Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE Anthropology and Literature

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


DEPARTMENT Anthropological Sciences

DESCRIPTION The study-unit will focus on the relationship between Anthropology and Literature, taking into account various convergences between the two subjects and focusing on writers with anthropological interests and attitudes, as well as looking at anthropologists as writers.

A key component of the unit will be the consideration and analysis of literary and anthropological texts through a comparative perspective, with the aim of delving into their shared practices and poetics.

Study-Unit Aims:

This study-unit is intended as an introduction to the Anthropology of Literature and the convergences between Ethnography, Social Anthropology and the literary field.

Following a thorough introduction to the subject, emphasis will be given to a critical reading, analysis and comparison of literary and anthropological texts.

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding:

By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to focus on the literary aspects of anthropology and on the anthropological aspects of certain literary texts and writers. Students will be provided with the critical instruments to conduct multidisciplinary and comparative analyses in the field of Social Anthropology and Literature. As a result of this, they will be expected, by the end of the study-unit, to interpret and compare in a written assignment the convergences between the two subjects by chosing their own texts and by providing a consistent analysis of them, according to the theoretical instruments provided.

2. Skills:

By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to read and analyse critically texts belonging to different, though very much related, fields. Students will be made more alert to the linguistic and formal elements of anthropological study after being exposed to literary explorations of the discipline, and therefore become better accustomed to the framing and rhetorical mechanics of anthropology.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:

Selection of articles and texts by F. Poyatos, W. Iser, V.Crapanzano, Primo Levi, Italo Calvino, Cesare Pavese, Han Kang

C.Geertz, "Works and Lives. The Anthropologist as author" (1988)
J. Clifford, "The predicament of Culture" (1988)

Excerpts from:
C. Lévi-Strauss "Tristes Tropiques" (1955)
G. Bateson "Naven"(1936)
E. De Martino "La terra del rimorso" (1961)
M. Leiris "Afrique fantome" (1934)

W. Harmon, “T.S. Eliot and the Primitive Mind” (1985)
J.L. Borgès, "The Ethnographer" (In praise of darkness, 1969)

Michel Tournier "Vendredi ou le limbe du Pacifique" (1972)
Joseph Conrad "Heart of darkness"(1902)
Han Kang, "The Vegetarian" (2007)

“Paterson” (Jim Jarmusch, 2016)


Assessment Component/s Resit Availability Weighting
Assignment Yes 100%

LECTURER/S Virginia Monteforte

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 2020/1. It may be subject to change in subsequent years.