Course Outline


CUNY – Brooklyn College         Dr. Tom Miller

Anthropology 1105                     Spring 2020

Part One: The Big Picture

Gregory and Cathy Bateson - Intercultural Studies.org
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 www.reindeerportal.org



  • 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


  • Thursday: The Sakha-Yakut
Children's mural in Yakutsk photo T Miller
Children’s mural in Yakutsk photo T Miller


WEEK 4. Feb 17-23

  • Tuesday
    • The Jesup North Pacific Expedition
JNPE AMNH Library Special Collections


  • Thursday
    • Introduction to shamanism
Yakut Shaman's coat and drum - AMNH
Yakut shaman’s coat and drum – American Museum of Natural History (AMNH)

WEEK 5. Feb24-Mar1

  • The Yukaghir
  • Text (password-protected PDF): Derlicki, Jaroslaw. 2007. Spirits of the Land. Academia – Focus on Ethnology No. 4(16):12-15.
  • Text (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

WEEK 6. Mar 2-8 The Yukaghir

  • Hunting magic
  • Shamans and Singing Diseases
  • Quiz # 3
  • 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 www.siberien-studies.org]
  • Text (ProQuest eBook Central PDF): Willerslev, Rane. 2007. Soul Hunters: Hunting, Animism, and Personhood among the Siberian Yukaghirs. Berkeley: University of California Press.
  • Yukaghir folk tales

WEEK 7. Mar 9-15

  • Shamans and Singing Diseases
  • The future of the north
  • Text: Selected readings on Arctic hysteria
  • 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.
  • 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


WEEK 8. Mar 16-22

  • Tuesday
    • Midterm Essay/Exam
    • Central Southern African peoples and cultures
  • Thursday
    • Colonialism in central and southern Africa
  • Text: Selected readings in African history
  • Text: Colson, Elizabeth and Max Gluckman, eds. 1951. Seven Tribes of Central Africa. Manchester: The Institute for Social Research University of Zambia. Manchester: Manchester University Press.
  • Text: Zambia: Customs and Cultures. Manuscript (n.d.)

WEEK 9. Mar 23-29

  • Tuesday
    • Quiz #4
    • Lozi: Transhumance
    • Kinship and Kingship
  • Thursday
    • Lozi: Kuomboka, Part 1
  • Text: Flood/Stage

WEEK 10. Mar30-Apr5

  • Tuesday
    • Lozi: Kuomboka, Part 2
    • independence to present

WEEK 11 Apr 8-12 Conversion day/Spring Break — No ANTH 1105 classes

  • Spring Break
  • Tuesday: follow Wednesday schedule (Conversion day)

Spring Break reading:

Serpell, Namwali. 2019. The Old Drift: A Novel. New York: Hogarth.

WEEK 12 Apr 13-19 Spring Break – No Classes

WEEK 13. Apr 20-26 Tonga ethnographies

  • Kariba Dam
  • Quiz #5
  • Text: Lwaana Lwanyika: The Tonga Book of the Earth
  • Text: Cliggett, Lisa and Virginia Bond, eds. 2013. Tonga Timeline: Appraising Sixty Years of Multidisciplinary Research in Zambia and Zimbabwe. Lusaka: Lembani Trust. [ProQuest eBook Central PDF sections TBA]
  • Text: Colson, Elizabeth. 1960. Human Problems of Kariba Volume I. Social Organization of the Gwembe Tonga. The Rhodes-Livingstone Institute of Northern Rhodesia. London: Manchester University Press.

Week 14 Apr27-May 3 Music and Media in Zambia

  • Text: Debra Spitulnik Vidali, selected readings on the development of Zambian media
  • Text: Welcome to Zamrock! How Zambia’s Liberation Led To a Rock Revolution (1972-1977). 2017. Now-Again Records.


Part Four: Communications Workshop and Policy Forum


WEEK 15. May 4-10 Workshop: Building Radio Bridges

  • Assignment: Letters to Kabusha
  • Assignment: Audio letters to Zongwe FM-Zubo Trust
  • Media: Kabusha Radio Remix
  • Media: Radio Bridges Across the Zambezi
  • Link: Bemba Language Project online – Emory University
  • Link: Radio Continental Drift – Zongwe FM – Zubo Trust

WEEK 16. May 11-17 Forum: Future of the Kariba Dam

  • Texts: Newspapers, online documents


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