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Topics in Anthropology (290-0-23)


Economic Anthropology


Emrah Yildiz
1819 Hinman Ave, #103
Office Hours: Tuesdays, 1-3pm
Emrah Yıldız joins the Department of Anthropology and the Middle East and North African Studies Program and as an Assistant Professor. His work is a historical anthropology of routes of mobility in the tri-border area among Iran, Turkey and Syria. His research lies at the intersection of historiography and ethnography of borders and their states; ritual practice, visitation and pilgrimage in Islam as well as smuggling and contraband commerce in global political economy.

Meeting Info

University Hall 412: Tues, Thurs 5:00PM - 6:20PM

Overview of class

What is a commodity? Is it simply a good exchanged with a monetary value which market forces in a given economy determine? What happens to that good when you buy it and then gift it to a friend as a birthday present? Who decides whether that good is a gift or a commodity in a given context? And to the people whose labor went into producing that good, what is the good to them? A fruit of their labor? This course examines these questions as an entry way into the study of commodities and economic anthropology.

This course provides an anthropological introduction to four organizing concepts in economic anthropology to understand capitalism: commodity, labor, money, and landed property. By studying foundational thinkers like Karl Marx, Adam Smith, Rose Luxemburg and Karl Polanyi alongside their contemporary interlocutors in anthropology and allied disciplines, we will learn how cultural life of economic phenomena and the economic contours of cultural life are drawn and redrawn over time and space.

Evaluation Method

"Students will be evaluated on the basis of two 5-to-7-page papers (50%) and class participation (50%). Attendance and active participation are essential to cultivate an inclusive learning environment and making the seminar your own. Unexcused absences will hinter that cultivation necessary to engage and succeed in this course.
Class participation includes:

(1) Regular attendance (10%)
(2) Reading responses (25%):
(3) Leading discussion/Presentation (15%):"

Class Materials (Required)

"All required texts apart from the following monographs can be found under files on the course website.

Sidney Mintz, Sweetness and Power: The Place of Sugar in Modern History. ISBN-13: ‎ 978-0140092332

Ranajit Guha, A Rule of Property for Bengal: An Essay on the Permanent Settlement. ISBN-13 : ‎ 978-8178244822"