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Anth 230 Economic Anthropology

 1. Why is there such a diversity of economic practices:   Your goal with this topic will be to choose a culture or compare and contrast two cultures and using anthropological methodology and theory explain why there is such a diversity of economic practices across the human experience.  You will need to engage ethnographic examples, theory and methodology to explain why cultures have adopted a particular economic practice or practices.  What historical, political, colonial, religious influences are there or have there been.  Consider the “wholestic perspective” from anthropology 100 for help.  

2. How did/do anthropologists understand economics:  You can choose between exploring all the theoretical methods, focusing on one or comparing and contrasting.  Your goal will be to explain how anthropologists use these theoretical methods to better understand the economic behavior of the cultures they are studying.  You may also want to consider why anthropologists found theoretical models valuable in their research.

 3. Who was involved: Choose one or compare and contrast two scholars involved in the formation of economic anthropology.   Your goal will be to explain why your scholar(s) felt it was important to contribute to the understanding of human economic behavior and anthropology in general.  In answering this question you will have to establish where the scholar is from and where he/she was conducting the research and when the scholar was conducting their research.   

 4. What difficulties:  For this topic you will need to establish the difficulties anthropologists faced in understanding human economic behavior.   In doing this topic you will need to consider the political, economic and religious values of the scholars culture and the culture they are studying.  What counter arguments did anthropologists face and how did that impact/influence their research.  


 What difficulties 2: What social/cultural/religious/political barriers make it difficult for members of a community to reach the fullest economic potential within their culture.  For this topic you will want to focus on topics like gender, race, religion, sexuality, colonization, history and class/caste.   Theoretical perspectives like feminism or neo-Marxism will prove helpful in building a strong analysis.  You will want to focus on what is happening or happened in a culture that created these difficulties.  You will want to explain Why.

5. Where was research done:  While anthropology has become an ethnically diverse field in the past 30 years in the beginning most anthropologists were from Europe or North America.   For this topic you will want to look at some of the regions that anthropologists have conducted ethnographic research in and make an argument for why they were conducting research in that region and what value it added to understanding human economic behavior.   6. When:   This topic may be the most difficult one, but I think possibly the most interesting.   Make an argument for how the scholar’s/anthropologist’s period of time influenced his/her research focus.   You will want to look at the level of knowledge they had access to, the “common” knowledge of the time, the socio-political and religious influences.   


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