1. Weeks 2 & 3 59 items
    The study of kinship, that is, how families constitute and re-constitute themselves over time, has often been pointed to as the origin of social anthropology as a discipline, the human endeavour in which we could watch the most basic ‘unit of society’ in action. It was also, for much of the twentieth century, subject to some of the more heated debates in anthropology. By the end of the century it seemed on the verge of collapse as a field of study…and then was unexpectedly revived through interest in the reproductive technologies which were becoming widely available, the efforts of the law to ‘catch up’ with new family formations and categories of kin, and the distribution of familial and other close relationships over extraordinary distances by means of migration and new media. Kinship was back in the frame, and now seemed set to stay. So what has stayed, then? Social organisation, the more formal term that was one used more or less synonymously with kinship, has been backgrounded– although it certainly hasn’t gone away – and a kind of social disorganisation is now in the foreground. That is, kinship is now less about the rules governing patrilateral cross-cousin marriage, and more about the affective ties and commitments that people form and maintain across multiple time zones, legal systems, and even species.

    2. Lecture 1: The Origin of the Discipline: Kinship, Law, and Anthropology 9 items
      In the beginning, kinship theory was a version of legal theory. For the nineteenth-century lawyers who were curious about systems of inheritance and marriage that seemed profoundly different from their own, thinking about kinship was a way to think about the rules and norms that ‘governed’ and structured people’s most intimate relationships.
      1. The Family - Claude Lévi-Strauss 1956


      2. Is there a family? New anthropological views - Jane Collier, Michelle Z. Rosaldo, Sylvia Yanagisako 1992


      3. Gender and Kinship: Essays Toward a Unified Analysis - ed. Jane Fishburne Collier, ed. Sylvia Junko Yanagisako, Maurice Bloch 1987


      4. A Critique of the Study of Kinship - David Murray Schneider 1984


      5. After Kinship - Janet Carsten 2004


      6. Kinship and Social Organization

        Webpage  Brian Schwimmer's kinship tutorial at University of Manitoba

    3. Lecture 2: Home Is Where the Dead Are, or, Locating ‘The Family’ in Place and Time 7 items
      Asking ‘what is a family’ is another way of asking how people locate themselves in a particular place, at a particular moment in their own life history and that of their kin. This includes ancestral kin, whose interests are upheld by the living through how and where the dead are accommodated. Using LéviStrauss’ concept of the house society, we will examine how the architectural locations of living and dead persons allows for a particular vision of the persistence of kinship through time.
    4. Lecture 3: What’s Love Got To Do With It? From ‘Marriage Exchanges’ to ‘Marriage Equality’ 9 items
      For much of the early history of kinship theory, ‘marriage’ meant marriage exchanges: the movement of wealth and services between families to materialise the relationship between them. This was picked up by feminist anthropology as a means of querying how marriage exchanges might also materialise gender asymmetries. More recently, anthropologists have begun to explore whether love itself can be theorised, particularly as different ‘kinds’ of marriages have become possible.
      1. African Systems of Kinship and Marriage - ed. Daryll Forde, ed. A. R. Radcliffe-Brown, 1950


      2. Women and Property, Women as Property - ed. Renée Hirschon 1984


    5. Film: The Wedding Banquet, Dir. Ang Lee (1993) 1 item
      Ang Lee’s early feature film was a comedy that also opened a space for serious considerations of migration, love, familial commitments, the complex reasons people might have for getting married, and the lengths parents will go to in order to acquire grandchildren.
      1. The Wedding Banquet - Ang Lee 1993 (dvd)

        Audio-visual document 


    7. Lecture 4: Kinship at a Distance: Migration and International Adoption 7 items
      Families are of course no longer restricted to houses and tombs: they are now dispersed across tremendous distances, enabled by inexpensive air travel, social media, and other infrastructures of connection. This week we will examine how families maintain their sense of connection against the challenges of transnationalism, or how they may become erased and then reconsituted through the processes of child adoption between countries.
      1. Gershon, I., 2012. No Family Is an Island: Cultural Expertise among Samoans in Diaspora. Cornell University Press. On order

    8. Lecture 5: Technologies of Kin-making 8 items
      Toward the end of the twentieth century, kinship – which had seemed moribund as a subject of inquiry – was revived almost overnight when anthropologists turned their attention to how new technologies were not only being used prosaically to create family members, but to think about how people become related to each other in the first place. Legal, ethical, religious, and other debates about creating new persons through technological interventions also gave rise to questions about whether kinship was only ever limited to relations between human entities.
      1. Kahn, S. M. ,2000. Reproducing Jews: A Cultural Account of Assisted Conception in Israel. Duke University Press. On order

      2. Degnen, C., 2009. "Eating genes and raising people: kinship thinking and genetically modified food in the north of England". In Jeanette Edwards and Carles Salazar (eds), European Kinship in the Age of Biotechnology. Berghahn Books, pp. 45-63. On order

    9. Lecture 6: My Family and Other Animals: Kinship Between Humans and Nonhumans 8 items
      Extending the discussion from the previous lecture, this lecture will take up the issue of kinship across the species barrier. Even before the advent of transgenic organisms, humans have arguably always thought about themselves in terms of, and in relation to, the significant nonhumans in their world. If nonhumans are also family members, what are the implications of these trans-species socialities for law, ethics, and the very definition of anthropology?
    10. Lecture 7: In-laws and Outlaws in Urban Papua New Guinea 8 items
      This lecture takes up Dr Demian’s own recent work on gender, violence, and urbanisation in Papua New Guinea. Citizens of this profoundly multiethnic country of 800 languages find themselves in a space of experimentation and improvisation when they migrate from village to town. What constitutes a marriage, for example, if people are from different ethnic groups mixed together in the same urban settlement? What constitutes love, rights, obligations, traditions, and even that old chestnut of kinship theory, social reproduction?
      1. Emerging Class in Papua New Guinea: the Telling of Difference - Deborah B Gewertz, Frederick Karl Errington 1999


      2. Goddard, M., 2010. "Making and unmaking marriage in Moresby". In Michael Goddard (ed), Villagers and the City: Melanesian Experiences of Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea. Sean Kingston Publishing, pp. 110-136. On order

      3. Cowboy & Maria in Town - Les McLaren, Annie Stiven 1991

        Audio-visual document  59 mins.

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