Anth-geog 308: cross-cultural dynamics: Class Notes 2 Tuesday, March 10: Renato Rosaldo

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Tuesday, March 10: Renato Rosaldo: Chapter IV: “Putting Culture into Motion”
Key Terms / Ideas:

  • “Systems Thought” vs. “Processual Analysis”

  • How does the concept of time / tempo connect to “processual analysis?”

  • Difference between “nonorder” and “chaos”

  • Structure vs. Agency

Can you think of some examples of structures that impact and direct our lives? Not physical structures like buildings, but social, political, cultural, etc. structures.

How can the presence of structures impact human agency?

Time and Tempo:

  • How does the idea of tempo / time impact culture and meaning?

  • Can you think of a few examples of how time / tempo impact cultural and meaning?

  • How might different tempos create ambiguous moments of “nonorder?”

  • How might social factors impact time in various cultures?

Thursday, March 12: Renato Rosaldo: Chapter V: “Ilongot Improvisations"
Key Terms / Ideas: Tempo and Time:

  • What does the idea of the “tempo of everyday life” imply that is different than the time we, in Western, core countries usually engage?

  • Can you explain how time / tempo can be used to stereotype certain cultures?

  • What is the issue with using phrases such as “Indian Time” or “Mexican Time?”

  • How is “colonial” time different frequently understood differently than non-colonial time?

  • How might time / tempo be viewed as a “structure?”

Tuesday, March 17: Renato Rosaldo: Chapter VI: “Narrative Analysis"
Key Terms / Ideas:

  • Narrative and narrative analysis

  • “Historical Understanding“ vs. “Human Agency”

  • “Double-Vision”

  • Systems Thought

Why is it important to understand the perspective of the narrative of any story being told?

The narrative of Christopher Columbus’ “discovery” of America:

  • From what perspective is the narrative of Columbus’ “discovery” told—the colonizers or the colonized?

  • Why do you think this is?

  • Is it right or wrong—and what are you basing your opinion on?

  • What would be a counter-narrative to the “discovery” narrative that is most often told by people of European descent in the United States?

  • How do narratives connect with our understanding of different places and cultures in the world and within the United States?

Can you come up with a few examples of different narratives that describe the same event?

Analysis of the CARICOM report and the “Follow the Thing…Papaya” article:

  • How did these two narratives differ?

  • What were the different perspectives of these two narratives?

  • Which narrative do you think is more dominant—and why?

Thursday, March 19: Renato Rosaldo: Chapter VII: “Changing Chicano Narratives"
Key Terms / Ideas:

What are the differences between:

  • Chicana / Chicano

  • Latina / Latino

  • Hispanic

  • Spanish

  • Mexican

Why might certain people prefer one identity / term over another?

Why are these differences significant and how do they relate to colonialism?


“Invasive Border” (p. 152)


  • What does feminism mean? In other words, how is a feminist perspective different than previously existing perspectives?

  • Can you apply a feminist critique to something familiar—such as Columbus’ “discovery” of “America?”

  • How does feminism challenge previous understandings of history, power, and identity?


Tuesday, March 31: Guest Speaker: Analisa DeGrave on Tato Laviera: "AmeRícan"
Key Terms / Ideas:

  • Puerto Rican

  • Nuyorican

  • AmeRícan

  • American

What does "AmeRícan" say about “borderlands?”

Why does Laviera arrange the poem like a dictionary of sorts? In other words, what word is he defining—and how?

How does Laviera distinguish between "AmeRícan" and “American”—and why?

Ultimately, in your opinion, what is the underlying message of Laviera’s poem, "AmeRícan?"

Thursday, April 2: Jane Hill: “Language, Race, and White Public Space" and Arizona Daily Wildcat Editorial Response to Hill
Key Terms / Ideas: SeeRacial Formationpowerpoint

  • Race

  • Racialization

  • Racism

    • Direct

    • Indirect

  • Racial Formation

  • Signs

  • Indexicality

How does the use of “Mock Spanish” index pre-existing racial formations? In other words, how is it that “Mock Spanish” can be viewed as a racist act?

What does it mean to say that “Mock Spanish” indexes racial signs?

How does the use of language serve to reinforce racial formations and identities?

What did Hill mean when she referred to “White Public Space” in the title?

Tuesday, April 7: Jane Hill (Cont’d)

What points did the person who write the editorial response to Hill fail to consider in his / her argument?

Is it possible for one to use Spanish expressions without being racist or engaging in “mock Spanish?”
Key Terms / Ideas: SeeRacial Formationpowerpoint

Where, why, and under what circumstances was Cockney Rhyming Slang created?

How does Cockney Rhyming Slang challenge existing power structures?

Thursday, April 9: Rosaldo: Chapter VIII: “Subjectivity in Social Analysis" and Cornish: "Participant-Observer on a Motorcycle"
Key Terms / Ideas:

  • Subaltern

  • “passionate detachment”

  • “Saving Face”

How does Chapter VIII of Rosaldo connect to the article, “Participant-Observer on a Motorcycle?”

What does the article imply about the connection between ones morals / ethics and culture?

Did the article reveal a chaotic system or a structured system in dealing with this motorcycle accident—and in what ways?

How might Cornish’s perspectives have changed had he merely witnessed (as an observer) the motorcycle accident rather than playing a major part in it (as a participant-observer)?

How does the article remind us of ideas of objectivity and subjectivity?
Tuesday, April 14:  Rosaldo: Chapter IX: “Border Crossings"
Key Terms / Ideas:

  • Sun City

  • Intentional community

  • Detached Observer

  • Preculture

  • Postculture

  • “Culturally Invisible”

How do residents of Sun City feel they are “detached observers?” In other words, why do they feel this way about themselves?

How might the residents of Sun City be viewed as exclusive, privileged, and masking relations of power when they consider themselves as “detached observers” and “culturally invisible?”

In what ways are the majority of residents of many small towns in Wisconsin (including Eau Claire to a notable degree!) similar to the residents of Sun City?

In what ways do the residents of Sun City remind us of the “Lone Ethnographer?”

What does Rosaldo’s statement, “if it's moving, it isn't cultural” mean—and how does it relate to the concepts of borderlands, the detached observer, and objectivism?

How might the idea of an intentional community reflect the aspirations of the “detached observer” and / or any “postcultural” person? In others, why do intentional communities often appeal to people who see themselves as “detached observers?”

Thursday, April 16: Guest Speaker: Piotr Niewiadomski

Where is he from?

Where does he teach?

Based on the presentation, what elements of culture remained largely absent from the presentation?

Can you connect various ideas and themes from class to the presentation? Some examples include cultural borderlands, the subaltern, postcultural perspectives, narrative, objectivity, detached observer, post-Communism nonoder or chaos, etc.

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