Society and Culture in the Nilgiris: Engaged Research in Rural South India


ANTHR 4520

Participation in the NFLC, Kotagiri India Program required.

3 credits    

Instructor:  Andrew Willford

Explores the interpretive and analytic tools made available through the ethnographic analysis of the societies within the Nilgiris Biosphere Reserve. Through anthropological understandings of culture as the primary human adaptation, we assess the possibility of understanding the lives of others, particularly in critical juxtaposition to multiple and alternate theories of the self and/or person as understood in different cultures. In this case, we examine relationships between culture and the environment (social and physical), focusing upon unique patterns and adaptations that have developed within particular Nilgiri societies. In doing so, we also examine debates in the anthropology of emotion, cognition, healing, development, the body and health. To this end, we bring into sharper focus the particular theoretical and empirical contributions (and/or limits) of anthropologists towards developing a cross-cultural understanding of human nature and social processes.

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