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Course Details

Fall 2018-2019
* ANT 225 (SA)   Graded A-F, P/D/F, Audit


Julia Elyachar

Average credit card debt of Americans is $16,000; average college loan debt $30,000. How and why do people go into debt? Why is debt negatively linked to "usury" in some cultures while in others not having debt is a mark of being "underleveraged"? How can "debt" sometimes be an instrument of social solidarity and other times be a source of social discord? In this course we will draw on history, political theory, economics, and anthropology to look at debates about "debt" in different places and times as diverse as 4th century Greece, 18th century England, 19th century Egypt, and the 2008 Financial Crisis and its aftermath around the world.

Sample reading list:
David Graeber, Debt: The First 5,000 Years
Carl Wennerlind, Casualities of Credit: The English Financial Revolution
George Eliot, Middlemarch
Ariel Saltzman, Tocqueville in the Ottoman Empire: Rival Paths to the Modern
Jeffrey Sachs, New Approaches to the Latin American Debt Crisis

Reading/Writing assignments:
Students write 4 short reading responses (2-3 pp) to assigned and recommended readings over the course of the semester. There will be a take home midterm for the class, and a paper in lieu of a final at the end of the class (10 pages max) that explores readings and topics covered in the course to apply their understanding of a current event or concern in their own lives. Students will be expected to participate in class discussions. Reading 50-100 pages per week.

Paper in lieu of Final - 30%
Take Home Mid term Exam - 20%
Papers - 30%
Class/Precept Participation - 20%

Schedule/Classroom assignment:

Class numberSectionTimeDaysRoomEnrollmentStatus
20714 C01 01:30:00 pm - 02:50:00 pm M W   Aaron Burr Hall   219   Enrolled:46 Limit:50