Cultural/symbolic anthropology studies how members of different cultural groups perceive and respond, emotionally and intellectually, to the world around them; how their perceptions shift in response to regional, national and global change; and how they create and modify rituals and other public performances in order to express their reactions to the changing world. At McGill, much of this work seeks to understand how people respond to change by modifying their own ethnic identities, as in the research by Jerome Rousseau (on the Kayan and other peoples of Borneo),John Galaty (on the Maasai of Kenya), and Kristin Norget (on the peoples of southern Mexico). Philip Salzman has studied how changing job markets affect the culture of nomadic pastoralists in Iranian Baluchistan, and Kristin Norget studies popular religion in southern Mexico and how this shapes people’s responses to the political crisis in that region. The medical anthropologists also play a role in joining cultural/symbolic to development issues. Thus we continue to exchange ideas with cultural studies in general while retaining our core commitment to the study of socio-cultural change and development.
Cultural, Symbolic, and Cognitive Anthropology
April 23, 2012