Undergraduate 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: http://www.columbia.edu/cu/bulletin/uwb/

Academic Calendar

For Cross-Registration Information refer to:  http://registrar.columbia.edu/content/cross-registration

For Registration Dates refer to: http://registrar.columbia.edu/


Courses in Sociocultural Anthropology


ANTH UN1002y The Interpretation of Culture 3 pts.  Vanessa Agard-Jones. 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. Enrollment limit is 120. Discussion Section Required.  Refer to Directory of Courses http://www.columbia.edu/cu/bulletin/uwb/

ANTH UN1009y Introduction to Language and Culture 3 pts. 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.  Limit Enrollment is 100.   Discussion Section Required.  Refer to Directory of Courses http://www.columbia.edu/cu/bulletin/uwb/

ANTH UN2005y The Ethnographic Imagination 3 pts.  Maria Jose 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. The course consists of critical reading of various kinds of texts (classic ethnographies, histories, journalism, novels, and films) and of the ways in which understanding, interpreting, and representing the lived words of people, at home or abroad, in one place or transnationally, and in the past or the present, can be accomplished. Discussion Section Required.  Enrollment limit is 120.  Refer to Directory of Courses http://www.columbia.edu/cu/bulletin/uwb/

ANTH UN2007y Indian and Nigerian Film Cultures 4 pts. Brian Larkin. This course introduces students of all levels to Indian and Nigerian cinemas and the media worlds that support them -  their aesthetics, histories, technologies, and exhibition cultures –  as a means to examine wider issues of colonial and postcolonial modernity.  The course is not just about the films themselves but how they have become lightning rods for conflicts over the place of culture, the nature of social change, the uncertain directions of modernity and the place of religion and secularism within it. Topics include: aesthetics and genre; cinema and urbanization; colonialism and postcolonialism, platforms of distribution and exhibition, censorship, culture and religion, and, finally, comparison and its role in understanding film history.

ANTH UN3040y Anthropological Theory 4 pts. Mara Green. The second of a two semester sequence intended to introduce departmental majors to key readings in social theory that have been constitutive of the rise and contemporary practice of modern anthropology. The goal is to understand historical and current intellectual debates within the discipline. Prerequisites: Required of all Barnard Anthropology majors; open to other students with instructor's permission only. Required of all Anthropology majors (and tracks) within the Barnard Department.  

ANTH UN3602y Stockholm syndrome:  Terror, sympathy, Love 4 pts. Peter Lagerqvist.  Why would the 1973 bank robbery that launched the term “Stockholm Syndrome” be invoked as an antecedent for a 2017 terror attack? How is it that talk about terrorism always seem to incite anxiety over errant sympathies, as per the adage “one person’s terrorist is another person’s freedom fighter”? This course explores how that which is done and said around terrorism over the course of the modern era has regimented our possibility of “feeling with” others, focusing particularly on the notion of sympathy developed by Adam Smith and David Hume in their seminal thinking about modern sociality. If every sentiment has a history, as Michel Foucault holds, what might a reading of terror, through sympathy, tell us about the shifting bounds of politics, kinship and love in the contemporary moment? The course will explore such questions through consideration of primary sources from across a range of historical eras and regions, including Europe, the Middle East, the Subcontinent, Africa, the Caribbean, and the US. We will consider contemporary films, newspaper accounts, novels and historical archival material - alongside weekly readings from anthropology, history, philosophy and literary criticism. Teaching will be case-driven; asking students to respond to events and questions raised in the primary material, and will sustain a number of interlocking themes across the semester. In tackling their readings students will help each other think critically about contemporary issues of global import, while also exploring or re-engaging - in the case of advanced students - longstanding anthropological concerns with selfhood and sociality; the taboo and the queer; violence and law; governance and expertise  - drawing on canonical as well as contemporary texts. One 1 hour 50 min seminar will be given each week, which will include a lecture, student commentaries, and engaged in-class group discussions.  Enrollment limit is 15.

ANTH UN3728y Ethnographies of Black Life 4 pts. Vanessa Agard-Jones.  This course explores themes that have shaped Anthropology’s (often fraught) engagement with Black life. We will critically examine texts that reveal the ways that the discipline and its practitioners have sought to interface with people and populations of African descent—and have sought to define the constitution of Blackness itself—in the Americas. Plumbing the dynamic relationship between historical and ethnographic inquiry, we will ask pressing questions not only about conditions of Black life (and Black death), but also about the production of knowledge about the people who live under Blackness’ sign. Finally, we will turn our collective attention to key issues in the practice, ethics, and politics of ethnography, while also immersing ourselves in the archives produced through ethnographic and auto-ethnographic practice, including those found in various NYC collections.

ANTH BC3872y Senior Thesis Seminar 4 pts.  Lesley Sharp, Nadia Abu El-Haj, JC Salyer.   

ANTH UN3912y Ethnographic China 4 pts. Myron Cohen. Reading of selected ethnographies of China from among the many published since 1990. In the context of rapid social and economic change in China during this period, the seminar will critically consider how each ethnography represents the observations, interpretations, and field techniques of the anthropologist who is its author. Also discussed will be the shared themes and contesting perspectives emerging from a comparison of these works, as well as the overall contribution of this ethnographic research to our understanding of China as an emerging world power.

ANTH UN3942y Race and Racisms 4 pts.  Nadia Abu El-Haj. 

ANTH UN3946y African Cultural Production  4 pts.  Brian Larkin.  This course examines the diversity and richness of African cultural forms, the debates around them, and the infrastructures – festivals, biennales, technologies – by which those forms are organized and circulated within and out of the continent.  In debates about the preservation of African culture in the face of foreign domination, the promise and dangers of Afropolitanism, and the tensions between popular cultural forms and the art world we will examine how African cultural producers and intellectuals offer different visions for the Africa they wish to be.  Finally, we will examine the idea of culture itself and its role in the production of African experience.  Readings include:  Ngugi, Fanon, Mbembe, Ogbechie, Enwezor, Okeke-Agulu, Barber, Diawara, Gondola, Haynes, Okome.

ANTH UN3947y Text, Magic, Performance 4 pts. 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, witchcraft, 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.  Partial Fulfillment of Global Core Requirement.  Prerequisites: the instructor's permission.

ANTH UN3966y Culture and Mental Health 4 pts. Karen Seeley.  This course considers mental disturbance and its relief by examining historical, anthropological, psychoanalytic and psychiatric notions of self, suffering, and cure. After exploring the ways in which conceptions of mental suffering and abnormality are produced, we look at specific kinds of psychic disturbances and at various methods for their alleviation.  Enrollment limited to 20. Prerequisites: the instructor's permission. Limited to juniors & seniors.

ANTH UN3999y Senior Thesis Seminar in Anthropology 4 pts.  Lila Abu-Lughod. 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.  Enrollment limit is 15.   Requirements: Students must have completed the requirements of the first semester of the sequence and seek instructor approval to enroll in the second.


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Courses in Archaeology

ANTH UN1008y The Rise of Civilization 3pts. 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. Discussion Section Required.  Refer to Directory of Courses http://www.columbia.edu/cu/bulletin/uwb/

ANTH GU4481y Science and Art in Archaeological Illustration 4 pts.  Zoe Crossland and Tracy Molis.  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.  Enrollment limit is 15 and the Instructor's permission is required.  Lab Fee $50.00.

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.



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.  Enrollment limited to 10.   Prerequisites: an introductory biological/physical anthropology course and the instructor's permission.

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.   Enrollment limited to 12.   Prerequisites: the instructor's permission.


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Undergraduate Research Course

ANTH UN3998y Supervised Individual Research  3-6 pts.  Prerequisite: the written permission of the staff member under whose supervision the research will be conducted. http://www.columbia.edu/cu/bulletin/uwb/




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