AN275 Half Unit
The Anthropology of Revolution
This information is for the 2021/22 session.
Prof Alpa Shah OLD 6.17A
This course is available on the BA in Anthropology and Law, BA in Social Anthropology, BSc in Social Anthropology, Exchange Programme for Students in Anthropology (Cape Town), Exchange Programme for Students in Anthropology (Fudan), Exchange Programme for Students in Anthropology (Melbourne) and Exchange Programme for Students in Anthropology (Tokyo). This course is available as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit and to General Course students.
Optional for BA/BSc Social Anthropology and BA Anthropology and Law. Also available to students on other degree programmes as an outside option, and to General Course students.
Unless granted an exemption by the course teacher, students taking this course should have completed an introductory course in anthropology (AN100 Introduction to Social Anthropology).
This course will focus on the study of revolution from an anthropological perspective. It will concentrate on three different types of revolutionary struggle, in three different continents, through three different types of ethnographies: the Zapatista indigenous movement in Mexico, the Zimbabwean anti-colonial struggle, and the Maoist movement in South Asia. In each case, students will be encouraged to critically consider the varying degrees of involvement of the anthropologist in the movements concerned, the theoretical premises of the anthropologists and how these affect the politics and ethics of writing. In this process, students will deepen their understandings of the theoretical debates around production and reproduction, social transformation, religion and secularism, activism and anthropology, and violence and ethics in radical social change. The course will demonstrate that although anthropologists were once criticised for ‘missing the revolution’ on their doorstep, in fact their long term engagement with communities who come to be affected by revolutionary struggles has much to offer to the theoretical and practical work of radical social transformation.
10 hours of lectures and 10 hours of classes in the LT.
This course has a reading week in Week 6 of LT.
Students will be expected to produce 1 essay in the LT.
This course will be based on the close reading of the following three ethnographic monographs:
Earle, Duncan, & Simonelli, Jeanne. (2005). Uprising of Hope: Sharing the Zapatista Journey to Alternative Development. Walnut Creek: Altamira Press.
Lan, David. (1985). Guns and Rain: guerrillas and spirit mediums in Zimbabwe. Berkeley: University of California Press.
Shah, Alpa (2018) Nightmarch: Among India's Revolutionary Guerillas. London: Hurst Publishers
Take-home assessment (100%) in the LT.
The take home exam will be held the week following the end of the LT.
Course selection videos
Some departments have produced short videos to introduce their courses. Please refer to the course selection videos index page for further information.
Important information in response to COVID-19
Please note that during 2021/22 academic year some variation to teaching and learning activities may be required to respond to changes in public health advice and/or to account for the differing needs of students in attendance on campus and those who might be studying online. For example, this may involve changes to the mode of teaching delivery and/or the format or weighting of assessments. Changes will only be made if required and students will be notified about any changes to teaching or assessment plans at the earliest opportunity.
Total students 2020/21: Unavailable
Average class size 2020/21: Unavailable
Capped 2020/21: No
Value: Half Unit
Personal development skills
- Team working
- Problem solving
- Specialist skills