Courses

Fall 2024 - Undergraduate

Contemporary African Politics and Society: Ethnographic Reading, Thinking and Writing (CD)
Subject associations
AFS 322 / POL 463 / ANT 222 / AAS 334

How can we read, write, and critically think (imagine) about African politics and society? The course presents contemporary ethnography on African politics and society during the postcolonial era, emphasizing the multiplicity, complexities, and diversity of African ideas, imaginations, practices, and experiences, in along with the variety of national and international factors that either influence or are impacted by them. Upon completing the course, students will have the essential critical thinking abilities and analytical tools required to recognize and challenge reductionist and biased narratives concerning Africa.

Instructors
Melusi Nkomo
Introduction to Anthropology (CD or EC)
Subject associations
ANT 201

This course is an introduction to anthropology and key topics in becoming and being human. Anthropology looks at the human experience through diverse lenses integrating biology, ecology, language, history, philosophy, and the day to day lives of peoples from across the globe. Anthropology has things to say about being human, it seeks to make the familiar a bit strange and the strange quite familiar. We will take critical reflexive and reflective approaches in asking about key aspects of being human (like war/peace, race/racism, sex/gender, childhood/parenting, religion and the human imagination, and human relations to other species).

Anthropology and Environment (CD or EM)
Subject associations
ANT 214 / ENV 214

This course explores anthropology's engagement with environmental questions, beyond binaries of "nature" and "culture." How do anthropologists' engagement with environment force rethinking of both the given terms of environmental politics and the anthropocentrism of "anthropology"? We explore, across international and global contexts, how anthropological work challenges contemporary environmental thinking, all while exploring new formulations of environment and politics. Topics include climate, materiality, cosmologies, more-than-human ethnography, and environmental justice.

Instructors
Jerry C. Zee
Policing and Militarization Today (CD or SA)
Subject associations
ANT 223 / AMS 223 / AAS 224 / URB 224

This class aims to explore transnational issues in policing. Drawing heavily upon anthropological methods and theory, we aim neither to vindicate nor contest the police's right to use force (whether a particular instance was a violation of law), but instead, to contribute to the understanding of force (its forms, justifications, interpretations). The innovative transnational approach to policing developed during the semester will allow for a cross-cultural comparative analysis that explores larger rubrics of policing in a comprehensive social scientific framework. We hope that you are ready to explore these exciting and urgent issues with us.

Instructors
Laurence Ralph
Visible/Invisible Worlds: Anthropology in Film and Data (SA)
Subject associations
ANT 252

In this entrée to anthropology's visual modes, we explore documentary film as a way to represent experience, identity, and conflict through the senses, and we study data and visualizations to reveal the imperceptible, unexpected, and abstract structures of social life. We assess their realist truth claims and learn to see the world from indigenous media makers whose projects point beyond decolonization and toward knowing visible and invisible ties among people and with more than human species and natural forces. Our aim is to enlarge the material and cultural possibilities for making legible the complexities of critical social issues.

Instructors
Jeffrey D. Himpele
Differences: The Anthropology of Disability (CD or SA)
Subject associations
ANT 261 / HUM 262

Disabled people are the largest minority in the world. Attention to the lived experiences and discourses of disability is crucial to our understanding of what it means to be human in an ever-changing world. This course moves beyond a medicalized view of disability and develops an historical and ethnographic critique of ableism with a focus upon the diverse forms of impairment and their social, economic, and technological contexts. What are the moral and political stakes of an anthropology of disability today?

Justice (CD or SA)
Subject associations
ANT 263 / HUM 263

What does "Justice" mean? What do efforts to achieve "Justice" tell us about injury, retribution, and peace? This class will explore how justice is defined and sought by looking at criminality, fights for indigenous and women's rights, post-conflict transitions, environmental catastrophe, debates about reparations, and intimate forms of repair. We will combine a global perspective with engaged local work to think about what struggles for justice look like in theory and on the ground. These debates will illuminate about how the past is apprehended, and how visions of possible utopias and dystopias are produced in the present.

Violence (SA)
Subject associations
ANT 264 / HUM 264

This course draws on anthropology, history, critical theory, films and documentaries, fictive and journalistic writing to explore violence, its power and meaning. We will explore conquest and colonialism, genocidal violence, state violence and political resistance, everyday violence, gendered violence, racialization, torture, as well as witnessing and repair. Building across disciplines and working with heterodox theoretical frameworks (post-colonial/decolonial, non-Western, feminist, and indigenous approaches), this course invites us to understand violence in its multifaceted physical, symbolic, social, political and cultural manifestations.

Instructors
Onur Gunay
People-Centered: Doing Anthropology (SA)
Subject associations
ANT 299 / EGR 299 / ENT 299

Anthropology is unique in its people-centered, ethnographic approach to understanding social life and worlds. We begin with a critical eye on colonial era articulations of the method of participant observation, then explore alternative ways of knowing. Throughout, we explore the tensions, contradictions, and creative potentials of producing critical knowledge with people. Students cultivate skills for field and archival work, with forays into digital spaces. Fieldwork exercises allow students to practice ethnographic approaches and challenge more experience-distant, quantitative methodologies.

Instructors
Ikaika Ramones
Ethnography, Evidence and Experience (SA)
Subject associations
ANT 300

This course introduces students to anthropological ways of knowing and explores how ethnography shapes social theorizing and storytelling. We will attend to relations -- among social actors, institutions, and regimes of value. We will examine identity -- as optic, object, creativity, ethical becoming, political struggle, and more. Throughout, we will acquire tools to theorize social experience, develop new approaches to power, memory, and history, and probe the potentials for decolonial and anticolonial scholarship.

Instructors
Aniruddhan Vasudevan
Psychological Anthropology (EC)
Subject associations
ANT 305 / HLS 305

This course addresses the wide variety of social relations and cultural contexts in which mental health and mental illness are experienced in the twenty-first century. Our inquiry is structured around etiological/diagnostic concepts that have achieved a global presence in popular culture and clinical care: trauma, addiction, stress, depression, neurodiversity. We will learn where and how these concepts arose; how they have changed over time and place; how they operate in clinical vis-à-vis "lay" contexts of assessment and care; and how they shape our self-understanding, our social interactions, and our relation to expertise and institutions.

Instructors
Elizabeth A. Davis
Empires of Debt (HA or SA)
Subject associations
ANT 308

Student debt, credit card debt, and medical debt in the US keep rising. Debt is entangled with legacies of enslavement and internal colonialism in the US and beyond. Around the world, debt has helped build empires and to destroy them. Debt also helps people build and maintain relationships. So why is debt usually seen as "bad" and credit as "good"? How can anthropology contribute to understanding the role of debt in the making and unmaking of power and empires? This class draws on anthropology, history, and finance to explore these and other questions, sometimes with the help of guest authors of our readings.

Instructors
Julia Elyachar
Food, Culture & Society (CD or SA)
Subject associations
ANT 311 / LAS 335

This course explores the central role of food in everyday life in US and global contexts. Using a comparative global perspective, we will address key questions about histories of food production and consumption, the ways in which food production and distribution differentially affect the lives of those working in the food industry and those consuming food. We will think through how global shifts in food production and distribution impact human lives on national, local, and familial levels.

Instructors
Hanna Garth
Indigenous Futures: Health and Wellbeing within Native Nations (CD or HA)
Subject associations
ANT 333 / HIS 233 / AMS 432

This course uses historical and anthropological methods to examine the health of Native communities. By investigating the history, social structures, and colonial forces that have shaped and continue to shape contemporary Indigenous nations, we investigate both the causes of contemporary challenges and the ways that Native peoples have ensured the vibrancy, wellness, and survival of their peoples. We will treat health as a holistic category and critically examine the myriad factors that can hinder or enable the wellbeing of Native nations.

Instructors
Elizabeth Ellis
Ikaika Ramones
Queer Becomings (CD or SA)
Subject associations
ANT 337 / GSS 279

The goal of this course is to understand what queer lifeworlds are like in diverse cultural and sociopolitical contexts. What is the relationship between queerness and larger forces such as culture, coloniality, global capitalism, religion, and the state? What counts as queer and whose recognition matters? What is the nature of the work of becoming that is involved, and what resources do they draw upon in doing so? What factors enable or curtail these possibilities? Is queer always radical and against the norm? We will answer such questions by reading ethnographies, theories, and biographies that focus on queer lifeworlds across the world.

Instructors
Aniruddhan Vasudevan
Behavioral Biology of Women (SA)
Subject associations
ANT 339 / GSS 323

In almost every human society, women are expected to perform different tasks than men. Was there a biological or cultural reason for this? True - women are the only sex to give birth to date, but does that mean there is no escape from traditional sex roles? In this class we will explore female behavioral biology from an evolutionary and biocultural perspective. We will pair physiology and life-history theory with cultural outcomes to engage with feminism and social and political debates. Topics include menstrual taboos, sexual differentiation and gender identity, reproduction, contraception, women's health, workplace equality, etc.

Instructors
Andrea L. DiGiorgio
Filming the Future of Liberation (CD or SA)
Subject associations
ANT 362 / HUM 386 / AAS 337

What does it mean to be free? From slavery to cyborgian imaginations, from anarchy to abolition, from exploration to decolonization, what would make us free? Can we be free under capitalism? Can we be free amidst persistent violence? Can we be free if our bodies are subject to state-mandated regulation? Can we be free if we cannot move across borders? What might it mean to articulate the answers to these questions via film? Will new people gain access to new conceptualizations of freedom? Can film liberate? Can the process of making these films make us free?

Ethnography of Schools and Schooling (SA)
Subject associations
ANT 368 / TPP 368

Social scientists use ethnographic methods to describe and analyze the range and variation of daily interactions in schools. Ethnographic study allows researchers the opportunity to examine power dynamics that influence the daily life of students, teachers, administrators and parents. Vivid, critical ethnography helps us discover how cultural traditions, expectations, and opportunities are passed down to the next generation and how they impact school outcomes. This class will explore educational ethnography and students will complete observation hours in local schools and prepare a descriptive, mini-ethnography of a school community.

Instructors
Jason R. Klugman
Histories of Anthropological Theory (HA or SA)
Subject associations
ANT 390

This course begins with a discussion of the current state of affairs in anthropological theory to ask what lines of thought got us to where we are today. This includes situating anthropological theory within the context of social and political theory and seeing how post-structuralism, post-colonial theory, black studies, and feminism reshaped the discipline in a variety of ways. Throughout will aim to give students sharper tools to utilize the analytic power of theory to consider problematics of the field of anthropology writ large today, and to mobilize in the writing of the independent work in anthropology.

Instructors
Onur Gunay
Gaming Blackness: The Anthropology of Video Games and Race (CD or SA)
Subject associations
ANT 437 / AAS 437

This course is an anthropological and experience-based exploration of video games in a global age. We consider scholarship in Digital Anthropology, Game Studies, and African American Studies to scrutinize the design of games and engage in gameplay, with a particular focus on Black experiences within U.S. and Japanese media. Throughout the course, we probe how video games utilize race, advancing an intersectional approach that accounts for class, gender, and sexuality. To achieve this, attendees of this course will take a mandatory trip to Tokyo, Japan, to better understand how Black culture appears and influences video games.

Instructors
Akil F. Fletcher
Anthropology of Borders (CD or SA)
Subject associations
ANT 438 / LAS 438

This course will study borders, literal and imagined, and those who contest and enforce them. We will review anthropological approaches to bordering logics, focusing on how bordering and its violences creeps into everyday life far from nation-state boundaries and exploring insurgent mobilities. Drawing heavily from bordering processes in the Americas while also exploring parallels around the globe, this course asks: who do borders serve? How are they maintained? What does transgressing borders mean for those in power and for those who do the crossing?

Instructors
Amelia M. Frank-Vitale
Gender and the Household (CD or SA)
Subject associations
ANT 440 / GSS 456

This seminar focuses on the social institutions and symbolic meanings of gender, sexuality, family, and the household through the lenses of race, culture, and historical contexts. We will study how understandings of masculinity and femininity, the orientation of desire, sexual acts, and sexual identities impact gender roles in the household across various cultural and social contexts. We will ground our work in historical and ethnographic research on the connections between colonialism, chattel slavery, capitalism, and gender, sexual relations, and the family.

Instructors
Hanna Garth
Anthropologies of Climate and Change (SA)
Subject associations
ANT 457 / ENV 457

This course explores the weather as a massively consequential complex of environmental, geophysical, political, social, engineering, and spatial processes. We think through the tensions of contemporary climate and change as sites through which political strategies, social theory, and the toolkits of humanistic anthropological thinking are reconfigured. And we explore climate as a keyword to consider nihilism, hope, new and old fantasies of engineering, and unexpected imaginaries of planetary resilience or collapse. Topics include climate change, policing, geo-engineering, climate militarism.

Instructors
Jerry C. Zee
Introduction to Dance Across Cultures (CD or SA)
Subject associations
DAN 215 / ANT 355 / GSS 215 / AMS 215

Bharatanatyam, butoh, hip hop, and salsa are some of the dances that will have us travel from temples and courtyards to clubs, streets, and stages around the world. Through studio sessions, readings and viewings, field research, and discussions, this seminar will introduce students to dance across cultures with special attention to issues of migration, cultural appropriation, gender and sexuality, and spiritual and religious expression. Students will also learn basic elements of participant observation research. Guest artists will teach different dance forms. No prior dance experience is necessary.

Instructors
Judith Hamera
Systems Approaches to Conservation (SA)
Subject associations
ENV 307 / ANT 307 / EEB 307

This course examines the diversity of life on earth across its different manifestations (biological, cultural, linguistic) and how that diversity is interrelated within a complex and adaptive social-ecological system. Through case studies, students will explore the complexity underlying conservation issues and learn to identify and critique policy and management interventions that aim to explicitly center the social-ecological contexts of biodiversity conservation. Topics include biological and cultural diversity patterns and threats, biocultural approaches to conservation, social-ecological systems theory, feedbacks, and telecouplings.

Instructors
Christian J. Rivera
Thinking with Bad Bunny: the Cultural Politics of Race, Language, and Empire (CD or SA)
Subject associations
LAO 354 / MUS 355 / ANT 254

This interdisciplinary course examines the cultural and political significance of Puerto Rican mega star Bad Bunny who has transcended musical genres to become a global phenomenon. Through an interdisciplinary lens, students will engage in a critical analysis of his music, lyrics, aesthetics, activism, gender non-conforming performances, and savvy business strategies. We will examine how Bad Bunny/Benito uses his platform and artistry to negotiate the complexities of being both a global Latinx icon and a child of Puerto Rico's colonial context.

Instructors
Yarimar Bonilla
Post Disaster Futures (CD or SA)
Subject associations
LAO 383 / ANT 283

This course examines Hurricane Maria's impact on Puerto Rico and the push for a resilient, equitable future. We will explore the disaster's effects on infrastructure, economy, and communities, and the role of colonialism and environmental injustice in setting the stage. Through research projects, students will have the opportunity to investigate specific aspects of Puerto Rico's post-Maria recovery and to propose innovative solutions that prioritize equity, sustainability, and community empowerment.

Instructors
Yarimar Bonilla
Carceral Politics and Intimacy Across Central America (CD or SA)
Subject associations
LAS 384 / ANT 284

Central America resurfaced with El Salvador's war on gangs, arresting over 75,000 people in the past two years. This course will examine the history and politics of carceral logics around crime and race in Central America through an intersectional and ethnographic perspective. Starting with a historical excavation, we'll focus on Central America's war on gangs from a transnational perspective, including the role of the U.S. in the making of a "gang crisis", and we will examine the policing of black and indigenous populations. Throughout the course, we will discuss how carceral politics shape forms of intimacy, especially in the family realm.

Instructors
Grazzia Grimaldi
Indigenous North Africa: Amazigh Communities (CD or HA)
Subject associations
NES 251 / AFS 251 / ANT 374

This course exposes students to the historical, ethnic, linguistic, and cultural factors that have shaped Indigenous Amazigh communities in Tamazgha (North Africa) and its diasporas. It examines the role that Amazigh communities have played in revitalizing their cultures in contemporary Tamazgha and makes visible the acknowledgement the Amazighity of lands in North Africa and complexities of language, cultural identity, and colonialism in the region. Many resources in the source will be taken from the instructor's talks with family members, other Indigenous scholars, and activists in the community.

Instructors
Mounia Mnouer

 

Fall 2024 - Graduate Courses

Proseminar in Anthropology
Subject associations
ANT 501

First part of a year-long course in cultural anthropology, required of first-year graduate students in anthropology and open to other graduate students with the permission of the instructor. The seminar focuses on anthropological theorizing through writings that have shaped the field or revealed its shape as a distinctive discipline. It also explores modes of contextualization that can help us understand the emergence, interconnections, and long afterlives of the texts we read.

Instructors
Julia Elyachar
Co-seminar in Anthropology (Full-Term): Literary Anthropology
Subject associations
ANT 503

This seminar introduces students to the theoretical and methodological concerns of different professors in the department. It hones their craft as writers, thinkers and field workers, to critically reflect on social worlds and their assumptions about them, and to gain new insights into what constitutes the project of literary anthropology. It considers literary ethnography as a distinctive genre of writing, knowing, and relation.

Instructors
Laurence Ralph
Co-seminar in Anthropology (Half-Term): We were never alone: Multispecies Worlds-Theory, Practice & Critique
Subject associations
ANT 503A

This course lays out core theoretical and methodological frameworks for engaging in anthropologically centered multispecies approaches. By foregrounding anthropological and indigenous perspectives in the discourse on multispecies, we center the ethnographic and ecological and decenter assumptions about separation, "civilization" and domination that run through academic mythos and perspectives on human-other entanglements. The Anthropocene as context brings its own suite of distinctive pressures and connecting these politics and eco-realities to the understanding generated by multispecies approaches is the final component of the course.

Instructors
Agustin Fuentes
Co-seminar in Anthropology (Half-Term): Anthro-Archives & Ethno-Stories
Subject associations
ANT 503B

The goal of the course is to problematize two things: the notion of anthropological archive and practices of ethnographic storytelling that they engender. To pursue this dual task, each week we will explore 1) how the assignment of epistemic value to a distinctive set of artifacts (e.g., objects, bodies, texts, memories, rhetorical tropes, etc.) generates a coherent source of discernable knowledge, and 2) how this knowledge is disciplined and naturalized with the help of theoretical framing, narrative conventions, and plot techniques.

Instructors
Serguei A. Oushakine
Grant-Writing Practicum
Subject associations
ANT 506

Writing grant proposals is a crucial skill for anthropologists, not only because grants facilitate the long-term immersive field research distinctive of the discipline, but also because formulating research plans for a variety of audiences and ensuring their feasibility foster a robust sense of purpose in fieldwork as well as critical reflection on the ethics of research in context. In this practice-based course, students study the grant proposal as a genre of anthropological writing, paying special attention to audience, feasibility, and ethics, while drafting and revising a complete grant proposal in weekly workshop sessions.

Instructors
Elizabeth A. Davis
Language & Subjectivity: Theories of Formation
Subject associations
SLA 515 / ANT 515 / COM 514

The purpose of the course is to examine key texts of the twentieth century that established the fundamental connection between language structures and practices on the one hand, and the formation of selfhood and subjectivity, on the other. In particular, the course focuses on theories emphasizing the role of formal elements in producing meaningful discursive and social effects. Works of Russian formalists and French (post)-structuralists are discussed in connection with psychoanalytic and anthropological theories of formation.

Instructors
Serguei A. Oushakine

Note

Please note that 400 level undergraduate courses are also eligible for graduate enrollment.