Cultural Anthropology BC (i) (2019/2020)

Course code
Name of lecturer
Anna Maria Paini
Anna Maria Paini
Number of ECTS credits allocated
Other available courses
Academic sector
Language of instruction
Sem 2A dal Feb 17, 2020 al Mar 28, 2020.

Lesson timetable

Go to lesson schedule

Learning outcomes

Through various teaching methods (lectures, discussions, case studies, meetings with experts), the course aims to introduce students to a critical knowledge of some key concepts of the discipline and to its methodology; it also introduces them to some open debates within contemporary theoretical and ethnographic contexts with reference to ethnographic cultural heritage, highlighting the sensibilities and potentialities of an anthropological perspective. At the end of the course the student is expected to : 1. a) have acquired knowledge of the main categories used within anthropology 2. b) become acquainted with anthropological research practices 3. c) be capable of distinguishing and connecting the concepts of tangible and of intangible ethnographic cultural heritage; 4. d) be capable of making use of the acquired tools to approach contemporary cultural and intercultural processes and of addressing cultural differences.


The course is divided in two parts:

Part One: a) students are critically introduced to some of the central concepts of the discipline such as culture, identity, borders, tradition, memory, heritage; b) research methods will also be addressed (mainly participant observation and the ethnographic interview).
Part Two: the area of tangible and intangible cultural heritage and the processes of “patrimonializzazione” (heritage-making) by which cultural productions are defined as heritage will be presented and discussed through an analysis of specific ethnographic cases.

Course Readings:
-1) F. Dei, 2016, Antropologia culturale, il Mulino, Bologna (2nd edition) Until February 2021.
New Introductory textbook (From February 2021)

2) A. Paini, M. Aria, a cura, 2014, La densità delle cose. Oggetti ambasciatori tra Europa e Oceania, Pacini editore, Pisa.

3) One of the following articles:
- M. Jolly, 2011, “Oggetti in movimento: riflessione sulle collezioni d’Oceania”, in A. Paini, E. Gnecchi Ruscone, a cura, numero monografico La ricerca folklorica, 63, pp.29-50.
- L. Turgeon, 2007, "La memoria delle cultura materiale e la cultura materiale della memoria", in S. Bernardi, F.Dei, P.Meloni, a cura, La materia del quotidiano. Per un'antropologia degli oggetti ordinari, Pacini editore, Pisa, pp. 103-124.

Assessment methods and criteria

For those attending classes : class participation, in-class presentation and reports/papers .

For those NOT attending classes: Final oral exam. The student is asked questions about the course readings and about the thematic aspects dealt with. The student should bring with her/him the texts which s/he has studied. The final evaluation is based on 30/30.

The oral test seeks to verify:
- the breadth of knowledge gained;
- the use of a correct language;
- the ability to make connections.

Erasmus and international students may study alternative texts and take the final exam in English or French. If interested, they need to discuss the choice of the new reading materials with me during Office hours.