Courses - Spring 2023

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.


 

Spring 2023 COURSE LISTINGS

For information on class days and times, enrollment limits, enrollment status, course fees and classroom locations, visit the Online Directory of Classes at http://www.columbia.edu/cu/bulletin/uwb/  

Registration begins for most Schools on Monday, November 14, 2022

 

COURSES IN SOCIOCULTURAL ANTHROPOLOGY:

Anthropology UN1002y THE INTERPRETATION OF CULTURE.  3 pts.  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.  Mandatory recitation sections:  TBA.

Anthropology UN1009y INTRODUCTION TO LANGUAGE AND CULTURE. 3 pts.  Instructor:  Mara Green.  This is an introduction to the study of the production, interpretation, and reproduction of social meanings as expressed through language. In exploring language in relation to culture and society, it focuses on how communication informs and transforms the sociocultural environment.   

Anthropology UN2005y THE ETHNOGRAPHIC IMAGINATION.  3 pts.  Instructor:  María José de Abreu.  Introduction to the theory and practice of “ethnography”—the intensive study of peoples’ lives as shaped by social relations, cultural images, and historical forces. Considers through critical reading of various kinds of texts (classic ethnographies, histories, journalism, novels, films) the ways in which understanding, interpreting, and representing the lived words of people—at home or abroad, in one place or transnationally, in the past or the present—can be accomplished. Mandatory recitation sections:  TBA.

Anthropology UN2017y MAFIAS AND OTHER DANGEROUS AFFILIATIONS.  3 pts. Instructor:  Naor Ben-Yehoyada.  Regimes of various shapes and sizes tend to criminalize associations, organizations, and social relations that these ruling powers see as anathema to the social order on which their power depends: witches, officers of toppled political orders, alleged conspirators (rebels, traitors, terrorists, and dissidents), gangsters and mafiosi, or corrupt officers and magnates. Our main goal will be to understand how and under what conditions do those with the power to do so define, investigate, criminalize and prosecute those kinds of social relations that are cast as enemies of public order. We will also pay close attention to questions of knowledge – legal, investigative, political, journalistic, and public – how doubt, certainty, suspicion and surprise shape the struggle over the relationship between the state and society.  The main part of the course is organized around six criminal investigations on mafia-related affairs that took place from the 1950s to the present (two are undergoing appeal these days) in western Sicily. After the introductory section, we will spend two weeks (four meetings) on every one of these cases. We will follow attempts to understand the Mafia and similarly criminalized organizations, and procure evidence about it. We will then expand our inquiry from Sicily to cases from all over the world, to examine questions about social relations, law, the uses of culture, and political imagination.

*Although this is a social anthropology course, no previous knowledge of anthropology is required or presumed. Classroom lectures will provide necessary disciplinary background.  Mandatory recitation sections:  TBA.

 

Anthropology UN3356y EARTH WORKS: ANTHROPOLOGY, ART, EXTRACTION.  3 pts.  Instructor:  Rosalind Morris.  This undergraduate seminar is offered to students interested in the anthropological analysis of extractive economies and the social and political forms associated with them, as well as the arts through which they have been made the object of both investment and resistance. The course this semester will be focused on mining, and is organized along three axes: 1) mineral object; 2) socioeconomic form; and 3) aesthetics, with the latter including the arts of artisanal extraction, and literary, visual and media artistic practice.  Permission of the instructor is required.  Enrollment Priorities:  Majors Preferred.  

Anthropology UN3665y THE POLITICS OF CARE.  4 pts.  Instructor:  Lesley Sharp. What are the consequences of entrenched inequalities in the context of care? How might we (re)imagine associated practices as political projects? Wherein lie the origins of utopic and dystopic visions of daily survival? How might we track associated promises and failures as they travel across social hierarchies, nationalities, and geographies of care? And what do we mean when we speak of “care”? These questions define the scaffolding for this course. Our primary goals throughout this semester are threefold.  First, we begin by interrogating the meaning of “care” and its potential relevance as a political project in medical and other domains. Second, we will track care’s associated meanings and consequences across a range of contents, including urban and rural America, an Amazonia borderland, South Africa, France, and Mexico. Third, we will address temporal dimensions of care, as envisioned and experienced in the here-and-now, historically, and in a futuristic world of science fiction. Finally, and most importantly, we will remain alert to the relevance of domains of difference relevant to care, most notably race, gender, class, and species. Note:  instructor Permission is required for Non-Majors.

Anthropology UN3703y CLIMATE CHANGE AND COLONIALISM.  4 pts.  Instructor: Dilshanie Perera.  In 2022, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) recognized colonialism’s contributions to the climate crisis, citing its “historical and ongoing patterns of inequity.” This was the first time that this group of climate experts had ever formally acknowledged colonialism, despite activists, writers, artists, and scholars from around the world emphasizing the devastations of colonial extractions. A sole focus on the present and future of the climate crisis obscures a deeper understanding of how the crisis came to be. This course asks: How has colonialism, namely, colonial processes of domination, extraction, control, dispossession, knowledge-making, and violence, created the climate crisis as well as enduring inequalities? How does the past intimately structure the possibilities of the present? How can an understanding of colonialism’s “historical and ongoing” effects deepen calls for climate justice? This interdisciplinary seminar features an anthropological and historical exploration of the specificities of colonial regimes’ extractive violence against people, land, and resources. We will see how climate change is intensified through unequal social, political, and economic distributions of harm and advantage, and how climate vulnerability is created and maintained.  The goal of the course is to provide students with conceptual tools for historicizing climate change, and for critically engaging the consequences of colonial relations of power.

Anthropology BC3808y PUNISHMENT CULTURE. 4 pts.  Instructor:  Kaya Williams.  What is punishment, and what might attention to punitive practices teach us about the cultures in which they are used? Modern American culture is so saturated with punishment that it is difficult to know where to begin such an investigation. From childhood education to mass incarceration and from the crafting of financial futures to the training of horses and dogs, punishment is ubiquitous and often unquestioned. In many cases, punishment is the thread that connects allegedly disparate institutions and produces allegedly unforeseen forms of violence. In this course we will question both the practice and its prevalence, combining a genealogy of the concept with case studies in its modern use.  Notes: Open to Anthro majors; others require instructor Permission.

Anthropology UN3828y THE ANTHROPOLOGY OF WAR.  4 pts.  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, violence, and responsibility. The course focuses on a set of themes and questions: for example, the nature of violence and the question of responsibility or accountability, shifting technologies of warfare, and the phenomenology and aftermath of warfare, for civilians and for combatants. The reading list incorporates different approaches to such questions—from historical to philosophical to ethnographic accounts. Permission of the instructor is required.

Anthropology BC3868y ETHNOGRAPHIC FIELD RESEARCH IN NYC.  4 pts.  Instructor:  Kaya Williams. This course provides the aspiring anthropologist with an array of primarily qualitative methodological tools essential to successful urban fieldwork. As such, it is a practicum of sorts, where regular field assignments help build one’s ability to record and analyze social behavior by drawing on several key data collection techniques. Because we have the luxury of inhabiting a large, densely populated, international city, this class requires that you take a head-first plunge into urban anthropology. The NYC area will define the laboratory for individually- designed research projects. Be forewarned, however! Ethnographic engagement involves efforts to detect social patterns, but it is often a self-reflexive exercise, too. Readings provide methodological, analytical, and personal insights into the skills, joys, and trials that define successful field research. Enrollment limit is 15.  Open to Barnard Anthropology majors; others need Instructor permission.

Anthropology BC3872y SENIOR THESIS SEMINAR II.  4 pts.  Instructors: Paige West, J.C. Salyer, and Camilla Sturm.  Prerequisites: Must complete ANTH BC3871x. Limited to Barnard Senior Anthropology Majors. Offered every Spring. Discussion of research methods and planning and writing of a Senior Essay in Anthropology will accompany research on problems of interest to students, culminating in the writing of individual Senior Essays. The advisory system requires periodic consultation and discussion between the student and her adviser as well as the meeting of specific deadlines set by the department each semester. Notes: Open to Barnard Anthropology majors.  Others need the permission of the instructors.

Anthropology UN3880y LISTENING: AN ETHNOGRAPHY OF SOUND SEMINAR.  4 pts. Instructor: John Pemberton. We explore the possibilities of an ethnography of sound through a range of listening encounters: in resonant urban soundscapes of the city and in natural soundscapes of acoustic ecology; from audible pasts and echoes of the present; through repetitive listening in the age of electronic reproduction, and mindful listening that retraces an uncanniness inherent in sound. Silence, noise, voice, chambers, reverberation, sound in its myriad manifestations and transmissions.  From the captured souls of Edison’s phonography, to everyday acoustical adventures, the course turns away from the screen and dominant epistemologies of the visual for an extended moment, and does so in pursuit of sonorous objects.  How is it that sound so moves us as we move within its world, and who or what then might the listening subject be? Permission of the instructor is required.

Anthropology UN3893y THE BOMB.  4 pts.  Instructor:  Karen Seeley.  This course investigates the social history of nuclear arms in the context of World War II and the Cold War, exploring their ramifications for subjects and societies. We consider historical, ethnographic, medical and psychiatric accounts of the bomb’s invention and fallout, including the unknowable bodily injuries caused by radiation and the ecological contamination inflicted on indigenous communities where atomic weapons were tested. Throughout the course, we investigate government propaganda designed to produce political subjects who both endorse and fear nuclear imperatives; who support expanding militarization and funding for weapons development; and who abide escalating political rhetorics of nuclear aggression.  Permission of the instructor is required.

Anthropology UN3939y THE ANIME EFFECT: MEDIA AND TECHNOCULTURE IN CONTEMPORARY JAPAN.  4 pts.  Instructor:  Marilyn Ivy. Culture, technology, and media in contemporary Japan. Theoretical and ethnographic engagements with forms of mass mediation, including anime, manga, video, and cell-phone novels. Considers larger global economic and political contexts, including post-Fukushima transformations. Permission of the instructor is required.

Anthropology UN3947y TEXT, MAGIC, PERFORMANCE.  4 pts.  Instructor:  John Pemberton.  This course pursues interconnections linking text and performance in light of magic, ritual, possession, narration, and related articulations of power. Readings are drawn from classic theoretical writings, colonial fiction, and ethnographic accounts. Domains of inquiry include: spirit possession, trance states, séance, ritual performance, and related realms of cinematic projection, musical form, shadow theater, performative objects, and (other) things that move on their own, compellingly. Key theoretical concerns are subjectivity - particularly, the conjuring up and displacement of self in the form of the first-person singular I - and the haunting power of repetition. Retraced throughout the course are the uncanny shadows of a fully possessed subject --within ritual contexts and within everyday life.  Permission of the instructor is required. This course counts toward the Global Core requirement.

Anthropology UN3998y SUPERVISED INDIVIDUAL RESEARCH. 2-6 pts.  Anthropology Instructors.  Prerequisite: the written permission of the staff member under whose supervision the research will be conducted.

Anthropology UN3999y SENIOR THESIS SEMINAR IN ANTHROPOLOGY.  4 pts.  Instructor: Brinkley Messick.  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. Note: The senior thesis seminar is open to CC and GS majors in Anthropology only. It requires the instructor’s permission for registration. Students must have a 3.6 GPA in the major and a preliminary project concept in order to be considered. Interested students should communicate with the thesis instructor and the director of undergraduate study 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. Requirements: Students must have completed the requirements of the first semester of the sequence and seek instructor approval to enroll in the second.  Prerequisites: Permission of the instructor is required.

Anthropology GU4108y FILM AT LOW TEMPERATURES: CINEMAS OF THE ARCTIC.  3 pts.  Instructor:  Tyler Adkins. This seminar explores the screen cultures of the Indigenous peoples of the Polar and Circumpolar regions of Canada, The United States, Russia, Scandinavia, and Greenland as they exist at the unstable boundary between cinematic object and creative subject. Viewing work by Indigenous filmmakers, we will draw on from Indigenous Studies, Cultural Anthropology, and Film Studies to examine the complicated role of film in the Arctic.

Anthropology GU4143y ACCUSATION. 3 pts.  Instructor:  Rosalind Morris.  This course examines the politics and practices of collective accusation in comparative perspective. It treats these phenomena in their relation to processes of political and economic transition, to discourses of crisis, and to the practices of rule by which the idea of exception is made the grounds for extreme claims on and for the social body-usually, but not exclusively, enacted through forms of expulsion. We will consider the various theoretical perspectives through which forms of collective accusation have been addressed, focusing on psychoanalytic, structural functional, and poststructuralist readings. In doing so, we will also investigate the difference and possible continuities between the forms and logics of accusation that operate in totalitarian as well as liberal regimes. Course readings will include both literary and critical texts.  Permission of the instructor is required.

 

COURSES IN ARCHAEOLOGY:

Anthropology UN1008y THE RISE OF CIVILIZATION.  3 pts.  Instructor:  Terence D’Altroy. 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. $25.00 Anthropology Lab Fee.  DO NOT REGISTER FOR A RECITATION SECTION IF YOU ARE NOT OFFICIALLY REGISTERED FOR THE COURSE. This course counts toward the Global Core requirement.  Refer to the Directory of Classes http://www.columbia.edu/cu/bulletin/uwb/ for a list of recitation sections.

Anthropology BC2012 LABORATORY METHODS IN ARCHAEOLOGY.  4 pts.  Instructor:  Severin Fowles.  Only the most recent chapters of the past are able to be studied using traditional historiographical methods focused on archives of textual documents. How, then, are we to analyze the deep history of human experiences prior to the written word? And even when textual archives do survive from a given historical period, these archives are typically biased toward the perspectives of those in power. How, then, are we to undertake analyses of the past that take into account the lives and experiences of all of society’s members, including the poor, the working class, the colonized, and others whose voices appear far less frequently in historical documents? From its disciplinary origins in nineteenth century antiquarianism, archaeology has grown to become a rigorous science of the past, dedicated to the exploration of long-term and inclusive social histories. “Laboratory Methods in Archaeology” is an intensive introduction to the analysis of archaeological artifacts and samples in which we explore how the organic and inorganic remains from archaeological sites can be used to build rigorous claims about the human past. The 2022 iteration of the course centers on assemblages from two sites, both excavated by Barnard’s archaeological field program in the Taos region of northern New Mexico: (1) the Spanish colonial site of San Antonio del Embudo founded in 1725 and (2) the hippie commune known as New Buffalo, founded in 1967. Participants in ANTH BC2012 will be introduced to the history, geology, and ecology of the Taos region, as well as to the excavation histories of the two sites. Specialized laboratory modules focus on the analysis of chipped stone artifacts ceramics, animal bone, glass, and industrial artifacts. The course only demands participation in the seminars and laboratory modules and successful completion of the written assignments, but all students are encouraged to develop specialized research projects to be subsequently expanded into either (1) a senior thesis project or (2) a conference presentation at the Society for American Archaeology, Society for Historical Archaeology, or Theoretical Archaeology Group meeting. Prerequisites: the instructor permission.

Anthropology UN2028y THINK LIKE AN ARCHAEOLOGIST. 3 pts.  Instructor. Allison McGovern.  This course provides a comprehensive introduction to methods and theory in archaeology – by exploring how archaeologists work to create narratives about the past (and the present) on the basis on the material remains of the past. The course begins with a consideration of how archaeologists deal with the remains of the past in the present: What are archaeological sites and how do we ‘discover’ them? How do archaeologists ‘read’ or analyze sites and artifacts? From there, we will turn to the question of how archaeologists interpret these materials traces, in order to create narratives about life in the past. After a review of the historical development of theoretical approaches in archaeological interpretation, the course will consider contemporary approaches to interpreting the past. $25.00 Anthropology Lab Fee.  Mandatory recitation sections:  TBA.

Anthropology BC3222y GENDER ARCHAEOLXGY.  3 pts.  Instructor:  Camilla Sturm.  This seminar critically reexamines the ancient world from the perspective of gender archaeology. Though the seedlings of gender archaeology were first sown by of feminist archaeologists during the 70’s and 80’s, this approach involves far more than simply ‘womanizing’ androcentric narratives of past. Rather, gender archaeology criticizes interpretations of the past that transplant contemporary social roles onto the archaeological past, casting the divisions and inequalities of today as both timeless and natural. This class challenges the idea of a singular past, instead championing a turn towards multiple, rich, messy, intersectional pasts. The ‘x’ in ‘archaeolxgy’ is an explicit signal of our focus on this diversity of pasts and a call for a more inclusive field of practice today.  Notes: Non-Majors need instructor permission.  

Anthropology GU4346y LAB TECHNIQUES IN ARCHAEOLOGY.  4 pts.  Instructor:  Allison McGovern.  Laboratory Methods in Archaeology” is an intensive introduction to the analysis of archaeological artifacts and samples in which we explore how the organic and inorganic remains from archaeological sites can be used to build rigorous claims about the human past. In 2023, this course will focus on pre-contact and post-contact assemblages from the New York-metro area, including materials from the legacy collections of Ralph Solecki. Participants will be introduced to the history, geology, and ecology of the New York area and specialized laboratory modules focus on the analysis of chipped stone artifacts, ceramics, animal bone, glass, and a range of post-contact artifacts.  The course only demands participation in the seminars and laboratory modules and successful completion of the written assignments, but all students are encouraged to develop specialized research projects to be subsequently expanded into either (1) a thesis project or (2) a conference presentation at the Society for American Archaeology, Society for Historical Archaeology, or Theoretical Archaeology Group meeting.  Permission of the instructor is required. $25.00 Anthropology Lab Fee.  

 

COURSE IN PHYSICAL ANTHROPOLOGY:

Anthropology GU4148y HUMAN SKELETAL BIOLOGY II. 3 pts. 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.  The permission of the instructor is required.

 

 

For information on class days and times, enrollment limits, enrollment status, course fees and classroom locations, visit the Online Directory of Classes at http://www.columbia.edu/cu/bulletin/uwb/  

Registration begins for most schools on Monday, November 14, 2022.

 

COURSES IN SOCIOCULTURAL ANTHROPOLOGY:

Anthropology GU4108y FILM AT LOW TEMPERATURES: CINEMAS OF THE ARCTIC.  3 pts.  Instructor:  Tyler Adkins. This seminar explores the screen cultures of the Indigenous peoples of the Polar and Circumpolar regions of Canada, The United States, Russia, Scandinavia, and Greenland as they exist at the unstable boundary between cinematic object and creative subject. Viewing work by Indigenous filmmakers, we will draw on from Indigenous Studies, Cultural Anthropology, and Film Studies to examine the complicated role of film in the Arctic.

Anthropology GU4143y ACCUSATION. 3 pts.  Instructor:  Rosalind Morris.  This course examines the politics and practices of collective accusation in comparative perspective. It treats these phenomena in their relation to processes of political and economic transition, to discourses of crisis, and to the practices of rule by which the idea of exception is made the grounds for extreme claims on and for the social body-usually, but not exclusively, enacted through forms of expulsion. We will consider the various theoretical perspectives through which forms of collective accusation have been addressed, focusing on psychoanalytic, structural functional, and poststructuralist readings. In doing so, we will also investigate the difference and possible continuities between the forms and logics of accusation that operate in totalitarian as well as liberal regimes. Course readings will include both literary and critical texts.  Permission of the instructor is required.

Anthropology GR6067y LANGUAGE AND ITS LIMITS. 3 pts. Instructor:  Mara Green.  This course examines language and its limits from the perspective of practice and theory, drawing on linguistic and sociocultural anthropology, semiotics, and deaf and disability studies. The first weeks focus on foundational texts and frameworks for language, semiotics, and communication, paying attention to the placement, and theorization, of boundaries that separate language from not-language and to the work such boundaries (are intended to) do. The second part of the course explores materials where the subjects and objects of study approach or even cross those boundaries, asking what kinds of ethical, intellectual, and relational demands these materials make in both social and analytic contexts. Focal topics may include linguistic relativity; semiotics; modality (signed, spoken, written languages); disability; trauma and colonialism; human-nonhuman communication; and gender. Please email for instructor permission.  Permission of the instructor is required.

Anthropology GR6069y TECHNO/BODIES.  3 pts.  Instructor:  Lesley Sharp.  This course examines technological body interventions as framed by sociality and subjectivity. Of special interest are pre- and post-human contexts that generate technological nostalgia, desire, anxiety, or fear. Topics include transformative surgeries; cyborgs and other hybrids; the militarized body and the nation; and body economies. Permission of the instructor is required.

Anthropology GR6157y IDEA OF A BL RADICAL TRADITION. 3 pts.  Instructor:  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? Course is open to graduate students only & the permission of the instructor is required.

Anthropology GR617y HOUSE, HOME, PROJECT.  3 pts.  Instructor:  Catherine Fennell.  In the past two decades, anthropologists have heeded calls for a "spatial" turn in the social sciences by asking how spatiality relates to social, cultural and political life. This turn is a remarkable given how much the field had treated space as a secondary effect of temporally-based processes of social and cultural change. Yet even if anthropology had neglected an adequate theorization of space, the increasing tractions of disciplinary conversations concerning place, ecology, and infrastructure suggest that human spatiality has long been a significant component of anthropologists’ concerns. In this seminar we explore how various scholars, including anthropological thinkers, have approached human spatiality through discussions of houses, homes and housing-related projects. Our exploration will shed light on several classic and contemporary concerns. For instance: What do built forms reveal about the shape and mechanics of social orders? How do they mediate and/or configure relatedness and what does that relatedness consist of? How can discussions centered on inhabiting place contribute to investigations of quotidian experience? How have interventions into domestic architecture supported political governance? How does one “write” the house? By following accounts of houses, homes and housing-related projects, we will consider varied interrogations of practice and embodiment, memory, materiality and collective well-being.  Permission of the instructor is required. Enrollment Priorities: GRADUATE STUDENTS IN DISCIPLINE OR INVESTED IN TOPIC.  Prerequisite Courses: IF OUT OF DISCIPLINE YOU SHOULD BE ABLE TO SHOW INSTRUCTOR THAT YOU HAVE RELEVANT COURSEWORK ON THE TOPIC.  

Anthropology GR6212y PRIN/APPL-SOC & CULTRL ANTHROPOLOGY.  3 pts.  Instructor:  Ellen Marakowitz. Focus on research and writing for the Masters level thesis, including research design, bibliography and background literature development, and writing. Prerequisites: ANTH G4201 Principles and Applications of Social and Cultural Anthropology.  Prerequisites: ANTH G4201 Principles and Applications of Social and Cultural Anthropology and the permission of the instructor is required. 

Anthropology GR6216Y NOT YOUR GRANDPARENT’S KINSHIP. 4 pts.  Instructor:  Naor Ben-Yehoyada.  While kinship as an institutional category of training has had a rocky route over the past several decades, the roles that received and transformed terms of relatedness shape the way people make and brake social relations and political projects enjoy periodical waves of interest. After introductory critical engagement with foundational texts, we will examine current theoretical and methodological issues in the analysis of kinship, relations, and relatedness. We will focus the social processes through which (and projects in which) people define, create, extend, limit, sever or transform their relatedness with others within and over generations. We will ask what is the relationship between the reach of relatedness and the bounds communities and associations; how people distinguish who is or is not their kin, kith, friend, relative, family member, and so forth; when and how they propose to replace one term of relatedness for another, to act “as if” those unrelated are related, or vice versa; what roles substances (blood, water, milk, &c.) play in conveying, expressing, and forging relations. We will focus on the vicissitudes of relatedness through settlement and migration, as well as on the intersections of kinship and political economy.  

Anthropology GR6227y ETHNOGRAPHIES AT THE END OF THE WORLD. 3 pts. Juan Carlos Mazariegos.  What can we learn from anthropological and ethnographic research in and about a damaged world, a world confronted by the violence and effects of war, climate change, transnational migration, post-industrial abandonment, and the lives and afterlives of colonialism and slavery? What are the ethnographic debates that address the catastrophes produced by capitalism and the lifeforms that emerge out of its ruins? What types of anthropological critique emerge in times enunciated as ‘the end of the world’? And what comes after this end? Ethnographies at the End of the World addresses these questions by paying close attention to some of the most relevant debates in contemporary anthropological theory and anthropological critique. These debates include, among others, discussions on violence and trauma, the politics of life and death, the work of memory and oblivion, and the material entanglements between human and non-human forms of existence. The aim of this seminar is to generate a discussion around the multiple implications of these theoretical arrangements and how anthropologists deploy them in their ethnographic understandings of the world we live in. In doing so, this course provides students with a fundamental understanding and conceptual knowledge about how anthropologists use and produce theory, and how this theoretical production is mobilized as a social critique. This course is reading intensive and operates in the form of a seminar. It is intended, primarily, for MA students in the department of anthropology and graduate students in other departments. Priority given to ANTH MAs. Other graduate students require the permission of the instructor.

Anthropology GR6305y ART, AESTHETICS, AND THE POLITICAL.  3 pts.  Instructor:  Marilyn Ivy.  Cross-disciplinary in inspiration, this seminar engages work in anthropology, art criticism, literary studies, aesthetics, and philosophy to think about the political possibilities of art and the aesthetic dimensions of the political. Focusing most sharply (but not exclusively) on what is variously called socially engaged art, relational art, or participatory art, the seminar will consider recent art practices, performances, texts, and objects across a diverse range of genres and national-cultural locations. Art thinkers studied will include Kant, Benjamin, Adorno, Lyotard, Ranciere, Kitagawa, García-Canclini, Groys, Bishop, Bourriard, and beyond. Permission of the instructor is required.

Anthropology GR6602y QUESTIONS IN ANTHROPOLOGICAL THEORY II:  3 pts.  Instructor:  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 several key questions, including: the modernity of anthropology and the value of primitivism; the relationship between 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. The course is exclusively limited to doctoral students in Anthropology.

 

COURSES IN ARCHAEOLOGY:

Anthropology GR5115y 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.  Permission of the instructor is required.

Anthropology GR6031y CONTESTING THE PAST. 3 pts.  Instructor:  Terence D’Altroy.  Permission of the instructor is required.

Anthropology GR6162y CONTEMPORARY ARCHAEOLOGICAL THEORY.  3 pts.  Instructor:  Severin Fowles.  Archaeology is a sprawling, messy discipline and the role that theory does, should, and might play in the process of archaeological data collection, analysis, and interpretation has been highly contested. Archaeologists argue over whether there is such a thing as a stand-alone ‘archaeological theory’ and what kinds of theory from other disciplines should (or should not!) be imported. This course explores a range of recent theoretical conversations, orientations, and interventions within archaeology, with an eye to understanding what is currently at stake – and what is contested – in how archaeologists think about making archaeological knowledge in the contemporary moment. In doing so, this course encourages students to think about theory in archaeology as an important form of “practical knowledge” or “know how” for archaeologists (cf. Lucas 2018).  Notes: Priority given to the first-year archaeology students in the NYC Consortium.  Permission of the instructor is required.

 

COURSE IN PHYSICAL ANTHROPOLOGY:

Anthropology GU4148y HUMAN SKELETAL BIOLOGY II. 3 pts. 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.  The permission of the instructor is required.

 

COURSES IN MUSEUM ANTHROPOLOGY:

Anthropology GU4346y LAB TECHNIQUES IN ARCHAEOLOGY.  4 pts.  Instructor:  Allison McGovern.  Laboratory Methods in Archaeology” is an intensive introduction to the analysis of archaeological artifacts and samples in which we explore how the organic and inorganic remains from archaeological sites can be used to build rigorous claims about the human past. In 2023, this course will focus on pre-contact and post-contact assemblages from the New York-metro area, including materials from the legacy collections of Ralph Solecki. Participants will be introduced to the history, geology, and ecology of the New York area and specialized laboratory modules focus on the analysis of chipped stone artifacts, ceramics, animal bone, glass, and a range of post-contact artifacts.  The course only demands participation in the seminars and laboratory modules and successful completion of the written assignments, but all students are encouraged to develop specialized research projects to be subsequently expanded into either (1) a thesis project or (2) a conference presentation at the Society for American Archaeology, Society for Historical Archaeology, or Theoretical Archaeology Group meeting.  Permission of the instructor is required. $25.00 Anthropology Lab Fee.  

Anthropology GR6192y EXHIBITION PRAC-GLOBAL CONTEXT.  3 pts.  Instructor:  Ciné Ostrow.  Prerequisites: ANTH G6352 Museum Anthropology: history and theory / ANTH G6353 Politics and Practice of Museum Exhibitions; G9110, G9111 and the instructors permission. Corequisites: ANTH G6353. 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.  Permission of the instructor is required. NOTE: Class will meet off campus at AMNH. 

Anthropology GR6365y EXHIBITION CULTURES.  3 pts.  Instructor:  Laurel Kendall. 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. G6365 works in tandem with the exhibition project that will be developed in “Exhibition Practice in Global Culture” to produce a small exhibit.   This year we will use a Tibetan Thangka painting (AMNH #70.3/8090) as the focal point for an exhibit that explores contemporary Thangkas and those who paint them. Permission of the instructor is required. NOTE: Class will meet off campus at AMNH.

Anthropology GR9110y 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.

Anthropology GR9111y 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.


SUPERVISED INDIVIDUAL RESEARCH COURSES:

Anthropology GR9101y RESEARCH IN SOCIAL/CULTURAL ANTHROPOLOGY.  3-9 Pts.  STAFF.  Individual research and tutorial in archaeology for advanced graduate students. Prerequisites: the instructor’s permission. Enrollment is limited to 10.

Anthropology GR9102y RESEARCH IN ARCHAEOLOGY. 3-9 pts.  STAFF.  Individual research and tutorial in archaeology for advanced graduate students. Prerequisites: the instructor’s permission. Enrollment is limited to 10.

Anthropology GR9103y 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.  Enrollment is limited to 8.

Anthropology GR9105y RESEARCH IN SPECIAL FIELDS.  3-9 Pts.  STAFF. Individual research and tutorial in archaeology for advanced graduate students. Prerequisites: the instructor’s permission. Enrollment is limited to 10.

Anthropology GR9112y RSCH IN ARCHEOL METHOD/THEORY. 3-9 Pts.  STAFF. Individual research and tutorial in archaeological method and theory for advanced graduate students.  Prerequisites: the instructor’s permission.  Enrollment is limited to 10.

Anthropology GR9999y WEDNESDAY SEMINAR.  0 Pts.  Instructor:  Catherine Fennell.  Reports of ongoing research are presented by staff members, students, and special guests.  All anthropology graduate students are required to attend.  Enrollment is limited to 40.

 

 


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.'