Anti-Racism Curriculum, Fall 2020

As part of the Department of Anthropology’s core commitment to educate and empower UConn students to become agents of change in our collective struggle for a more just future, we present our anti-racism curriculum for Fall 2020. Our 13 introductory and upper-division undergraduate and one graduate courses focus on or integrate critical components on race, anti-racism and related topics, including postcolonialism, social and health inequalities, power relations, hate speech, resistance, and social justice, among many others. We invite you to engage, contribute and become actors in overturning deeply entrenched race-based injustices.



ANTH1000/1000W: Peoples and Cultures of the World (Online)

An introduction to the anthropological understanding of human society through ethnographic case studies of selected peoples and cultures, exploring the richness and variety of human life. With an emphasis on the legacy of colonialism and the ongoing structural violence of global inequities, course topics include intersections of race, ethnicity, nationalism, gender, class, and health, and their role in contemporary power structures and inequalities that persist today (police brutality, maternal death, infant mortality, economic inequality etc.). This class encourages students to learn about different cultures and the methods that anthropologists use to examine cultural diversity, and to apply this knowledge to make sense of their own society.  CA 2. CA 4-INT. 

ANTH 1010E: Climate Change and Global Society (Online) Dr. Cyndi Frank

A multidisciplinary examination of the nature, anthropogenic drivers, range of expressions, and impacts of contemporary and future global climate change as well as cultural understandings of this significant environmental process and diverse human responses to it. This course revolves around issues of environmental justice, including environmental racism, and the unequal impacts of the effects of climate change around the world, and the ways in which climate change is a stress multiplier that devastates impoverished, marginalized, subjugated, and discriminated against communities.  CA 2. CA 4-INT.

ANTH 1500: Great Discoveries in Archaeology (Online) Dr. Alexia Smith

This course provides an introduction to archaeology and world prehistory for all students interested in human evolution and early civilizations. Archaeology is the systematic, scientific study of the human past based on the investigation of material culture and its context. The course follows an approximate chronological scheme beginning with our origin as a species, leading up to the development of agriculture, writing, and the emergence of complex societies and civilizations in the Old World and the New World. This course highlights the diversity of cultures across the globe through time, provides insight into what archaeologists do, how they reveal the every-day lives of peoples of the past, and the ethical responsibilities they uphold. In this course, students discuss the concept of race, issues of racism and colonial legacies within archaeology, the importance of cultural heritage, and critically assess a range of theories used to explain social change. This course provides students with the basic skills to critically evaluate new discoveries in the future. CA2, CA4-Int.

ANTH 2000W: Social Anthropology (Online)

Comparative study of social structure including an analysis of kinship, marriage, community, organization, political and economic institutions, and the role of the individual in these institutions. In this course—comparative in nature— we will examine social structures cross-culturally. This course aspires to highlight the differences and similarities in various cultures, and to show how social anthropology can challenge presumptions and stereotypes in the study of human beings. Through an anthropological lens, students will learn why ethnicity plays a role in what kind of education an individual will have, why European colonization has had a profound impact on not only colonized people in the past but also today, why we should care about how others are exploited and understand how to further reflect on how to build a better world. In this course, students will critically engage and analyze the ways in which institutions and processes of differentiation shape our ways of being in the world and the ways that people contest, reshape and resist structures of power. CA 2. CA 4.

ANTH 3004: Cultural Research (Distance Learning) Dr. Chrystal Smith

This course provides an introduction to ethnographic research methods that anthropologists use to study cultural belief and practices. Students will learn these methods including observation, visual storytelling, cognitive techniques, and interview techniques. They will collect data about the UConn community’s beliefs about the COVID-19 pandemic and its disproportional impact on Black, Latinx, and Native American communities. Students will learn about 1) epidemiological concepts of disease risk and distribution, and 2) the anthropological understanding of race as a social construction and how racism and inequality contribute to health disparities among ethnic minorities. Students will collect ethnographic data through a series of individual and group exercises. They will also write field reports that provide candid and self-reflective analysis of the research process as well as analysis and interpretation of the data collected about the COVID-19 pandemic. This course requires a minimum of 2-3 hours of active research outside of class time for each assignment. 

ANTH 3098 Special Topics: Anthropological Perspectives on Women’s Global Health (Distance Learning) Dr. Chrystal Smith

Globally, women are burdened with high rates of chronic and infectious diseases, mental health problems, maternal (and infant) mortality due to poor reproductive health, physical and sexual intimate partner violence, gender-based violence and discrimination, racism, and police violence. This course examines how power and class structures impact the health of women (and their children) across the globe and shape their responses to these conditions. Using ethnographic case studies and scholarly research articles, students will learn about 1) political economy of health theory, the theoretical framework used by critical medical anthropologists to study health and disease, 2) the anthropological understanding of race as a social construction and the legacy of European colonialism including anti-Black racism and white privilege, and 3) epidemiological perspectives on disease risk and distribution. Students will be expected to think critically about how anti-Black racism, health disparities, and social justice issues impact women globally.

ANTH 3028W/HRTS 3028W: Indigenous Rights and Aboriginal Australia (Distance Learning) Dr. Françoise Dussart

In this course, we will try to understand why the circumstances of many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people remain terrible by all the standard social indicators. The first half of the course is designed to help us understand the complexity of contemporary indigenous social orders and their location within the Australian nation-state. To deepen our understanding, the second half of the course will focus exclusively on the importance of land and indigenous rights for the Aboriginal peoples of Australia. We will try to understand why it is so difficult to improve the circumstances of Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders in Australia and thus we will examine structural racism. We will also try to understand their struggles in relation to other indigenous peoples’ circumstances and plight in other parts of the world. Your presentation will focus on how forced removal, neglect, and dispossession have impacted the lives of Native Americans, Native Canadians, Roma, and other children dispossessed of their rights and even their humanity around the world and through time. How did/can/will they reconstruct themselves as adults and citizens? CA4-Int

ANTH 3120: Anthropology of Capitalism. (Distance Learning) Dr. César Abadia-Barrero 

This course presents ethnographic approaches to classic and contemporary debates about capitalism’s transformation of sociocultural dynamics. In Fall 2020 this course will include several readings and discussions on the relationship between class and race and the coloniality of power in racial and gender forms.

ANTH 3150W: Migration (Distance Learning) Dr. Sarah Willen

The sociocultural, political, and economic causes and consequences of internal and international migration in the contemporary era. Topics include motives for migrating, experiences of border-crossing and transit, reception and treatment of migrant groups in host society settings (including processes of racialization, criminalization, and exclusion), and sociocultural and political dynamics in migrant communities. CA 4.

ANTH 3152/AFRA 3152: Race, Ethnicity, and Nationalism (Distance Learning) Dr. Noga Shemer

This course explores foundational concepts and scholarly theories of human group identity in cross-cultural and historical perspective. Beginning with the history of the concept of race, the course situates contemporary American racial ideologies in an historical and global perspective. Students analyze case studies and contemporary events, explore the politics and sites of representation of racial, ethnic, and national identities, and examine their own experiences within a larger social and cultural context. In-depth ethnographies include race and national identity among the Oklahoma Cherokee and Dominican identity discourses.  CA 2. CA 4.

ANTH 3230/HRTS 3230: Propaganda, Disinformation and Hate Speech (Distance Learning) Dr. Richard Wilson

Draws on current social science research to understand the effects of false information and hate speech on our politics and culture and to evaluate various private and public initiatives to regulate speech. About half the course focuses on online hate speech-its content and characteristics, documented effects on listeners, and link to hate crimes in US and Europe.

ANTH 3350/WGSS 3350: Anthropological Perspectives on Women (Distance Learning) Dr. Françoise Dussart

This course explores major conceptual and historical problems of particular relevance to anthropological studies of women. Questions such as the following will be examined and discussed: What are the ideological biases in the anthropological interpretations of roles attributed to women in different societies? What are the relations between “state” systems, women’s authority and women’s power? How can we engage anthropologically with the intersections of race, class, gender and age? How can we anthropologically engage with the roles of women in pandemics, protests and social movements? 

ANTH 3512: African Archaeology (Distance Learning) Dr. Christian Tryon

This course takes an archaeological perspective on the full history of African societies, beginning with the earliest humans more than two million years ago.  We will examine how much of our understanding of the archaeology of Africa remains shaped by colonial legacies and will discuss efforts to correct this.  We will also explore more deeply some of the ways that archaeology can help to undermine dominant views of past and present African societies.  Two examples include study of the tangled and often deeply racist history of interpretations of Great Zimbabwe as well as an archaeology of the African Diaspora, where the archaeological record provides one way to begin to piece together some kind of an understanding the lives of those whose voices were often absent from contemporary historical narratives.

ANTH 5305-005: Race, Gender, and Science (Distance Learning) Dr. Deborah Bolnick

This course explores the intersections of race, gender, and science. We will trace the history of racial science and scientific racism, examine the ways that race, sex, and gender have been conceptualized and studied scientifically, and evaluate how they are constructed and understood across various disciplines, including anthropology, biology, psychology, sociology, medicine, forensics, and women’s and gender studies. By critically assessing biopolitical claims about identity, group belonging, racial difference, sex/gender binaries, human inequalities, and the biological basis of complex traits, behaviors, and health disparities, we will evaluate how such claims both draw on and shape scientific research, and how knowledge about human similarity and difference is produced in science and society. We will also work together throughout the semester to develop effective strategies for discussing and conveying the complexities of race and gender in the classroom, in research contexts, and to broader publics.

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