Journey to Points Beyond Utopia

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An introduction to the anthropology of postsocialism
How to study this course

NB! The following is a preliminary presentation of the course: Please return for a more complete and updated version!

This course is based on a combination of lectures, student work in groups, group presentations, and Web-Based Learning (WBL) modules. It previews several features that will be used in a full-scale WBL-based introductory course to the anthropology of postsocialism that is at present under development, as part of the NECEN-CBT program. I am the main editor of this course, and I am therefore very thankful for any feedback and ideas that you, as course participants, may come up with along the way. I will also place great emphasis on the final course evaluation. Feedback on the WBL modules is particularly appreciated, since these are at present only very tentative and preliminary experiments.

The course literature includes a Core curriculum (approx. 300 pages), which is read by all students, and a much larger list of Supplementary literature, including a Monograph list. Students participating in the course will be divided up into 5 groups, and each group will read one Supplementary theme, consisting of selected literature from the Supplementary literature and Monograph lists. The curricula for Supplementary themes may be modified or added to by the groups, using the Supplementary literature and Monograph lists as inspiration.

The course consists of a number of building-blocks or "themes", each of which provides a short introduction to a specialized field within the anthropology of postsocialism. The themes you will encounter are of three kinds:

  1. Core themes: The Core curriculum comprises 8 short Core themes (Themes 1-8), each consisting of two articles. All of these themes will be studied by all students. While 6 of the themes will be discussed in classroom lectures, the remaining 2 themes (Themes 4-5) will be introduced in short WBL modules that students can access online.
  2. Expanded Core themes: In the planned full-scale WBL course it will be possible to expand all Core themes into larger, specialized sub-modules. In the preliminary version that you will study, only two such expansions (Themes 4a and 5a) are provided. Two groups of students will self-study these expanded themes and present them for for the course in plenum for discussion.
  3. Supplementary themes: The planned full-scale WBL course will include a fairly large number of Supplementary themes that may be added to the themes of the Core curriculum in order to give the course a different theoretical or thematic focus. For the preliminary course that you will study, 3 Supplementary themes (Themes 9-11) have been formulated, and three student groups will self-study one of these themes each, and present them for the course in plenum for discussion.

Each of the 5 Expanded Core themes or Supplementary themes has a suggested curriculum of approx. 200 pages (for BA students) or 400 pages (for MA students). Each student group must choose one of these themes, which the group will self-study and present together for the course in plenum. Tentative curricula for these themes have been preformulated by the course teacher. Students are free, however, to change the curriculum, by adding new texts or exchanging existing texts. The supplied list of Supplementary literature may serve as an inspiration. It is a requirement that MA students include at least one monograph from the supplied Monograph list in their Supplementary theme curriculum.