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Stuff Happens: Anthropological Approaches to Global Capitalism - ANTH222

From smartphones to t-shirts to the coffee beans in our lattes, our lives are filled with stuff. But who made (or grew) this stuff and how did it get here? This course will trace the often extraordinary human connections that together comprise the global chains of production, distribution, consumption, and destruction that make possible the consumption of everyday commodities. Drawing on recent exciting work devoted to “following the thing” through global value chains, we will strive to put a human face on often anonymous networks. In addition we will question the ethical basis of such anonymity in the first place. We will do so via a sustained focus on the strangeness of familiar objects, tracing the connections that have linked distant and different peoples in emergent global economic institutions. We will both attend to the inequalities of wealth and poverty in contemporary global economic formations and seek to illuminate more equitable potential forms such institutions might take in the future. In all this, we will use today's global economy as a lens to peer into classic and contemporary anthropological understandings of the relationship between culture and economics, two terms that are not the opposites they first appear to be.

Credit Points: 3
When Offered:

S2 Day - Session 2, North Ryde, Day

Staff Contact(s): Dr Chris Vasantkumar

ANTH150 or (12cp at 100 level or above) or admission to GDipArts Prerequisite Information


NCCW(s): ANTH278
Unit Designation(s):


Unit Type:
Assessed As: Graded
Offered By:

Department of Anthropology

Faculty of Arts

Course structures, including unit offerings, are subject to change.
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