Courses Offered 2013-2014 Spring

206A  Human Evolution (EC)
An investigation of the evidence and background of human evolution. Emphasis will be placed on the examination of the fossil and other evidence for human evolution and its functional and behavioral implications. Alan Mann, Janet Monge

ANT 206B /EEB 306   Human Evolution (EC)
An investigation of the evidence and background of human evolution. Emphasis will be placed on the examination of the fossil and other evidence for human evolution and its functional and behavioral implications. (ANT 206B meets with ANT 206A but ANT 206B requires completion of a fossil lab project.) Alan Mann, Janet Monge

ANT 217 Religion: An Anthropological Introduction (SA)
This course covers the basics of the anthropology of religion from its origins to the development of some new models. The course will not itemize beliefs or behaviors. Rather, by examining some of the most important works on religion, as well as some key concepts associated with religion – ritual, belief, magic, possession, symbolism, ethics – we will see how the category of religion came to be constituted in anthropology and the social sciences. Abou Farman

ANT 229 / LAS 229 Anthropology In and Of the City (SA)
This course will introduce you to urban anthropology. Urban anthropologists study everything from squatter settlements to the gleaming institutions of global capitalism on Wall Street. What does it mean to "make do" in global cities? How do those experiences shape our understanding of plurality? How do we talk about urban violence without pathologizing cities and the poor? We will explore the city as a stage upon which social, economic, and political struggles are waged, and examine the walls, fences, and security cameras that inscribe social exclusion onto the urban built environment, producing fortified enclaves and zones of abandonment. Susan Ellison

ANT 301A or ANT 301B The Ethnographer’s Craft (SA)
What are social and cultural facts? And how do we identify these facts using anthropological research methods? This field methods course is for students interested in learning how to work with complex and often contradictory qualitative data. Students will examine how biases and beliefs affect the questions we ask, the data we collect, and our interpretations. Key topics include objectivism, interpretation, reflexivity, participant-observation, translation, and comparison. In addition to reading ethnographies, this class will use ethnographic films as a lens through which to explore the extraordinary power and limits of qualitative research. (ANT 301A is for all students other than juniors in the Anthropology major. ANT 301B is reserved for Anthropology juniors, as it includes enrollment in the Anthropology junior seminar. ANT 301A and B are otherwise the same, and meet together.) Carolyn Rouse

ANT 303 Economic Experience in Cultural Context (SA)
This course explores the social and cultural contexts of economic experience in the US and around the world. It considers how the consumption, production, and circulation of goods--today and in times past--become invested with personal and collective meanings. It pays special attention to symbolic and political dimensions of work, property (material, intellectual, and cultural), wealth, and "taste" (i.e., needs and wants). Additionally, course participants do a bit of anthropological fieldwork by learning to draw everyday experiences systematically into conversation with more familiar academic sources. Rena Lederman

EAS 312 / ANT 312 Mind, Body, and Bioethics in Japan and Beyond (EM)
The seminar will examine key concepts of the mind, the body, and the nature-culture distinction. We will study these issues in the context of Japanese beliefs about the good society, making connections between "lay culture", Japanese notions of social democracy, and "science culture". Topics include: diagnosis and care of the mentally ill, the politics of disability, notions of human life and death, responses to bio-technology, the management of human materials such as organs, cultural definitions of addiction and co-dependency, and the ethics of human enhancement. Amy Borovoy

EAS 220 / ANT 333 Contemporary Chinese Society and Culture (SA)
This course surveys "contemporary China". It begins with Maoist socialism between 1949 and 1978, and focuses on the tremendous changes of Chinese society and culture from 1978 to the present. Using ethnographies along with documentaries, this course seeks to demonstrate major trends and contradictions through people’s lived experiences: decentralized social life under the state power, overall life improvement along with increasing inequality of consumer society, the rise of individual desire amidst conflicting memories of socialism, reinvention of traditions under transnational influences are some examples. Everett Zhang

ANT 344 Science, Technology & Culture (SA)
Scientific and technological ventures have challenged, even redefined, some previously stable and important ontological categories, in the West as well as around the world: categories such as life, death, nature, human, self, animate and inanimate. Using ethnographies, theoretical readings and overviews of several fields, whilst examining diverse sites of scientific production and dissemination – from test tubes to outer space, from indigenous knowledge to genetics labs – we will look at how science and technology are changing perceptions and experiences of these categories and examine the social and political consequences. Abou Farman

ANT 364/ ENV 364 The Politics of Nature (SA)
In this course we will consider the social and political life of nature from an anthropological perspective. How are our ideas about nature historically and culturally produced? What is the relationship between resource control and the consolidation of power? From the work of conservation NGOs (nonprofit organizations) to laboratory-produced GMOs (genetically modified organisms), we will explore how notions of pristine wilderness, polluting people, and ethical business are produced and contested. Course themes range from the lived effects of extractive industries to nature as both a commodity and the grounds for claiming political rights. Susan Ellison

ANT 374 Bioarchaeology of the Peoples of the Past (HA)
Bioarchaeology is the study of human remains in archaeological contexts. In this class, we will study the reconstruction of the lifeways of peoples in the past. The course will focus on the population (rather than on the individual) level and covers much of human history and prehistory through a series of case studies. Using the basic techniques of analysis of the human skeleton, and in recognition of the dynamic nature of bone as it responds to changes in the environment, population parameters can be used to understand the efficacy of humans, both biologically and culturally, to respond to the ever changing physical environments of the globe. Janet Monge

EAS 302 /POL 300 /ANT 384 /SOC 316 /ENV 384 Dilemmas of Development in Asia (SA)
East Asian development has been arguably the most important social, economic, and political phenomenon of the past half century. It has posed, and continues to pose, monumental challenges. These have included intellectual debates over the proper way to build national wealth, struggles over democracy and rights, environmental crises, and the changing demands and expectations of citizens themselves. In this course, we survey some of the dilemmas facing the countries of East and Southeast Asia, drawing attention the myriad connections between economic growth and political, social, cultural, and environmental transformation. David Leheny, Jin Sato

AMS 339 /AAS 333 /ANT 389 /REL 333 Religion and Culture: Muslims in America (SA)
This course is an introduction to Muslim cultures in the United States. Each week we will draw upon texts from anthropology, sociology, history, and other fields to develop an understanding of the historical and present diversity of Muslim communities in America. The first half of the course provides a survey of Muslim communities in this country from the 17th to the 21st centuries. The second half features a thematic approach to a variety of topics: 9/11, women and gender, religious conversion, interfaith relations, youth, mosques as institutions, and Islamophobia. Aly Kassam-Remtulla

ANT 390 History of Anthropological Theory (HA)
We will survey the development of social anthropology as a discipline through theoretical debates related to kinship (ways in which peoples of different cultures marry and relate within and outside the family; means by which generations relate within and outside the family). We begin with discussion of what kinship means to the social anthropologist as distinct from the biologist and consider different ways to approach the subject within social anthropology itself. We will also explore how recent work on gender, person and the body have challenged and modified earlier assumptions about, for example, descent, succession and familial alliances. Isabelle Clark-Decès

AAS 403 / ANT 403 Race and Medicine (EM)
In 1998, then-President Clinton set a national goal that by the year 2010 race, ethnic, and gender disparities in six disease categories would be eliminated. While the agenda, called Healthy People 2010, was a noble effort, many of the goals were not met. This course examines what went wrong. For a final project, students will be asked to propose their own solutions for eliminating health disparities. Carolyn Rouse

ANT 405 Topics in Anthropology: Revisiting Sacrifice (SA) - COURSE CANCELED
The course brings back to discussion a concept and a set of practices central to the lives of millions of men and women across the world. While sacrifice is invoked in religious and political discourse and practice, it has been somewhat neglected by anthropologists in recent decades. Understanding sacrifice is understanding ritual and religion and their role in the globalizing world. Topics include theories of sacrifice, categories and comparison, genealogies and deconstruction, violence, power and religion, jihad, sacrifice and terror. We will study contemporary materials from public discourses and arts before going back to classical theory. Abdellah Hammoudi

ANT 431 Biomedical Anthropology (EC)
An examination of the interactions of evolution, biology and culture in human health and sickness. The course will emphasize the influence of pathogens and other environmental selective agents in the evolution of human biology and behavior. The action of cultural factors in the spread and containment of disease and other abnormal conditions will also be integrated. Each class session will include an initial lecture followed by seminar discussions of that week’s readings. Discussions will focus on the patterns of health and disease over time and in a cross-cultural perspective. Alan Mann

ANT 432 The Anthropology of Memory (SA)
We focus on how humans deal with loss through three major approaches to memory: psychoanalysis (Freud), social organization (Halbwachs), associative temporalities (Sebald). We examine genres in which the memory of loss is retained or displaced. How is the past generally experienced and construed as meaningful in the present? We consider memory from different cultural landscapes and theoretical perspectives. A better understanding of the memory of loss, and the social forms and histories in which this memory remains active, will improve our approaches to cultural observation, documentation, analysis, and interpretation. John Borneman

ANT 490 Writing Cultures: Ethnographic Facts and Fictions (LA)
Comparing ethnography (anthropologists’ signature form) with related nonfiction genres (history, journalism, memoir), we focus on questions about truth and "truthiness": about evidence, expertise, credibility, and authority and about literary form (e.g., voice, metaphor, and technical jargon). We consider how different genres are recognized as such in acts of evaluation by expert and lay readers: and what their distinctive evaluative standards allow or disallow. Throughout, we seek fresh ways of thinking about the ethical dilemmas of ethnography and related genres by juxtaposing them to the ethical dilemmas of fiction-writing. Rena Lederman

ANT 502 Proseminar in Anthropology
We build on the work of the first semester pushing the exploration of the notions of culture, structure, meaning, hermeneutics, interpretation, consensus & conflict. We try to map how these concepts have been applied to non-Western societies as well as Western ones & what we can learn from these implementations regarding generation & elaboration of anthropological knowledge. Finally we examine the ongoing debate on transnational circulations & transnational reconfigurations with special references to their redefining of self, identity, ethnicity, nation & power. Abdellah Hammoudi

ANT 522A Topics in Theory and Practice of Anthropology (Half-Term, 0.5 credit course): Public Ethnography
In recent years, the "publicization" of the social sciences has been discussed among sociologists and, to a lesser degree, anthropologists. It consists in rendering the product of research available and debatable in the public sphere, instead of keeping it within the academic realm. Making ethnography public poses specific questions. What operations are involved? Which publics are targeted and for what purpose? What possible epistemological, ethical and political issues are at stake? Based on case studies analyzed from a pluridisciplinary perspective, the course will address the theoretical and empirical challenges of a public ethnography. Didier Fassin

ANT 522B Topics in Theory and Practice of Anthropology (Half-Term, 0.5 credit course): Science and Technology Studies and Race
Scientific and social scientific research on health and social disparities continue to reproduce the notion that racial differences are real through a process described as racial recursion. This class explores how research methods contribute to the reproduction of essentialist or behaviorist theories of race and difference. The texts used for this class will focus on new research in epigenetics, neuroscience, and economics in order for students to be able to interrogate culture of poverty theories and the use of race as a proxy for DNA and human potential. Carolyn Rouse

EAS 550 / ANT 550 Topics in Social Theory and East Asia
An introduction to classical social theory of modernity and an exploration of new directions in social theory in contemporary social science. Course examines the ways in which Western scholarship on East Asia has engaged with theories of modernity, at times generating new bodies of thought on social exchange, capitalism, feminism, the state and civil society, and agency and subjectivity. Texts on Japan, China, and elsewhere, moving between theoretical, ethnographic, and historical contexts, are used. Amy Borovoy

ANT 570 Interdisciplinary Research: The Anthropology of Becoming
This seminar draws from ethnography and critical theory to explore the significance of the idea and process of "becoming" for contemporary anthropology. How can we ethnographically apprehend individual and collective struggles to come to terms with structural determinants of all kinds in order to endure them or to create something new? How can people’s plasticity and alternative world-making become figures of thought that might animate comparative research, political critique, and anthropology to come? João Biehl