ANTH 101 A  Introduction to Cultural Anthropology

Jeff Jurgens

 . T . Th .

9:00-10:20 pm

OLIN 107





ANTH 101 B  Introduction to Cultural Anthropology

Laura Kunreuther

. T . Th .

10:30- 11:50 am

OLIN 101





ANTH 101 C  Introduction to Cultural Anthropology

Laura Kunreuther

. T . Th .

1:00-2:20 pm

OLIN 203


Related interest:  Global & Int’l Studies;  Gender and Sexuality Studies, Human Rights   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.



ANTH 111   Archaeological Field Methods

Christopher Lindner

. . . . F

10:00-4:00 pm

ROSE 108


Cross-listed:  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. Interested students should contact Professor Lindner prior to registration.     



AFR / ANTH 148   African Encounters

Mario Bick

. T . Th.

9:00 – 10:20 am

OLIN 102


The image and idea of Sub-Saharan Africa will be explored from the period of first contact in the 15th century, through colonialism and into the post colonial present. Explorer and traveler accounts, fiction, memoirs and ethnographies written by Europeans, Arabs and Africans will constitute the core readings for the course. The goal of the course is to understand how outsiders saw Africa, defined Africa and shaped the idea of Africa, and how Africans responded, resisted and reshaped these ideas. A series of films will be shown in conjunction with our readings.



ANTH 229  Urban Ethnography and American Capitalism

Omri Elisha

M . W . .

12:00-1:20 pm



Cross-listed:  American Studies   The city has long symbolized the prospects and problems of American capitalism.  Anthropologists in turn have struggled with theoretical and methodological questions about how best to approach the ethnographic study of urban phenomena in the contemporary US.  This course examines a range of urban ethnographies situated in modern American contexts, in relation to the history of urban anthropology and in light of prevailing cultural, political, and economic circumstances affecting communities both here and abroad.  Themes to be explored include globalization, neoliberalism, class conflict, the politics of urban space, ethnicity, poverty, religion, and the militarization of community life.  Previous coursework in Anthropology is a prerequisite for enrollment in this course.



ANTH 250   Reading Baseball as Metaphor

Mario Bick

M . W . .

9:00- 10:20 am

OLIN 202


Cross-listed: American Studies   Baseball has often been labeled the quintessential American sport. This course explores that claim while it examines the history and diffusion of the game, its performance and representation, and its connections to the politics of work, ethnicity, race, gender, class, region, and place. Cultural constructions are explored and contrasted in baseball as played in the United States, Japan, and Latin America. Sources in fiction, film, and analytic literature are employed, in conjunction with attendance at amateur (Little League) and professional baseball games.



ANTH 276   Japanimation & Culture

Yuka Suzuki


M .  . .

M .  . .

. . . Th .

10:30- 11:50 am

1:30- 2:50 pm

7:00 – 9:30 pm

OLIN 303

OLIN 202

PRE 110


Cross-listed: Asian Studies, Global & Int’l Studies, Science, Technology & Society; Related interest:  Film    Japanese animation, also known as ‘Japanimation’ or anime, constitutes one of the most dynamic sites of cultural production in contemporary Japan. One of the objectives of this course will be to trace the history of anime and its relationships to the nation’s social, political, and economic transformations over the past century. We begin by exploring the origins of Japanese animation, which emerged in the 1930s as a form of government propaganda to educate children about the imperialist project in Asia. The focus then shifts to the post-war decades, when animated films depicted the national trauma of the atomic bombs, while others created a new, utopian vision of a modern Japan that centered around industry and technology. Next, we investigate the many different sub-genres that emerged beginning in the 1960s, including ‘Tokyo cyberpunk,’ the supernatural and occult, romantic shojo ‘cute young girl’ anime, and post-apocalyptic fantasy. By examining these categories, we engage larger issues of nationalism, gender, modernity, crisis, and urban terror in Japanese society. The final section of this course considers the globalization of the genre in recent decades. Sensations such as Pokemon and Spirited Away have radically reconfigured Japan’s relationship with global popular culture, heightening the prestige and cachet of Japanese artistic production, even as the nation’s political and economic influence wanes. This course therefore aims to provide an in-depth exploration of historical and contemporary landscapes in Japan through the cultural lens of anime.    



ANTH 279   Islam and Europe

Jeffrey Jurgens

. T . Th .

2:30-3:50 pm

OLIN 205


Cross-listed: Global & International Studies, Human Rights,  Middle Eastern Studies, Studies in Race and Ethnicity

This course examines Islam and its practitioners’ complex relationships with Europe as a geographic territory, sociopolitical entity, and discursive category.  While there has been a great deal of attention recently paid to Muslim immigration and settlement since World War II, the Islamic presence in (what came to be known as) Europe dates back to Arab and Berber incursions into the Iberian Peninsula in the eighth century.  In addition, Islam, Muslims, and Muslim polities have left a significant imprint on Eastern Europe, primarily as a result of the Ottoman Empire’s expansion into the Balkans.  Given this long-standing presence, why is Islam so commonly conceived as a moral and cultural formation external to Europe, European history, and European identities?  Why are Muslims regarded (at best) as in Europe but not of it?  How does this tacit or explicit exclusion shape the everyday practices and perceptions of Muslims who currently live there?  And finally, how does the representation of Muslims as a fundamentally foreign element inform contemporary debates about Islam’s compatibility with secularism and liberal democratic citizenship?  This course will examine these questions through readings, films, and other materials that work comparatively across national contexts and historical eras.  It will include a number of case studies relating, among other themes, to the publication of Salman Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses, Turkey’s admission to the European Union, the recent depictions of the Prophet Muhammad in cartoon form, and the response to remarks by Pope Benedict XVI.



ANTH 282   Evangelicalism and the

Myths of Secularization

Omri Elisha

M . W . .

3:00-4:20 pm



Cross-listed: Religion   This course explores the conflicted dynamics of evangelical Protestantism and secularization in contemporary cultural forms and social movements, from early US revivalism to the rise of global televangelism, Christian popular media, and the politics of the Christian Right.  Among the course's aims is to assess how the historical polarizations of religion and science, faith and reason, and fundamentalism and secular humanism have shaped and influenced how evangelical religiosity is practiced and disseminated in modern societies.  Focusing on ethnographic material, we will analyze various ways that "culture" is conceived and confronted among evangelical subcultures, revealing how the evangelical moral imagination has both challenged and upheld core assumptions of Western secularization, including popular notions of the self and the sacred.



SPAN / ANTH 349   Crafting Mayan Identities: Negotiating Tradition and Modernity

Nicole Caso

. T . Th .

2:30 -3:50 pm



Cross-listed: Anthropology, LAIS    What does it mean to be Maya today and what has it meant in the past?  Using materials from Guatemala and southern Mexico, this course will attempt to approach this question from many different angles.  We will draw from the fields of literature, anthropology, and history to address the complexity of the issue.  Extreme historical circumstances have forced indigenous communities to rethink how best to preserve their ways of life while participating in the modern state as a site to promote their particular needs.  Such repressive circumstances include the political and economic marginalization that culminated in the Zapatista rebellion of 1994 in southern Mexico, the extended period of state-sponsored violence directed against the Maya communities in Guatemala, and the numerous Maya exiles displaced during this period. As part of this process, the circulation of oral stories and the re-reading of pre-colonial texts, such as the Popol Vuh or the Rabinal Achi, have been instrumental in negotiating the current perception of Mayan identities.  We will read selections from these texts as well as contemporary Mayan novels, poetry and testimonies of Victor Montejo, Humberto Ak’abal, Gaspar Pedro González and Rigoberta Menchú among others.  Framed by ethnographic materials and the work of various social scientists including Diane Nelson, June Nash, John M. Watanabe and Edward F. Fischer, we will consider many different approaches to identity formation and discuss how Mayan intellectuals and others tend to define what it means to be Maya in contemporary society.  Conducted in English.    



ANTH 350   Contemporary Cultural Theory

Laura Kunreuther

. . . . F

9:30- 11:50 am

OLIN 305


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 for all moderated Anthropology majors.   



MUS 357   Topics in Ethnomusicology: Music & Tourism in S.E. Asia

Mercedes Dujunco

. . W . .

1:30 -3:50 pm

BLM N210


Cross-listed: Anthropology, Asian Studies   This course will consider the topic of music and ritual in the context of China and other Confucianized East Asian music cultures such as Japan, Korea, and Vietnam. Students will gain an understanding of the relationship of music and ritual in this region, historically as well as in the present age. Ritual as understood here is any performed act separated from the flow of common, everyday experience and imbued with a special significance in that it is intended to and has the power to transform the states of being of its participants. Given the great upheavals and radical social and political transformations in China and other East Asian countries during the 20th century, how have traditional and folk musics in these countries managed to retain their ritualistic nature? In what ways have they changed or adapted to changing times and historical circumstances? What ritual purpose or function do they serve now in this day and age marked by intense market capitalism and increasing globalization? How are state agents dealing with or coming to terms with the persistence of religious practices amidst such changes? How are meaningful forms of beliefs and rituals (re)produced in response to modern and postmodern life?  In conjunction with this course, students will be required to attend the 13th Annual CHIME Conference on the topic, “Music and Ritual in China & East Asia,” which will be convening at Bard on October 16-19, 2008. As a final requirement, they will be expected to produce a medium-length piece of writing that encapsulates what they have learned after revisiting and re-examining the powerful roles of religious traditions and ritual practices and their convergences with East Asian musics.   



ANTH 360   Anthropology of the Body

Diana Brown

. T . . .

1:30-3:50 pm

OLIN 305


Cross-listed: Gender & Sexuality Studies, Human Rights, STS    Anthropology has long been concerned with bodies as sources of symbolic representations of the social world and as vehicles for expressions of individual and collective identities.  More recently, interest has centered on the individual body as a site of situated knowledge. It has become a target for the production of consumer desires, and as a site of commodification and political control.  This course will explore a range of different issues raised by these perspectives through readings theorizing the body, supplemented by comparative ethnographic studies of bodily knowledge and practice.  Topics to be examined will include the gendering of bodies and other culturally constructed markings of age, social class and race; mind-body relations; the manipulation of bodily surface and form to establish boundaries and identities through techniques such as tattooing, piercing, dieting, sculpting and cosmetic surgery; commodification of the body through the selling and transplantation of body parts; and the blurring of body/non-body boundaries under the impact of new body technologies.