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ANTH426 Anthropology and the Past

Theoretical exploration of anthropological research into heritage, memory, history and archaeology. Students may select archaeology or social anthropology case studies to highlight the role of theory in this research theme.

This paper is concerned with social, political and other cultural constructions of the human past. Its approach is an innovative, cross-field anthropology. We explore the larger research theme through the literature of social and historical anthropology, public history, heritage management and archaeology.

Within the theme, ANTH 426 considers the concepts or categories of myth, memory, history, heritage and materiality. We consider 'tangible' and 'intangible' aspects, as well as uses and abuses of the human past. The paper structure offers students the flexibility to explore method, theory, research and thinkers from heritage studies, social anthropology and/or archaeology in set assignments. Students will develop skills in essay writing and oral academic presentation through a seminar opportunity. As well, students will gain experience and expertise in critical thinking across the broad temporal, spatial and intellectual reach of anthropology.

Paper title Anthropology and the Past
Paper code ANTH426
Subject Anthropology
EFTS 0.1667
Points 20 points
Teaching period Not offered in 2020 (On campus)
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $1,333.93
International Tuition Fees (NZD) $5,793.66

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72 300-level ANTH or ARCH points
ARCH 404
Limited to
BA(Hons), PGDipArts
May not be credited together with ANTH 410 passed in 2012 or ARCH 410 passed in 2013.
Teaching staff
Course Co-ordinator: Associate Professor Ian Barber
Dr Tim Thomas
Paper Structure
The first part of the paper considers how materials, memories and ideas of - or about - the past have contributed to the institutions and agendas of the nation-state (including recently emerged states); to Marxist, feminist, LGBT, post-colonial and anti-racist scholarship; and to the politics and well-being (or not) of local communities, including Indigenous peoples. The latter part of the paper considers important intellectual developments and thinkers in the anthropology of the past, including archaeologists and other anthropologists.
Textbooks are not required for this paper.
Course outline

Will be available on Blackboard at the beginning of the course.

Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Global perspective, Scholarship, Communication, Critical thinking, Information literacy.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes
In-depth understanding of anthropological ideas about the past and their sociocultural situation from the scholarship of sociocultural anthropology, heritage studies and archaeology.

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Not offered in 2020

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system