Courses of Study 2018-2019 
    Jun 12, 2024  
Courses of Study 2018-2019 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

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ANTHR 6416 - The Barbarians

Spring. 3 credits. Student option grading.

Recommended prerequisite: some familiarity with issues and debates in anthropology, and/or social sciences generally. Co-meets with ANTHR 3416 .

M. Fiskesjö.

The idea of the barbarians is as old as civilization itself. But what is a barbarian, and what is the role that barbarians play, as the savage enemies of civilization? In this course we will address such questions by looking at how different civilizations have imagined their barbarians, ranging from their key role in Greek drama, and as infidels in religious conceptions, to Chinese walls, and American savagery. We will examine both historical examples, and the barbarians of today – the terrorists and insurgents so often framed as dark and primitive, in contrast with ourselves. Through readings and visual materials, we will seek to discover what these barbarians have in common. We will look comparatively for the underlying patterns of history that the barbarians are drafted from, to draw a new picture of the barbarians. At the same time, we will arrive at a new understanding of civilization as such, as well as of the general nature of human inequality, and how it is justified.   

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