Courses Offered 2014-2015 Fall

FRS 165  Self to Selfies (EC)
In 2013 the Oxford Dictionaries declared “selfie” the Word of the Year. It grows out of new forms of technologically enabled communication, which includes new games such as chat roulette, and new forms of public exposure such as sexting. What is this about? How have we arrived here? This course explores transformations in understandings of the self in science and popular culture. In many cultural traditions, from Buddhism in Asia to psychoanalysis in the West, the “self” is an important object of speculation, analysis, and power. From anthropological and psychoanalytic perspectives, it examines three questions: How is the self formed? Under what conditions can the self change? What is the self’s relationship to culture, society, politics, and economy? It will explore these questions with literature from ethnography, literature, television serials, and film. Most of the focus will be on American culture, but the course will also include material from other culture areas. John Borneman

ANT 207  The American Family in Law and Society (SA)
The course will focus on the conflicts occasioned by changing family patterns, the role of technology in conflicts over procreation and rights of the fetus, the meaning of property and its impact on divorce settlements, and the comparative development of laws of inheritance and incest.  Multicultural issues will also figure prominently in the course. Lawrence Rosen

ANT 208 / REL 208  Religion and Media (SA)
This course explores how religious media in the United States shapes cultural and social identities.  From televangelism to religious radio programming, the mass marketing of faith is contributing to how people understand themselves as gendered, raced, and classed subjects.  But are these programs helping to sustain a fragile consensus within and between religious communities, or are they threatening religious pluralism? This course examines what is at stake politically in this religious war of symbols generated within mediascapes. Carolyn Rouse

ANT 215/ EEB 315  Human Adaptation (STL)
Human adaptation focuses on human anatomy and behavior from an evolutionary perspective.  Lectures and weekly laboratory sessions focus on the evolution of the human brain, dentition and skeleton to provide students with a practical understanding of the anatomy and function of the human body and its evolution, as well as some of its biological limitations.  No science background is required on the part of the student. Janet Monge

ANT 234  The Anthropology of Crime and Punishment (SA)
How is crime politicized? How is the figure of The Criminal socially constructed? What concerns about disorder and illegality drive (trans)national governance agendas, and with what consequences? How do anthropologists treat crime and punishment? We will examine the politics and practices of criminalization, securitization, and efforts to impose the rule of law as they occur in local communities, along national borders, and in transnational efforts aimed at policing disorderly worlds. We will read ethnographic accounts ranging from the life-worlds of drug traffickers to international customs regimes seeking to regulate contraband economies. Susan Ellison

ANT 300A or ANT 300B  Ethnography, Evidence and Experience (SA)
This seminar relates key concepts in anthropology (e.g., culture, society, power, meaning) to everyday experience, with the aim of fostering students' ability to think analytically across diverse cultural fields. We alternate between classic theoretical texts and "dossiers" of highly current readings about issues both familiar to students (from experiences at home or abroad) and relevant to ethnographic research and writing. For example: digital media, embodied knowledge, language, ritual and symbols, textual interpretation, and modern forms of power and inequality. (ANT 300A is open to all students.  ANT 300B is required for Anthropology juniors and includes the ANT Junior Seminar. ANT 300A and 300B are otherwise the same, and meet together.) Carol Greenhouse

ANT 321  Ritual, Myth, and Worldview (SA)
How do rituals work, and for whom? What do myths reveal, and how do we know? How do worldviews conjure up pictures of the universe and ways of behaving in it? This course examines these questions and the relations between them by surveying major anthropological interpretations of the function, structure, meaning and role of agency in myth and ritual. Isabelle Clark-Decès

EAS 225 / ANT 323  Japanese Society and Culture (SA)
During the decades after World War II, Japan became the world's second largest economy and a highly educated, technologized society. While Americans once regarded Japan as a land of "corporate warriors," today Japan has become known for its popular cultural critiques of environmental destruction and for a gentler variety of capitalism that has weathered economic downturns while preserving a high quality of life for its people. We explore key social issues in Japan today: the contemporary "birth strike," gender and popular culture, civil society, medical ethics, difference and disability, adolescence and education. Amy Borovoy

ANT 324  The Anthropology of Art (LA)  
We will consider the relation of art to magic, religious ritual, and hierarchy and power within particular cultures. How have broad theories of ‘primitive’ art reflected our own culture’s concern with analyzing human nature, evolutionary theory, and the articulation of presumed psychological universals? How are such representations connected to ideas of time, narrative style, storytelling, political propaganda in specific cultures for which the holdings of the university museum are particularly appropriate? We will use materials from the Northwest Coast of North America, Australia, New Zealand, the Arctic, and early modern Europe. Lawrence Rosen

ANT 329  Doing Good, Doing Well: The Political Lives of NGOs (SA)
From de-mining countries to rehabilitating child soldiers, from channeling donations for AIDS orphans to coordinating relief efforts in the wake of natural disasters, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are ubiquitous. They provide essential services once thought to be the purview of the state, and increasingly champion entrepreneurial approaches to poverty reduction. NGOs are also the subject of heated debate. This seminar brings a critical anthropological lens to bear on the work of NGOs, connecting global trends, donor platforms, and aid workers to the everyday experiences of people targeted by NGO projects. Susan Ellison

THR 300 /COM359 /ENG 373/ ANT 359  Acting, Being, Doing, and Making: Introduction to Performance Studies (LA)
A hands-on approach to this interdisciplinary field. In addition to key readings in performance theory, we will attend theatre and concerts and sporting events, visit museums, attend community celebrations, observe people’s behaviors in restaurants and on the street. We will analyze live performance, adapting techniques applied to written texts to space- and time-based events. We will also practice ethnographic methods to collect stories to adapt for performance and address the role of the participant-observer as a corollary to the scholar-artist, which requires thinking about ethics and the inherent social responsibilities of this work. Jill Dolan, Stacy Wolf

ANT 360  Ethics in Context: Uses and Abuses of Deception and Disclosure (EM)
Stage magic delights us with expert illusions; biomedicine and other fields use deception as a research tool (e.g., placeboes); and everyday politeness may obscure painful truths. With deception and disclosure as springboards, this course explores the contextual complexity of personal and professional ethical judgment, with special but not exclusive attention to knowledge circulation. Topics include: social fictions in daily life across cultures; the tangled histories of science and stage magic; ethically controversial cases from popular culture ("reality" TV, journalism), the arts (fictive memoirs), academia (sharing/plagiarizing), and more. Rena Lederman

ANT 368  Ethnography of Schools and Schooling (SA)
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 observations hours in local schools and prepare a descriptive, mini-ethnography of a school community. Jason Klugman

GHP 350 / WWS 380 / ANT 380  Critical Perspectives in Global Health (SA)
This course introduces students to pressing disease and health care problems worldwide and examines efforts currently underway to address them. Taking an interdisciplinary approach, the course identifies the main actors, institutions, practices, and forms of knowledge production at work in the ‘global health system’ today, and explores the environmental, social, political, and economic factors that shape patterns and variations in disease and health across societies. We will scrutinize the value systems that underpin specific paradigms in the policy and science of global health and place present-day developments in historical perspective. João Biehl

EAS 306 / ANT 386/ GSS 317  Sexuality, Public Culture and Medicine in East Asia (SA)
This course addresses “sexuality” in relation to public culture and medical practices in contemporary East Asia (China, Japan and Korea). While discussing important theories, this course emphasizes social, cultural and historical contexts of sexual practices, such as China’s post-Mao sexual revolution, Japan’s emerging new femininity and masculinity, Korean aspiration for love. In showing the construction of normality/abnormality, this course highlights the centrality of sexual desire to one’s subjectivity and continuous endeavors for the wellbeing of the population, communities and individuals, and for the value of difference. Everett Zhang

ANT 390  History of Anthropological Theory (HA)
This course is an introduction to fundamental theories and debates in social/cultural anthropology. We will examine the national and colonial origins of anthropology, considering how western encounters with non-western peoples in the 19th-20th centuries opened questions about human kinship, history, economy, religion, language, sexuality, and personhood that continue to shape the horizons of our thought today. We will study this inheritance critically, exploring the changing concepts, methods, and ethics of anthropological research and writing, and evaluate their bearing on questions of power, justice, and identity in the present. Elizabeth A. Davis

ANT 425  Post-War French Social Theory (SA)
Using the works of thinkers such as Sartre, Merleau-Ponty, Aron, Ricoeur, Lévi-Strauss, Foucault and Bourdieu, the course will present students with some of the conflicting images of Western society as viewed by these thinkers. This course will introduce students to these authors with emphasis on their departure from traditional schools of thought and the consequences of their ideas on the reproduction of knowledge about societies. Topics will include: relation of social thought to literary criticism and theories of social description. Abdellah Hammoudi

ANT 450 / GSS 450 / SOC 450  The Revolution will not be Televised (SA)
What is revolutionary change today? Present discontents have been attributed to heightened inequality and worker exploitation, expanded global trade and permeable national borders, increased circulation of ideas through new media, and the undermining of forms of traditional authority. Revolutionary programs (e.g., as led by Marx, Lenin, Mao) exist as social projects of political and sexual emancipation, but they tend not to be informed by theories of ritual and everyday culture. In this course we will consider these theories as we explore revolutionary impulses from the Arab Spring, Ukraine, and the 1960's Americas.  John Borneman

ANT 501  Proseminar in Anthropology
First term of a two-term survey of major anthropological writings, primarily for first-year graduate students. This seminar will focus on some major figures who have influenced anthropological theory and shaped our ideas of what anthropology is or should be. Historical formulations of some issues which are currently revisited and hotly debated such as rationalization and unreason, science and communication, subjectivity and dialogic encounters, and the status of knowledge and truth in the social sciences will be examined. Abdellah Hammoudi

ANT 521B  Topics in Theory and Practice (Half-Term, 0.5 credit course): Peopling Critical Theory
This seminar explores how contemporary anthropologists study, think, and write about power, agency, and the nature of social change, and probe the various theoretical frameworks that inform their work. We will engage scholars who mine ethnography as a mode of expression through multiple media and for diverse publics. Through which means can we illuminate both political-economic and personal realities-in-flux, and how can we bring this plasticity and unfinishedness into our storytelling?  How does ethnography challenge present-day regimes of veridiction and how can the lives of our subjects become alternative figures of thought and critique? João Biehl

ANT 541  Topics in Social Anthropology: States in Crisis
This seminar explores states in various kinds of crisis: their "weakness" and "failure," their borders and margins, their porosity and dysfunction, their proxies and pawning, their disasters and debts, their violence, their corruption - as well as opposition and threats to state power: dissidence, social movements, paramilitary organizations, communal and corporate sovereignty. Readings tack between theories of what the state is, and is not, and recent ethnographies that propose critiques, re-imaginations, and oblique visions of the state - opening new avenues to examine agency, justice, economy, and social ties. Elizabeth A. Davis

EAS 586 / ANT 586  Biopolitics in China and Beyond
Biopolitics has been one of the most heated topics of inquiry in the past two decades in social sciences and humanities. This course traces its origins and discusses its important anthropological implications. While engaging with its major Euro-American thinkers and interlocutors in global context, this course introduces the practices of biopolitics in China to examine its non-Western roots and historical conditions unique to the discussion of biopolitics: China’s modernity under the influences of its long dynasties, its semi-colonial experience, and most importantly, its communist revolution, Maoist socialism, and post-Mao reform. Everett Zhang