Manually created merged course for Sections 1 and 2 of F11 - SOAN009

This course provides students with
a foundation in anthropological literature on Mexican cultures and society as
well as an overview of the history of applied anthropology in Mexico. Mexico has long been a hub of anthropological
studies as well as something of a social scientific laboratory for testing out
state-sponsored strategies for the incorporation, assimilation, and education
of indigenous, frequently non-Spanish speaking populations. Beginning after the Mexican Revolution many
anthropologists worked in the dual capacity of researchers and employees of the
state. Using Mexico as a case study,
students will review literature spanning both “development anthropology” and
the “anthropology of development” as we consider the relationship between
social scientific practice and state development policies from the
revolutionary era through to the present. Students will be asked to think
critically about the ways that social scientific literature can shape the ways
we think about nations, regions, and communities, for good or for ill.

In the second half of the course we
will be reading two full-length ethnographies written about contemporary
communities in Mexico. We will compare
the style, content, and analytic goals of these texts with the materials from the
first half of the semester with the following questions in mind: 1) How do
these accounts, produced by American anthropologists with no direct
governmental affiliation, differ in scope and focus from the account produced
by Mexican anthropologists embedded in the government? 2) What are the pros and
cons of applied/engaged anthropology more broadly? 3) What kinds of partnerships might be
desirable between governments and social scientists, and between researchers
and the communities they study?


This course explores the
relationship between language and social structures of inequality, discussing
issues including language-based discrimination, language shift, and language
endangerment. We will also consider examples of political and cultural
resistance to language-based inequalities and the institutions that reproduce
them, in the form of language revitalization movements and other activist
efforts. Colonization and conquest in
the Americas brought European colonists and indigenous American populations
into contact with each other, groups who had very different cultural
backgrounds and who spoke a diverse array of languages. These encounters often resulted in the
disruption, transformation or elimination of preexisting cultural practices and
linguistic systems and the imposition of an official language of power. In the course we will survey and discuss past
and present debates regarding multilingualism, the implementation of official
languages and language standardization. Students will learn to define and discuss concepts including: culture, indigeneity, imperialism, language
contact, language ideologies, orthography,
and language planning.

Through lectures and course
readings we will investigate how speakers construct relationships between
particular linguistic varieties (languages, dialects, registers, accents) and
particular characteristics of groups of people. We begin with an overview of
pre-colonial American societies to provide the necessary background for
understanding the impact of European conquest and colonization on indigenous
American populations. We then consider
the implications of these historical processes for contemporary American
communities and discuss how linguistic practices interact with social divisions
to produce unequal power relations. The ways that individuals use language, and
the way linguistic practices are perceived and evaluated by others, have social
effects and consequences. These
practices, perceptions, and evaluations can impact one’s social, educational,
economic, and professional opportunities. 

Some questions we will consider
throughout the course are: Why does language matter? What makes language such a powerful political
and social tool? How can we use course
concepts to discuss and better understand contemporary social issues like
immigration, indigeneity, identity politics, democracy and the practice of
government? What examples of
language-based discrimination have we observed or experienced in our own
lives? How can these inequalities be