top of page



Grade Distribution​ and Due Dates

Historical Survey Paper

You will write a paper that briefly surveys the intellectual-historical trajectory of an idea through time and different thinkers. Select some concept that we have discussed or read about in the seminar, and think about the past and present of those ideas, how they are inflected through different theories and theorists, and write a brief intellectual history of that concept that makes these different phases clear, by both comparing and contrasting how the idea or concept evolved over time or recurred as a theme in different frameworks. Be concise in your writing, and stay on topic. Your paper should provide some diachronic analysis of some context across at least two time periods or theorists. Aim for between 3,000 to 5,000 words.

Theoretical Debate Paper

You will write a paper that characterizes some important axis of debate in contemporary anthropological theory. In most cases this should be at least related to the material that we have covered in reading and discussion in the seminar, but if you are interested in some debate that extends beyond the content explicitly covered in the seminar, please obtain instructor approval before writing the paper. Concisely summarize the different stances in the debate, rooted firmly in citations of the relevant literatures, and stake your own stance in the debate, using theoretical analysis and logical argumentation. Aim for between 3,000 to 5,000 words.

Project Paper

You will write a paper that summarizes the contemporary state of the literature with regards to your own research interests. This may well extend beyond the confines of the content of this course's syllabus and seminar discussion. This paper might look like an extended version of a literature review for your thesis, for example. This should not be a rambling survey of random ideas, but rather a review with a purpose, such as justifying some needed intervention in the literature (e.g., what your thesis might contribute to this literature, for example). Aim for between 3,000 to 5,000 words.

Seminar Participation

This course will follow a seminar style. What this means is that students are expected to participate as we collectively work to make sense of the daily readings. I may wax in and out of lecture mode as I share ethnographic examples from my own research or try to situate or explicate particular theoretical points, but student participation and rich discussion is critical. As a result, your participation in the seminar will constitute an important part of the final grade. The syllabus will include an array of reading and multi-media materials, and it is critical that you come prepared each session to discuss your take on the materials for each seminar discussion. This portion of your grade will hinge largely on my qualitative assessment of your degree of participation in the seminar.

bottom of page