Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE Historical Anthropology

LEVEL 03 - Years 2, 3, 4 in Modular Undergraduate Course


DEPARTMENT Anthropological Sciences

DESCRIPTION The unit is meant to introduce students to Historical anthropology - a historiographical movement which applies methodologies and objectives from Social and Cultural Anthropology to the study of historical societies. Historical Anthropology is closely linked to the history of mentalities, cultural history, ethnohistory, microhistory, history from below and will examine studies on qualitative data in small communities and the symbolic aspects of culture.

The unit will introduce students to basic social theory for the study of historical anthropology that has influenced cultural thought and ethnographic research from the nineteenth century to the present day. It will then look at specific monographs that deal with aspects of Historical anthropology and cultural history on topics like: gendering in witchcraft accusations; the impact of religious and political change; social movements as a means of political resistance; gender roles and the ways in which masculinity and femininity were performed in a historical framework; the role of violence and threats to social order and stability.

Study-unit Aims:

Anthropology is the study of humans, past and present while History helps to understand the past and prepare for the future in a changing world. History and Anthropology provide valuable skills in analysis, research, reasoning, time-management and provide the skills to present oneself confidently orally and in writing.

1. To provide a unique opportunity to explore the richness of European and Mediterranean history through the study of the past by looking at communities, and cultures from a multi-perspective approach.
2. To provide a solid background for those wishing to deepen their understanding of a historical mindset within an anthropological framework and how this presents itself today.
3. To encourage students to build on their established interest in social structures by encouraging them to look into a wide range of cultural diversity, and of the relevance of cultural issues like collective memory, popular beliefs, social hierarchies, festival celebrations, gender relations, and cultural values.

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding
By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

1. Students will learn about theories and methods used by anthropologists to study cultural history;
2. They will learn the methods used in anthropological fieldwork and historical research by looking at specific case-studies;
3. They will learn to evaluate various historical communities; their roots in specific environments; their role in social relations, ideology, and evolution, especially when exported by emigrants to the country of adoption.

2. Skills
By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

1. Draw on written and non-written sources for the study of cultural values;
2. Write a substantial, analytical research paper on a theme associated with the areas of study covered in this unit;
3. Identify traits and practices in specific past societies and assess their potential in today's world.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:

- Burke, Peter, The French Historical Revolution. The Annales School 1929-1989. Polity Press.
- Burke, Peter (ed), 1991, New Perspectives in Historical Writing. University Park Pennsylvania.
- Chartier Roger, 1988. Cultural History. Polity Press.
- Geertz, Clifford 1973. The interpretation of cultures. New York.
- Hunt, Lynn (ed.) 1989. The new cultural history. Berkeley.
- Segalen Martine1988. Historical Anthropology of the Family. Cambridge.
- Edward Muir, 2005. Ritual in Early Modern Europe. Cambridge.
- Melissa Calaresu, Filippo de Vivo & Joan-Pau Rubies, 2010. Exploring Cultural History. Essays in Honour of Peter Burke. Ashgate.

STUDY-UNIT TYPE Lecture and Seminar

Assessment Component/s Assessment Due Resit Availability Weighting
Assignment SEM1 Yes 100%

LECTURER/S Carmel Cassar

The University makes every effort to ensure that the published Courses Plans, Programmes of Study and Study-Unit information are complete and up-to-date at the time of publication. The University reserves the right to make changes in case errors are detected after publication.
The availability of optional units may be subject to timetabling constraints.
Units not attracting a sufficient number of registrations may be withdrawn without notice.
It should be noted that all the information in the description above applies to study-units available during the academic year 2021/2. It may be subject to change in subsequent years.