Professor Tom Miller
Professor Tom Miller

Course Outline


CUNY – Brooklyn College         Dr. Tom Miller

Anthropology 1105                     Spring 2020

Part One: The Big Picture

Gregory and Cathy Bateson - Intercultural
Gregory and Cathy Bateson

WEEK 1. Jan27-Feb2

  • Tues 1/28 Introduction to class
  • Thurs 1/30 Overview of topics and areas
  • Text (password-protected PDF): Gregory Bateson, Steps to an Ecology of Mind — Metalogue 1: Why Do Things Get In A Muddle?

WEEK 2. Feb 3-9

  • Tuesday
    • Geographies and Ecologies
    • River systems

Part Two: Circumpolar Peoples


On the Road of Bones - before Chernyi-Prizhim
On the Road of Bones – before Chernyi-Prizhim 2010 – Photo Bolot Bochkarev



  • Thursday
    • Quiz #1
    • The Sámi

WEEK 3. Feb 10-16 Northern Peoples

  • Tuesday: Sápmi history and land rights issues

Maret Sara, International Centre for Reindeer Husbandry 2007



  • Text (password-protected PDF): Vars, Susanna Laila. 2019. The Indigenous World 2019: pp. 52-61. Copenhagen: International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs (IWGIA).


Norway- Oslo- Sami land rights protest at the Norwegian Supreme Court by Pile o’ Sapmi
  • Thursday: The Sakha-Yakut
Children's mural in Yakutsk photo T Miller
Children’s mural in Yakutsk photo T Miller


"Papa" Franz Boas
“Papa” Franz Boas

JNPE – American Museum of Natural History Library Special Collections

Yakut Shaman's coat and drum - AMNH
Yakut shaman’s coat and drum – American Museum of Natural History (AMNH)

WEEK 6. Mar 2-8 The Yukaghir

  • Text (password-protected PDF): Derlicki, Jaroslaw. 2007. Spirits of the Land. Academia – Focus on Ethnology No. 4(16):12-15.
  • Text (ProQuest eBook Central PDF): Willerslev, Rane. 2007. Soul Hunters: Hunting, Animism, and Personhood among the Siberian Yukaghirs. Berkeley: University of California Press.


Yukaghir hunter Spiridon Spiridonov Spiridonovich in his house in Nelemnoe 1999 photo by Tom Miller
  • Recommended reading (supplemental texts, not required):
  • Text (password-protected PDF): Miller, Thomas Ross. 2019. Reading the Ethnographic Past in the Present: Waldemar Jochelson and The Yukaghir. In Erich Kasten, ed., Jochelson, Bogoras and Shternberg: A Scientific Exploration of Northeastern Siberia and the Shaping of Soviet Ethnography. Furstenberg/Havel, Germany: Kulturstiftung Sibirien. [Electronic edition for]
  • (Library ProQuest eBook): Landscape & Culture in Northern Eurasia (2011)
    • Chapter 2 – Rane Willerslev, Seeing with Others’ Eyes: Hunting and ‘Idle Talk’ in the Landscape of the Siberian Yukaghir
    • Chapter 6 –  Virginie Vaté, Dwelling in the Landscape Among the Reindeer Herding Chukchis of Chukotka
  • White Reindeer
    White reindeer. Photo: Bolot Bochkarev 2010

WEEK 7. Mar 9-15

  • Jochelson, The Yukaghir and Yukaghirized Tungus: Nervous Diseases (Vol I, pp. 30-38)
  • Text (password-protected PDF): Willerslev, Rane. 2010. “Urbanites without a City: Three Generations of Siberian Yukaghir Women. Acta Borealia, Vol. 27, No. 2:18-207.


Pole of Cold with sled
Oymyakon, the Pole of Cold, is the coldest inhabited place on Earth.

Photo: Bolot Bochkarev 2010


WEEK 8. Mar 16-22

  • Text (password-protected PDF): Derlicki, Jaroslaw. “I’m the son of the oliero”: Yukaghir identity and land issues. AlterNative: An International Journal of Indigenous Scholarship:272-282. Nga Pae o te Maramatanga. University of Auckland.

Part Three: Africa


A Radio Bridge across the Zambezi
A Radio Bridge across the Zambezi                                                 photo: Claudia Wegener

Online Module #1: Introduction to Zambia


The Kariba Dam on the Zambezi River flooded the Tonga people’s territory and

separated them by creating the world’s largest artificial lake, Lake Kariba.


  • Video (YouTube embed below): Faces of Africa – Nyami Nyami: The River God


Birds of the Zambezi River Valley

Field recordings from the Cornell Ornithology Lab MacCaulay Library

Online Module #2: The Tonga

Lwaano Lwanyika: The Tonga Book of the Earth

Online Module #3: Media in Africa

Online Module #4:  Building Radio Bridges

Radio Bridge 2018 photo
Radio Bridge 2018 photo Radio Continental Drift

Media: Radio Bridges Across the Zambezi



Zongwe FM 2018 photo Claudia Wegener
  • Final Assignment: Audio letters to Zongwe FM

Click here for Internet Archive page of your Audio Letters to Zambia from NYC: Building Radio Bridges: Link to Audio Letters