American Univesity of Beirut

Graduate Courses in Anthropology

​​SOAN 301 The Ethnographer’s Craft
Anthropology or any socio-cultural research is not simply the gathering of data. The course will expose students to the classic and cutting-edge texts in anthropology today. Readings include the works of Mauss, Evans-Pritchard, Malinowski and the texts that have had the most impact in the field in the last decade. Close attention to the crafting of ethnographies will teach students an analytical method of reading that will help them understand the choices of theory, methodology, and style that have been made to create classic anthropological knowledge. Thus, this course will enable students to conceive, devise, and write-up their own ethnographic research. Alternate years.​ Syllabus.

SOAN 302 Culture and Mental Health
This graduate seminar explores anthropological approaches to the study of mental health and illness. It will introduce students to theoretical traditions in medical and psychological anthropology. Addressing ethnographies from different settings, the course treats works on subjective experiences, becoming cultural beings as well as mental health as sci​entific practice and as object of knowledge and intervention. Occasionally.

SOAN 303 Art, Aesthetics, and Social Change
This course combines cultural anthropology, art studies, urban studies, and history to look at the role of sensuality and aesthetics in social movements that involve envisioning a different future. Focusing on case studies from the Arab world, the US, and the former Soviet Union, the course will expose students to the most recent literature in affect theory, critical art theory, and Middle East studies, as well as the classic texts on power, social hierarchy, and structuralism. Occasionally. Syllabus.

SOAN 304 Anthropological Research Methods
This course is about the various methods of enquiry and interpretation used in anthropological research. Though ethnographic methods are shaped by each research situation and its particular historical and cultural circumstances, they are also guided by broad theoretical questions. This course takes the perspective that research is comprised of three inter-related domains: creative theoretical speculation, methodological ‘operationalization’ of theoretical questions, and concrete research practices. The trick (or ‘magic’) of ethnographic research is to relate empirical and observational data in many forms to the theories that motivate their collection. We explore the politics and ethics of research, kinds of observation, effective interviewing strategies, notetaking, conducting surveys, examining archives, ways of ‘coding’ or indexing information, data analysis, and approaches to writing. Annually. Syllabus.

SOAN 310 Seminar in Anthropological Theory
An in-depth survey of the major theoretical developments in socio-cultural anthropology. The seminar focuses on both chronological treatment of issues and theories as well as the contributions of leading theorists. Prerequisite: Graduate standing or consent of instructor. Annually.  Syllabus.

SOAN 320 Graduate Tutorial in Anthropology
This, like other graduate tutorials in sociology and communication, is open to graduate students preferably during the second semester of the first year in their program of study. Tutorials provide opportunities for students to pursue directed readings and preliminary grounded research of relevance to their envisaged fields of concentration. May not be repeated for credit. Occasionally.

SOAN 323 Special Topics in Anthropology
This, like other special topics in sociology and communication, is devoted normally to SOAN faculty or visiting professors and recognized scholars to explore topics of current interest. May be repeated for credit. Occasionally.  Syllabus​.

SOAN 395A/B Comprehensive Exam
Successful defense of thesis proposal and 2000-to-4000 word report of 10 public lectures/ events (organized by SOAM) attended during the graduate years of enrollment. Prerequisite: Consent of advisor.

SOAN 399 Thesis

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