Folklore & Folklife
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Center for Folklore and Ethnography
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Undergraduate Minor
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FOLK 120 401: Money in Society & Culture

William Hafford
Lecture: Tuesday, Thursday 3:00-4:30 p.m.

Cross listed with: ANTH120

Across history and across cultures, money has profoundly shaped the social world. In its myriad forms and functions, money finds expression as object and idea, as complex technological system and potent psychological symbol. In this course we will consider the meanings that social scientists, cultural critics and popular movements have invested in the objects and practices that surround the use of money in human culture. Topics to be covered include: ideas about the origins and functions of money; the role of money in ancient and contemporary global trading regimes and political formations; diverse and multiple regimes of exchange and money use in different cultures; the impact of money on notions of value, time, social life, and moral order; ritual, magical and symbolic uses of money; and alternate money forms such as community-based currencies and digital/cyber cash. While focusing on objects and relationships associated with economic life, the course will serve as an introduction to basic concepts anthropologists use to think about society, culture and politics. Readings, classroom discussion, and guided research projects will provide the basis for a series of short writing assignments.

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