ANTH153 - ANTH OF THE ECONOMY

What is the difference between a farmer's market in West Philadelphia and a bazaar in Cairo? What is the meaning of a gift between friends? What about gifts between enemies? What are the origins, meaning, and purpose of money? What is the relationship between politics and the economy? This course will begin to answer these questions by introducing the field of economic anthropology. The economy is not an isolated phenomenon: it is interconnected with socio-cultural and political factors, thus challenging our conception of what is truly considered to be economic. By highlighting the cultural diversity of economic systems across time and space, including our own contemporary, global economy, students will learn what can be considered natural about the economy, and what is contingent on historical factors of culture, society, or politics. Prior economic coursework is not required, nor will this course entail much quantitative analysis. This is not a course in traditional economics or finance. Instead, we will examine socio-cultural, historical, and biological aspects of different economic arrangements, and discuss how anthropological approaches to the economy draw from larger theoretical perspectives (e.g. Smithian, Marxian, Polanyian, Austrian, etc) Case studies will vary widely and include topics such as gift-giving economies of the South Pacific, power and redistribution of the European Bronze Age, social relationships among 21st century Wall-Street traders, and many others that highlight the diversity of economic practices among human societies. Students will be evaluated on short written responses to readings, a midterm and non-cumulative final exam, and a research paper.
Section 001 - LEC - GIFTS, COMMODITIES, AND THE MARKET: ANTHROPOLOGY OF THE ECONOMY
TR 0130PM-0300PM
SMIT, DOUGLAS