Courses Offered 2015-2016 Fall

FRS 125  Culture and the Soul (EM)                                                                 
The American Psychiatric Association released the fifth edition of its “bible,” the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, in May 2013 – the result of fourteen years of planning, research, and debate concerning new developments in the diagnosis and treatment of mental illness. Many psychiatric professionals take the new DSM, which will be used in clinical settings worldwide, as a definitive shift away from a traditional psychological approach to mental illness, and toward a neurobiological approach invested in pharmaceutical treatment. What exactly does this manual tell us about mental illness today – and what doesn’t it tell us? How universal are its categories of symptoms and syndromes? How effective are its diagnostic procedures at comprehending the varieties and causes of mental suffering? This seminar addresses mental illness as a medical problem, a spiritual problem, and a social problem that has taken on radically different forms and implications in different cultural contexts.  Elizabeth Davis

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 203 Economic Life 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 and media sources. (ANT 203 and ANT 303 are considered equivalent courses and cannot be taken multiple times for credit. Students who have taken ANT 303, Economic Experience in Cultural Context, should not enroll in this course.)  Rena Lederman 

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 217 Religion: An Anthropological Introduction (SA)                        
This course approaches religion not as a static entity or a singular essence, but as a term born of cross-cultural comparison, whose definition is open to continual contestation and revision. The first half of the course focuses on major conceptual approaches to the study of religion, beginning with classic works of social theory and moving through key anthropological debates that have shaped the field. The second half explores religious life in specific ethnographic and historical contexts, with a focus on contemporary questions surrounding secularism, revivalism, spirituality, agency, media, and religious pluralism.   Bridget Purcell

ANT 249/ LIN 249 Language and Culture (SA)                                          
This course is an introduction to linguistic anthropology, the study of language in comparative social context. What is "language," and why does it matter? To answer this question, we will read classic and contemporary approaches to language as social action. In addition to providing an introduction to some of the key thematic trends in the analysis of language and culture, this course also offers an overview of the emergence of linguistic anthropology as a discipline.  Perry Sherouse

ANT 300A or ANT 300B Ethnography, Evidence and Experience (SA)                                                  
This course relates key ethnographic concepts (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 the skills of ethnographic research and writing. Examples include: embodied knowledge, language, ritual and symbols, social structure, urban life and modern forms of power and inequality. Open to all students.  (ANT 300A is for all students other than juniors in the Anthropology major. ANT 300B is reserved for juniors in the Anthropology major, as it includes enrollment in the Junior Seminar.  ANT 300A and ANT 300B are otherwise the same, and meet together.)  Carol Greenhouse

ANT 304 Political Anthropology (SA)                         
This course examines major themes in the subfield of political anthropology, including power, authority, and domination; statecraft and interventionism; everyday forms of resistance and collective action; and violence and disorder. We will learn to see the political in unexpected places, as we explore both formal institutions and the politics of everyday life. And, we will ask how anthropologists use knowledge generated in "the field" to unsettle taken-for-granted concepts and categories, including the state, governance, agency, and democracy.  Bridget Purcell

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 productive, technologized society. While Americans once regarded Japan as a land of "corporate warriors," today Japan has become known for its popular culture, critiques of environmental destruction, and a gentler variety of capitalism. We explore key social issues including gender, labor, affect, sports, media, popular culture, biopolitics, law, demography and population control.  Amy Borovoy

ANT 357 The Skilled Body (SA)                    
How are bodily practices cultivated and transmitted? What are the politics of embodiment, and why do they matter? Grappling with these questions from an anthropological perspective can flesh out the recalcitrant relationships among categories such as body and mind, nature and culture, and theory and practice. We will read case studies from a variety of domains of social life in which the body is disciplined, trained, or otherwise made central.  Perry Sherouse

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/ TPP 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

ART 269/ LAS 269/ ANT 369 Objects of Andean Art (LA)                       
This course provides an overview of Pre-Columbian Andean art, taught from objects in the University's art museum and nearby collections. Particular attention will be paid to textiles, organic materials, and their biological origins. Students will have weekly opportunities to examine objects firsthand. Assignments will develop broad art historical research skills of object study, writing about objects, and visual documentation of objects (photography, analytical illustration, etc.) Excursions and demonstrations of materials and techniques, generously supported by PLAS, will make the course ideal for hands-on and experiential learners.  Andrew Hamilton

GHP 350 / WWS 380 / ANT 380 Critical Perspectives in Global Health (SA)
Global health brings together a vast and diverse array of actors working to address urgent health issues worldwide with unprecedented financial and technological resources and informed by various agendas. This course is a critical analysis of the social, political, and economic processes related to this expanding field. As we scrutinize the value systems that underpin specific paradigms in global health, we will place current interventions in historical perspective and gauge their benefits and unintended consequences. Students are encouraged to find new and collaborative ways to understand and act in and through the field of global health. João Biehl

ANT 390A or ANT 390B 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. (ANT 390A is for all students other than seniors in the Anthropology major. ANT 390B is reserved for seniors in the Anthropology major, as it includes enrollment in the Senior Seminar.  ANT 390A and B are otherwise the same, and meet together.)  Elizabeth 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 production of knowledge about societies. Topics will include: relation of social thought to literary criticism and theories of social description. Abdellah Hammoudi

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 521 Topics in Theory and Practice of Anthropology: Anthropology of the Self      
From Buddhism in Asia to psychoanalysis in the West, the self is an important object of speculation, analysis, and power. Through ethnography, psychoanalysis, literature, philosophy, television serials, and film, we examine three questions: How is the self formed? Under what conditions can the self change? What is the self's relationship to Oedipal triangulation and capitalism? The goal is to arrive at a deeper and more nuanced understanding of the self as an object, and of the ethical and social implications of this understanding.  John Borneman

ANT 541 Topics in Social Anthropology: Evidential Regimes in Development Theory  
This graduate seminar questions the evidence used to make claims about how to make the world a better place. In particular this course weighs the anthropological evidence about culture and experience against the claims made by development experts about social progress. Do states need experts to manage development? Or are humans innately capable of effectively managing their own destinies without expert knowledge? Discussions also focus on the role of power and authority in shaping people's expectations for the future. Carolyn Rouse