92127

ANTH 101

 Intro to Cultural Anthropology

Gregory Duff Morton

M  W      1:30-2:50 pm

OLIN 203

SA

D+J

SSCI

DIFF

Cross-listed: Global & International Studies  Anthropology is the study of 'culture,' a concept that has been redefined and contested over the discipline's long development. This course will trace the history of the 'culture concept' from the nineteenth century to the present. In doing so, it will explore anthropological approaches to 'non-modern' societies, group and personal symbols, and systems of exchange. It will examine how anthropology came to focus on questions of identity, race, gender, sexuality, nationalism, colonial and post-colonial conditions. Our ethnographic gaze will be turned inward as well as outward. We will therefore consider the reasons behind, and ramifications of, anthropology's self-reflexive turn in and around the 1980s. We will consider debates about anthropologists' engagement in activism, policy and government. We will then examine the more recent anthropological fascination with the non-human (e.g. other animals, technology, the built environment, 'nature'), looking at how notions of agency, materiality, and anthropology's own methodological foundations have been transformed as a result. Class size: 22

 

92128

ANTH 211

 ancient peoples on the bard lands: Archaeological Methods

Christopher Lindner

  W         4:40-6:00 pm

    F        1:30-4:30 pm

HEG 201

ROSE 108

LS

SCI

Cross-listed: American Studies; Environmental & Urban Studies   Archaeologists seek to apply contextual approaches to the symbolic agency of ancient peoples. We ask how artifacts of mundane daily life and ritual materials were left in juxtaposition. At the Forest site, toward the Hudson River along an old carriage path behind Admissions, chipped stone objects afford the most conspicuous evidence of activity 5,000 years ago. Our focus, however, will be on the distribution of fragmentary ceramic vessels and whether they were made from clay found beneath a nearby waterfall. From the soil of fire pits on the adjacent promontory may emerge vestiges of plants and animals with which people interacted. Basic excavation techniques combine with microscopy and cartographic analyses to situate our discoveries in the living space. Our interpretive perspectives range in scale from miniscule wear patterns to the central Hudson Valley and beyond, to the ancient coastal Northeast. We will perform replicative experiments to make and use stone tools. Weekly writings on various studies will receive discussion in seminar. Enroll by interview with professor. Another way to prepare for this course is the Field School this summer that likely will encounter ancient artifacts through similar techniques of excavation and contextualization; for info, go to http://www.bard.edu/archaeology.  Class size: 12

 

92120

ANTH 216

 The Modern Dinosaur

Yuka Suzuki

M  W      10:10-11:30 am

OLIN 204

SA

SSCI

Cross-listed: Environmental & Urban Studies; Science, Technology, Society Since their ascendancy in global popular culture, dinosaurs have come to constitute a category of charismatic animals unmatched by contemporary living species. Dinosaurs appear everywhere—as plush toys and chicken nuggets, as corporate mascots and public monuments, and as metaphorical critiques of nuclear weapons. In this course, we will explore the figure of the modern dinosaur both as object of scientific inquiry and as popular culture icon. We will focus on competitive exploration for dinosaur fossils at the turn of the 20th century; rivalries between paleontologists such as Edward Drinker Cope and Othniel Charles Marsh; and the rise of dinosaur philanthropy in natural history museums. We will also consider how new paleontological discoveries provoked parallel shifts in meaning and representation. How are dinosaurs articulated and brought back to life from a distant geologic past? How are they employed as metaphors for dominance, size, dim-wittedness, and obsolescence? What role do they play in the making of power and nationhood? Through the close examination of scientific and cultural histories, museums, and popular media, this course will address our fascination with dinosaurs, and how the reemergence of these prehistoric creatures helped shape our modern world. Class size: 22

 

92129

ANTH 249

 Travel, Tourism & Anthropology

Laura Kunreuther

M  W      11:50-1:10 pm

OLIN 205

SA

D+J

HUM

Cross-listed: Asian Studies   Why has travel generated so much textual production?  This course will consider travel as a cultural practice and the link between travel writing and ethnography. We will first discuss several genres of travel writing (postcards, letters, journals, guide-books, ethnography) and discuss how these texts reflect as well as shape the experience of travel. We will then ask how personal, group and national identities have been constructed through the practice of travel by looking at travelers’ writings from the 19th century, noting their connections to ethnographic studies written at the same time.  How is ‘home’ configured in relation to foreign places in these texts?  Using Jamaica Kincaid’s A Small World, we will also examine some of the ethical dilemmas that tourism in particular poses: what impact does the traveler have on the communities they visit? We will then discuss travel as a rite of passage that depends on a person’s absence from their home environment and provides a space that ostensibly is transformative, as in ritual pilgrimages, the Victorian Grand Tour, anthropological fieldwork or the post-college backpacking trip.   Finally, we will consider the writings from exile or diaspora communities that challenge the master narrative of European travel from the ‘center’ to the ‘periphery’. The course will be based on a broad range of sources, including fiction about travel, ethnography, travelogues, letters, as well as anthropological theories about ethnography and travel writing. 

Class size: 22

 

92119

ANTH 260

 ETHNOGRAPHIES OF ECONOMIC GROWTH:  Anthropology and the Problem of Progress

Gregory  Duff Morton

 T  Th    11:50-1:10 pm

OLIN 205

SA

D+J

SSCI

DIFF

Cross-listed: Global & International Studies   When we say that some nations are richer than others, what does that mean? Is there such a thing as progress? What does GDP really measure? Each of these questions points towards the debates that surround economic growth. Growth is a master concept stretching across the social sciences, and in this class, we explore the growth concept by using ethnography. We strive to understand how growth becomes real inside people’s everyday activities. The class considers mining projects in Indonesia, anti-growth politics in France, the GDP of ancient Rome, and British merchant-ambassadors to China. This ethnographic evidence enters into dialogue with broader theory and policy frameworks. We engage with ecological approaches, feminist critiques, the happiness paradox, de-growth, and the struggle to reform GDP. We interrogate the dilemmas and hopes that make growth an urgent problem for nations – and people – living through modernity. Class size: 22

 

92130

ANTH 275

 Post-Apartheid Imaginaries

Yuka Suzuki

 T  Th    10:10-11:30 am

OLIN 205

SA

D+J

SSCI

DIFF

Cross-listed: Africana Studies; Global & International Studies; Human Rights  As one of the few regions on the continent charted for permanent European settlement, southern Africa has been marked by histories of violence that far surpassed normative applications of colonialism. In the wake of such intense turmoil, nations struggled to reinvent themselves at the moment of Independence, scripting new national mythologies and appeals for unity. This course explores these contests over nationhood in the post-apartheid era, focusing primarily on the experiences of Zimbabwe and South Africa. Some of the main themes we will address include the politics of commemoration and the symbolic capital of liberation war veterans, the charismatic authority of individuals such as Nelson Mandela and Robert Mugabe, sexual violence and the trial of Jacob Zuma, the role of sport in reimagining national identity, and the paradox of white African belonging. We will examine memories of ethnic genocide in Matabeleland documented by the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace, and track new anxieties in the media precipitated by the influx of immigrants into South Africa. In the final section of the course, we will turn to recent alliances between Africa and China, and possibilities for the emergence of an alternate global order. Class size: 22

 

92131

ANTH 319

 Toxicity & Contamination

Sophia Stamatopoulou-Robbins

  W         1:30-3:50 pm

OLIN 309

SA

SSCI

Cross-listed: Environmental & Urban Studies; Human Rights; Middle Eastern Studies; Science, Technology, Society Footage of mushrooms growing out of school walls circulate after the 2014 discovery of disease-causing organisms in the drinking supply of Flint, Michigan. Photographs of two-headed Iraqi babies circulate with captions about their mothers’ exposure to unidentified toxic chemicals following the U.S. led invasion of Iraq. Widespread calls to close Indian Point Nuclear facility, 1.5 hours south of Bard, by 2021, remind us that we live exposed to nuclear leakage, usually without knowing it. These moments raise questions about the production of expert knowledge and the forms of evidence that count in claims-making about exposure to toxic materials. Toxicity and contamination are generally thought of as corrosive, damaging and destructive of human health and natural environments. But they are also generative. Emphasizing the exposures of populations living with war and occupation in the Middle East, this seminar investigates what toxicity and contamination make possible—and thinkable— by exploring controversies around exposure to toxicity and contamination in the period between Hiroshima and Flint.  Class size: 15

 

92132

ANTH 350

 Contemporary Cultural Theory

Laura Kunreuther

    F        10:10-12:30 pm

OLINLC 120

SA

D+J

HUM

DIFF

Cross-listed: Human Rights  This course is intended as an introduction to advanced theories of culture in contemporary anthropology.  Required of all anthropology majors, this course will also be of interest to students wishing to explore critical innovations in the study of local, national, and mass culture around the world.  In contrast to early anthropological focus on seemingly isolated, holistic cultures, more recent studies have turned their attention to contest within societies and the intersection of local systems of meaning with global processes of politics, economics and history.  The class will be designed around an influential social theorist, such as Bourdieu, Bakhtin, or Marx, and the application of their theories by anthropologists, such as Aihwa Ong, Judith Irvine, or Michael Taussig.  The seminar will involve participation from all of the faculty in the anthropology department.  It aims to inspire critical engagement with an eye towards developing theoretical tools and questions for a senior project that makes use of contemporary theories of culture.  Required and open only for Anthropology moderated students, or permission of instructor. Class size: 15

 

92133

ANTH 351

 The Interview

John Ryle

 T           1:30-3:50 pm

OLIN 303

SA

SSCI

Cross-listed:  American Studies, Film and Electronic Arts; Human Rights; Written Arts  The interview—a structured conversation—is central to the practice of a wide range of disciplines and genres. These include ethnographic field work, oral history, human rights research, investigative journalism, creative non-fiction and documentary film. Interview-based research also forms a basis for the understanding of culture, for the construction of complex narratives, and for specialist forms such as life histories, testimonies and confessions. This class will combine critical analysis of interview-based writing—and audio and video recording—with the development of technical interviewing skills. Classwork will include field exercises in recording, transcription and editing, and the production of long-form, focused interviews to publishable standards. It will consider ethical and theoretical issues, the transition from speech to writing, and the enduring authority of the human voice.  Class size: 15

 

 

Cross-listed courses:

 

92157

HIST 3103

 Political Ritual / Modern World

Robert Culp

   Th       10:10-12:30 pm

OLIN 306

HA

D+J

HIST

DIFF

Cross-listed: Anthropology; Asian Studies; Experimental Humanities; Global & International Studies; Human Rights