Faculty Profile

James Ellison

Associate Professor of Anthropology (2005)

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

2016-2017 Academic Year

Fall 2016

WGSS 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 WGSS 202-01. 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.

ANTH 245 Gender in Africa
Cross-listed with AFST 220-05 and WGSS 202-01. 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.

ANTH 336 Social Distinctions
This course covers anthropological theories of social hierarchy and stratification. Both the material and ideological bases of social distinction are examined. Gender, class, race, ethnicity, kinship, and slavery are some of the specific topics covered in the course. Prerequisite: 101. Offered every fall.

Spring 2017

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. Offered every semester.

WGSS 202 Belonging and Exclusion
Cross-listed with AFST 220-07 and ANTH 245-01. In this course students will examine multiple facets of belonging and exclusion, membership and non-membership, and citizenship and rights by using ethnography to develop comparative anthropological perspectives. The course will help students build locally textured knowledge informed by theory to understand recent events in the United States and Africa that have brought ongoing struggles over belonging and rights into the foreground of public consciousness. Students will examine people's experiences involving race and ethnicity, gender and sexuality, immigration and autochthony, and religion as these take on new forms, meanings, and intensity. They will consider which among diverse theoretical arguments help them understand people's efforts to create belonging, shape the meanings of membership in communities, and attempt to establish citizenship and the right to have rights in everyday life.

AFST 220 Belonging and Exclusion
Cross-listed with ANTH 245-01 and WGSS 202-03. In this course students will examine multiple facets of belonging and exclusion, membership and non-membership, and citizenship and rights by using ethnography to develop comparative anthropological perspectives. The course will help students build locally textured knowledge informed by theory to understand recent events in the United States and Africa that have brought ongoing struggles over belonging and rights into the foreground of public consciousness. Students will examine people's experiences involving race and ethnicity, gender and sexuality, immigration and autochthony, and religion as these take on new forms, meanings, and intensity. They will consider which among diverse theoretical arguments help them understand people's efforts to create belonging, shape the meanings of membership in communities, and attempt to establish citizenship and the right to have rights in everyday life.

ANTH 245 Belonging and Exclusion
Cross-listed with AFST 220-07 and WGSS 202-03. In this course students will examine multiple facets of belonging and exclusion, membership and non-membership, and citizenship and rights by using ethnography to develop comparative anthropological perspectives. The course will help students build locally textured knowledge informed by theory to understand recent events in the United States and Africa that have brought ongoing struggles over belonging and rights into the foreground of public consciousness. Students will examine people's experiences involving race and ethnicity, gender and sexuality, immigration and autochthony, and religion as these take on new forms, meanings, and intensity. They will consider which among diverse theoretical arguments help them understand people's efforts to create belonging, shape the meanings of membership in communities, and attempt to establish citizenship and the right to have rights in everyday life.

ANTH 400 Senior Colloquium
This course is based on student independent research projects, supervised by the faculty colloquium coordinator, with special advisement from faculty colleagues. Students taking the course are encouraged to build on previous fieldwork experience or to develop new, community-based projects. In some cases, archival research may be substituted for fieldwork. The course can accommodate honors projects begun with faculty mentoring and aimed at publication. Prerequisite: 240, 241. Offered every year.