Cannon setting trends in anthropology

Description This assignment provides you with an opportunity to (begin to!) explore the significance of a decolonizing approach within anthropology from your own perspective (positive, negative or a combination thereof) and in relation to texts that we have read through week four. This writing assignment also allows you to reflect on the relevance of a decolonizing approach to understanding the emergence of formalized and professional anthropological perspectives primarily in nineteenth-century western Europe, and what these developments might look like from the standpoint of a decolonized anthropology. Your paper must be no less than 3 and no more than 5 double-spaced pages, not including a title page.

In your essay you must engage with one of the assigned texts about decolonizing anthropology, and two of the texts from the following authors: Spencer, Tylor, Morgan, Marx & Engels, Mauss, and Durkheim. I am happy to meet in person to discuss which authors you want to write about, outlines and drafts, etc.

Prompt In the introduction to Decolonizing Anthropology Faye V. Harrison states that canon setting trends in anthropology “have effectively peripheralized or erased contributions made by peoples of color and women from the canon. These trends have served to reproduce andro- and Euro-centric biases in the assumptions concepts, and theories at the core of the discipline” (2010: 6). The texts by Spencer, Tylor, Morgan, Marx & Engels, Durkheim and Mauss all epitomize canonical texts in the history of anthropological theory. We must understand the primary goals of these scholars in order to scrutinize their potential biases. How do the authors conceptualize the relationship between the individual and society and different types of societies? What do they contribute as canonical texts? What biases do you think are reflected? What are the goals of decolonizing anthropology? Do you think these goals can be used to critically reflect on the strengths and weaknesses of the canonical texts we have been discussing thus far? Why or why not?

Additional questions you might want to consider include:

How do they define society? What variables and metaphors do they use to distinguish different types of societies from one another?
How do social norms, obligations, and structures influence individuals?
Can individuals change society? How, and why?
How does the past influence the present and the future of human development?
Key concepts and approaches include materialism, gift-giving, psychic unity, social facts, total social phenomenon, simple versus complex societies,
Those questions are not intended to be an exact template for your essay, and there is no one answer to this prompt. Instead, this somewhat open-ended assignment requires you to engage with your own analysis and interpretations, including of the strengths and weaknesses of the texts. Be sure to always define the theoretical terms and concepts that you analyze, in your own words (this is a good thing to do in the first or second paragraph). You should also always support your claims using concrete examples from the texts (see “Use of texts” below).

Length, Style and Formatting Requirements

Write a minimum of three and a maximum of five double-spaced pages of text.
Do not use first person plural or second person singular pronouns, unless you are directly quoting a text.
Be sure to proofread for grammar and spelling.
Use 1” margins on all sides and 11-point font.
Include a header with your last name and page #.
Provide an original title that represents what you are writing about. “First Essay” is not an acceptable title.
Support your claims with concrete examples from the texts.
An “A” paper will not be a patchwork of quotes. Instead, it will highlight your original argument and will support this argument with references to the text (and, if pertinent, class discussion). It is acceptable to state: “Marx argues that the man becomes alienated from fellow man through the process of alienation” (date: page #) without giving a direct quote.
“A” papers also include clearly defined thesis statements systematically supported throughout the paper, and a concluding paragraph.
Use of Texts

Always cite readings to support your arguments using the following format:
(Lyon 2011:187), (Pool 2005), (Weber 2011:108). The texts in McGee and Warms are reprints, and the in-text citations should use the date of reprint publication.
Do not include direct quotations of more than 3-4 lines of text.
No blocked quotes (i.e. indented outside of your paragraph)
Your primary resource is the texts. However, you are welcome to draw on lecture materials as a secondary source. Be sure to cite the lecture by its corresponding date.
Do not use Wikipedia or similar online encyclopedia-type resources as a source, cited or uncited. These are useful cursory references and sources of images, but for the purposes of this assignment they are not legitimate academic resources.

I have attached the book that is to be referenced. The three authors I would like you to use are Marx & Engels on page 54…. & Marcel Mauss on page 90.


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