Fall 2022

Building a Better World

Listed in: Anthropology and Sociology, as ANTH-117


Vanessa L. Fong (Section 01)


How can anthropological perspectives help us understand the intended and unintended consequences of our efforts to build a better world? This course will address this question by looking at anthropological studies of the implementation and consequences of large-scale, deeply transformative policies and practices intended to improve people’s lives, solve current problems, and prevent future catastrophes. We will focus especially on comparisons between China and the United States, which have two of the world’s largest and most influential economies and face many similar problems, but have developed very different approaches to trying to build a better world. We will evaluate current proposals for transformative new policies and practices, and consider how efforts to build a better world might benefit from anthropologists’ ability to look holistically at relationships between personal experiences, psychology, cultural norms, social structures, philosophy, laws, history, politics, economics, biology, technology, environmental issues, global systems, and international relations. Students will learn to draw on anthropological perspectives as they develop and write about their own ideas for building a better world and about consequences those ideas might have.

Limited to 19 students. Admission with consent of the instructor. Fall semester.  Professor Fong.

How to handle overenrollment: Priority goes to Anthropology majors and students who contribute to balance between different graduation years, majors, and academic backgrounds. First priority to first-year students during fall orientation.

Students who enroll in this course will likely encounter and be expected to engage in the following intellectual skills, modes of learning, and assessment: Emphasis on written work, readings, oral presentations, group work.

ANTH 117 - LEC

Section 01
Tu 8:30 AM - 9:50 AM CHAP 201
Th 8:30 AM - 9:50 AM CHAP 201


2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2022