ANTH-GA 1011: Theory and Practice of Social Anthropology II
Professor Fred Myers
Following Social Theory and Practice I, this course will focus on a group of central anthropological concepts, examining their genealogies and limits. We look at the relation of theoretical and ethnographic practices as they developed in post-World War II and post-colonial contexts, as anthropologists grappled with rapid social change. Analyzing our own disciplinary and national locations has become an increasingly important aspect of the sociocultural fields within which we develop our research and writing. As a result, there is growing attention to multilayered power relations, social movements, practical consciousness, practice theory, invented traditions, and the production of culture as well as transnational and international flows of people, ideas, and goods. This course explores these transformations.
ANTH-GA 1040: Linguistic Anthropology
Professor Sonia Das
Introduces and examines the interdependence of anthropology and the study of language both substantively and methodologically. Topics include the relationship between language, thought, and culture; the role of language in social interactions; the acquisition of linguistic and social knowledge; and language and speech in ethnographic perspective.
ANTH-GA 1210: African Prehistory
Professor Justin Pargeter
This course’s main objective is to provide students with a solid understanding of the importance of Africa for the evolution of human cultural behavior. Africa provides the world’s longest archaeological record, and as such the longest record of human biocultural evolution. It furnishes evidence for the earliest representatives of the human family, the first artifacts, the most complete account of the development of a hunting/gathering way of life, and a living laboratory for the archaeological study of contemporary societies (i.e. ethnoarchaeology). This course takes a different approach to African prehistory focused on thematic areas rather than chronological developments. Topics of discussion include archaeological approaches to mobility, technology, exchange/interaction, climate reconstructions, cognition, diet, and contemporary heritage issues on the continent. The class is taught in a symposium format with specific importance placed on class discussions and debates.
ANTH-GA 1214: Paleopathology
Professor Alejandra Ortiz
The study of disease in ancient bones. Provides in-depth survey of the various ways in which disease presents in the mammalian skeleton. Reviews major disease classes and how they influence bone; how to construct a differential diagnosis; and how diseased remains are used to interpret aspects of population history.
ANTH-GA 1216: Culture and Media II
Professor Gabriel Dattatreyan
In the last decade, a new field–the ethnography of media–has emerged as an exciting new arena of research. While claims about media in peoples’ lives are made on a daily basis, surprisingly little research has actually attempted to look at how media is part of the naturally occurring lived realities of people?s lives. In the last decade, anthropologists and media scholars interested in film, television, and video have been turning their attention increasingly beyond the text and the empiricist notions of audiences (stereotypically associated with the ethnography of media), to consider, ethnographically, the complex social worlds in which media is produced, circulated, and consumed, at home and elsewhere. This work theorizes media studies from the point of view of cross-cultural ethnographic realities and anthropology from the perspective of new spaces of communication focusing on the social, economic, and political life of media and how it makes a difference in the daily lives of people as a practice, whether in production, reception, or circulation.
ANTH-GA 1219: Video Production Seminar II
Professors Cheryl Furjanic and Pegi Vail
Yearlong seminar in ethnographic documentary video production using state-of-the-art digital video equipment for students in the Program in Culture and Media. The first portion of the course is dedicated to instruction, exercises, and reading familiarizing students with fundamentals of video production and their application to a broad conception of ethnographic and documentary approaches. Assignments undertaken in the fall raise representational, methodological, and ethical issues in approaching and working through an ethnographic and documentary project. Students develop a topic and field site for their project early in the fall term, begin their shooting, and complete a short (5- to 10-minute) edited tape by the end of the semester. This work should demonstrate competence in shooting and editing using digital camera/audio and Final Cut Pro nonlinear editing systems. Students devote the spring semester to intensive work on the project, continuing to shoot and edit, presenting work to the class, and completing their (approximately 20-minute) ethnographic documentaries. Student work is presented and critiqued during class sessions, and attendance and participation in group critiques and lab sessions is mandatory. Students should come into the class with project ideas already well-developed. Students who have not completed the work assigned in the first semester are not allowed to register for the second semester. There is no lab fee, but students are expected to provide their own videotapes. In addition to class time, there are regular technical lab sessions on the use of equipment.
ANTH-GA 1250: Secularism
Professor Elayne Oliphant
We tend to think of the secular as an absence of sorts: the neutral emptiness that remains once religion is removed. In this course, we will explore how the secular is imagined, represented, and produced. Like religion, the secular requires and creates particular images, sensibilities, regulations, practices, and beliefs. Like religion, it also operates through the authorization of certain forms of knowledge and the refusal of other actions and ideas as impossible. In everyday language, “secular” can imply a host of meanings, including atheist, profane, rational, or modern. We will work to give greater specificity to the concepts of secularism, secularization, and the secular. We will also address the presumed secularity of scholarly critique. What kinds of assumptions undergird scholarly inquiry? How do these assumption limit the agents, practices, and connections deemed significant or plausible? Together, we will take up the task of articulating what it means to live in a “secular age”—a framework which, although often invisible or implicit, establishes and limits much of what we experience, expect, and encounter in our daily lives.
ANTH-GA 1542: Biological Profile (Lab)
Professor Alejandra Ortiz
This is a stand-alone course on the biological profile, the process of determining age, sex, stature and mass, population affinity, and pathology and trauma based on the analysis of human skeletal remains. Students will read manuscripts and standards guides that establish the theoretical and practical applications of the methods of the biological profile and will be provided with skeletal material on which to apply those methods. By the end of this course students should be able to carry out a biological profile on human remains and fully understand the methods necessary to do so.
ANTH-GA 3214: Medical Anthropology
Professor Sean Brotherton
The single largest economic sector in the world, with unparalleled cultural authority to compel populations to participate, medicine has life altering effects on human bodies and subjectivities across the globe. Ethnographers have generated far ranging critical analysis of how these effects unfold, what drives them and what is societally at stake. In order to illustrate the scope of ethnographers’ insights into medicine(s) as cultural systems, this seminar employs exemplars of these insights, from the meanings of medicine to the role of medicine in colonial and missionary projects, from the cultural construction of race and gender to the nature of political economy and of the body itself.
ANTH-GA 3391-001: Performance Ethnography
Professor Aimee Cox
This course interrogates the theoretical framework that defines performance ethnography as well as the methodology employed by various researchers, artists, and practitioners (not mutually exclusive roles). Close readings and discussion are integrated with the in and out of class employment of performance ethnographic methods. The seminar additionally explores the similarities and distinctions between ethnography and performance ethnography and questions how the innovations made in performance, ethnography, and performance ethnography may impact social justice and community-building initiatives. Students are asked to identify examples of what they would define as performance ethnographic texts and practices to bring to class for discussion and to frame their individual final projects. In addition to exploring performance ethnographic methodologies, students will also become familiar with various genres of writing defined as ethnographic, auto ethnographic, and performance writing, and produce their own writing within each of these forms. A significant portion of time in class is used to practice the methodologies in question and formulate out of class projects that will employ key, self-identified aspects of performance ethnography. As you may have already surmised, this seminar will act as a laboratory of sorts. There are many often conflicting definitions of performance ethnography which leaves us to sometimes wonder if the terms of identification are up to the creator or researcher, the participants in the project, or the reader or audience. We will ask if the labels matter and if so how and in what context. We will refine and expand on what we individually and collectively find most generative about aligning the terms performance and ethnography to formulate a new theoretical starting point, methodology, and/or culminating project - whether that be in the form of an article, essay, choreography, digital platform, public performance or some innovative combination of these ways to communicate and engage. All class sessions will include a combination of opening ritual, methods practice and discussion.
ANTH-GA 3391-002: Anthropology of State and Govt. in the Middle East
Professors Ola Galal and Fidele Harfouche
What constitutes the state, its institutions and its culture? This course will be an investigation into the history of and the practices that shape state-citizen relations. We will examine citizenship as a social construct and an institution asking how citizenship, as a logic for determining membership and for providing access to rights, is constituted in relation to different scales from the local community to the nation-state to global humanity? What political, ethical, and affective work does citizenship do in relation to other ways of conceptualizing belonging and of apportioning rights in the region, such as tribe, religion, ethnicity, sect, geographical location, neighborhood, and profession? What alternative futures are imagined or worked through in projects of government and among social movements that make claims to or against citizenship?