CRN

94055

Distribution

A/C / *(Social Science)

Course No.

ANTH 101                       *Rethinking Difference

Title

Introduction to Cultural Anthropology

Professor

Yuka Suzuki

Schedule

Tu Th            11:30 am - 12:50 pm     OLIN 203

Related interest: Gender and Sexuality Studies, SRE

During the past few decades, ‘culture’ has suddenly become pervasive in popular discourses, with phrases such as ‘internet,’ ‘fetish,’ and ‘corporate’ cultures automatically conjuring certain sets of images and assumptions. This course explores the intellectual angles through which anthropologists have engaged culture as a central, and yet often elusive concept in understanding how societies work. The analysis of culture has undergone many transformations over the past century, from arguing for the existence of integrated systems of thought and practice among so-called ‘primitives’, to scrutinizing the cultural values of colonial subjects, to attempting to decipher the anatomy of enemy minds during World War II.  In recent years, anthropology has become more self-reflexive, questioning the discipline’s authority to represent other societies, and critiquing its participation in the creation of exoticized others.  Thus, with our ethnographic gaze turned inward as well as outward, we will combine discussions, lectures, and films to reflect upon the construction of social identity, power, and difference in a world where cultures are undergoing rapid reification.  Specific topics we will examine include the transformative roles of ritual and symbol; witchcraft and sorcery in historical and contemporary contexts; cultural constructions of gender and sexuality; and nationalism and the making of majorities/minorities in post-colonial states.

 

CRN

94056

Distribution

A/C / *(Social Science)

Course No.

ANTH 101                     *Rethinking Difference

Title

Introduction to Cultural Anthropology

Professor

Laura Kunreuther

Schedule

Wed Fr          11:30 am - 12:50 pm     OLIN 205

A course in “culture,” or, the social power of imagination. This course will trace the historical development of anthropological theories and visual studies of culture from the Nineteenth Century to the present, with special emphasis on how the concept of culture functions critically in understanding group and personal symbolism, in understanding different economic systems, and how culture effects understandings of race, gender, and sexuality. The course begins with basic analytical readings on the relation of language to the cultural construction of reality. This sets the framework for understanding how culture studies can function to unsettle certainties and provide a basic method for critical thinking and reflection. Visual anthropology and ethnographic film will be explored for the additional dimensions in method which they may provide. Then, we look at the political meaning of “culture” in relation to the historical encounter between Euro-America and its “others.” We will examine the interplay between the representation of selves and cultural others within inter-cultural spheres of exchange, particularly tourism and representational media, which share certain characteristics with anthropology itself.  Finally, we examine the cultural construction of gender and sexuality and explore the limits of human imagination in the study and performance of these... “things.”

 

CRN

94057

Distribution

C/E / *(Social Science)

Course No.

ANTH 111

Title

Field Methods in Anthropology

Professor

Christopher Lindner

Schedule

Fri     8:45 am – 3:00 pm  Lighthouse Cove

Cross-listed:   American Studies,  Environmental Studies, Studies in Race and Ethnicity

This course concentrates on excavation and initial lab procedures used in archaeology. We continue the long‑term dig at Lighthouse Cove, the 4,500‑year‑old site overlooking the Hudson from Saugerties, across the river from Bard. Focus will be on hearths and pits--areas that have indications of the use of fire for cooking or some other purpose. Two digging techniques are emphasized: stratigraphy and small‑scale cartography. The fieldwork involves painstaking measurements. These data permit study of the distribution of debris throughout the site, description of deposit formation over time, and comparison with other sites. Such methods increase the strength of inferences about the activities that took place and their roles in the evolution of cultural ecosystems in our area. The excavation and lab sessions take place for six hours on Fridays, with a break for discussion of readings over lunch. Enrollment limited to twelve, by permission.

 

CRN

94092

Distribution

A/C  / * (Humanities)

Course No.

ANTH 208A                  *Rethinking Difference

Title

Victorians and their 'Others'

Professor

Mario Bick

Schedule

Mon Wed       10:00 am - 11:20 am     OLIN 304

Cross-listed: Africana Studies, Victorian Studies

Confronted by their sudden control of much of the world, Europeans and Americans in the nineteenth century sought to both know and understand the subordinated and exotic "other."  Anthropology developed in the nineteenth century primarily to provide such an understanding.  This course will explore how the Victorians sought to know the "other" through ethnographic, missionary, government and travel encounters, through the science of race, through the objects of archaeology and museum collections, and through photography.  How the "other" was then related to the Europeans will be examined within the framework of evolutionary and diffusionary theories.

 

CRN

94093

Distribution

C  / * (Humanities)

Course No.

ANTH 249                  *Rethinking Difference

Title

Travel, Tourism and Anthropology

Professor

Laura Kunreuther

Schedule

Tu Th            4:30 pm -  5:50 pm       OLIN 305

Why has travel has 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. 

 

CRN

94058

Distribution

C / *(Social Science)

Course No.

ANTH 257                 *Rethinking Difference

Title

Gender and Sexuality In Contemporary Brazil

Professor

Diana Brown

Schedule

Mon Wed       1:30 pm -  2:50 pm       OLIN 204

Cross-listed: Africana Studies, Gender and Sexuality Studies, Global & Int’l Studies, Human Rights

This course will examine constructions and practices of gender and sexuality drawing upon material from Brazil.  We will explore and critique the imagined utopia of Brazilian tropical sensuality best known through popularized global images of Carnival.  We will locate historical sources of this imagery in Brazilian slavery and colonialism, and will juxtapose them against performances of gender and sexuality in contemporary Brazilian life, with attention to their interface with hierarchies of race, age and social class.  Through reading of ethnographic texts and films that explore the domestic and public spaces of the workplace, the household and the street, and the religious spaces of Afro-Brazilian and Catholic practice, we will critically examine such gender stereotypes as those of macho males and passive women, and patterns of heterosexuality, homosexuality, transgenderism and prostitution.  State and Church efforts to shape and control ideologies and practices of sexuality and gender will be posed against gender activism by feminists, local grass roots groups, and by AIDS activists, and all of these issues will be considered in relation to the larger global media context within which Brazilian images and relations of gender and sexuality are shaped and contested.

 

CRN

94059

Distribution

C  / * ( History)

Course No.

AFR / ANTH 262          *Rethinking Difference

Title

Colonialism, Law, and Human Rights in Africa

Professor

Jesse Shipley

Schedule

Mon Wed       3:00 pm -  4:20 pm       OLIN 204

See Africana Studies section for description.

 

CRN

94094

Distribution

C / * (Social Science)

Course No.

ANTH 265                    *Rethinking Difference

Title

Race & Nature in Africa

Professor

Yuka Suzuki

Schedule

Tu Th            3:00 pm -  4:20 pm       OLIN 204

Cross-listed: Africana Studies, Environmental Studies, Global & Int’l Studies, Human Rights, Studies in Race and Ethnicity

Western fantasies have historically represented Africa as the embodiment of a mythical, primordial wilderness. Within this evocative imagery, nature is racialized, and Africans are constructed as existing in a state closer to nature. Conrad’s Heart of Darkness perhaps best exemplifies this process, through its exploration of the ‘savage’ dimensions of colonialism in the African interior. Imperial discourses often relied on these tropes of savagery and barbarism to link understandings of natural history with ideas about racial difference. Similarly, by blurring the boundary between the human and the nonhuman, colonial policies created a zone of anxiety around racialized domestic relationships, particularly in the context of employers and their servants. Many of these representations were contradictory, as evidenced by Rousseau’s image of the noble savage: indigenous people who lived as gentle custodians of the environment, while at the same time preying upon the resources desired for exclusive colonial use. After investigating the racialization of nature under imperial regimes, we will consider the continuing legacies in post-colonial situations. How have certain ethnic identities, for example, been linked to nature? How do these associations reproduce social hierarchies and inequalities? In what ways is race invoked in struggles for land and resource rights? Through an exploration of ethnographic accounts, historical analyses, and works of fiction based in Africa, this course offers a new way of deciphering cultural representations of nature, and the fundamentally political agendas that lie within them.

 

CRN

94096

Distribution

A/C  / *(Social Science)

Course No.

ANTH 345                       *Rethinking Difference

Title

Flexible States: Anthropology of Capitalism and Transnationalism  

Professor

Jesse Shipley

Schedule

Tu                 10:30 am - 12:50 pm     OLIN 304

Cross-listed: Africana Studies, Global & Int’l Studies, Human Rights

This course examines formations of contemporary capitalism and its multiple global manifestations. Drawing on a variety of post-Marxist and new liberal historical and ethnographic works, we focus on studies of national and transnational identities in relation to the “neoliberal” nation-state in “developing”countries. While recent studies of transnationalism have offered ways to rethink the relationship between nation-states, migrations, and global capitalism, they leave unanswered questions about the continued relevance of the state and the complex and overlapping identifications of peoples remaining within the borders of “central” and “peripheral” states. By contrasting notions of citizenship and cultural identifications, we will address the analytic gap between institutional forms of power and the ways in which people experience and identify with, and against, these structures. Transnational studies have tended to focus on “marginal” peoples migrations to Europe and the United States. This course asks how we can theorize the changing relationships between the state and global capitalism, as it is experienced by mobile peoples as well as those remaining in more bounded localities. While identity formation must take account of mobility and circuits of peoples, symbols and practices we must also look at identity within the contradictions of the (postcolonial) state. What kind of analytic moves can we use to look at people situated in particular locales as well as those in transit. In this way, we will address how people negotiate institutional forms of power in relation to the structures of the postcolonial state and specific “agents” of capitalism: i.e. free markets, global corporations, and international donor agents. Many examples will be drawn from Africa.

 

CRN

94095

Distribution

A/C  / * (Humanities)

Course No.

ANTH 350                  *Rethinking Difference

Title

Contemporary Cultural Theory

Professor

Laura Kunreuther

Schedule

Th                 10:30 am -  12:50 pm   OLIN 304

(Required class for all moderated Anthropology majors)

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.