What is the course about?
During this course we critically analyse a number of debates associated with the Anthropology of Space from different theoretical and philosophical perspectives. Initially we define Western concepts of space and place and the use of spatial metaphors which aim to challenge preconceived notions of the way we view our spatial world. Students will explore the meaning of home as a space of memory and lived experience, to a comparative understanding of colonial spaces of otherness and indigenous concepts of place and the landscape. Within our built environment how do houses communicate through ritual decoration, what do they say and to whom? Ever questioned who sits where and why? In the practice of everyday life, how do we define our personal space and boundaries? Within our expanding globalised world we shall additionally explore the increasing concept of marginalised non spaces to spaces and places of migration and cultural identity. Ethnographic case studies range from Europe to India, West Africa, South East Asia and Australia. The course will include a group visit to a current museum or exhibition related to the various themes and concepts of Anthropology of Space.
What will we cover?
• Anthropology of Home - Poetics of Domestic Space
• 19th Colonial Space and Power
• Indigenous Spaces and the landscape
• Ritual decoration, meaning and symbolism of architecture
• Spatial Proxemics
• Gendered Spaces
• From Place to Placelessness.
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
• Gain a critical understanding of key interdisciplinary theories and debates associated with the Anthropology of Space, Architecture and the Cultural Landscape.
• Explore socio-cultural approaches to the concepts of space, architecture and the landscape by introducing wide- ranging themes from a historical and contemporary cross cultural perspective.
• Encourage the development of student analysis, criticism and study skills of the Anthropology Space and Place during the course for academic, personal and professional use.
• Provide a visual understanding of key themes through architectural visits, museums and exhibitions.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
Due to the wide ranging anthropological theories, students should have ideally completed Introducing Anthropology Key Concepts and Debates and/or Anthropology and Human Identity prior to registering on the Anthropology of Space, Place and the Cultural landscape module. Your enjoyment will be enhanced if you approach this course with an open and critical mind and a curiosity for learning. To maximise your experience students should read the assigned key readings on a weekly basis as this will fully enable you to participate in various class discussions with your peers. As anthropologists seek to raise awareness of the cross-cultural difference of human behaviour, overall you should be willing to re-evaluate your own understanding, perceptions and assumptions of art from cultures different to your own.
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
The Anthropology of Space, Place and Cultural landscape course will comprise of lectures, individual and group work, observing ethnographic films, seminar discussions and optional student presentations. There will also be a class visit to a museum or exhibition that complements the course content.
Yasmin completed a BA (Hons) in Social Anthropology and an MA in the History of South Asian Art and Architecture which complemented her professional role as a museum educator and curator at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. Her research interest in the social use of space, indigenous art and architecture was consolidated through ethnographic fieldwork in India, and latterly an interdisciplinary doctorate research degree in the Anthropology of Architecture at UCL and Oxford Brookes University. Yasmin has taught a variety of Social Anthropology modules at Birkbeck and UAL, and is currently based at City Lit and Goldsmiths University. Yasmin recently curated a multicultural community exhibition at the Harrow Arts Centre called the ‘Talking Streets’, to explore why different cultures decorate their walls and floors in different ways. She delivers a variety of successful community art workshops and is a freelance anthropology consultant and curator. www.talkingstreets.co.uk.
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
No compulsory costs. Please bring writing tools for class work, a pen and paper or electronic equivalent.
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
Details of anthropology courses in 2019-20 can be found on the City Lit website.
General information and advice on courses at City Lit is available from the Student Centre and Library on Monday to Friday from 12:00 – 19:00.
See the course guide for term dates and further details