Courses - Fall 2021

Detailed descriptions of Undergraduate and Graduate courses may be found under the accordion headings below. Additional information and registration details, including days and times, and classroom locations, may be obtained from the Course Directory and Vergil.


 

COURSE LISTINGS

 

COURSES IN SOCIOCULTURAL ANTHROPOLOGY:

 

Anthropology UN1002 THE INTERPRETATION OF CULTURE.  3pts. Instructor: Syantani Chatterjee.  The anthropological approach to the study of culture and human society. Case studies from ethnography are used in exploring the universality of cultural categories (social organization, economy, law, belief system, art, etc.) and the range of variation among human societies.

Anthropology UN2004 INTRO TO SOC & CULTURAL THEORY. 3 pts. Instructor:  John Pemberton.  This course presents students with crucial theories of society, paying particular attention at the outset to classic social theory of the early 20th century. It traces a trajectory of writings essential for an understanding of the social: from Saussure, Durkheim, Mauss, Weber, and Marx, on to the structuralist ethnographic elaboration of Claude Levi-Strauss and the historiographic reflections on modernity of Michel Foucault. We revisit periodically, writings from Franz Boas, founder of anthropology in the United States (and of Anthropology at Columbia), for a sense of origins, an early anthropological critique of racism and cultural chauvinism, and a prescient denunciation of fascism.  We turn as well, also with ever-renewed interest in these times, to the expansive critical thought of W. E. B. Du Bois.  We conclude with Kathleen Stewart’s A Space on the Side of the Road--an ethnography of late-twentieth-century Appalachia and the haunted remains of coal-mining country--with its depictions of an uncanny otherness within dominant American narratives. 

Anthropology UN3040 ANTHROPOLOGICAL THEORY.  3 pts.  Instructor: Brian Larkin.  Prerequisites: an introductory course in anthropology. Institutions of social life. Kinship and locality in the structuring of society. Monographs dealing with both literate and nonliterate societies will be discussed in the context of anthropological fieldwork methods. Required of all Anthropology majors (and tracks) within the Barnard Department. As of Fall, 2018, UN 3040 replaces the two semester sequence of 3040/4041 Anthropological Theory I/II). Intended only for Barnard majors and minors.

Anthropology UN3071 ETHOS OF CARE: REPARATION AND REPAIR.  4 pts.  Instructor:  Anna Schirrer. In the age of human rights, governments and individuals are increasingly being called upon to embrace responsibility for historical injustices, to reckon with and repair past wrongdoings. Demands for reparations and repair are not new, what is new, however, is the conversation about reparations and repair occurring across multiple scales. Propelled by an ‘ethos of care’ that increasingly seems to orient contemporary politics this interdisciplinary seminar asks: what are the moral and material implications of this ethos of care? What are the possibilities and limitations of reparations and promises of repair? How do these social phenomena intersect with historically contingent demands to a debt that is owed? This course investigates apologies, their symbolic and performative implications to understand material questions of repair, debt and redistribution. Drawing from cultural anthropology, history, international law, and human rights studies, we will ground our conceptual conversation in a number of historical and ongoing instances of racial injustices focusing on three cases studies related to transatlantic slavery, racial segregation and Native genocide.  Enrollment limit is 15.

Anthropology UN3726 ANTHROPOLOGY OF MANAGEMENT CONSULTING: KNOWLEDGE PRODUCERS IN THE NEW ECONOMY4 its. Instructor: Omer Shah. "From “diversity management” in the workplace to the “Ministry of McKinsey” that dominates various Gulf monarchies, the discourses, rhetorics, and recommendations of consultants proliferate globally as we careen from one endless crisis to another. This reading intensive course will explore the histories, aesthetics, affects, and logics that have produced this shadowy, yet cheerful figure of “the consultant.” Critically, the course also explores how the figure of the consultant transforms ideas of knowledge-production, political responsibility, urban forms, imperialism, and ideas of the future. While the proximity of the consultant to the anthropologist is of particular interest, students will read widely across different academic disciplines."

Anthropology UN3821 NATIVE AMERICA.  4 pts.  Instructor:  Audra Simpson.  This is an undergraduate seminar that takes up primary and secondary sources and reflections to: a) provide students with an historical overview of Native American issues and representational practices, b) provide students with an understanding of the ways in which land expropriation and concomitant military and legal struggle have formed the core of Native-State relations and are themselves central to American and Native American history and culture, and c) provide students with an understanding of Native representational practices, political subjectivity, and aspiration.

Anthropology UN3829 ABSENT BODIES.  4 pts.  Instructor:  Lesley Sharp.  Prerequisites: Open to undergrad majors; others with the instructor’s permission. Across a range of cultural and historic contexts, one encounters traces of bodies - and persons - rendered absent, invisible, or erased. Knowledge of the ghostly presence nevertheless prevails, revealing an inextricable relationship between presence and absence. This course addresses the theme of absent bodies in such contexts as war and other memorials, clinical practices, and industrialization, with interdisciplinary readings drawn from anthropology, war and labor histories, and dystopic science fiction.

Anthropology UN3861 ANTHROP OF THE ANTHROPOCENE.  4pts. Instructor: 
Patrick Nason.  This course focuses on the political ecology of the  Anthropocene. As multiple publics become increasingly aware of the  extensive and accelerated rate of current global environmental change,  and the presence of anthropogenesis in ever expanding circumstances, we 
need to critically analyze the categories of thought and action being  developed in order to carefully approach this change. Our concern is  thus not so much the Anthropocene as an immutable fact, inevitable  event, or definitive period of time (significant though these are), but  rather for the political, social, and intellectual consequences of this  important idea. Thus we seek to understand the creativity of The  Anthropocene as a political, rhetorical, and social category. We also 
aim to examine the networks of capital and power that have given rise to  the current state of planetary change, the strategies for ameliorating  those changes, and how these are simultaneously implicated in the  rhetorical creation of The Anthropocene.

Anthropology UN3888 ECOCRITICISM FOR THE END TIMES.  4 pts.  Instructor:  Marilyn Ivy. This seminar aims to show what an anthropologically informed, ecocritical cultural studies can offer in this moment of intensifying ecological calamity. The course will not only engage significant works in anthropology, ecocriticism, philosophy, literature, politics, and aesthetics to think about the environment, it will also bring these works into engaged reflection on living in the end times (borrowing cultural critic Slavoj Zizeks phrase). The seminar will thus locate critical perspectives on the environment within the contemporary worldwide ecological crisis, emphasizing the ethnographic realities of global warming, debates on nuclear power and energy, and the place of nature. Drawing on the professors long experience in Japan and current research on the aftermath of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant disaster, the seminar will also take care to unpack the notion of end times, with its apocalyptic implications, through close considerations of works that take on the question of ecocatastrophe in our times. North American and European perspectives, as well as international ones (particularly ones drawn from East Asia), will give the course a global reach. The instructor’s permission is required. Enrollment limit is 22.

Anthropology UN3976 ANTHROPOLOGY OF SCIENCE.  4 pts.  Instructor: Gina Jae. This course examines specific debates in the history and philosophy of science, and in science and technology studies (STS), with a view towards exploring the relationships among science, technology and society. The first half of the course engages methodological questions and theoretical debates concerning the nature of epistemology, and the significance of social interests, material agency, laboratory and social practices, and “culture(s)” in the making of scientific knowledge.  The second half delves more specifically into the ways in which sciences and technologies are both embedded in and shape contemporary social and political practices and imaginaries.

Anthropology UN3997 SUPERVISED INDIVIDUAL RESEARCH.  2-6 pts.  STAFF.  Prerequisite: the written permission of the staff member under whose supervision the research will be conducted.

Anthropology UN3999 SENIOR THESIS SEM IN ANTHROPOLOGY.  4 pts.  Instructor:  Lila Abu-Lughod.  Prerequisites: The instructor’s permission. Students must have declared a major in Anthropology prior to registration. Students must have a 3.6 GPA in the major and a preliminary project concept in order to be considered. Interested students must communicate/meet with thesis instructor in the previous spring about the possibility of taking the course during the upcoming academic year. Additionally, expect to discuss with the instructor at the end of the fall term whether your project has progressed far enough to be completed in the spring term. If it has not, you will exit the seminar after one semester, with a grade based on the work completed during the fall term. This two-term course is a combination of a seminar and a workshop that will help you conduct research, write, and present an original senior thesis in anthropology. Students who write theses are eligible to be considered for departmental honors. The first term of this course introduces a variety of approaches used to produce anthropological knowledge and writing; encourages students to think critically about the approaches they take to researching and writing by studying model texts with an eye to the ethics, constraints, and potentials of anthropological research and writing; and gives students practice in the seminar and workshop formats that are key to collegial exchange and refinement of ideas. During the first term, students complete a few short exercises that will culminate in a substantial draft of one discrete section of their senior project (18-20 pages) plus a detailed outline of the expected work that remains to be done (5 pages). The spring sequence of the anthropology thesis seminar is a writing intensive continuation of the fall semester, in which students will have designed the research questions, prepared a full thesis proposal that will serve as a guide for the completion of the thesis and written a draft of one chapter. Only those students who expect to have completed the fall semester portion of the course are allowed to register for the spring; final enrollment is contingent upon successful completion of first semester requirements. In spring semester, weekly meetings will be devoted to the collaborative refinement of drafts, as well as working through issues of writing (evidence, voice, authority etc.). All enrolled students are required to present their project at a symposium in the late spring, and the final grade is based primarily on successful completion of the thesis/ capstone project.

Anthropology GU4118 SETTLER COLONIALISM IN N AMERICA.  3 pts.  Instructor:  Audra Simpson.  This course examines the relationship between colonialism, settlement and anthropology and the specific ways in which these processes have been engaged in the broader literature and locally in North America. We aim to understand colonialism as a theory of political legitimacy, as a set of governmental practices and as a subject of inquiry. Thus we will re-imagine North America in light of the colonial project and its technologies of rule such as education, law and policy that worked to transform Indigenous notions of gender, property and territory. Our case studies will dwell in several specific areas of inquiry, among them: the Indian Act in Canada and its transformations of gender relations, governance and property; the residential and boarding school systems in the US and Canada, the murdered and missing women in Juarez and Canada and the politics of allotment in the US. Although this course will be comparative in scope, it will be grounded heavily within the literature from Native North America.

Anthropology GU4282 ISLAMIC LAW.  3 pts.  Instructor:  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.

Anthropology GU4653.  ART BEYOND AESTHETICS: DECOLONIZING APPROACHES TO REPRESENTATION.  4 pts. Instructor:  Elizabeth Povinelli.  This course is a combination of lectures, seminar participation, and group practicums which probes the possibility of a decolonial art research practice. This course introduces students to western approaches to politics and art through a sustained engagement with critical Indigenous and anticolonial theories of human relations to the more-than-human world. It is a mixture of lectures, class discussion, and individual practicums which lead to final projects that combine image and text.  The permission of the instructor is required.  Enrollment limit is 16.  ENROLLMENT PRIORITIES: Majors preferred.

 

COURSES IN ARCHAEOLOGY:

Anthropology UN1007 THE ORIGINS OF HUMAN SOCIETY.  3 pts.  Instructor:  Camilla Sturm.  archaeological perspective on the evolution of human social life from the first bipedal step of our ape ancestors to the establishment of large sedentary villages. While traversing six million years and six continents, our explorations will lead us to consider such major issues as the development of human sexuality, the origin of language, the birth of “art” and religion, the domestication of plants and animals, and the foundations of social inequality. Designed for anyone who happens to be human.

Anthropology UN1008 THE RISE OF CIVILIZATION.  3 pts.  Instructor:  Terence D’Altroy. Corequisites: ANTH V1008 The rise of major civilization in prehistory and protohistory throughout the world, from the initial appearance of sedentism, agriculture, and social stratification through the emergence of the archaic empires. Description and analysis of a range of regions that were centers of significant cultural development: Mesopotamia, Egypt, the Indus River Valley, China, North America, and Mesoamerica. DO NOT REGISTER FOR A RECITATION SECTION IF YOU ARE NOT OFFICIALLY REGISTERED FOR THE COURSE.

Anthropology UN3151 LIVING WITH ANIMALS: ANTHROPOLOGICAL PERSPECTIVES.  4 pts.  Instructor:  Hannah Chazin.  This course examines how humans and animals shape each other’s lives. We will explore the astounding diversity of human-animal relationships in time and space, tracing the ways animals have made their impact on human societies (and vice-versa). Using contemporary ethnographic, historical, and archaeological examples from a variety of geographical regions and chronological periods, this class will consider how humans and animals live and make things, and the ways in which humans have found animals “good to think with”.  In this course, we will also discuss how knowledge about human-animal relationships in the past might change contemporary and future approaches to living with animals. Instructor’s permission is required. 

Anthropology UN3663 THE ANCIENT TABLE: ARCHAEOLOGY OF COOKING.  4 pts. Instructor:  Camilla Sturm.  Prerequisites: None Humans don’t just eat to live. The ways we prepare, eat, and share our food is a complex reflection of our histories, environments, and ideologies. Whether we prefer coffee or tea, cornbread or challah, chicken breast or chicken feet, our tastes are expressive of social ties and social boundaries, and are linked to ideas of family and of foreignness. How did eating become such a profoundly cultural experience? This seminar takes an archaeological approach to two broad issues central to eating: First, what drives human food choices both today and in the past? Second, how have social forces shaped practices of food acquisition, preparation, and consumption (and how, in turn, has food shaped society)? We will explore these questions from various evolutionary, physiological, and cultural viewpoints, highlighted by information from the best archaeological and historic case studies. Topics that will be covered include the nature of the first cooking, beer-brewing and feasting, writing of the early recipes, gender roles and ‘domestic’ life, and how a national cuisine takes shape. Through the course of the semester we will explore food practices from Pleistocene Spain to historic Monticello, with particular emphasis on the earliest cuisines of China, Mesoamerica, and the Mediterranean.

Anthropology GU4066 HYDROPOLITICS: GIS APPROACHES TO URBANISM AND THE POLITICS OF WATER IN MADAGASCAR.  4 pts.  Instructors:  Zoe Crossland and Eric Glass.  GIS course with training in landscape analysis, digital mapping and web-based presentations of geospatial data. We will draw on archaeological and historical evidence, aerial photographs and satellite imagery to map and explore the history and politics of the irrigated landscape around Madagascar’s capital city. We will critically assess what different mapping techniques offer, and what kind of narratives they underpin or foreclose upon.

 

COURSES IN PHYSICAL ANTHROPOLOGY:

Anthropology GU4002 CONTROVERSIAL TPCS-HUM EVOL I.  3 pts. Instructor:  Ralph Holloway.  Prerequisites: an introductory biological/physical anthropology course and the instructor’s permission. Controversial issues that exist in current biological/physical anthropology, and controversies surrounding the descriptions and theories about particular fossil hominid discoveries, such as the earliest australopithecines, the diversity of Homo erectus, the extinction of the Neandertals, and the evolution of culture, language, and human cognition.

 

CROSS-LISTED COURSES:

AFAS GU4080. TOPICS IN THE BLACK EXPERIENCE.  4 pts.  Instructor:  Steven Gregory.  Please refer to Institute for Research in African American Studies for section-by-section course descriptions.

CLST UN3041 THE ANCIENT CITY AND US: ARCHAEOLOGY OF A RELATIONSHIP. 4 pts.  Instructor:  Francesco Cassini.  The object of this course is Greek and Roman cities in their historical and trans-historical dimensions. In studying their social, economic, and political features, we will discuss models and approaches to this historical form of the city and compare it with other pre-modern and modern examples in world history. The course, open to undergraduate students of different departments and various backgrounds, will ultimately serve as an exercise in historical estrangement to look with fresh and informed eyes at the cities of today.

CSER UN3928 COLONIZATION/DECOLONIZATION.  4 pts.  Instructor: Claudio Lomnitz. This course explores the centrality of colonialism in the making of the modern world, emphasizing cross-cultural and social contact, exchange, and relations of power; dynamics of conquest and resistance; and discourses of civilization, empire, freedom, nationalism, and human rights, from 1500 to 2000. Topics include pre-modern empires; European exploration, contact, and conquest in the new world; Atlantic-world slavery and emancipation; and European and Japanese colonialism in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. The course ends with a section on decolonization and post-colonialism in the period after World War II. Intensive reading and discussion of primary documents.  Prerequisites: Open to CSER majors/concentrators only. Others may be allowed to register with the instructor’s permission.

CSER UN3942 RACE AND RACISMS. 4 pts. Instructor: Catherine Fennell. In this class we will approach race and racism from a variety of disciplinary and intellectual perspectives, including: critical race theory/philosophy, anthropology, history and history of science and medicine. We will focus on the development and deployment of the race concept since the mid-19th century. Students will come to understand the many ways in which race has been conceptualized, substantiated, classified, managed and observed in the (social) sciences, medicine, and public health. We will also explore the practices and effects of race (and race-making) in familiar and less familiar social and political worlds. In addition to the courses intellectual content, students will gain critical practice in the seminar format -- that is, a collegial, discussion-driven exchange of ideas.

CGTH4200 GU4200 GLOBAL FOOD WORLDS.  4 pts.  Instructor:  Rebecca M Feinberg. Food is a deeply global object, one that manifests the complex ties structuring the contemporary world. Once a topic relegated to agricultural science, food has become a focus of the social sciences, one that exceeds the boundaries of any single discipline or perspective. The study of contemporary foodways demonstrates both the global interconnectedness of our world andthe importance of local contexts and knowledges. While any given individual, household, region, or nation may have a distinctive set of food practices, each is constructed by a constellation of relations and exchanges, both past and present. This course takes a cross-cultural approach to explore how and why food makes worlds. It begins with the micro: examining how individuals and communities craft themselves through food practices, and considering how food serves as a site for struggles over power, sovereignty, and belonging. The course then scales upwards to explore international systems of agricultural trade, labor, and migration, with a focus on the lives and places caught up in it. It concludes with a critical look at contemporary food politics and activism to consider possible food futures for the world we share. Readings combine ethnographic examples with a robust collection of social science theory, including the work of sociologists, historians, political economists, and geographers. Each weekly theme examines foodways in a different frame, and each prompts a different set of questions about how food shapes the world as we know it. Assignments ask students to apply a variety of disciplinary approaches to analyze examples from their own daily lives.

 

COURSES IN SOCIOCULTURAL ANTHROPOLOGY:

 

Anthropology GU4118 SETTLER COLONIALISM IN N AMERICA.  3 pts.  Instructor:  Audra Simpson.  This course examines the relationship between colonialism, settlement and anthropology and the specific ways in which these processes have been engaged in the broader literature and locally in North America. We aim to understand colonialism as a theory of political legitimacy, as a set of governmental practices and as a subject of inquiry. Thus we will re-imagine North America in light of the colonial project and its technologies of rule such as education, law and policy that worked to transform Indigenous notions of gender, property and territory. Our case studies will dwell in several specific areas of inquiry, among them: the Indian Act in Canada and its transformations of gender relations, governance and property; the residential and boarding school systems in the US and Canada, the murdered and missing women in Juarez and Canada and the politics of allotment in the US. Although this course will be comparative in scope, it will be grounded heavily within the literature from Native North America.

Anthropology GR5115 POLITICAL HUMAN-ANIMAL STUDIES. 3 pts. Instructor: Brian Boyd.  In a number of academic disciplines the concern with relationships between humans and non-humans has recently resulted in a radical revision of the ways in which we think people and animals construct their social worlds. This course addresses how humans and animals enter into, and interact within, each other's worlds. It draws upon perspectives from anthropology, geography, (political) philosophy, ethics, literary theory, and the sciences, placing current debates within the context of the deep history of human-animal relations. Topics to be discussed include "wildness", domestication, classification, animal rights, biotechnology, "nature/culture", food/cooking, fabulous/mythical animals, the portrayal of animals in popular culture, and human-animal sexualities.

Anthropology GU4282 ISLAMIC LAW.  3 pts.  Instructor:  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.

Anthropology GU4653  ART BEYOND AESTHETICS: DECOLONIZING APPROACHES TO REPRESENTATION.  4 pts. Instructor:  Elizabeth Povinelli.  This course is a combination of lectures, seminar participation, and group practicums which probes the possibility of a decolonial art research practice. This course introduces students to western approaches to politics and art through a sustained engagement with critical Indigenous and anticolonial theories of human relations to the more-than-human world. It is a mixture of lectures, class discussion, and individual practicums which lead to final projects that combine image and text.  The permission of the instructor is required.  Enrollment limit is 16.  ENROLLMENT PRIORITIES: Majors preferred.

Anthropology GR5201 PRIN/APPL OF SOCIETY & CULTURE.  3 pts.  Instructor:  Ellen Marakowitz.  Prerequisites: graduate standing. 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.  Open to MAs IN ANTH. OTHERS MUST E-MAIL em8columbia.edu

Anthropology GR6070 MAKING ETHNOG: METHOD & WRITING.  3pts. Instructor:  Juan Carlos Mazariegos.  This course begins with two central and related epistemological problems in conducting ethnographic research: first, the notion that objects of scientific research are ‘made’ through adopting a particular relational stance and asking certain kinds of questions. From framing a research problem and choosing a ‘research context’ story to tell, to the kinds of methods one selects to probe such a problem, the ‘how’ and ‘what’ – or means and content – are inextricably intertwined. A second epistemological problem concerns the artifice of reality, and the nebulous distinction between truth and fiction, no less than the question of where or with whom one locates such truth. With these issues framing the course, we will work through some key themes and debates in anthropology from the perspective of methodology, ranging from subject/object liminality to incommensurability and radical alterity to the politics of representation. Students will design an ethnographic project of their choosing and conduct research throughout the term, applying different methodological approaches popular in anthropology and the social sciences more generally, such as participant observation, semi-structured interview, diary-keeping and note-taking.  Intended for MAs in ANTH & Grad students in other Depts.

Anthropology GR6135 WAR & SOCIAL THEORY.  3pts.   Instructor:  Nadia Abu El-Haj.  In this class, we will think about the various ways in which philosophers, social theorists, historians and anthropologists have thought about war. More specifically, the course focuses on a set of key themes and questions that have been central to such writings: the nature of violence and the question of responsibility or accountability, shifting technologies of warfare (including, technologies of representation), and the phenomenology and aftermath of warfare, for civilians and for combatants. The questions that drive this seminar are theoretical and historical, as well as ethical and political. For example, how do shifting understandings of the trauma of soldiers shape ethical questions and political conversations regarding perpetration and the question of responsibility? Or, when we think warfare through new technologies (cinematic, action at a distance) from whose perspective are we theorizing or trying to understand the experience of war? How might we analyze the very different affective responses that different forms of violence-or of perpetration -elicit?

Anthropology GR6245 PERSONHOOD.  3 pts.  Instructor: 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.

Anthropology GR6649 DARK ECOLOGIES: ECOCRITICAL THOUGHT NOW.  3 pts.  Instructor:  Marilyn Ivy. This seminar aims to disclose what an anthropologically informed, Eco critical 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 the ongoing issue of the nuclear, there is a pervasive anxiety about the fate of the earth and, with it, life itself. How can Eco critical thought grapple with this “great unraveling,” as Eco theorist Joanna Macy has put it? This seminar will engage significant works in anthropology, ecocriticism, philosophy, literature, political thought, and art to help us think about this central question.  Readings will include works by Morton, Bonduel and Frescos, Bennett, Size, Kohn, Escola, Stingers, Hardaway, LA tour, Macy, and others. Enrollment limit is 15 and the instructor's permission is required.

Anthropology GR6653 POROUS BODIES.  3 pts.  Instructor:  Vanessa Agard-Jones.  How are bodies in the world? How is the world in bodies? Building from these deceptively simple questions, ours will be an interdisciplinary reading seminar on how bodies (mostly human, but sometimes nonhuman) are made and remade in and through their environments and via their relationships to the material world. Privileging porosity as a rubric, we consider the ever-permeable boundaries between bodies and the other beings (be they viral, chemical, microbial or otherwise) with which they become entangled. Alongside the monographs under study, we will tackle article-length engagements with theories of new feminist/queer materialisms, decolonial and critical science studies. Further, a key aim of this course is to provide students the opportunity to hone some of the most important skills we have in our toolbox as academics, relative to our teaching, our public voice/s as critics, and to our own research. Advanced undergraduates may apply. Must email vaj2116

 

COURSES IN ARCHAEOLOGY:

Anthropology GU4066 HYDROPOLITICS: GIS APPROACHES TO URBANISM AND THE POLITICS OF WATER IN MADAGASCAR.  4 pts.  Instructor:  Zoe Crossland and Eric Glass.  GIS course with training in landscape analysis, digital mapping and web-based presentations of geospatial data. We will draw on archaeological and historical evidence, aerial photographs and satellite imagery to map and explore the history and politics of the irrigated landscape around Madagascar’s capital city. We will critically assess what different mapping techniques offer, and what kind of narratives they underpin or foreclose upon.

Anthropology GR6085 THING THEORY. 3 pts.  Instructor:  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.

Anthropology GR8003 RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS.  3 Pts.  Instructor:  Terrence D’Altroy. Focus on preparing research proposals for dissertation-level research, from framing research questions and selecting appropriate methodologies to writing finished proposals.

 

COURSES IN MUSEUM ANTHROPOLOGY:

Anthropology GR5361 ETHICAL ISSUES IN MUSEUMS.  3 pts.  Instructor:  Sally Yerkovich.  Ethical questions about museum activities are legion, yet they are usually only discussed when they become headlines in newspapers. At the same time, people working in museums make decisions with ethical and legal issues regularly and seldom give these judgments even little thought. In part, this is due to the fact that many of these decisions are based upon values that become second nature. This course will explore ethical issues that arise in all areas of a museum's operations from governance and management to collections acquisition, conservation, and deaccessioning. We will examine the issues that arise when the ownership of objects in a museum's are questioned; the ethical considerations involved in retention, restitution and repatriation; and what decolonization means for museums.  Students not enrolled in MUSA program need permission.

Anthropology GR6352 MUSEUM ANTHROP: HIST & THEORY.  3 pts.  Instructor:  Brian Boyd. Museum Anthropology: history & theory (Fall 2019) focuses primarily on different theories of museum anthropology and on the history of anthropology as it relates to museums. The second semester's exhibition classes (Spring 2020) develop the themes introduced during the Fall class, concentrating on exhibitions and on current issues and controversies. Practical concerns and the development of museological skills will be addressed in both semesters, and the Spring class GR6192 will devise and install an exhibition.

Anthropology GR6652 MUSA DIGITAL MEDIA, MATERIALITY&PRACTICE.  3 pts. Instructor: Marco Castro.  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.

Anthropology GR9110 MUSEUM ANTHROPOLOGY INTERNSHIP I.  3-9 Pts.  Instructor:  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. Open only to Museum Anth students.

Anthropology GR9111 MUSEUM ANTHROPOLOGY INTERNSHIP II.  3-9 Pts.  Instructor:  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. Open only to Museum Anth students.

 

COURSE IN PHYSICAL ANTHROPOLOGY:

Anthropology GU4002 CONTROVERSIAL TOPICS IN HUMAN EVOLUTION I.  3 pts. Instructor:  Ralph Holloway.  Prerequisites: an introductory biological/physical anthropology course and the instructor’s permission. Controversial issues that exist in current biological/physical anthropology, and controversies surrounding the descriptions and theories about particular fossil hominid discoveries, such as the earliest australopithecines, the diversity of Homo erectus, the extinction of the Neandertals, and the evolution of culture, language, and human cognition.

 

SUPERVISED INDIVIDUAL RESEARCHCOURSES:

Anthropology GR9101 RSCH IN SOCIAL/CULTURAL ANTHROPOLOGY.  3-9 pts.  STAFF.  Prerequisites: the instructors permission. Individual research and tutorial in archaeology for advanced graduate students.

Anthropology GR9102 RESEARCH IN ARCHAEOLOGY 3-9 pts.  STAF.  Prerequisites: the instructors permission. Individual research and tutorial in archaeology for advanced graduate students.

 Anthropology GR9103 RESEARCH IN PHYSICAL ANTHROPOLOGY. 3-9 pts.  Instructor:  Ralph Holloway.  Prerequisites: the instructor’s permission. Individual research and tutorial in physical anthropology for advanced graduate students.

Anthropology GR9105 RESEARCH IN SPECIAL FIELDS 3-9 pts.  STAFF. Prerequisites: the instructor’s permission. Individual research and tutorial in archaeology for advanced graduate students.

 Anthropology GR9999 WEDNESDAY SEMINAR.  0 points.  Instructor:  Catherine Fennell.  All anthropology graduate students are required to attend. Staff members, students, and special guests present reports of ongoing research

 

CROSS-LISTED COURSES:

CGTH4200 GU4200 GLOBAL FOOD WORLDS.  4 pts.  Instructor:  Rebecca M Feinberg. Food is a deeply global object, one that manifests the complex ties structuring the contemporary world. Once a topic relegated to agricultural science, food has become a focus of the social sciences, one that exceeds the boundaries of any single discipline or perspective. The study of contemporary foodways demonstrates both the global interconnectedness of our world andthe importance of local contexts and knowledges. While any given individual, household, region, or nation may have a distinctive set of food practices, each is constructed by a constellation of relations and exchanges, both past and present. This course takes a cross-cultural approach to explore how and why food makes worlds. It begins with the micro: examining how individuals and communities craft themselves through food practices, and considering how food serves as a site for struggles over power, sovereignty, and belonging. The course then scales upwards to explore international systems of agricultural trade, labor, and migration, with a focus on the lives and places caught up in it. It concludes with a critical look at contemporary food politics and activism to consider possible food futures for the world we share. Readings combine ethnographic examples with a robust collection of social science theory, including the work of sociologists, historians, political economists, and geographers. Each weekly theme examines foodways in a different frame, and each prompts a different set of questions about how food shapes the world as we know it. Assignments ask students to apply a variety of disciplinary approaches to analyze examples from their own daily lives.

MESAAS GR5000 THEORY AND METHODS I. 4 pts.  Instructor:  Mahmood Mamdani.  This course will be the first part of a two part introduction to theoretical approaches to modern social science and cultural studies in Asian and African contexts. The first course will focus primarily on methodological and theoretical problems in the fields broadly described as historical social sciences - which study historical trends, and political, economic and social institutions and processes. The course will start with discussions regarding the origins of the modern social sciences and the disputes about the nature of social science knowledge. In the next section it will focus on definitions and debates about the concept of modernity. It will go on to analyses of some fundamental concepts used in modern social and historical analyses: concepts of social action, political concepts like state, power, hegemony, democracy, nationalism; economic concepts like the economy, labor, market, capitalism, and related concepts of secularity/secularism, representation, and identity. The teaching will be primarily through close reading of set texts, followed by a discussion. A primary concern of the course will be to think about problems specific to the societies studied by scholars of Asia and Africa: how to use a conceptual language originally stemming from reflection on European modernity in thinking about societies which have quite different historical and cultural characteristics. The instructor permission is required

 

 


For full listings of frequently taught courses in the Departments of Anthropology at Columbia and Barnard, visit the pages dedicated to 'Frequently Taught Undergraduate Courses' and 'Frequently Taught Graduate Courses.'