SA-102 Issues in African ethnography I

SA-102 Issues in African ethnography I


Section 1: Kinship, descent and lineage theory 1. Kinship: basic concepts a. Short overview of the anthropology of kinship b. Basic concepts and conventions in the anthropology of kinship c. Marriage d. Residence 2. Kinship, descent theory and lineage theory a. A genealogy of the term “descent” in British social anthropology b. What is kinship? c. What is a ‘kinship system’? d. Interpersonal relations and structural principles.

Section 2: Evans-Pritchard The Nuer 1. Evans-Pritchard and The Nuer: A few words about the book and the author 2. Population distribution and agricultural activities a. Men and cattle b. Nuer ecology c. Dimensions of locality 3. Time and space a. Ecological time, structural time b. Space and structural distance 4. The Nuer as an archetype of lineage theory and the definition of ‘segmentarity’ a. The political system b. Structural relativity, feud and the concept of political segmentation c. An example: Konye village.  

Section 3: The Nuer and the anthropological community. Issues in anthropological theory. 1. Introduction 2. Readings of The Nuer a. Theoretical bias, analytical erasures a1. Rules, transgressions and the paradoxes of history a2. The political and structural aspect of affinity a3. Uncles, cattle and chiefs b. Agnation, genealogy and the political system: an alternative reading b1. Drawings on the sand: analytical distinctions and indigenous notions b2. Agnation as ideology and practice b3. Aristocracy and the “power of blood” b4. Two systems in one: Structure, hierarchy and the obviation of contradiction 3. The Nuer in historical context a. Colonialism a1. The North/South divide and colonialism a2. British conquest and the colonial administration of Nuerland a3. The interventions of the British administration and its impact on the ideas and practices of feud.

Section 4: Sharon Hutchinson’s “Nuer Dilemmas” 1. Civil war and feud a. The “Southern Policy” and its contestation b. Sudanese nationalism and the North/South conflict c. The Nuer and the first civil war (1955/56-1972) d. The Nuer and the second civil war (1983-2005) e. Culture, community and manhood in the age of guns 2. Cattle and blood: The changing symbolism of gender, marriage and descent a. Blood and food b. Blood, cattle and food: an example of gender relations b1. Cattle-over-blood b2. Cattle-links: The father-son relation b3. Blood-links: The mother-child relation b4. Blood-links: initiation and the mastery of the (male) self b5. Food-links: Women as mediators c. Cattle-over-blood: An endangered paradigm c1. Paternity, legitimacy and adultery c2. Divorce 3. Blood, cattle and cash: Nuer values commoditized? a. Cattle and cash b. “Money has no blood”: Blood, cash and the human/cattle identification c. Hybrid categories of wealth d. Socio-economic transformations and social relations.


Social Sciences

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Social Anthropology and History

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Independent teaching activities


Weekly teaching hours




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Δραστηριότητα Φόρτος Εργασίας Εξαμήνου
Σύνολο Μαθήματος 140
Διαλέξεις 40
Ασκήσεις στην τάξη 15
Εκπαιδευτική εκδρομή 10
Αυτόνομη μελέτη στην διάρκεια του εξαμήνου 45
Μελέτη προετοιμασίας για τις εξετάσεις 30

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