Spring 2021 Graduate Course List

August 04, 2020

Spring 2021 graduate Course List

Courses in Sociocultural Anthropology:


ANTH G4143y Accusation. 3 pts. 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.  Enrollment limited to 15.  Method of Instruction:  TBA


ANTH GU4175y Zora.  3 pts. Vanessa Agard-Jones.  Zora Neale Hurston—Barnard College ‘28 and a once-graduate student in Columbia’s department of Anthropology—was a pioneering chronicler of Black folklore, a student of Black expression, and a creative imaginer of Black worlds via her novels, short stories, plays and poetry. From her travels throughout the U.S. South, to Haiti, Jamaica, and beyond, Hurston took as her mission a diasporic articulation of Black life in the Americas. In this seminar, we ask what a deep reading of Hurston’s oeuvre can teach us about the history of Anthropology, about the blurry borders between fiction and ethnography, and about the legacies that her work leaves—in communities of scholarly practice and beyond.  Method of Instruction:  TBA


AFAS GU4520y Race and the Articulation of Difference.  3 pts.   Steven Gregory.  Course description to be announced. Method of Instruction:  TBA


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 Mans 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 graduate students and advanced undergraduates.  Method of Instruction:  TBA


ANTH GR6055y Second Year Doctoral Proposal Seminar. 3 pts. Paige West.  Prerequisites: 2ND YEAR PHD STATUS IN GOOD STANDING Corequisites: ANTH G6205 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. Method of Instruction:  TBA


ANTH GR6124y The Politics of Modeling Social Relations. 3 pts. Juan Carlos Mazariegos. Tracing relationality is a central component of doing and writing anthropology. What relates to what and how? Of the near infinite possibilities, what story is told? To foreground certain connections is necessarily to downplay others. The tracing is inherently political.  To describe something is also to model it. From rhizomes to cyborgs, colliding social forms to articulated modes of production: relationality has been modeled in vastly different ways.  This course will explore some of the ways in which anthropologists have brought nuance and sensitivity to the modeling of social relations. Each week will pair ‘theory’ with examples of its use in ethnographic works. We will cover a wide breadth of topics, leading to discussion of some benefits and drawbacks of various models while engaging current debates in the discipline. Should ethnography animate theory, or is theory arrived at through ethnographic description? Attending to this question and others, this course aims to equip students with additional tools with which to consider their own ethnographic writing. Method of Instruction:  TBA


ANTH GR6157y   The Idea of a Radical Black 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?             David Scott


ANTH GR6170y Law, History and Anthropology. 3 pts.  Brinkley Messick.  The study of legal institutions, the utilization of case materials, and the critical analysis of legal texts. Recent social historical and ethnographic work on trial procedures, evidence regimes, legal writing, interpretation, and disciplinary systems. Non-Western, premodern and colonial materials shed comparative light on Western notions of law, truth and justice. The study of legal institutions, the utilization of case materials, and the critical analysis of legal texts. Recent social historical and ethnographic work on trial procedures, evidence regimes, legal writing, interpretation, and disciplinary systems. Non-Western, premodern and colonial materials shed comparative light on Western notions of law, truth and justice. Method of Instruction:  TBA


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.  Method of Instruction:  TBA


ANTH GR6216y (SUBTERM B) Semiotics. 3 pts. Elizabeth Povinelli. This course examines the canonical texts of modern semiology and semiotics from the perspective of anthropological methods and theories. Beginning with an extensive examination of the works of Ferdinand de Saussure and Charles Sanders Peirce, the course examines the theoretical elaborations and movements of structuralism and pragmatism through the 1960s. Method of Instruction:  TBA


ANTH GR6294y (SUBTERM B) Geontologies.  3 pts. Elizabeth Povinelli. It’s hot and it’s getting hotter. As the machinery of capital extraction, industrialism, and consumption refuses to relinquish its grip, meteorological temperatures continue to rise and chemical hot zones spread. Tipping points threaten regime shifts in which the qualitative nature of the earth’s biosphere will alter. But until then, and even after then, hot zones occur in the aggregate only in abstraction. In reality they form like weather clouds over specific places—toxic smog over Beijing, lead poisoning in drinking water in Flint, Michigan, uranium exposure in Navajo and Hopi lands. Marx thought the social dialectic was leading to the purification of the fundamental opposition of human classes. No little evidence can be mustered to support the claim that we are nearing this moment—the world seems to be splitting into ever more extreme halves—the one percent and the ever-increasing precariate. But what many believe we are witnessing a new form of antagonism and which demands new modes of solidarity. The new swelter seems to them less fundamentally a war of class—although also a class war, although definitely not a clash of civilization—and more a clash of existents. And in this new war of the world, everyone must decide with whom (or what) we are making ties of solidarity. With whom or what will we stake our claim?   Method of Instruction:  TBA



ANTH G6305y (SUBTERM A) Beyond Sublime: Affects and Aesthetics in Late Modernity 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.  Method of Instruction:  TBA

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 serveral 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. Limited to PhD students in Anthropology, or special permission. R. Morris.  Method of Instruction:  TBA


ANTH GR6669 Media Systems of Empire.  3pts. Brian Larkin. Course description to be announced. Method of Instruction:  TBA


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. Method of Instruction:  TBA


ANTH GR8499y Seminar on Modern Taiwan. 3 pts. Myron Cohen. An interdisciplinary perspective on modern Taiwan's culture, society and polity, including consideration of key historical developments. Each class meeting features a different lecturer with a particular scholarly interest in Taiwan, whose seminar presentation will be from his or her own disciplinary perspective. Lecturers are drawn from the fields of anthropology, economics, history, literature and political science. Method of Instruction:  TBA


ANTH GR9999y WEDNESDAY SEMINAR. 0 Pts.  All anthropology graduate students are required to attend. Reports of ongoing research are presented by staff members, students, and special guests.  Method of Instruction:  TBA



Course in Archaeology:


ANTH GR5127y Necropolitics. 3pts. Zoe Crossland.  Archaeological traces of warfare and conflict demand a sophisticated theoretical engagement, whether the context is recent mass graves or ancient battlefields. This class brings the anthropological literature on violence, ritual, and religion together with archaeological evidence of past violence, to think through archaeological involvement in present day conflicts. Method of Instruction:  TBA




ANTH G6192y Exhibitions: Practical Considerations. 3 pts. Harvey David.  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. Enrollment limited to 12.   Prerequisites: ANTH G6352 and the instructor's permission.  Corequisites: ANTH G6353.  Method of Instruction:  TBA


ANTH GR6365y Exhibition Cultures. 3 pts. 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. Method of Instruction:  TBA


ANTH GR9111y Museum Anthropology Internship II. 3 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 directors, usually after completing the Museum Anthropology core courses.  Method of Instruction:  TBA