Course

ANTH 101 A  Introduction to Cultural Anthropology

Professor

Jeffrey Jurgens

CRN

90006

 

Schedule

 Tu Th         4:00  -5:20 pm     OLIN 201

Distribution

OLD: A/C

NEW: Social Science / Rethinking Difference

Related interest: Global & Int’l Studies, Gender and Sexuality Studies

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.   

 

Course

ANTH 101 B  Introduction to Cultural Anthropology

Professor

Megan Callaghan

CRN

90007

 

Schedule

Mon Wed   12:00  -1:20 pm    OLIN 310

Distribution

OLD: A/C

NEW: Social Science / Rethinking Difference

Related interest: Global & Int’l Studies, Gender and Sexuality Studies

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.   

 

Course

ANTH 101 C  Introduction to Cultural Anthropology

Professor

Laura Kunreuther

CRN

90323

 

Schedule

Tu Th          10:30  - 11:50 am OLIN 202

Distribution

OLD: A/C

NEW: Social Science / Rethinking Difference

Related interest: Global & Int’l Studies, Gender and Sexuality Studies

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.   

 

Course

ANTH 111   Archaeological Field Methods: Native Americans on the Bard Lands

Professor

Christopher Lindner

CRN

90008

 

Schedule

 Fr               10:00  -4:00 pm   

Distribution

OLD: C/E

NEW: Social Science / Rethinking Difference

Cross-listed: Africana Studies, American Studies, Environmental Studies

The Field Methods course offers an introduction to prehistory by basic hand excavation, using GIS technology (Geographic Information Systems) to situate our discoveries, and through laboratory processing of artifacts. This season we will continue test excavations from last fall that discovered a 1500-year-old site, with spearpoints and pottery sherds along the Hudson River shore. Nearby, chipped stone projectile points or knives have come to light in past explorations that indicate foraging activities nine millennia in the past. This year we also hope to find more evidence of the Esopus Indians, who camped not far away after their wars with the Dutch of Kingston around 1660. A few artifacts in our area of focus, the Locust Point site, indicate the presence of the first settlers from the Old World on the Bard lands, ca. 1725, the Van Benthuysen family and their slaves of African ancestry. Lunchtime discussion will contextualize our findings with archaeological and ethnohistorical comparisons. Limited to 12, by permission.   

 

Course

ANTH 246   Culture, Politics, and Representations of South Asia

Professor

Laura Kunreuther

CRN

90244

 

Schedule

 Tu Th         1:00  -2:20 pm     OLIN 301

Distribution

OLD: A/C

NEW: Social Science

Cross-listed: Asian Studies, SRE

Related interest: Film and Literature

Using classic texts of anthropology as well as literature, history, and films, this course looks broadly at representations of South Asia made by foreigners and South Asians alike.  Throughout the course we will use the most general definition of ethnography, focusing on how particular metaphors, tropes, and ways of describing South Asia continue to shape our knowledge about South Asia.  We will trace the development of certain categories which have become crucial to many ethnographic portrayals of South Asia, such as village, caste, family, religion, and gender as they are used in a variety of ethnographies. We will situate these categories and each ethnographic piece within the broader historical contexts of colonialism, the Partition of Pakistan and India, Indian nationalism, as well as South Asia’s postcolonial relation to global development and politics. A final section of the course will look at the relation between contemporary politics and media, exploring, for example, the relation between the rise of Hindu fundamentalism and popular T.V. and the ‘Free Tibet’ activism conducted over the internet.   Throughout the course, we will be looking at the representations of South Asia by two well-known Indian artists: Salman Rushdie and Satyajit Ray. Both artists complement and challenge some of the ethnographic texts we will read, and are examples of art that strives to be ethnographic.  The course will require students to write a final research paper.    

 

Course

ANTH 256   Race and Ethnicity in Brazil

Professor

Mario Bick

CRN

90010

 

Schedule

 Mon Wed  10:30  - 11:50 am OLIN 303

Distribution

OLD: C

NEW: Social Science

Cross-listed: Africana Studies, GISP, Human Rights, Jewish Studies, LAIS, SRE

Brazil, in contrast to the United States, has been portrayed by Brazilians and others, as a “racial democracy’. The course examines the debate over the “problem of race” in its early formulation shaped by scientific racism and eugenics, especially the fear of degeneration. It then turns to the Brazilian policy of the 19th and early 20th centuries of branquemento (whitening) which was the basis of large-scale migration to Brazil from all major regions of Europe. These “ethnic” populations settled mainly in southern and south central Brazil leading to significant regional differences in identity politics and racial attitudes. The interplay of “racial” vs. “ethnic” identities is crucial to understanding the allocation of resources and status in Brazilian society. Inequality in contemporary Brazil is explored in terms of the dynamics of racial ideologies, the distribution of national resources and the performance of identity as shaped by “racial” and “ethnic” strategies. The groups to be discussed are: indigenous/native Brazilians, the Luso-Brazilians, Afro-Brazilians, Japanese Brazilians, Euro-ethnic Brazilians, and Brazilians of Arab and Jewish descent.

 

Course

ANTH 266   Youth and Youth Politics

Professor

Jeffrey Jurgens

CRN

90009

 

Schedule

 Tu Th         12:00  -1:20 pm    OLIN 205

Distribution

OLD: A

NEW: Social Science/ Rethinking Difference

Cross-listed: SRE; PIE Core course

Related interest:  GISP

Since the eighteenth century, childhood and youth have often been understood as times of happiness, innocence, and closeness to nature distinct from adulthood. At the same time, many writers, activists, and policymakers have witnessed young people in conditions of violence, toil, and poverty, and they have spoken of ‘children at risk’ or even ‘children without childhood.’ How can we make sense of these portrayals of young people’s lives? Do the worries about ‘children without childhood’ offer a picture contrary to the romantic view of youth, or do they instead subscribe to it? How did ideas about a separate and happy childhood become so prevalent in the first place, and how do they compare with young people’s actual experiences in the contemporary world? How are changes in young people’s lives on the local level related to global economic and cultural transformations? What roles are currently envisioned for young people at home, in schools, in popular culture and consumption, in diaspora, and in politics? This course will examine these and other questions through class readings, film excerpts, discussions, and other assignments. It will build on recent literature as well as ‘classics of the field’ to demonstrate the ways that youth and young people both have and have not been abiding themes of anthropological concern. Throughout the course, a key point of emphasis will be that young people are simultaneously ‘made’ in culture and ‘makers’ of it. They are not passive recipients of tradition, but resourceful and inventive social actors who both inherit and re-create ways of acting, thinking, and feeling. At the same time, they are not merely the targets of policy, but actively contribute, sometimes in unexpected ways, to social and political change.    

 

Course

ANTH 269   Ireland and the Anthropological  Imagination

Professor

Megan Callaghan

CRN

90012

 

Schedule

Tu Th          2:30  -3:50 pm     OLIN 307

Distribution

OLD: A

NEW: Social Science

Cross-listed: GISP, Irish and Celtic Studies

Ireland has long captured the anthropological imagination, producing classic depictions of kinship and community, controversial accounts of rural decline and disorder, and current work on the country’s shifting position in European and world politics. This course includes a range of ethnographic exploration in both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. We will consider the multiple and contested meanings of Irish identity in contexts as varied as the increasingly diverse city of Dublin, nomadic or semi-nomadic Traveller communities, politically divided Northern Ireland towns, and rural Gaeltacht, or Irish language regions. Furthermore, we will consider various lenses through which to examine contemporary and historical Ireland. For example, does it make sense to apply postcolonial theory to Ireland? How might we understand the Troubles differently through an inclusion of women’s or young people’s perspectives and participation? What is the relationship of ethnoreligious symbolism, violence, and ritual practice? Students will be expected to supplement assigned ethnographic texts and films with material on current events in Ireland and Northern Ireland.   

 

Course

ANTH / MUS 285   Introduction to Ethnomusicology

Professor

Mercedes Dujunco

CRN

90267

 

Schedule

 Tu Fr          10:30 - 11:50 am  Blum N210

Distribution

OLD: A

NEW: Analysis of Art

Ethnomusicology is the study of music in context in relation to other aspects of culture (i.e. language, religion, politics, social organization, etc.). This course will introduce students to the history, scope of subject matter, theory, and methodology of the field of ethnomusicology. We will begin by examining how the ethnomusicological study of music developed in connection with the various nuanced understandings of what “culture” is over the latter half of the past century and music’s position within these different conceptual frameworks, roughly describable as “music in culture,” “music as culture” and, finally, “music-culture”. We then move on to the study of the main research methodologies borrowed from anthropology – ethnographic fieldwork and participant observation – and how these have been adapted to and eventually became hallmarks of ethnomusicological research. By nature, ethnomusicology is a field of growing data and competing theories and approaches, and students will have to not only absorb the contents of readings from the history and present publications of the field, but also consider, debate, and evaluate the statements and theories of others in terms of their own understandings and experiences of music, culminating in a medium-length written work at the end of the semester. The course therefore cannot be “taken” by passive observation, but has to be participated in through discussion, debate, and application of students’ own individual interests in order to serve its purpose.

 

Course

ANTH 343   Middle Eastern Modernities

Professor

Jeffrey Jurgens

CRN

90013

 

Schedule

Mon            4:00  -6:20 pm     OLIN 205

Distribution

OLD: A

NEW: Social Science

Cross-listed: GISP, Human Rights, Middle Eastern Studies

What does it mean to be ‘modern’ in the Middle East in the aftermath of colonialism and in the face of continuing Euro-American efforts to reform the region’s social, economic, and political life? Does modernity require the abandonment of tribal affiliations, cousin marriages, and the headscarf, among other putatively ‘traditional’ social forms and practices? Or does it involve more complex, creative negotiations of existing constraints and available resources? Indeed, is there more than one way to be ‘modern’? This course will examine these and other questions through intensive reading of recent anthropological and other social scientific literature, critical analysis of popular cultural artifacts, and focused film viewing. In the process, we will primarily concentrate on twentieth- and twenty-first-century transformations in Middle Eastern national identities, state practices, and public spheres, especially as they have been affected by the introduction of compulsory education, mass literacy, and the mass media. At the same time, we will investigate what influences these larger cultural-political processes have exerted on the production and consumption of commodities and on more intimate practices of kinship, gender, and sexuality. Finally, we will consider recent efforts to manage the relationship between religion and secular-liberal life. This last theme, in particular, will require us to examine Islam, but we will not approach the faith as a fixed, unitary system of principles with a single meaning. Instead, we will treat it as a discursive tradition that individuals and institutions have interpreted, invoked, and used in multiple ways and for a variety of purposes.   

 

Course

ANTH 350   Contemporary Cultural Theory

Professor

Laura Kunreuther

CRN

90014

 

Schedule

Wed            1:30  -3:50 pm     OLIN 307

Distribution

OLD: A/C

NEW: Humanities / Rethinking Difference

(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.