratification (Blumberg); Gender Through the Looking Glass: The Role of Low-Status Men in the Production of Global Gender Violence and Racial and Ethnic Bigotry (Leicht and Baker); Marriage After Migration: An Ethnography of Money, Romance, and Gender in Globalizing Mexico (Haenn); Excerpts from Becoming Legal: Immigration Law and Mixed-Status Families (Gomberg-Munõz); Sacred Rice: An Ethnography of Identity, Environment, and Development in Rural West Africa (Davidson).

EYE 199: Anthropology, Archaeology and Pop Culture (Dr. Marcia-Anne Dobres)
Includes the running theme of identity and race, starting with the anthropological view: that race is an invented social category of Other with no factual tie to biology. It simultaneously but critically analyzes pop culture notions of race, including: Native American sports mascots; the invention of “the Indian” (frozen in time) by white culture; the racism embraced and denied in Star Trek; pseudoarchaeology and the racism underlying myths about aliens bringing civilization to dark-skinned people; and reveals the role of Hollywood in stigmatizing people of color by their portrayal as the earliest stages of human evolution.
Readings include: “Introductory Essay: ‘The Other’ and ‘Othering’” (by S. Rismyhr Engelund in New Narratives: Multicultural Literature at the University of Oslo); “Race, Ethnicity and Class: Understanding Identity and Social Inequality” (by R. Welsch & L. Vivanco in Cultural Anthropology: Asking Questions About Humanity); “Indian Villages and Entertainments” (by T. Nicks in Unpacking Culture); and “Pseudoarchaeology and the Racism Behind Ancient Aliens” (S. Bond, online at (https://hyperallergic.com/author/sarah-e-bond/)