The proposal and syllabus that follow are primarily concerned with the content of a seminar on cultural theory. I would like to preface these materials by saying a bit about teaching.
Because of the vast confusion surrounding the concept of culture, a seminar is an ideal place to work on clarification.
The version of cultural theory being discussed departs from ordinary modes of thought and raises many questions, albeit in a more political direction: What sort of people, organized into which cultures, would act in certain ways (accept or reject blame, tax and spend high or low, participate a little or a lot, etc.) in order to do what matters most to them—support their way of life and discomfort their opponents? Hence time for questions in the seminar is essential. Hours and hours of discussion do more to straighten out thought than any amount of reading.
Application of this cultural theory is also essential. Doing is different than thinking. I have found that 1,000-word essays on such subjects as the Comanche Indians (competitive individualists to the core) or the Khmer Rouge (radical egalitarians) enable seminar members to come to grips with the theories they are trying out. Immersion in this material, bolstered by continuous discussion, sharpened by several short applications, greatly facilitates writing a research paper. The idea is to take a paper already written, or about to be written, derive a problem from it, and see how one cultural theory compares to others.