Gifts and Giving|
Fall 2018 not offered
|Certificates: Social, Cultural, and Critical Theory|
What is a gift? A commonplace understanding is that a gift is something given gratuitously and without the expectation of a return (just look the word up in any dictionary). Why, then, upon receiving a gift, do we feel indebted to the giver? And rather than gratuitous, isn't most gift giving occasioned by socially significant events and regulated by relatively rigid rules? This course is an in-depth examination of gift giving as one of the most powerful forces binding individuals and groups in society. Students will become familiar with critical anthropological and philosophical debates about the gift and consider their application to contemporary forms of gift giving in the United States, including philanthropy, volunteerism, and new types of giving made possible by recent advances in technology, such as organ donation and surrogacy. We will attend to the economic, political, and gender dimensions of gift giving in their remarkable power to make or break social bonds and undermine or reinforce hierarchical relationships at all levels of local and global society.
||Gen Ed Area Dept:
|Course Format: Lecture / Discussion||Grading Mode: Graded|
||Fulfills a Major Requirement for: (CSCT)
Readings include anthropological and philosophical works by Emerson, Nietzsche, Marcel Mauss, Claude LÚvi-Strauss, Bronislaw Malinowski, Georges Bataille, Luce Irigaray, Jacques Derrida, Gayle Rubin, Janice Raymond, and David Graeber as well as media accounts of particular gift-giving events.
|Examination and Assignments: |
Class presentation and discussion handout
Final paper prospectus (draft and revised)
Final paper short draft and presentation