Bilinda Straight; Moore Hall 1020                              

Email: Bilinda.Straight (AT) wmich (DOT) edu

Web Page:

Office Hours: Thurs 2-3:45 PM and by appointment


ANTH 604: Integrating Anthropology –

Moving Humans: Regimes of Difference


This course is one of the requirements for your graduate experience here at WMU meant to offer you a thematically integrated perspective of anthropology’s four fields. This year’s theme, Moving Humans: Regimes of Difference, considers the differentiating regimes of human experience in relation to the fact of movement. We will consider the politics of difference, movements that are necessary or forced, slavery and exile, the differencing regimes of pilgrimage, and the gendering of movement. In each instance, we will consider humans multi-dimensionally – as emotionally, politically, selfishly, altruistically, and spiritually driven beings. And we will ask what each of anthropology’s subfields contributes to questions about differencing and movement, and how the integration of two or more subfields enriches our questions and our understandings. Active participation and challenging of ideas will be expected in both in-person and electronic formats. Additionally, students will be challenged to explore connections between course readings and their thesis projects. The course’s end product will be a thesis paper, poster, or creative non-fiction essay that applies an element of the course’s content to a topic of your choosing.


Required Books


There are no required books. We will read selected articles as listed in the course schedule.

Grading (See Grading Key for complete instructions)


            Attendance/Participation          15%

            Discussion Board                    20%

            Annotated Bibliography          30%

            Final Project                            35%


Attendance/Participation (15% of grade)


In a class of this kind and size, your presence and participation are essential to the quality of the experience for others as well as yourself. Your attendance grade will be based on the number of days you are absent, calculated as points missed on a one-hundred percent scale. Participation will weigh in here but no one will be penalized for shyness.


Electronic Discussion Board (20% of grade)


Each week, you will write a 100 minimum word abstract on each reading, which you will post to the elearning Discussion Board. Additionally, you will post a 200 minimum word comment to another student’s post that engages with at least one of their abstracts. Your abstracts should summarize main points and raise at least one question for consideration – it should be very clear to me that you’ve read the material. DUE DATE: THURSDAY at 8 AM. You can post any time up until then, including the weekend, the middle of the night, etc.


Annotated Bibliography (30% of grade):


This will be an annotated bibliography of sources you feel are pertinent to your own interests as a scholar. Write a 300-word abstract for each of 10 peer-reviewed, scholarly sources. Each abstract should include a 150-200 word summary and a 100-150 word critical response. Preface the annotated bib with a summary statement of why these sources are useful to the project you are contemplating. Include full bibliographic information for each of these sources. NOTE: Course readings do not count towards the 10 sources for this assignment – you’re already posting about them on D2L.


Project (35% of grade): 


The project can be a traditional thesis paper of 15-20 pages, a creative non-fiction essay of about 15-20 pages, or a poster. If you do a poster, you will be responsible for printing it in color at a minimum size of 16 x 20. I won’t mark up your posters and will return them to you after grading.


About citing references: When you cite, quote, or paraphrase in text, put an in-text citation in parentheses (author’s last name, date, page number if a direct quote).  It looks like this:  (Straight 1997) or (Straight 1997: 37). The bibliography can take any variation of Chicago Style but must be consistent throughout. Look at articles in American Anthropologist or other anthropology journals for samples.

Bilinda Straight’s

Grading Key


All letter grades are converted into a quantitative grade (see key below).  All quantitative semester grades are multiplied by the percentage of the spread they represent.  Thus, if attendance is worth 20% of the grade, it would be calculated as follows:  If you were absent 3 times out of 30 total class days, 3 out of 30 is 10 percent absence, or 90% presence. So you have a 90 on attendance, multiplied by 20% of the spread, gives you 18. All grades thus calculated are added together to equal the total percentage out of one hundred.  Your semester grade is then calculated as per the key below.


                                    Grade Scale for Final Grades


97-100                 A+


94-96                   A


87-93                   BA


84-86                   B


77-83                   CB


74-76                   C


67-73                   DC


60-66                   D


below 60              E


Reading Schedule


Week 1 (1/15) Introduction


Concept of the foreigner, difference, and beyond difference
Week 2 (1/22)


Julia Kristeva. 1991. Strangers to Ourselves. New York, NY: Columbia University Press. Chapter 2 (Pp. 41-63) and Chapter 8 (Pp. 170-192)

Talal Asad. 2015. Reflections on Violence, Law, and Humanitarianism. Critical Inquiry 41(2): 390-427.

Ann. Stoler. 2006. Tense and Tender Ties: The Politics of Comparison in North American History and (Post)Colonial Studies. Pp. 23-67 In Ann Stoler (ed.) Haunted by Empire: Geographies of Intimacy in North American History. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. rec

Mary Louise Pratt. 1992. Introduction: Criticism in the Contact Zone. In Imperial Eyes: Travel Writing and Transculturation. New York, NY: Routledge. (rec)

V.Y. Mudime. 1988. The Invention of Africa (rec) – available as library ebook (rec)

Edward Said. 1977. Orientalism. The Georgia Review 31(1): 162-206. (rec)


Week 3 (1/29)


Edouard Glissant. 2002. The Unforeseeable Diversity of the World. Pp. 287-295 In Elisabeth Mudimbe-Boyi (ed.) Beyond Dichotomies: Histories, Identities, Cultures, and the Challenge of Globalization. Albany, NY: SUNY Press.

Akhil Gupta. 2002. Reincarnating Immigrant Biography. Pp. 169-182. In Elisabeth Mudimbe-Boyi (ed.) Beyond Dichotomies: Histories, Identities, Cultures, and the Challenge of Globalization. Albany, NY: SUNY Press.




Week 4 (2/5)


David Robinson. 2004. Muslim Societies in African History. Chapter 1: Muhammad and the Birth of Islam. Pp. 3-10. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. rec

Joy McCorriston. 2013. Pastoralism and Pilgrimage: Ibn Khaldun’s Bayt-State Model and the Rise of Arabian Kingdoms. Current Anthropology 54(5): 607-641.

Jarrett A. Lobell. 2012. Pilgrimage to Sudan. Archaeology 65(6): 48-52.

Alexandra Cuffel. 2005. From Practice to Polemic: Shared Saints and Festivals as ‘Women’s Religion’ in the Medieval Mediterranean. Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London 68(3): 401-419.

Week 5 (2/12)


Robert Maxwell. 2010. Pilgrimage and the Dynamics of Urbanism Reconsidered: Faubourg Architecture in Romanesque Aquitaine. Architectural History 53: 41-76. rec

Andrew Petersen. 1994. The Archaeology of the Syrian and Iraqi Hajj Routes. World Archaeology 26(1): 47-56. rec

Bethany J. Walker. 2004. Commemorating the Sacred Spaces of the Past: The Mamluks and the Umayyad Mosque at Damascus. Near Eastern Archaeology 67(1) 26-39.

Matthias B. Lehmann. 2007. “Levantinos” and Other Jews: Reading H.Y.D. Azulai’s Travel Diary. Jewish Social Studies, New Series 13(3): 1-34.


Week 6 (2/19)


Geoffrey Chaucer. 1971 [1390s]. R.M. Lumiansky (transl). General Prologue and The Miller’s Tale. Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. New York, NY: Washington Square Press. Other Tales recommended.

Philip V. Bohlman. 1996. Piligrimage, Politics, and the Musical Remapping of the New Europe. Ethnomusicology 40(3): 375-412.

Keith Egan. 2012. Walking Back to Happiness? Modern Pilgrimage and the Expression of Suffering on Spain’s Camino de Santiago. Pp. 99-121 In Jonathan Skinner (ed.) Writing the Dark Side of Travel. New York, NY: Berghahn Books.



Necessary & forced migrations – Disaster, War, Enslavement

Week 7 (2/26)


T.M. Weik. 2014. The Archaeology of Ethnogenesis. Annual Review of Anthropology 43: 291-305.

Bilinda Straight, Paul Lane, Charles Hilton, and Musa Letua. n.d. ‘Dust People’: Samburu Perspectives on Disaster, Identity, and Landscape. DRAFT.

Ross Hassig. 1981. The Famine of One Rabbit: Ecological Causes and Social Consequences of a Pre-Columbian Calamity. Journal of Anthropological Research 37(2): 172-182.


Week 8 (3/5)


Bruce D. Owen. 2005. Distant Colonies and Explosive Collapse: The Two Stages of the Tiwanaku Diaspora in the Osmore Drainage. Latin American Antiquity 16(1): 45-80.

Kelly J. Knudson. 2008. Tiwanaku Influence in the South Central Andes: Strontium Isotope Analysis and Middle Horizon Migration. Latin American Antiquity 19(1): 3-23.

Kelly J. Knudson and Christopher M. Stojanowski. 2008. New Directions in Bioarchaeology: Recent Contributions to the Study of Human Social Identities. Journal of Archaeological Research 16(4): 397-432. – rec




Week 9 (3/19)


P. Shears and T. Lusty. 1987. Communicable Disease Epidemiology Following Migration: Studies from the African Famine. International Migration Review 21(3): 783-795.

Timothy R. Tangerlini. 1988. Ships, Fogs, and Traveling Pairs: Plague Legend Migration in Scandinavia. The Journal of American Folklore 101(400): 176-206.

Jeffrey W. Bentley, Mike Robson, Bright B. Sibale, Edwin Nkhulungo, Yolice Tembo, and Francisca Munthali. 2012. Travelling Companions: Emerging Diseases of People, Animals, and Plants Along the Malawi-Mozambique Border. Human Ecology 40(4): 557-569.




Week 10 (3/26)


Julia Powles. 2005. Life Made Strange: An Essay on the Re-inhabitation of Bodies and Landscapes. Pp 331-347 In Wendy James and David Mills (eds.) The Qualities of Time: Anthropological Approaches. New York, NY: Berg.

Lotte Hughes. Introduction (Pp. 3-22) and The Maasai Version of Events (in Chapter 5, Pp. 115-118) In Moving the Maasai: A Colonial Misadventure. New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan.

Week 11 (4/2)


David Robinson. 2004. Muslim Societies in African History. Chapter 5: Muslim Identity and the Slave Trades. Pp. 60-73. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Daniel O. Sayers. 2007. The Political Economy of Exile in the Great Dismal Swamp. International Journal of Historical Archaeology 11(1): 60-97.

Elizabeth A. Bohls. 2005. A Long Way from Home: Slavery, Travel, and Imperial Geography in The History of Mary Prince. Pp. 45-69 In Bilinda Straight (ed.) Women on the Verge of Home. New York, NY: SUNY.

Charles Walker. 2003. The Upper Classes and Their Upper Stories: Architecture and the Aftermath of the Lima Earthquake of 1746. Hispanic American Historical Review 83(1): 53-82. (rec)


Moving women


Bernard Chapais. 2014. Complex Kinship Patterns as Evolutionary Constructions, and the Origins of Sociocultural Universals. Current Anthropology 55(6): 751-783.

Claude Levi-Strauss. 1969 [1949]. Chapter III: The Universe of Rules. Pp. 29-41 In The Elementary Structures of Kinship. rec

Gayle Rubin. 1975. The Traffic in Women: Notes on the “Political Economy” of Sex. Pp. 157-210 In Rayna R. Reiter (ed.) Toward an Anthropology of Women. New York, NY: Monthly Review Press.

Alexander Bentley, Nancy Tayles, Charles Higham, Colin Macpherson, and Tim C. Atkinson. 2007. Shifting Gender Relations at Khok Phanom Di, Thailand: Isotopic Evidence from the Skeletons. Current Anthropology 48(2): 301-314.

Valerie A. Andrushko, Michele R. Buzon, Antonio Simonetti and Robert A. Creaser. Strontium Isotope Evidence for Prehistoric Migration at Chokepukio, Valley of Cuzco, Peru. Latin American Antiquity 20(1): 57-75.




Pratiksha Baxi. 2014. Sexual Violence and Its Discontents. Annual Review of Anthropology 43: 139-54.    

Veena Das. 2007. Chapter Two: The Figure of the Abducted Woman, The Citizen as Sexed. Pp. 18-37 In Life and Worlds: Violence and the Descent into the Ordinary. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.

Joseph Zias and Azriel Gorski. 2006. Capturing a Beautiful Woman at Masada. Near Eastern Archaeology 69(1): 45-48.

Jennifer L. Morgan. “Some Could Suckle over Their Shoulder”: Male Travelers, Female Bodies, and the Gendering of Racial Ideology, 1500-1770. The William and Mary Quarterly, Third Series 54(1): 167-192.

Simone de Bouvoir. 1961 [1949]. The Second Sex. Bantam Books. (rec)

Mary Wollstonecraft. 1792. A Vindication fo the Rights of Woman: With Strictures on Political and Moral Subjects. (rec)




Mary Louise Pratt. 1992. Chapter 2: Science, Planetary Consciousness, Interiors. In Imperial Eyes: Travel Writing and Transculturation. New York, NY: Routledge.

M. Godin. 1773. Account of the Adventures of Madame Godin des Odonais in passing down the river of the Amazons in the year 1770. Letter from M. Godin des Odonais to M. de la Condamine. (18th century primary source)          

Katherin Zirbel. 2005. My Shafiqa: Concerning the Travels and Transgressions of a Southern Egyptian Woman. Pp. 71-87 In Bilinda Straight (ed.) Women on the Verge of Home. New York, NY: SUNY.

Bilinda Straight. 2005. Cold Hearths: The Losses of Home in an Appalachian Woman’s Life History. Pp. 89-107 In Bilinda Straight (ed.) Women on the Verge of Home. New York, NY: SUNY. rec