Spring 2012

The World at Play

Listed in: Anthropology and Sociology, as ANTH-223


Suzanne Menair (Section 01)


This course will explore imaginative play by people around the world and consider its social and cultural uses.  In material ranging from Balinese cockfights to Charlie Chaplin films, we will investigate the relevance of joking, parody, and other acts of creative improvisation to people's lives and world views.  Students will analyze a form of play of their own choosing and assess selected theories in sociocultural anthropology (resistance, structural functionalism, cultural relativism) as well as analytical techniques in linguistic anthropology and discourse analysis.  Far from being inconsequential, acts of fun will be revealed as patterned interactions that index and refract cultural values.

Limited to 30 students. Spring semester. Five College Visiting Lecturer Menair.

If Overenrolled: If the course becomes oversubscribed, pre-registered students will submit a brief essay explaining why they are interested in the course.


2015-16: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2012