Graduate Courses Spring 2019


                               Socio-Cultural Anthropology



       Physical Anthropology
           Research Courses

This schedule is subject to change

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

Academic Calendar

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Courses in Sociocultural Anthropology


ANTH GR5480y Critical Native and Indigenous Studies.  3 pts.  Audra Simpson.  This course is an interdisciplinary survey of the literature and issues that comprise Native American and Indigenous Studies. Readings for this course are organized around the concepts of indigeneity, coloniality, power and "resistance" and concomitantly interrogate these concepts for social and cultural analysis. The syllabus is derived from some of the "classic" and canonical works in Native American Studies such as Custer Died for Your Sins but will also require an engagement with less canonical works such as Red Man's Appeal to Justice in addition to historical, ethnographic and theoretical contributions from scholars that work outside of Native American and Indigenous Studies.  This course is open to advanced undergraduate students with the instructor's permission.  Enrollment permission is 15.

ANTH GR6049y Arts of Magic, Arts of Possession. 3 pts.  John Pemberton. This course begins by exploring domains where magic and possession are classically articulated: animistic beliefs, theories of magic, ritual practices, scenes of spirit mediumship, states of trance, and so on.  The course then moves to bring into creative conversation these ethnographic texts on magic and possession with accounts of performance (theatrical, musical, dance), works of art (visual, cinematographic, sonic), acts of writing (literary, ethnographic, autobiographical), and, most fundamentally, reflections on the everyday.  Pursued are issues of subjectivity--particularly, the conjuring and displacement of self in the form of the first-person singular "I"--and the twin forces of repetition and coincidence.  Retraced throughout the course are thus the shadows of a modern subject and its uncanny powers of imagination.  Intructor's permission is required.  Enrollment limit is 20.

ANTH GR6055y Second Year Doctoral Proposal Seminar. 4 pts. Lesley Sharp.  Within this seminar, one will master the art of research design and proposal writing, with special emphasis on the skills involved in writing a dissertation prospectus and research proposals that target a range of external funding sources.   Foci include: bibliography development; how one crafts and defends a research problem; the parameters of human subjects research & certification; and the key components of grant proposal design.   Required of, and limited to, all Second Year PHD anthropology students.   Required of, and limited to, all Second Year PhD students in the Anthropology Department.  Notes for Students Regarding Points: students must complete all assignments to receive a passing grade.  Instructor's permission.  Enrollment limit is 20.

ANTH GR6069y TechnoBodies. 3 pts. Lesley SharpThis 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. Instructor's permission.  Enrollment limit is 20.

ANTH GR6116y Social Theory and Contemporary Questions. 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.  Instructor's permission.  Enrollment limit is 20.

ANTH GR6135y War and Society Theory. 3 pts. 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? Instructor's permission.  Enrollment limit is 22.

ANTH GR6157y Idea of a Black Radical 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 permission.  Enrollment limit is 15.

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.  Enrollment limit is 20.

ANTH GR6293y Specters of Organized Subversion. 3 pts.  Claudio Lomnitz and Naor Ben-Yehoyada.  Ruling powers of various shapes and sizes tend to prosecute those people whom they fear because of their identity, class, craft, or convictions. Often, the object of accusation, inquiry, prosecution, and persecution includes not just one (or more) individual persons, but a set of relationships that these ruling powers see as anathema to the social order they seek to establish or maintain, and on which their power depends.  Specters can personify residuals of antediluvian political or cosmological order (heretics and witches, officers of toppled regime, Catholics after the reformation, idolatry trials in the new world, mafiosi after their criminalization, Bundists in Soviet Russia) or emergent forms (emancipated Jews, dissidents, or anarchists). All share that role in social dramas that cast them as enemies of The State, The Church, The People, or Humanity.  In this seminar, we will begin to explore the array of social rituals, routinized practices (like rumors and media-oriented lynching) and institutions that have been developed specifically in order to name such specters and summon them publicly. We will examine, among others: trials, conspiracy theories (as a mode of recounting a presence that is constantly putting the specter back in), investigative committees, inquisitorial tribunals.   We will examine how such social rituals and routinized practices and institutions give us unique opportunities to examine what conceptions of society, of relationships good and evil, and of justice underlie political orders, how they codify and pursue them, and what historical processes these enactments trigger or shape. We will focus on cases from early modern and modern societies, with an eye towards the emergence and stabilization of republican order.  Instructor's permission is required.  Enrollment limit is 15.

ANTH GR6305y Art, Aesthetic, and the Political. 3 pts.  Marilyn Ivy.  A central concern of modern theory and philosophy is the place of the aesthetic and its relationship to feelings and politics. How are feelings articulated with aesthetic judgments? How do different aesthetic apprehensions shade into different affective experiences? What are the political implications of these aesthetico-affective complexes, particularly under conditions of advanced capitalism, virtualization, and mass mediation? Starting with Longinus's On the Sublime and Kant's philosophy of the beautiful and the sublime, the course will consider aesthetico-affective experiences left out of formal philosophy but important in everyday life. Minor aesthetic concepts like the uncanny, the grotesque, and the cute will be intermixed with consideration of affects like anxiety, stupefaction, and hopefulness. Examples, cases, and inspiration are drawn from life in the United States (and elsewhere), from fiction, music, art, and film; disciplinary approaches are taken from literary criticism, anthropology, psychoanalysis, and philosophy. Theoretical readings include works by Kant, Hegel, Freud, Lyotard, Gasch, Derrida, Lacan, Deleuze, and others.  The instructor's permission is required to take this course.  The enrollment limit is 20.

ANTH GR6502y Crisis and/as Critique. 3 pts.  Maria José de Abreu.  What do we mean when we use the word “crisis” today? Measured against normalcy and regularity, the notion of crisis is conventionally understood as an interruption, exception or temporary suspension to and of the ordinary. In pre-modern terms, however, crisis was embedded in the everyday in processes of critical assessment and decision-making. Similarly, the notion of crisis will vary according to different cultures, depending on collective and individual experiences. In this course we will explore the concept of crisis in a trans-historical and trans-cultural perspective. We will be considering crisis from a variety of perspectives and contexts such as the political and the religious, the economic and ecological, the existential and the artistic, in care, on the media and within ecological realms. We will be not only situating crisis in context but also inquire about the political implications such notion entails in and for our present.  Course Requirements:  Readings: Course information, additional readings, and announcements will be posted throughout the term on Courseworks.

ANTH GR6602y Questions in Anthropological Theory II:  Texts. 3 pts. Claudio Lomnitz.  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. Open only for 1st year PhD students in the socio-cultural anthropology program.

ANTH GR8494y Seminar on Late Imperial China. 3 pts. Myron Cohen. Selected themes in the analysis of Chinese society during late imperial and modern times.   Enrollment limit is 20.

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Courses in Archaeology


ANTH GU4345y Neanderthal Alterities.  3 pts.  Brian Boyd.  Using "The Neanderthals" partly as a metaphorical device, this course considers the anthropological, philosophical and ethical implications of sharing the world with another human species. Beginning from a solid grounding in the archaeological, biological and genetic evidence, we will reflect critically on why Neanderthals are rarely afforded the same reflexive capacities, qualities and attributes - agency- as anatomically modern humans, and why they are often regarded as "lesser" or nonhuman animals despite clear evidence for both sophisticated material and social engagement with the world and its resources. Readings/materials are drawn from anthropology, philosophy, ethics, gender studies, race and genetics studies, literature and film. Instructor's permission.  Enrollment limit is 20.

ANTH GU4481y Science and Art in Archaeological Illustration. 4 pts.  Zoe Crossland and Tracy Mollis.  Archaeology has provided a rich imaginative resource for many artists, who have found inspiration in the discipline’s material engagement with the past, its evocation of absent presences, and its strange juxtaposition of practical activity and textual narrative. In this course we continue the exploration of art’s intersections with archaeology, but we take an alternate starting point. Scientific illustration has been a key part of archaeological work since the discipline’s origins in the antiquarian investigations of the 16th and 17th centuries. These antiquarian records drew upon techniques that were elaborated during the Renaissance and many of these illustrative forms remain relevant today. 

This course will explore this history through a mix of seminar and studio, with a overarching focus on drawing, broadly construed. In the first half of semester students will be trained in techniques of scientific illustration (e.g., of bones, pottery, small finds from archaeological excavation), while also exploring the representational choices made in this work, and the effects of these choices on how materials are understood and reproduced. In the second half of the semester we will move out from this basis to think more broadly about the intersections between art, science, and archaeology as part of students’ final projects. These will be mounted in an exhibit at the end of the semester.  Instructor's permission.  Enrollment limit is 20.  $50 Anthropology Lab Fee.

ANTH GR5527y Mobilities Past and Present.3 pts.  Hannah Chazin.  This course explores mobility – past and present – as an object of anthropological analysis, through mix of theoretical texts and ethnographic and archaeological case studies. In it, mobility is approached as an analytical object in two ways. First, it examines how mobility is structured in/through space, time, scale, as well as by landscapes, infrastructures, companion species, subjectivities, and ideologies. Second, this course engages with the ways in which mobility has structured anthropological understandings of societies and their history. As part of this, it interrogates the development of mobility studies and the arguments for novel mobilities in the contemporary world.  Instructor's permission is required.  Enrollment limit is 15.

ANTH GR6103y Method and Theory in Archaeology. 3 pts. Terence D’Altroy.  This course is a seminar on research design in anthropological archaeology. It examines the links among theory, method, and data analysis in project design and interpretation. Enrollment limit is 20. 

ANTH GR6223y  Landscape: life and non-life in the making of place.  3 pts.  Zoe Crossland. This class takes the creation and inhabitation of place as its focus, drawing on diverse conceptual frameworks from anthropology and beyond to think critically about landscape and the forms of life and non-life through which it is constituted. We will look at the history of approaches to landscape and then address a range of case studies that attempt to decenter the human and to imagine a non-anthropocentric form of inquiry to place-making. How might such modes of approach reconfigure what is understood by landscape and the coming into being of place?  Instructor's permission is required.  Enrollment limit is 20.


Courses in Museum Anthropology

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ANTH GR6192y Exhibition Practice in Global Context. 3 pts.  David Harvey. 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 G6352 Museum Anthropology: history and theory / ANTH G6353 Politics and Practice of Museum Exhibitions; G9110, G9111 and the instructor's permission. Enrollment limit is 13. Corequisites: ANTH G6353. Course meets off campus refer to Directory of Courses for location

ANTH GR6365y Exhibiting Cultures: politics and practices of museum exhibitions. 3pts. 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.  Instructor's permission required.  Enrollment limit is 15.  Course meets off campus refer to Directory of Courses for location

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 director, usually after completing the Museum Anthropology core courses. En rollment limit is 15.

ANTH GR9111y 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 director, usually after completing the Museum Anthropology core courses.  Enrollment limit is 15.


Courses in Biological/Physical Anthropology

ANTH GR4002y Controversial Topics in Human Evolution. 3 pts. Ralph Holloway.  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 Neanderthals, and the evolution of culture, language, and human cognition.  Prerequisites: an introductory biological/physical anthropology course and the instructor's permission.  Enrollment limit is 12.

ANTH GR4148y 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.    Prerequisites: the instructor's permission.  Enrollment limit is 12.

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Graduate Research Courses

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

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



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