Fall 2020 Graduate Course List

August 05, 2020





ANTH GR5201x PRIN/APPL OF SOCIETY & CULTURE.  3 points.  Ellen Marakowitz.  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.  Prerequisites: graduate standing. Enrollment limit is 22.  Open to MAs IN ANTH. OTHERS MUST E-MAIL [email protected].  



ANTH G6023x POWER AND HEGEMONY 3 points Partha Chatterjee. Gramsci's Prison Notebooks and selected texts by Foucault including Discipline and Punish; The History of Sexuality; The Archaeology of Knowledge; and the later articles and lectures on governmentality. Representative readings of both Gramacian and Foucauldian analysis of power in societies. The productive oppositions and convergences in their approaches to the question of power.  Enrollment limit is 25.  Prerequisites: the instructor's permission.  Anth & MESAAS graduate students have priority. Contact [email protected]. MEETING LOCATION:  HYBRID

ANTH GR6070x MAKING ETHNOG: METHOD & WRITING.  3 points.  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.  Enrollment limit is 20.  Instructor’s permission is required.   MEETING LOCATION:  ONLINE ONLY


ANTH GR6079x READING, WRITING, ETHNOGRAPHY.  3 points.  Rosalind Morris.  “Reading, Writing, Ethnography” undertakes a survey of exemplary texts in order to explore the histories, genre conventions and experimental forms for writing ethnography.  The course focuses on the monograph form, and is especially concerned with the ways in which empirical observation is made the ground of theoretical abstraction and generalizing claims. Additionally, it examines the relationship between different theoretical and aesthetic movements as these have influenced the writings of anthropologists and those whose work can be considered to have an anthropological ambition—even when they have not been formally trained in anthropology.  We will examine the influence of various modernisms—realist and surrealist—on the discipline, as well as the sometimes awkward relations between structuralist, psychoanalytic, and postcolonial theory as they have (and have not) been realized in the writing projects of ethnographers. Enrollment limit is 15 and the instructor’s permission is required.  Enrollment priorities:  Doctoral students in Anthropology; MA students in anthropology, doctoral students in related disciplines. MEETING LOCATION:  REMOTE INSTRUCTION ONLY

ANTH GR6293x SPECTERS OF ORGANIZED SUBVERSION.  3 points.  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.  Enrollment limit is 20.  Instructor’s permission is required.  Priority for ANTH PhDs. Others apply w/ short explanation. MEETING LOCATION:  HYBRID


ANTH GR6601x QUESTIONS-ANTHROP THRY I: TEXTS. 3 points. David Scott.  Presents students with critical theories of society, paying particular attention to classic continental social theory of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. We will trace a trajectory through important French and German writings essential for any understanding of the modern discipline of anthropology: from Saussure through Durkheim and Mauss, Marx, Weber, and on to the structuralist elaboration of these theoretical perspectives in Claude Lévi-Strauss, always bearing in mind the relationship of these theories to contemporary anthropology. We come last to Foucault and affiliated theorists as successors both to French structuralism and to German social theory and its concerns with modernity, rationality, and power. Throughout the readings, we will give special care to questions of signification as they inform anthropological inquiry, and we will be alert to the historical contexts that situate the discipline of anthropology today. Enrollment limit is 10.   Registration is only OPEN to PhD students in Anthropology. MEETING LOCATION:  IN-PERSON

ANTH GR6649x DARK ECOLOGIES: ECOCRITICAL THOUGHT NOW.  3 points.  Marilyn Ivy.  This seminar aims to disclose what an anthropologically informed, ecocritical cultural studies can offer in this moment of intensifying ecological calamity. With global warming and associated crises of pollution, habitat and species extinction, new forms of disease, and the ongoing issue of the nuclear, there is a pervasive anxiety about the fate of the earth and, with it, life itself. How can ecocritical thought grapple with this “great unraveling,” as ecotheorist 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, Bonneuil and Fressoz, Bennett, Zizek, Kohn, Descola, Stengers, Haraway, Latour, Macy, and others. Enrollment limit is 15 and the instructor's permission is required. MEETING LOCATION:  REMOTE INSTRUCTION ONLY

ANTH GR9999x WEDNESDAY SEMINAR.  0 points.  Catherine Fennell.  All anthropology graduate students are required to attend. Reports of ongoing research are presented by staff members, students, and special guests.   MEETING LOCATION:  ONLINE ONLY



ANHS GU4001x THE ANCIENT EMPIRES.  3 points.  Terence D’Altroy.  The principal goal of this course is to examine the nature and histories of a range of early empires in a comparative context. In the process, we will examine influential theories that have been proposed to account for the emergence and trajectories of those empires. Among the theories are the core-periphery, world-systems, territorial-hegemonic, tributary-capitalist, network, and IEMP approaches. Five regions of the world have been chosen, from the many that could provide candidates: Rome (the classic empire), New Kingdom Egypt, Qin China, Aztec Mesoamerica, and Inka South America. These empires have been chosen because they represent a cross-section of polities ranging from relatively simple and early expansionist societies to the grand empires of the Classical World, and the most powerful states of the indigenous Americas. There are no prerequisites for this course, although students who have no background in Anthropology, Archaeology, History, or Classics may find the course material somewhat more challenging than students with some knowledge of the study of early societies. There will be two lectures per week, given by the professor.  Enrollment limit is 100.  MEETING LOCATION:  ONLINE ONLY

ANTH GU4175x WRITING ARCHAEOLOGY.  3 points.  Zoe Crossland.  Like fiction archaeology allows us to visit other worlds and to come back home again. In this class, we will explore different genres of archaeological texts. How do writers contribute to the development of narratives about the past, what are the narrative tricks used by archaeologists, novelists and poets to evoke other worlds and to draw in the reader? What is lost in the translationfrom the earth to text, and what is gained? There is an intimacy to archaeological excavation, an intimacy that is rarely captured in archaeological narratives. What enlivening techniques might we learn from fictional accounts, and where might we find narrative space to include emotion and affect, as well as the texture and grain of encounters with the traces of the past? How does archaeological evidence evoke a particular response, and how do novels and poems work to do the same thing? What is the role of the reader in bringing a text to life? Enrollment limit is 15. Priority: Anthropology graduate students, archaeology senior thesis students. For students actively engaged in writing projects.   MEETING LOCATION:  ONLINE ONLY

ANTH GU4345x NEANDERTHAL ALTERITIES.  3 points.  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 approval is required Enrollment limit is 20.  Location:  I

ANTH GR6051x VALUE, OBJECTS, AND MEANING.  3 points.  Hannah Chazin.  This course explores how anthropologists have engaged with the question of value as means of understanding and comparing human social engagement with the creation, circulation, and consumption of objects and ideas. In doing so, this course will read classical anthropological texts concerned with exchange, social meaning and action and consider a variety of topics of anthropological interest such as debt, commodities, fetishes, and money. In addition, we will read from a variety of other theoretical literatures that have informed anthropological discussions about the relationship between value, materiality, and semiotics. Enrollment limit is 15.  Instructor’s permission is required. MEETING LOCATION:  ONLINE ONLY


GR5361x ETHICAL ISSUES IN MUSEUMS.  3 points.  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 instructor’s permission.  Enrollment limit is 14   MEETING LOCATION:  IN-PERSON

ANTH GR6352x MUSEUM ANTHROP: HIST & THEORY.  3 points.  Brian Boyd.  This course will consider museums as reflectors of social priorities, which store important objects and display them in ways that present significant cultural messages. Students visit several New York museums to learn how a museum functions.  Enrollment limit is 15.  MUSA Students only; others require instructors permission. MEETING LOCATION:  IN-PERSON

ANTH GR6652x MUSA DIGITAL MEDIA, MATERIALITY&PRACTICE.  3 points. 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.  Enrollment limit is 15.

ANTH GR9110x MUSEUM ANTHROPOL INTERNSHIP I.  3-9 points. 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.  MEETING LOCATION: ONLINE ONLY

ANTH GR9111x MUSEUM ANTHROPOL INTERNSHIP II. 3-9 Points.  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. MEETING LOCATION: ONLINE ONLY



EAAS GU4017x ETHNOGRAPHY AND REPRESENTATION IN TIBET.  4 points.  Eveline Washul.  This course introduces contemporary Tibetan society through the lens of anthropology and how various representations have produced different understandings of Tibet within China and beyond.  MEETING LOCATION: ONLINE ONLY

AFAS GU4080x TOPICS IN THE BLACK EXPERIENCE RACE AND THE UNMAKING OF AMERICA.  Steven Gregory.  Please refer to the African American and African Diaspora Studies Department https://afamstudies.columbia.edu/courses for section-by-section course descriptions. MEETING LOCATION: ONLINE ONLY

WMST GU4235x INDIGENOUS FEMINISMS.  4 points.  Audra Simpson.  Indigenous women, queers, trans- and Two Spirit people have been at the forefront of activism and resistance to state incursion into Indigenous lands and waters. This was evident most recently at Mauna Kea, a mountain sacred to Kanaka Maoli in Hawaii as women, trans and queer formed the first line of resistance and occupation against the construction of a 1000-meter telescope on the site. This is not unique, their voices, along with indigenous queer and feminist scholars, have been working to address issues as far-ranging as mascots, settler appropriation of indigenous cultures, missing and murdered indigenous women and girls, and the violence against indigenous urban youth. This seminar will consider how those indigenous feminist, queer, and Two Spirit scholars have theorized gender, sexuality, race, and colonialism, alongside issues of land, water and sovereignty. We will read works that consider how indigeneity challenges how gender and sexuality are expressed in the context of settler colonialism and racial capitalism.    MEETING LOCATION: ONLINE ONLY