Graduate Courses Fall term 2018


                               Socio-Cultural Anthropology



       Physical Anthropology
           Research Courses

This schedule is subject to change

Please visit the Directory of Classes for times and classroom locations:

Academic Calendar

For Cross-Registration Information refer to:

For Registration Dates refer to:


Courses in Sociocultural Anthropology

ANTH GR5201x PRINCIPLES AND APPLICATIONS OF SOCIAL AND CULTURAL ANTHROPOLOGY  3 pts. Ellen Marakowitz.  Introductory survey of major concepts and areas of research in social and cultural anthropology. Emphasis is on both the field as it is currently constituted and its relationship to other scholarly and professional disciplines. Required for students in Anthropology Department's master degree program and for students in the graduate programs of other departments and professional schools desiring an introduction in this field.  Course open to for Mas in Anthropology.  Others must email

ANTH GRG6028x MASTERY OF NON-MASTERY 3 pts.  Michael Taussig.  that yielding water in motion, gets the better in the end of granite and porphyry. Focusing on specific instances of craft as resistance to the speed-up in our work and lives, this seminar explores the possibilities for a new ethic and practical relationship between technology and nature, not as domination but as a continuous unwinding of such domination that I call, following Benjamin and Bataille, "the mastery of non-mastery." Drawing on an anthropology of mimesis, metamorphosis, and the bodily unconscious, such unwinding includes perusal of Hegel's chapter on master and slave, Mauss' "Techniques of the Body," and discussion of the trick as in shamanic conjuring and fictocriticism.  Enrollment limited to 20.  Instructor’s permission required.  Graduate level course.

ANTH GR6038x PLACE, SPACE, NATURE 3 pts.  Paige West.   This class examines the social production of space, place, and nature. Three discursive and material fields that must be understood if we are to practice a conceptually rigorous and politically engaged contemporary anthropology. In the course we will examine how these fields have recently been studied, described, conceptualized, and theorized.  We will explore these ideas through the reading of works by anthropologists, historians, and geographers, looking at how the changing nature of places affects both the discipline of anthropology and the ways in which anthropologists conduct research in places. Enrollment limited to 15.  Instructor’s permission required. Graduate level course.

ANTH GR6067x LANGUAGE AND ITS LIMITS  3 pts. Elizabeth Green.  Enrollment linited to 15. Graduate level course.

ANTH GR6070x MAKING ETHNOGRAPHY:  METHOD AND WRITING 3 pts. Yasmin Cho.  This course offers a hands-on introduction to key methods of ethnographic fieldwork while exploring both practical and critical questions raised by the production of ethnographic knowledge. Students will become familiar with the diverse techniques collected under the heading of 'ethnographic research' and will put these into action through a series of mini-research assignments. These assignments-and the successes, failures, surprises, disappointments and dilemmas students encounter in carrying them out-also provide the raw material through which we consider the epistemological and ethical possibilities and limits of ethnographic knowledge. Thus we take up ethnographic fieldwork and writing as situated practices with powerful histories, rather than as neutral methodological tools. Readings include examples of various kinds of ethnographic text (including images) and critical reflections on ethnography itself. Mini research assignments comprise a scaled-down dry run of ethnography making, giving students practice at preparing research proposals, conducting field observation and interviews, and turning these into contextualized ethnographic texts. Enrollment limited to 20.  Instructor's permission required.  Graduate level course.

ANTH GR6078x STRANGE RESONANCES, CLOSE LISTENINGS: ETHNOGRAPHY AND SOUND  3 pts. John Pemberton.   How does one live with sound and move within worlds of sound? How does one think with sound, and through sound? In pursuit of such questions, the course explores: soundscapes and sound arts; echoes of audible pasts and resonances of auditory cultures; sound and the uncanny; repeated listenings in the age of electronic reproduction, ethereal transmissions, and audio-vision; sounds at the edges of listening with experimental music and sonic installations.  Sound, chambers, noise, feedback, voice, resonance, silence: from the sirens of the Odyssey, to compositional figures ala John Cage, to contemporary everyday acoustical adventures, if one were to really listen, closely, how might one write about sound?  How might one rethink the ties between sound and image?  Who/what might the listening subject be?  Instructor's permission required. Graduate level course.

ANTH GR6245x PERSONHOOD 3 pts.  Mariajose de Abreu.  This seminar seeks to engage with materials that question personhood. Drawing on both fictional and non-fictional accounts, we will be involved with textual and visual documents as well institutional contexts in order to revisit such notion under contemporary capitalism. We will cover topics like rites of passage and life cycle, the role of the nation state and local communities in defining a person, the relation between self and non-self, between the living and the dead. We will likewise address vicarious forms of personhood through the prosthetic, the avatar or the anonymous. But we will also look into forms of dissipation of personhood and unreliable agency where subjects become more like a medium through which to think rhythms and ongoing infrastructures of the living. As a whole, the course will bring to light how the question of personhood cross-culturally relates to language, performativity, religion, law, gender, race, class, care, life and death. Enrollment limit is 20.  Instructor’s permission required. Graduate level course.

ANME GR6406x MODERN STATE/COLONIAL SUBJECT 3 pts. Mahmood Mamdani. On the development of legal thought on the colonial subject. Focus on the American Indian in the New World, and subjugated peoples in the Ottoman Empire, in British India and in tropical and southern Africa.  Enrollment limited to 15.  Instructor's permission required. Graduate level course.

ANTH GR6601x QUESTIONS-ANTHROP THRY I: TEXTS 3 pts.  David Scott.  Presents students with critical theories of society, paying particular attention to classic continental social theory of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. We will trace a trajectory through important French and German writings essential for any understanding of the modern discipline of anthropology: from Saussure through Durkheim and Mauss, Marx, Weber, and on to the structuralist elaboration of these theoretical perspectives in Claude Lévi-Strauss, always bearing in mind the relationship of these theories to contemporary anthropology. We come last to Foucault and affiliated theorists as successors both to French structuralism and to German social theory and its concerns with modernity, rationality, and power. Throughout the readings, we will give special care to questions of signification as they inform anthropological inquiry, and we will be alert to the historical contexts that situate the discipline of anthropology today.  Graduate level course. Course open to 1st year PhDs in ANTH only.

ANHS GR8014x ADVANCED STUDIES IN SOUTH ASIAN HISTORY, HISTORY, CULTURE, AND SOCIETY. 3 pts.  Partha Chatterjee. This course is intended to be an advanced graduate seminar on late medieval and modern South Asia (i.e., from roughly 1600 to the present). Students will be expected either to have taken a previous graduate course on South Asia or to have extensive background in South Asian studies. The content of the course will change from year to year depending on the particular interests of the students and the professor. Students will be expected to prepare a paper based on primary research, and will make a presentation on the issues involved in their research at some point during the second half of the term. Prerequisites: previous graduate course on South Asia or background in South Asian studies. Enrollment limited to 15. Instructor's permission required. Graduate level course.

Art History GR8483x INTRODUCTION TO COMPARATIVE MEDIA 3 pts.  Brian Larkin.  Enrollment limited to 12. Instructor’s permission required. Graduate level course.

Back to Top

Courses in Archaeology


ANEE GU4522x THE EMERGING CITY: ENVIRONMENTAL HISTORIES OF NEW YORK 4 pts.  Zoe Crossland and Jonathan Nichols. Are we living in the ‘Anthropocene’, a time period that is qualitatively different in terms of human destruction of ecosystems and effects on the planet, or are we seeing the cumulative and unevenly distributed effects of much longer-term trajectories? To assess these questions a range of different sedimentological markers have been proposed: the polluting by-products of the Industrial Revolution; the wide ranging deposition of synthetic plastics; and the distinct signature of 20th century nuclear tests. The Anthropocene debate brings together a futureoriented political project to raise awareness of the accelerating rate of change to the world’s environments, and geological, archaeological and palaeoenvironmental data that are used to explore the past. To understand the full implications and effects of the debates around human impact on the environment we will track the environmental history of New York City and its environs. This course for advanced undergraduate and graduate students will provide training in palaeoenvironmental and archaeological methods and data literacy, as well as offering a critical assessment of the ways in which this evidence is interpreted and brought into larger scientific and policy debates. Students will be taught to collect, analyze and combine disparate data sets from several disciplines by exploring the palaeoenvironmental history of the New York City urban area, drawing on archaeology, history and the earth and environmental sciences to do so.  Sessions at Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory & NYC Archaeology.  Enrollment limited to 20 and the Instructor's permission is required. ENROLLMENT PRIORITIES:  ARCHAEOLOGY MAJORS AND GRAD STUDENTS + DEES MAJORS AND GRAD STUDENTS

ANTH GR6085x THING THEORY 3 pts. Hannah Chazin.  An intensified concern with thingness and materiality has emerged in the past decade as an explicitly interdisciplinary endeavor involving anthropologists, archaeologists, art historians, literary critics, and philosophers among others. The new material culture studies that has resulted inverts the longstanding study of how people make things by asking also how things make people, how objects mediate social relationships--ultimately how inanimate objects can be read as having a form of agency of their own. Readings will be drawn from foundational texts in this recent work by Daniel Miller, Alfred Gell, Bill Brown, Nicholas Thomas, and others that have situated their work at the boundaries between such things as object and subject, gift and commodity, art and artifact, the alienability and inalienability of things, as well as--at a disciplinary level--the distinction between ethnography, archaeology, and art history. Enrollment limited to 12. Instructor’s permission required. Graduate level course.

ANTH GR6205x RESEARCH DESIGN IN ANTHROPOLOGY 3 pts. Terence D’Altroy.  Research design in anthropology (all subfields), from theoretical conceptualization to problem formation, methods, and grant writing. Graduate level course.



Courses in Museum Anthropology

Back to Top

ANTH GR5361x Ethical Issue in Museums 3 pts. Museum professionals make decisions with ethical and legal implications regularly, seldom giving these judgments little thought.  In part this is because these decisions are based upon values that become second nature.  Occasionally, they confront especially difficult or challenging dilemmas and stop to think about ethics.   Perhaps the circumstances for making the decision have changed.  For example, constraints due to the current economic climate might make a decision more difficult, or the changing demographics of a museum's audiences might call into a question the advisability of relying upon accepted practice.  Then, one must consider what is the right or wrong thing to do. How should we assess the possible consequences of our actions?.  Graduate level course. Enrollment limit is 14 and priority is given to  M.A. Museum Anthropology students, all others must have instructor permission

ANTH GR6352x MUSEUM ANTHROP: HIST & THEORY 3pts. Brian Boyd. This course will consider museums as reflectors of social priorities which store important objects and display them in ways that present significant cultural messages. Students visit several New York museums to learn how a museum functions.  Graduate level course. Enrollment limited to 15. Open to MUSA students. Others must get instructor's permission.

ANTH GR6652x DIGITAL MEDIA, MATERIALITY AND CULTURAL PRACTICE 3 pts. Instructor to be announced.  Class sessions will include the discussion of assigned readings, multimedia, and digital resources, as well as short lectures. Each student will co-lead one discussion section during the term. During most classes there will be presentation and discussion of student assignments. In this course we will learn how to digitally map and visualize museum systems and use this knowledge to facilitate a visitors journey from thinking to making. In the first part of the semester readings, class discussion and weekly “experiments” will be used to investigate how mapping, sketching, and modeling techniques can help develop sustainable frameworks for exhibition. In the second part of the semester we will begin modeling solutions and use these models to refine the way we communicate them to various stakeholders and audiences. Ultimately, the course aims to help students clearly articulate their thinking, explore ways of planning and communicating solutions and develop new models of engagement and action in an exhibition context. The class will combine lectures, seminars, field observation and prototyping.  Graduate level course. Enrollment limited to 15. Instructor’s permission required (

ANTH GR9110x Museum Anthropology Internship I. 3-6 pts. Brian Boyd.  An internship arranged through the Museum Anthropology program of 10 hrs/week (for 3 credits) or 20 hrs/week (for 6). Involves "meaningful" work, requires keeping a journal and writing a paper at the completion of the semester. Not to be taken without permission of the program directors, usually after completing the Museum Anthropology core courses.  This course is only open to MA students in the Museum Anthropology program. Instructor's permission required. Graduate level course.

ANTH G9111x Museum Anthropology Internship II.  3-6 pts. Brian Boyd. An internship arranged through the Museum Anthropology program of 10 hrs/week (for 3 credits) or 20 hrs/week (for 6). Involves "meaningful" work, requires keeping a journal and writing a paper at the completion of the semester. Not to be taken without permission of the program directors, usually after completing the Museum Anthropology core courses.  This course is only open to MA students in the Museum Anthropology program.  Instructor's permission required. Graduate level course.


Courses in Biological/Physical Anthropology

Courses not offered fall term 2018

Back to Top

Graduate Research Courses

ANTH GR9999x Wednesday Seminar.  0 pts.  Brian Larkin.  Registration is only open to Anthropology PhD students in residence.  All others graduate students in Anthropolgy are required to attend. Reports of ongoing research are presented by staff members, students, and special guests Graduate Independent Research Courses in Anthropology:  Please refer to the online directory of courses

Other Graduate Independent Research Courses in Anthropology:  Please refer to the online directory of courses



Back to Top