This course examines recent theories of globalization from an anthropological perspective, with an emphasis on the transnational political, economic, and cultural structures that are transforming local societies throughout the world. Topics include transnational religions, popular culture, and global capitalism. Special attention is devoted to debates regarding power and cultural imperialism, popular culture, the impact of science and technology transfer, and diaspora ethnicity.
The anthropological perspective is largely a “bottom-up,” comparative examination of particular social processes, and is presented in the form of ethnographic monographs and articles that describe everyday life in detail. The main question that we will be addressing throughout the seminar is the impact of transnational processes. Is globalization homogenizing different cultures to the extent that we can talk about a global society? Or is globalization resulting in local interpretations of transnational processes, resulting in fragmented yet interconnected global societies?