This course is an introduction to the academic study of culture and social structure, as developed through the fields of cultural anthropology and sociology. Students will develop a vocabulary of core concepts and analytical skills for the study of cultures and societies both local and global. Through readings, films, lectures, class discussions, and experiential projects, students will explore the nature of communities, organizations, and institutions; the system of meanings that form and inform them; and the interplay between individuals' lives and the societies in which they live. Along the way, students will be asked to apply course concepts to their own lives in a critical way and to reflect upon how such issues as belief systems, social stratification, culture change, gender roles, etc play out in an increasingly interconnected and globalized world.

From its classical reference to displaced communities as a result of wars of conquests or natural disasters to current movements of population across borders as a result of global capitalism, the concept of diaspora has accumulated an archive of academic and imaginative literature. This course, a comparative introduction to the study of diaspora, focuses on the development of diverse diasporic communities and their role on the current global stage. Our specific focus will be on how members of these communities stake their claims both to their home countries and to the countries in which they reside.