This schedule is subject to change
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ANTH GR5114y Religion and Media. 3 pts. Brian Larkin. Reading theories of media and of religion we will examine how transformations in media technology shift the ways in which religion is encoded into semiotic forms, how these forms are realized in performative contexts and how these affect the constitution of religious subjects and religious authority. Prerequisites: the instructor's permission is required. Enrollment limit is 16.
ANTH GR5172y Written Culture. 3 pts. Brinkley Messick. At the turn of the twentieth century, writing was considered the evolutionary "hallmark" of civilization. Its presence or absence in societies also served to demarcate the boundaries of disciplinary inquiry, with anthropologists then specialized in peoples "without" writing. In recent decades, however, as critical reflection began to focus on writings by anthropologists, attention also turned to what James Clifford referred to as "the scratching of other pens." Studies of our own and other textualities now are part of advancing conversations between Anthropology, History and Literary Studies. Among other topics, we will study the earlier print revolution for ideas that might help us understand "texting" and other aspects of writing in the current digital revolution. Enrollment limit is 15.
ANTH GR5282y Islamic Law. 3 pts. Brinkley Messick. An introductory survey of the history and contents of the Shari'a, combined with a critical review of Orientalist and contemporary scholarship on Islamic law. In addition to models for the ritual life, we will examine a number of social, economic, and political constructs contained in Shari`a doctrine, including the concept of an Islamic state, and we also will consider the structure of litigation in courts. Seminar paper. Enrollment limit is 15.
ANTH GR6079y Reading, Writing, Ethnography. 3 pts. Rosalind Morris. “Reading, Writing, Ethnography” undertakes a survey of exemplary texts in order to explore the histories, genre conventions and experimental forms for writing ethnography. The course focuses on the monograph form, and is especially concerned with the ways in which empirical observation is made the ground of theoretical abstraction and generalizing claims. Additionally, it examines the relationship between different theoretical and aesthetic movements as these have influenced the writings of anthropologists and those whose work can be considered to have an anthropological ambition—even when they have not been formally trained in anthropology. We will examine the influence of various modernisms—realist and surrealist—on the discipline, as well as the sometimes awkward relations between structuralist, psychoanalytic, and postcolonial theory as they have (and have not) been realized in the writing projects of ethnographers. “Reading, Writing, Ethnography” undertakes a survey of exemplary texts in order to explore the histories, genre conventions and experimental forms for writing ethnography. The course focuses on the monograph form, and is especially concerned with the ways in which empirical observation is made the ground of theoretical abstraction and generalizing claims. Additionally, it examines the relationship between different theoretical and aesthetic movements as these have influenced the writings of anthropologists and those whose work can be considered to have an anthropological ambition—even when they have not been formally trained in anthropology. We will examine the influence of various modernisms—realist and surrealist—on the discipline, as well as the sometimes awkward relations between structuralist, psychoanalytic, and postcolonial theory as they have (and have not) been realized in the writing projects of ethnographers. Instructor's permission required. Enrollment limit is 15.
ANTH GR6157y The Idea of a Radical Black Tradition. 3 pts. David Scott. This course will seek to raise and think through the following questions: What does it mean to talk today about a black radical tradition? What has it meant in the past to speak in these (or cognate) terms? And if we take the debate in part at least to inhabit a normative discursive space, an argumentative space in which to make claims on the moral-political present, what ought it to mean to talk about a black radical tradition? Enrollment limit is 15.
ANTH GR6116y Questions in Theory: Sociality and the Countpurs of Life. 3 pts. Yasmin Cho. This course is designed for students in their first-year of the MA program in the Department of Anthropology. In it, we will explore the generative tensions within concepts of 'the social' that have animated anthropological theory since its earliest days. Combining canonical texts with contemporary ethnography, explore foundational questions about the making and valuing of kinds of humans (and convivial non-humans) and about the production, aggregation, and disaggregation of their collectivities. Ultimately we consider the recent turn to theories of life itself in light of these longstanding questions, and along the way, we will encounter such varied 'big thinkers' of collective life as Engels, Durkheim, Levi-Strauss, Foucault, and Harraway. We will range over a varied territory of ethnographic topics-from intimacy and personhood, to suicide, to nature/culture-each of which richly illustrates the productive problems of personhood, sociality, commensurability, and history for which anthropological theory strives to account. Enrollment limited to 20. Open to MAs in ANTH, others please email to firstname.lastname@example.org
ANTH GR6212y Seminar: Principles and Applications in Social and Cultural Anthropology. 3 pts. Ellen Marakowitz. Focus on research and writing for the Master's level thesis, including research design, bibliography and background literature development, and writing. Prerequisites: ANTH G4201 Principles and Applications of Social and Cultural Anthropology and the instructor's permission.
ANTH GR6245y Personhood. 3pts. Maria Jose 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 priorities: ANTHROPOLOGY-INTRODUCTION TO SOCIO & CULTURAL THEORY and instructor's permission. Enrollment limit is
ANTH GR6602y Questions in Anthropological Theory II: Texts. 3 pts. Nadia Abu El-Haj. This course surveys the historical relationships between anthropological thought and its generic inscription in the form of ethnography. Readings of key ethnographic texts will be used to chart the evolving paradigms and problematics through which the disciplines practitioners have conceptualized their objects and the discipline itself. The course focuses on serveral key questions, including: the modernity of anthropology and the value of primitivism; the relationship betweeen history and eventfulness in the representation of social order, and related to this, the question of anti-sociality (in crime, witchcraft, warfare, and other kinds of violence); the idea of a cultural world view; voice, language, and translation; and the relationship between the form and content of a text. Assignments include weekly readings and reviews of texts, and a substantial piece of ethnographic writing. Limited to PhD students in Anthropology, or special permission email email@example.com
ANTH GR6649y Dark Ecologies: Ecocritical Thought Now. 3pts. Marilyn Ivy. Referencing the work of influential ecocritic Timothy Morton, this seminar aims to disclose what an anthropologically informed, ecocritical cultural studies can offer in this moment of intensifying ecological calamity. With global warming and associated crises of pollution, habitat and species extinction, new forms of disease, and nuclear fears, there is a pervasive anxiety about the fate of the earth and, with it, life itself. How can ecocritical thought grapple with the current catastrophe? This seminar will engage significant works in anthropology, ecocriticism, philosophy, literature, political thought, and aesthetics to help us think about this central question. Enrollment limit is 20.
ANTH GU4235y Afterlives: Mortuary Archaeology in History and Theory. 3 pts. Zoe Crossland. This colloquium explores changing theoretical paradigms in archaeology through the lens of mortuary archaeology. We will consider how archaeologists have traditionally drawn upon the evidence of the dead body to address questions of demography, pathology, and social and political identities. These approaches will be juxtaposed against more recent concerns including questions of embodiment and personhood. Archaeological exhumation itself will be situated as part of a range of materializing practices that create the dead as objects of analysis, and as differentiated from the living. Topics will also include the ethics of excavation, reburial and repatriation of human remains and changing contemporary attitudes to the dead. Enrollment priorities: Majors and Concentrators in Archaeology or Archaeological Anthropology. Prerequisite Courses: Recommended ANTH UN2028 or ANTH UN203. Instructor’s permission required. Enrollment limit is 15.
ANTH GR6051y Value, Objects, and Meaning. 3pts. Hannah Chazin. This course explores how anthropologists have engaged with the question of value as means of understanding and comparing human social engagement with the creation, circulation, and consumption of objects and ideas. In doing so, this course will read classical anthropological texts concerned with exchange, social meaning and action and consider a variety of topics of anthropological interest such as debt, commodities, fetishes, and money. In addition, we will read from a variety of other theoretical literatures that have informed anthropological discussions about the relationship between value, materiality, and semiotics. Instructor’s permission. Enrollment limit is 20.
ANTH GR6192y Exhibitions: Practical Considerations. 3 pts. David Havery. This course addresses the practical challenges entailed in the process of creating a successful exhibition. Developing an actual curatorial project, students will get an opportunity to apply the museum anthropology theory they are exposed to throughout the program. They will be given a hands-on approach to the different stages involved in the curation of a show, from the in-depth researching of a topic to the writing, editing and design of an exhibition that will be effective for specific audiences. Prerequisites:: ANTH GR6352, GR6353, GR9110, GR9111. The instructor's permission required. Enrollment limit is 13. Note: Course will meet off campus at AMNH EX 4TH FLR.
ANTH GR6365y Exhibition Practice in Global Context. 3 pts. Adam Watson. This course is a continuation of Museum Anthropology G6352 (not a prerequisite). Through the study of museum exhibitions, this course explores a series of debates about the representation of culture in museums, the politics of identity, and the significance of objects. We will consider the museum as a contemporary and variable form, as a site for the expression of national, group, and individual identity and as a site of performance and consumption. We will consider how exhibits are developed, what they aim to convey, what makes them effective (or not), and how they sometimes become flashpoints of controversy. Because the work of museums is visual, enacted through the display of material forms, we will also consider the transformation of objects into artifacts and as part of exhibitions, addressing questions of meaning, ownership, value, and magic. We will look at this range of issues from the point of view of practitioners, critics, and audiences. Permission required for non-Museum Anth MA students. Enrollment limit is 15. Note: Course will meet off campus at AMNH EX 4TH FLR.
ANTH GR9110y 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.
ANTH G9111y 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.
ANTH GU4148y Human Skeletal Biology II. 3 pts. Ralph Holloway. Recommended for archaeology and physical anthropology students, pre-meds, and biology majors interested in the human skeletal system. Intensive study of human skeletal materials using anatomical and anthropological landmarks to assess sex, age, and ethnicity of bones. Other primate skeletal materials and fossil casts used for comparative study. Enrollment limit is 12. Prerequisites: the instructor's permission.
ANTH GR9999y 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 http://www.columbia.edu/cu/bulletin/uwb/