91880

ANTH 101 A

 Introduction to Cultural Anthropology

Yuka Suzuki

 T  Th     11:50 am-1:10 pm

OLIN 202

SA

D+J

SSCI

DIFF

Cross-listed: Global & International Studies  Related interest: Environmental & Urban 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 ‘primitive’ 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 juxtapose that turn’s questioning of the discipline’s authority to represent other societies with debates about anthropologists’ engagement in activism, policy and government (e.g. the US military’s Human Terrain project). 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

 

91881

ANTH 101 B

 Introduction to Cultural Anthropology

Yuka Suzuki

 T  Th     1:30 pm-2:50 pm

OLIN 202

SA

D+J

SSCI

DIFF

See above.  Class size: 22

 

91844

ANTH 211

 ancient peoples on the bard lands: archaeological methods

Christopher Lindner

  W         1:30 pm-2:50 pm

   F         1:30 pm-4:30 pm

HEG 300

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. 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

 

91884

ANTH 217

 Asia in the Anthropocene

Yuka Suzuki

 T  Th     10:10 am-11:30 am

OLIN 202

SA

D+J

SSCI

DIFF

Cross-listed: Asian Studies; Environmental & Urban Studies; Science, Technology, Society  The ‘Anthropocene’ identifies a new geological epoch in the earth’s history, a period in which human activities are scaled up to become the dominant force in shaping the global environment. This course begins with an investigation of the Anthropocene’s theoretical origins, and how this framework reorients our basic assumptions in relation to nature and the physical world. How are the effects and implications of the Anthropocene calculated and interpreted in public discourse and policy? How has the idea given rise to alternative theories, such as the Capitalocene or Chthulucene, to complicate its original premise? Should we seek to preserve earth’s systems in their ‘natural state,’ or embrace the idea of actively managing socio-natural landscapes? To explore these questions, we will turn to case studies based in Asia, a region assumed to hold much of the world’s environmental future in its hands. By looking at how communities, movements, states, and institutions articulate new moral and political imperatives in response to the crisis, we will consider the Anthropocene as a productive force that entails a playful reimagining and remaking of human engagements with the environment. Specific topics will include green building and greenhouse gas emission reduction in South Korea, urban agriculture and post-3.11 food movements in Japan, giant panda conservation and changing meanings of wildlife in China, and wind farms and alternative energy in the Philippines. Class size: 22

 

92129

ANTH 218

 The Rift: Anthropology, history, politics and the natural world in Eastern Africa

John Ryle

M  W       4:40 pm-6:00 pm

HEG 308

SA

D+J

SSCI

DIFF

Cross-listed: Africana Studies; Environmental & Urban Studies; Human Rights  The Great African Rift Valley runs from the Red Sea to Mozambique, dividing the African continent in two. It is the heart of a region of spectacular ecological diversity, home to a wide range of human cultures and modes of existence: from pastoral nomadism in the savannah zones of the Sudans and Somalia to urban life in industrialized East Africa. In pre-history the eastern branch of the Rift Valley was the site of the emergence of the human species. Today the lands that border the Rift exemplify the divisions and difficulties that confront Africa as a whole: a legacy of colonialism and anti-colonial struggle, and—in the present day—civil wars and accelerating environmental change. Conflict over land, water, oil and other natural resources has led to high levels of displacement and forced migration; parts of the region are also sites of Islamist insurgency and western counter-terrorist interventions. The response of the peoples of Eastern Africa illustrates the inventiveness of human adaptation, the resilience of culture, and the drama of survival. The course will offer an approach to the layers of natural and human history in the region, employing historical and anthropological research, reportage, documentary video, art and music to examine some of the diverse ways of being that endure, and the versions of modernity emerging from war and demographic transformation.  Class size: 22

 

91865

ANTH 221

 state phobia: theories and ethnographies of statehood today

Sophia Stamatopoulou-Robbins

M  W       3:10 pm-4:30 pm

OLIN 204

SA

D+J

SSCI

DIFF

Cross-listed: Global & International Studies; Human Rights; Middle Eastern Studies  How does the state as a modern political form shape culture, and vice versa?  Why do groups (e.g. queer, indigenous, religious, ethnic) seek recognition from this thing we call the state while at the same time mocking, being suspicious or fearful of it? Like many groups, scholarship about the modern state tends to be shot through with "state phobia." However, the most recent elections in the United States are challenging suspicions of the state as a set of institutions among many of the regime's critics. Anthropological analysis of the state could not be more urgent. The first half of this course explores how scholars define the modern state and how they critique its effects on societies and cultures in the twentieth century. We begin with foundational theories of the state (e.g. Weber, Hall, Althusser, Foucault, and Bourdieu). Due to his major influence on anthropological work on neoliberalism, immigration, bureaucracy, state healthcare and social welfare, we place special emphasis on how Michel Foucault conceptualized the modern state and his critique of its attendant modes of power (e.g. discipline, governmentality, biopolitics). During the second half of the course we read ethnographies of the state in the United States, Indonesia, Australia, Canada, Togo, Gaza, France, Cameroon, India, Egypt, Turkey and Germany. We investigate the unlikely relationships between phenomena  such as corruption, borders, railroads, time, insanity, sexuality, warrior honeybees  and science, on the one hand, and the effects, and meanings, of statehood and state-making in the modern world, on the other.  How do institutions, practices and people come to appear like a state in the first place? We conclude with an examination of a question inspired by the recent political mobilizations of the Black Lives Matter movement in the United States. In what ways does it make sense -and in what ways does it not-to call the U.S. a "police state"?  Class size: 22

 

91886

ANTH 234

 Language, Culture, discourse

Laura Kunreuther

M  W       10:10 am-11:30 am

OLIN 204

SA

D+J

HUM

DIFF

Cross-listed: Gender and Sexuality Studies  Language is one of the fundamental ways of understanding the world in culturally specific ways, and helps to create social identities like gender, race, ethnicity, class and nationality.  This course begins with the assumption that language and culture are inseparable, and will introduce students to theoretical and ethnographic approaches that demonstrate this connection in different ways.  The course will include close analysis of everyday conversations as well as social analysis of broader discourses related to class, gender, and nationality in written and oral narratives.  Some of the topics we will discuss include: how authority is established through specific forms of speech, the performative power of language, the relationship between language and social hierarchies, the study of discourse as historical and social forms. We will also examine the way technology and technological metaphors in language have been fundamental in shaping the way different cultures perceive their social worlds.  Students will be required to do their own cultural analysis of a conversation, a written or oral narrative, and discourse on the web or other media using the conceptual tools we develop through the course. Class size: 22

 

91885

ANTH 237

 confronting the crisis: Refugees and Populism in Europe

Jeffrey Jurgens

M  W       11:50 am-1:10 pm

HEG 102

SA

D+J

SSCI

DIFF

Cross-listed: Human Rights  Since 2015, more than two million people from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and other countries have travelled to Europe, typically without state authorization, to seek asylum and refuge. This course examines the arrival of these refugees and the varied ways their presence has come to be viewed as a "crisis." Drawing on recent ethnographic research and anthropological theorizing, we shall consider the discourses and practices that shape how people in the Middle East and Africa seek to cross European borders. We shall investigate the innovations in surveillance, security, and bureaucratic management that the EU and its member states have employed to prevent and regulate refugees' entry. We shall explore the techniques with which state agencies have sought both to govern and to care for refugees after their arrival in European nation-states. And we shall critically engage with the populist rhetoric and violence that have targeted refugees as threats to national and European integrity. Throughout the course, our readings and discussions will reflect on the epistemology and politics of "crisis." Is the declaration of a crisis a neutral act that announces a break from "the normal" in a self-evident, objective way? Or is it instead an ideologically charged claim that varied actors may employ to mobilize public fears, desires, and resentments and to promote particular visions of the nation, citizenship, and state obligation? This course is part of the Liberal Arts Consortium on Forced Migration, Displacement and Education initiative. Class size: 22

 

91882

ANTH 238

 Myth, Ritual & Symbol

Michele Dominy

 T  Th     1:30 pm-2:50 pm

OLIN 201

MBV

D+J

SSCI

Cross-listed: Environmental & Urban Studies; Religion; Sociology   Of related interest: Africana Studies  This course will examine a variety of theoretical approaches used by anthropology and comparative sociology in analyzing symbolic representations, symbolic action, and symbolic systems. How are systems of thought, symbolic forms, and ritual practice formulated and expressed across time and space? What are the distinctive methods of structural functionalism, processual analysis, interpretive anthropology, and political economy for the study of religious systems? Our primary focus will be on non-Western conceptual systems and religions, and will include “primitive rationality,” the interpretation of myth, magic and systems of classification (such as totem and taboo), and the analysis of ritual and religious practice and practitioners, to include witchcraft, rites of passage, spirit possession, and prophetic and revitalization movements. In particular, we will study power and resistance, the rhetoric of persuasion, political spectacle and charisma, and religious fundamentalism and their expressions in the contemporary world. Readings will draw from theorists such as Durkheim, Lévi-Strauss, Douglas, Turner, and Geertz among other classical and contemporary theorists. Our primary focus is on the religions and syncretistic religious expressions in Africa, Asia, and the Pacific, as well as on local variants of world traditions such as Christianity. Prerequisite: An introductory course in either anthropology, religion or sociology. Class size: 22

 

91883

ANTH 241

 Social Class: Global Politics, Global Histories

Gregory Duff Morton

M  W       1:30 pm – 2:50 pm

OLINLC  210

SA

D+J

SSCI

DIFF

Related interest: Economics This course aims to reveal anthropology’s roots, as a field, in the general project to account for modern inequalities in wealth. Is there such a thing as social class? If so, what makes it different from caste, estate, gender, and race? How do people come to accept classed inequality, and under what conditions do they rise against it? With the arrival of a new global class politics, these questions acquire urgency. This course searches for answers by using anthropological tools, including archaeology, ethnography, and linguistic analysis. We look through venerable debates to re-discover the differing theories that anthropologists proposed over the course of the 20th century. We emphasize a broad historical and geographic sweep, reading structural Marxists on African lineage systems, Rousseau on New World “savages,” William Labov on speech in New York department stores, Louis Dumont on caste in India, E.P. Thompson on British mill workers, and cultural evolutionists on the origins of the state.

Class size: 22

 

91887

ANTH 277

 in the garden of empire: Nature & Power in the modern Middle East

Sophia Stamatopoulou-Robbins

 T  Th     3:10 pm-4:30 pm

OLIN 204

SA

D+J

SSCI

DIFF

Cross-listed: Environmental & Urban Studies; Middle Eastern Studies; Science, Technology, Society  “Culture” has long been a key explanatory framework for scholars studying the modern Middle East. It has also been critical to the sorting, surveiling, managing and mobilizing techniques used by colonial and post-colonial regimes. Meanwhile nature, culture’s doppleganger, has been quietly at work “purifying” the category of “culture” from the objects and processes assumed to be external to it. This course brings “nature” out of culture’s shadows in order to examine how ideas about nature and the natural have shaped social scientific and historical scholarship on, and political and cultural formations within, the modern Middle East. We will investigate the relationship between nature and power in contexts of empire, decolonization and postcoloniality. Under the broad term “nature” we will consider such diverse topics as kinship, nationalism, violence, technology, war, race, gender, sexuality, environmentalism, fossil fuels and genetics. What role do genetics play in twenty-first century Middle East politics? How have practices of “taming” and managing nature and its resources shaped the parameters within which political authority—and revolution—can emerge? What can the study of the Middle East tell us about the extent to which homosexuality is a biological universal? What are the tensions between the idea of competing “environmental imaginaries” and theories that the nonhuman environment (e.g. rivers, dams, mosquitoes) has helped determine political, social and economic outcomes in the Middle East? Class size: 22

 

91888

ANTH 319

 Toxicity & Contamination

Sophia Stamatopoulou-Robbins

   Th       10:10 am-12:30 pm

OLIN 303

SA

SSCI

Cross-listed: Environmental & Urban Studies; Human Rights; Science, Technology, Society  Footage shows mushrooms growing out of school walls 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. This seminar investigates what they make possible-and thinkable-by exploring controversies around exposure to toxicity and contamination from Hiroshima to Flint. We will begin by reading about nineteenth and early twentieth century American and European ideas about contamination "at home" and in the colonies. The course will then consider ethnographic case studies from Japan, the United States, Ukraine, Iraq, Palestine and India. Discussions will consider questions including: How do knowledge about toxicity and distributed risks of contamination transform cultural life? What is the relationship between environments, bodies and bodies of knowledge? How are the boundaries of the self, of communities and ideas about ethics, rights and duties renegotiated through adjudication of exposure?  How have nuclear disasters changed the meanings of biological risk, biosecurity and governmental uncertainty?  What is the relationship between toxicity and political authority? What forms of agency (human and non-human) emerge and conflict around contamination controversies?  When contamination is invisible to the naked eye and undetectable by other senses, how is it made perceptible and what new forms of epistemology does that engender? What are the different temporalities of contamination and how do they contribute to a politics of uncertainty? How are certain spaces-whole cities, regions, workplaces, infrastructures-produced as toxic and dangerous? Class size: 15

 

91889

ANTH 350

 Contemporary Cultural Theory

Laura Kunreuther

 T           10:10 am-12:30 pm

OLIN 306

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

 

92225

ANTH 351

The Interview: reportage, human rights, literature, ethnography, film

John Ryle

  T                3:10 pm – 5:30 pm

HEG 102

SA

 

SSCI

 

Cross-listed:  Film, Human Rights; Written Arts Related interest: Environmental & Urban Studies    The interview—a structured conversation—is central to the practice of a wide range of disciplines and genres. These include ethnographic field work, human rights research, investigative journalism, creative non-fiction and documentary film. Interview-based research 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:

 

92075

MUS 185

 Intro to Ethnomusicology

Maria Sonevytsky

 T  Th     10:10 am-11:30 am

BLM N210

SA

SSCI

 

Cross-listed: Anthropology  Class size: 15

 

92074

MUS 347

 Contemporary  Ethnographies  of  Music and Sound

Maria Sonevytsky

  W         2:00 pm-4:30 pm

BLM N210

AA

AART

Cross-listed: Anthropology   Class size: 15