ANTH3602 The Social Worlds of the Indo-Pacific

6 points
Not available in 2020UWA (Perth)Multi-mode
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Level 3 option in the Anthropology and Sociology major sequence
  • The area of knowledge for this unit is Society and Culture
  • Category B broadening unit for students
  • Level 3 elective
Australia's relationship to the people of the Indo-Pacific region is recognised as key to Australia's future. Focusing especially on people of Southeast Asia, the Pacific Islands and Indigenous Australia, this unit considers anthropologists' long-term attempts to understand local processes and relationships across the region via localised ethnography and comparison. Research from this region has generated some of the discipline's most productive, provocative and long-standing debates, some of which have been taken up in other disciplines. These include the political dynamics of exchange systems, religious diversity and syncretism, status and autonomy of women, obligation and debt, precedence and hierarchy, kinship and social organisation, social reproduction, the nature of customary law, land tenure, agrarian transition, colonialism, ethnicity, nationalism and modernity, and their relations to tradition and custom. In this unit, a focus on a selection of these debates allows students to deepen their familiarity with distinctive Asia Pacific sub-regions and how they have shaped our understanding of societies and cultures more generally.
Students are able to (1) demonstrate an understanding of key concepts in anthropology and sociology as applied to the Asia Pacific region, with a special focus on Oceania and island southeast Asia, including cultural diversity, social inequality, the nature of social relationships and institutions, systems of symbolic meaning, and processes that underpin social and cultural change; (2) demonstrate knowledge of sociological and anthropological studies of the Asia Pacific region, including principal concepts and theories; (3) demonstrate an ability to critically review, analyse, sumarise and synthesise anthropological and sociological research and theory, with a particular focus on theories that have developed out of studies of Oceania and island southeast Asia; (4) demonstrate an ability to formulate, investigate and discuss anthropologically and sociologically informed research questions and develop arguments based on a critical evaluation of evidence; and (5) demonstrate an ability to communicate anthropological and sociological ideas, principles and knowledge to specialist and non-specialist audiences using a range of formats (written, oral, visual etc.).
Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) participation/presentation; (2) journal or similar reflective exercise; and (3) essay. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Supplementary assessment is not available in this unit except in the case of a bachelor's pass degree student who has obtained a mark of 45 to 49 overall and is currently enrolled in this unit, and it is the only remaining unit that the student must pass in order to complete their course.
Unit Coordinator(s)
Dr Debra McDougall
Unit rules
any Level 1 ANTH unit
Contact hours
lectures and seminars: up to 3 hours per week
  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
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  • Books and other material wherever listed may be subject to change. Book lists relating to 'Preliminary reading', 'Recommended reading' and 'Textbooks' are, in most cases, available via the Booktopia Textbook Finder, which has the functionality to search by course code, course, ISBN and title, and may also be posted or available at the appropriate school's administrative offices. Where texts are listed in the unit description above, an asterisk (*) indicates that the book is available in paperback.