The question of what it means to be human has been at the core of anthropology for over two centuries, and it remains as pressing now as it ever was. This course introduces students to some classic attempts at addressing this question with specific reference to the nature of personhood and social life. By engaging with the writings of Marx, Weber, Freud, and DeBeauvoir among other great thinkers of the modern age, students will develop deeper knowledge of the major theories guiding anthropological research. We will pay close attention to how arguments are constructed in these texts and focus on the methodologies that these pioneers of social thought developed in their inquiries. The course covers enduring topics ranging from the production of social inequality, what it means to be an individual, how collective life is shaped by economic markets, and the role of religion in shaping human experience, to develop an understanding of central issues facing the world today.
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