ANSO 375 Anthropology and the Written Word


This course examines various issues involving orality and literacy and their consequences for ourselves and others whose lives we wish to understand. The cultural contexts surrounding the invention and use of writing systems as well as the effects of literacy on mind and society will also be studied. Anthropologists use writing to record some of their knowledge about other peoples and cultures. While anthropologists have produced numerous “scholarly” texts, they have also pursued other writing projects: autobiographies of individuals from non-Western societies, poetry, novels, science fiction and literary texts, which may or may not conform to Western literary traditions. This course will not only explore some of these genres of writing but will involve a component of creative writing as well.