Museum Anthropology Syllabi: The Anthropology of Heritage, Jones & McChesney, University of New Mexico

In 2014, we asked readers to send us their Museum Anthropology syllabi. Two years later, we are reopening this invitation. We would like to share reading resources and themes for teaching Museum Anthropology with our readers, who range from undergraduates to graduate students to practitioners.

Please send your syllabi or lists of readings/themes to We will compile the information and share it with our readers. 


The Anthropology of Heritage ANTH 381/420; 570/581
Fall 2016

Dr. Emily Jones 
Office: Anthropology Annex 106/108  
Office Hours: Tu 3:30-5; Th 11-12:30

Dr. Lea McChesney 
Office: Hibben Center 113
Office Hours: Tu 11-12:30; Th 3:30-5

Teaching Assistant: Cyler Conrad 
Office: Anthropology Annex B04 
Office hours: W 11-12:30 pm; Th 10-12

Class Location: Anthropology 178
Meeting Times: TTH 2-3:15 p.m.
Course Description
Around the world, local communities, ethnic groups, nation-states, and other stakeholders all construct their present identities in relationship to interpreted histories and particular notions of “culture.” In the last two decades, cultural anthropology and archaeology have gained a growing awareness of how ideas of heritage are used to multiple and sometimes competing ends. When they intersect, these representations frequently collide with disastrous results rather than expanding our understanding of the human condition. This class will explore heritage-making practices and discourses through the lens of ethnology and archaeology. We will problematize the boundaries between different constructions of the past and discuss current debates surrounding the notion of collective heritage.

Student Learning Objectives
Upon completion of this course students will be able to:
1. Understand notions of heritage as being historically situated and emerging from particular configurations of social, historical, and economic power.
2. Understand basic configurations of anthropological and archaeological ethics and extend those concepts to outreach and community interactions.
3. Describe and analyze the multiple intersections between anthropology and local/native communities.
4. Recognize conflicts that arise between the empirically based practice of science and alternative ways of “knowing” the past.
5. Critically examine the relationship between anthropology and nationalist projects as well as identity politics.
6. Problematize the concepts of authenticity, heritage, and patrimony.

All materials listed on the syllabus are required reading. Articles are available as PDFs on the course UNM Learn page. In addition, there is one required book, which may be purchased at the UNM bookstore or online:
1. Heritage: Critical Approaches. 2013. Rodney Harrison. New York: Routledge.

Response Journal                    500 points
3 Position Papers                    300 points 
Attendance and Participation 200 points
Course Grade                         1000 points

Grading Scale: A+ 970-1000; A 930-969; A- 900-929; B+ 870-899; B 830-869; B- 800-829;C+770-799; C 730-769; C- 700-729; D+ 670-699; D 630-669; D- 600-629; F below 600.

Response Journal: Students will be required to keep a weekly typed journal to be based on prompts provided by the professors. Each journal entry should be approximately 300-350 words long. You will submit your journal entry online through UNM Learn each Thursday to be graded. The purpose of the journal is to assess student comprehension of the course readings and to help students prepare for class discussion. We will distribute a handout providing more details on the journal and the grading procedures during the first week of class.

Position Papers: Students will write three 5-page positions papers throughout the semester. Each paper is worth 100 points of the final grade.

Participation and Attendance: Class participation, and therefore attendance, is an essential part of this course. Therefore, you are expected to come to class and talk. If we observe that students are not doing the readings or participating in class, we reserve the right to assign individual students to lead specific discussions of course materials, which will be figured into the student’s final participation grade.

Attendance will be taken at every class session, and unexcused absences will severely and negatively impact your final grade. If you miss class and have a valid excuse, you must provide evidence (doctor's note, etc.) as soon as possible. If you know you will miss class before hand, notify the instructor prior to the absence. Students with more than 1 unexcused absence will be docked 50 points for each additional absence. This will be strictly enforced.

*Additional Requirements for Graduate Students
Graduate students will complete the response journal assignment as outlined above and the first two position papers. In lieu of the third position paper, they will write a 10-12-page paper that offers an in-depth assessment of heritage as it relates to their own research interests. Graduate students will meet individually with faculty in advance to discuss and receive approval for their paper topics.

All graduate students will be expected to assist in facilitating class discussion on at least one day during the semester. We will meet with you to discuss ideas and expectations for leading the class on your assigned day. Graduate students will be required to submit a lesson plan in advance of their lecture.

Evaluation for Graduate Students
Response Journal        300 points
2 Position Papers        300 points
Long Paper                 300 points
Course Facilitation     100 points 
Course Grade             1000 points

General Classroom Behavior and Expectations
1. This class begins at 2 p.m. and ends at 3:15 p.m., or ends when we dismiss the class. Please arrive on time. Equally, please refrain from closing-up your notebooks, re-packing your bags, etc. until class is over. Don’t leave class early unless it is an emergency. If you know ahead of time that you must leave early, please let us know before class begins.

2. This is not an easy class. If you do not read and come to class you will not receive a good grade. That said, please stay on top of the readings and other assignments. On the syllabus you will see assigned reading for each day of class. This means that you should come to class having already read the articles or chapters listed for that day.
3. If work, other classes, etc. conflict with this class, consider dropping the course as soon as possible. It is your responsibility to attend class, be on time, participate in discussions, and complete the required readings according to the dates on the syllabus. You are responsible for taking notes during class.
4. Please turn off your cell phone prior to coming to class.

5. This course is a seminar, not a lecture. Your involvement and participation in the classroom discussion is vital and is necessary for its success. We will have regular in-class activities and discussions in which you are expected to participate.

6. Students are required to uphold the highest standards of integrity and ethical conduct in this course. Academic dishonesty includes cheating on exams and assignments, and plagiarizing. Plagiarizing includes copying the work of other students, authors, or your own previous work. Do not copy any text from a published work (book, internet, etc.) without properly citing the source.

7. The University of New Mexico is committed to providing reasonable accommodation for all students with disabilities. Students with disabilities who require accommodation in this class are requested to speak with the professors as early as possible. Students with disabilities must be registered with the Accessibility Services prior to receiving accommodation in this course. Accessibility Services is located at 2021 Mesa Vista Hall, 277-3506 (http://as2.unm).

8. In an effort to meet obligations under Title IX, UNM faculty, Teaching Assistants, and Graduate Assistants are considered “responsible employees” by the Department of Education (see pg 15 - This designation requires that any report of gender discrimination which includes sexual harassment, sexual misconduct and sexual violence made to a faculty member, TA, or GA must be reported to the Title IX Coordinator at the Office of Equal Opportunity ( For more information on the campus policy regarding sexual misconduct, see: policies/2000/2740.html.

All articles may be found on UNM Learn unless otherwise noted.

8/23 Course Introduction
8/25 What is Heritage?
              Harrison Ch. 1 (p. 1-10) & Ch. 2 (book or online on UNM Learn)

Journal guidelines distributed
8/30 International Heritage
              Harrison Ch. 3
9/1 International Heritage
              Harrison Ch. 4

Journal Entry #1 due
9/6 U.S. Law and Heritage
              King, “CRM: Why is it? What is it? Who does it?”
9/8 Case Studies in Consultation
              Bruning, “Complex Legal Legacies”
              Thomas, selections from Skull Wars

Journal Entry #2 due
9/13 Heritage and Nationalism

Guest lecture by Dr. Les Field, Chair, UNM Anthropology
9/15 Heritage and Nationalism
              Harrison Ch. 7

Journal Entry #3 due
9/20 Language as Cultural Heritage
              Hill, “"Expert Rhetorics" in Advocacy for Endangered Languages”
              McChesney and Charley, “Body Talk”
9/22 Language and the Politics of Cultural Labels
Tentative: guest lecture by Carlos Enrique Ibarra, UNM Spanish Heritage Language program

Position Paper #1 Due (undergraduates and graduates)
9/27 Negative Heritage
              Meskell, “Negative Heritage”
              Thomas et al, “Nazi memorabilia, dark heritage and treasure hunting as "alternative" tourism”
9/29 Intangible Heritage & Cultural Landscapes
              Harrison Ch. 6

Journal Entry #4 due

10/4 Materiality
              Glass, “Souvenir T-shirts and the Materiality of Remembrance among the Kwakwaka'wakw of British Columbia”
              Miller, "Materiality"
10/6 Anthropology and Native Communities
              Deloria, “Custer Died for Your Sins”
              Swan and Jordan, “Contingent Collaborations”
Journal Entry #5 due
10/11 The NEA/Chaco project
              Kuwanwisiwma, “Yupköyvi: The Hopi Story of Chaco Canyon”
              Van Dyke, “Memory and the Construction of Chacoan Society”
10/13 Fall Break—NO CLASS
10/18 Museums and Heritage
              Bawaya, “Curation in Crisis”
              Teeter, “This Belongs in A Museum”
10/20 Museums and Heritage
              Kirshenblatt-Gimblett, “Objects of Ethnography”

Tour of Maxwell Museum collections
Meet in the Maxwell Museum galleries
Position Paper #2 Due (undergraduates and graduates)
10/25 Archaeology of Chaco
              Byszewski, “Colonizing Chaco Canyon”
              Begay, “Tsé Bíyah ‘Anii’áhí”
Guest lecture: Hannah Mattson, Postdoc, UNM-Anthropology
10/27 Preservation and heritage
Guest lecture: Angelyn Bass, Research Assistant Professor, UNM- Anthropology
Journal Entry #6 due
11/1 Multivocality
              Colwell-Chanthaphonh and Ferguson, “Memory Pieces and Footprints”
              Colwell-Chanthaphonh, “Remembrance of things and things past”
11/3 After NAGPRA
Tentative: guest lecture by Brian Vallo, SAR
Journal Entry #7 due
11/8 World’s Fairs & Heritage Parks
              Selection from Griffiths,
Wondrous Difference
11/10 World’s Fairs & Heritage Parks
              Handler and Gable, “Deep Dirt”
              Rowan, “Repacking the Pilgrimage”
Journal Entry #8 due

11/15 Tentative: Visit to UNM Office of Contract Archaeology (OCA)
              Skim “The Volcano Vista High School Site”

Everyone meet at OCA office: 1717 Lomas NE at the corner of University
11/17 US Law and Heritage, part II
              Schaafsma, “Study Conducted for Capitol Reef National Park as part of an Investigation for Repatriation of the Pectol Shields”
              Loendorf and Conner, “The Pectol Shields and the Shield-Bearing Warrior Rock Art Motif”
Journal Entry #9 due
11/22 Food and Foodways
              Lipe et al, “Cultural and Genetic Contexts for Early Turkey Domestication in the Northern Southwest”
              Jones et al, “Turkeys on the Fringe”
11/24 Thanksgiving—NO CLASS
11/29 Food and Foodways
              Nabhan, “Rooting Out the Causes of Disease”
              Terrio, “French Chocolate as Intangible Cultural Heritage”
12/1 Art and Authenticity in Archaeological Tourism
              Brulotte, “Yo soy nativo de aquí”
              Bunten, “Sharing culture or selling out?”
Journal Entry #10 due
12/6 Whose heritage?
              Altekamp and Khechen, “Third Carthage: Struggles and Contestations Over Archaeological Space”
12/8 Course Wrap-up

Position Paper #3 (for undergraduates) & graduate student papers due