Faculty Profile

James Ellison

Associate Professor of Anthropology (2005), Department Chair

Contact Information

ellisonj@dickinson.edu

Denny Hall Room 307
717.245.1902

Bio

A broadly trained cultural anthropologist, Ellison researches political and economic transformations and culture in eastern Africa, focusing on colonialism, socialism, and "neoliberalism." His main fieldwork sites are in Tanzania and Ethiopia. He also co-directs a summer field school in Tanzania to teach anthropological research methods.

Education

  • B.A., Michigan State University, 1987
  • M.A., University of Florida, 1990
  • Ph.D., 1999

2014-2015 Academic Year

Fall 2014

WGST 202 Gender in Africa
Cross-listed with AFST 220-05 and ANTH 245-01. This course introduces students to perspectives on and experiences of gender in Africa today and in the recent past using an ethnographic lens. Through readings, discussions, lectures, and films, we will consider the diverse ways people have constructed gender in their everyday lives in different parts of Africa; how people have shaped gendered knowledge and identities in cultural, social, historical, and political-economic contexts; and how matters of gender have been represented in scholarship, popular media, activism, and policy realms. A central concern of ours will be with gender in people’s practical, everyday lives: how gender is crucial to understanding politics, economics, development, social life, popular culture, and other aspects of people’s lives in Africa. A consistent theme in our diverse readings is the changing terrain of gender relations in the contexts of Africa’s long-term entanglements with global forces, particularly those of recent decades.

AFST 220 Gender in Africa
Cross-listed with ANTH 245-01 and WGST 202-02. This course introduces students to perspectives on and experiences of gender in Africa today and in the recent past using an ethnographic lens. Through readings, discussions, lectures, and films, we will consider the diverse ways people have constructed gender in their everyday lives in different parts of Africa; how people have shaped gendered knowledge and identities in cultural, social, historical, and political-economic contexts; and how matters of gender have been represented in scholarship, popular media, activism, and policy realms. A central concern of ours will be with gender in people’s practical, everyday lives: how gender is crucial to understanding politics, economics, development, social life, popular culture, and other aspects of people’s lives in Africa. A consistent theme in our diverse readings is the changing terrain of gender relations in the contexts of Africa’s long-term entanglements with global forces, particularly those of recent decades.

SOCI 240 Qualitative Methods
Cross-listed with ANTH 240-01.

ANTH 240 Qualitative Methods
Cross-listed with SOCI 240-01.

ANTH 245 Gender in Africa
Cross-listed with AFST 220-05 and WGST 202-02.This course introduces students to perspectives on and experiences of gender in Africa today and in the recent past using an ethnographic lens. Through readings, discussions, lectures, and films, we will consider the diverse ways people have constructed gender in their everyday lives in different parts of Africa; how people have shaped gendered knowledge and identities in cultural, social, historical, and political-economic contexts; and how matters of gender have been represented in scholarship, popular media, activism, and policy realms. A central concern of ours will be with gender in people’s practical, everyday lives: how gender is crucial to understanding politics, economics, development, social life, popular culture, and other aspects of people’s lives in Africa. A consistent theme in our diverse readings is the changing terrain of gender relations in the contexts of Africa’s long-term entanglements with global forces, particularly those of recent decades.

Spring 2015

ANTH 101 Anthro for the 21st Century
The primary focus is on cultural anthropology, or the comparative study of human diversity across cultures. Other subfields within anthropology, namely archaeology, biological anthropology, and linguistic anthropology will also contribute perspectives. The goal is to demonstrate how anthropological perspectives enlighten our understanding of contemporary social phenomena and problems, highlighting the relevance of anthropology to everyday lives and especially to issues of human diversity. This course fulfills the DIV II social sciences distribution requirement and the Comparative Civilizations graduation requirement. Offered every semester.

AFST 220 Global Eastern Africa
Cross-listed with ANTH 255-01.This course examines global connections in the intersections of culture and power that underlie contemporary issues in eastern Africa. The globally marketed indigenous cultures and exotic landscapes of eastern Africa, like current dilemmas of disease and economic development, are products of complex local and transnational processes (gendered, cultural, social, economic, and political) that developed over time. To understand ethnicity, the success or failure of development projects, the social and economic contexts of tourism, responses to the AIDS crisis, the increasing presence of multinational corporations, and other contemporary issues, we will develop an ethnographic perspective that situates cultural knowledge and practice in colonial and postcolonial contexts. While our focus is on eastern Africa, the course will offer students ways to think about research and processes in other contexts.

ANTH 255 Global Eastern Africa
Cross-listed with AFST 220 05.