Courses Offered 2017-2018 Spring

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. Rena Lederman

ANT 206A /AFS 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. Janet Monge

ANT 206B /EEB 306 /AFS 206B  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 for lectures and precepts; additionally, ANT 206B requires completion of a fossil lab project and offers EEB credit.) Janet Monge 

ART 103 /LAS 215 /ANT 233 Arts of Americas: The First 5,000 Years (EC)
You live in the Americas: do you know about the prolific cultures who lived here before the European conquests? Are you curious about art, but wish you had a more hands-on understanding instead of seeing it behind glass? Do you wonder how a Eurocentric academic discipline might construct knowledge differently if considered from a non-European point of view? This course will provide both an introduction to art history through the ancient Americas, and to ancient American cultures, thoughts, and beliefs through their arts. Precept will meet in the study room of the Art Museum, where we’ll study up close its world-class Americas collection. Andrew J. Hamilton

ANT 235 /HUM 235 Medical Humanities (EM)
How might the humanities deepen our understanding of disease, healing, and care? This course draws from anthropological approaches and dialogues with history, literature, philosophy, ethics, religion, film and visual arts to understand the cross-cultural significance of medicine and present-day struggles for wellbeing in the United States and comparatively. As we inquire into the ways biosocial and medical realities actively shape each other, we will become familiarized with ethnographic research methods and critical ethical debates. Students will be encouraged to develop community-based research and to experiment with modes of expression. João Biehl, Amy Krauss

ANT 301A or ANT 301B The Ethnographer’s Craft (SA) 
What are the core approaches of the anthropological method, as well as the distinctive forms of knowledge that they offer? How has ethnography emerged within a broader universe of social scientific approaches? We examine classical methods, their itineraries in multiple ethnographic domains, and their afterlives in the plurality of contemporary anthropology. We examine these techniques with careful attention to their social, political, and ethical dimensions. In so doing, we work to understand the perils and the great revelatory power of ethnography, including the many counterintuitive and creative insights it can offer into our own worlds. Andrew A. Johnson

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

ANT 313 /CWR 213  The Anthropology of Awe and Terror (EC)
This course explores encounters with awe and terror via the “sublime” experience. How are these inner states generated and represented in a variety of cultural, political, emotive and artistic contexts? From trembling at a mountain, to being struck mute by the threat of nuclear warfare or the reality of climate change, how are our relationships to the phenomena of the world un/made by our experiences of the unspeakable? Our inquiries include: harm and the 21st century warscape; encounters with beauty and violence; wonder as a means of decentering ourselves; and the perils of “stuplimity,” as astonishment gives way to boredom then apathy. Nomi Stone

ANT 319 /NES 319 Revolt (SA)
Talk about revolt and resistance is everywhere. But what do those words mean? In this course we will think about revolt and resistance by focusing on the case of the Middle East in a global context. We will study the “Arab Spring”, the history of revolt in the Middle East, Occupy Wall Street, and different perspectives on what revolt and resistance mean. Readings draw on social theory, anthropology, sociology, history and the arts. Julia Elyachar

MUS 250 /ANT 358 Musical Cultures of the World (LA)
Course explores aesthetic principles and social context underlying traditional and popular musics of various world regions, drawing on examples from South Africa, Japan, India, and Indonesia, among other places. Issues explored include conception of melody and rhythm in culture; the impact that language, pedagogical methods, patronage systems, gender, and ethnic or class identity have had on musical composition and performance; and the role of migration, globalization, and politics in the development of musical style. Gavin Steingo 

ART 365 /LAS 370 /ANT 365 Olmec Art (LA)
This course surveys Olmec and related material culture spanning roughly 2000-500 B.C., including architecture and monumental sculpture, ceramic vessels and figurines, and exquisite small-scale sculpture in jade and other precious materials. Of central theoretical importance is the question of how we understand and interpret art from a distant past, especially without the aid of contemporaneous written records. We will focus on original works of art, including works in the Princeton University Art Museum and in regional collections. Issues of authenticity, quality, and provenance related to these works will also be considered. Bryan Just

AAS 302 /SOC 303 /ANT 378 /GHP 302 Political Bodies: The Social Anatomy of Power & Difference (SA)
Students will learn about the human body in its social, cultural and political contexts. The framing is sociological rather than biomedical, attentive to cultural meanings, institutional practices, politics and social problems. The course explicitly discusses bodies in relation to race, class, gender, sexuality, ability, age, health, geography and citizenship status, carefully examining how social differences come to appear natural. Analyzing clinics, prisons, border zones, virtual realities and more, students develop a conceptual toolkit to analyze how society “gets under the skin”, producing differential exposure to premature death. Ruha Benjamin

ART 367 / LAS 373 / ANT 379 Inca Art and Architecture (EC)
This course examines the art, architecture, and worldview of the greatest Andean civilization, the Incas. Conquered in 1532 by the Spanish, the Incas are known through archaeological and historical sources. Neither, however, can be taken at face value. The destructions of the conquest and differential preservation mean the archaeological record is incomplete. Likewise, Spanish historical sources present the Incas through European understandings, logic, and attentions. This course compares the two to reach a nuanced understanding of this ancient civilization. A spring break excursion will visit Cusco, Machu Picchu, and Lima. Andrew J. Hamilton

ANT 405 /GSS 406 Topics in Anthropology: Queer Ethnography (SA)
The course explores the discursive construction of sexuality through an examination of the field of queer anthropology. To do so, we first ask: How did anthropologists (e.g., Mead, Newton) represent cultural variation of same-sex sexuality and sex/gender systems before the emergence of the language we have today? We then read key queer texts and analyze how they have transformed ethnographic approaches to non-normative sexualities. And finally, we conduct close readings of contemporary queer ethnographies (e.g., Weiss, Plemons). We will be attentive to the implications of queer ethnographic approaches for ethnographic methods and practice. Justin D. Perez

ANT 421 /AFS 320 The Resource Curse and Development in Africa (SA)
This course examines the relationship between natural resource wealth and development in Africa. The dominant discourse on resource wealth on the continent has largely been associated with the resource curse. The construction and reproduction of the resource curse thesis is explored, particularly against the backdrop of the recent resource boom and scramble on the continent, and the changes that have occurred in Africa’s resource-rich economies. It seeks to address the following questions. Is resource endowment inimical to development in Africa? What causes the resource curse in Africa? How can the resource curse be overcome in Africa? Godwin N. Onuoha

ANT 454 Transcultural Cinema (SA)
How does cinema convey difference and experience across cultures? This course examines anthropology’s ambivalent relationship to visuality and documentary film, focusing on the particular case of ethnographic film. We begin with classic works that raise questions of documentary realism, colonialism and anthropological knowledge, and then widen our view with works that surface questions of embodiment, performance and identity, including works by Native peoples who had been the subjects of documentary films. Throughout, we remain in touch with the material properties of film as a signifying practice and the wider role of documentary in society. Jeffrey D. Himpele

ANT 502 Proseminar in Anthropology
Second term of a year long course on sociocultural anthropology, required for first-year graduate students in anthropology, and open to graduate students in other disciplines with the permission of the instructor. The seminar focuses on debates generated and sustained by contemporary anthropology’s engagements with ethnographic fieldwork and writing.  Rena Lederman

ANT 522A Topics in Theory and Practice of Anthropology (Half-Term, 0.5 credit course): Crisis
The idea of crisis is ubiquitous today. Although it could be argued that each epoch in the modern era has been regarded by its contemporary as a time of crisis, the present moment seems to offer certain particular traits in terms of the quality, intensity and spread of its crisis – ecological, social, political, moral, cognitive. How can we analyze the insistent discourse on crisis, with its apocalyptic resonance, as well as the actual situation of crisis, with its multiple facets? How are critique and crisis related? These questions are addressed from an anthropological perspective in discussion with adjacent disciplines. Didier Fassin

ANT 522B Topics in Theory and Practice of Anthropology (Half-Term, 0.5 credit course): Peopling Critical Theory 
This seminar explores the unfinishedness of human subjects and lifeworlds, advancing the conceptual terrain of an anthropology of becoming. People’s plasticity trouble and exceed ways of knowing and acting, opening new channels for research, creative expression, and critical theory. As we consider the array of affects, ideas, forces, and objects that shape contemporary modes of existence and dissect present-day regimes of veridiction and falsification, we explore how ethnographic subjects can become alternative figures of thought and restore a sense of movement, surprise, and possibility to ethics and political practice. João Biehl

ANT 570 Interdisciplinary Research: 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