ANTH 101

 Intro to Cultural Anthropology

Sophia Stamatopoulou-Robbins

 T Th    10:10 am-11:30 am

RKC 101



Cross-listed: Environmental & Urban Studies; 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 ‘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



ANTH 212

 Historical Archaeology: Mohicans, Colonial Germans, and African Americans near Bard

Christopher Lindner

 T         4:40 pm-6:00 pm

 F         11:50 am-4:30 pm

HEG 300



Cross-listed: American Studies; Environmental & Urban Studies; Historical Studies Our research and excavations will focus on a religious center in the former agricultural village of Queensbury, along the Hudson River, 9 miles north of Bard. This settlement began in 1710 as the first substantial German-speaking community in the New World. Recent evidence indicates that Native Americans visited the minister’s home (or Parsonage) before 1750, and that African Americans lived at the site by the early 1800s, if not decades earlier. The Mohicans likely came from their last village in New York, a German mission in the Taconic hills east of Bard. After a mass emigration from the Rhineland Palatinate and two years of forced labor conditions in Germantown, a robust economy began to grow in the central Hudson Valley around orchards and animal husbandry and has lasted almost three centuries. In the mid-1800s, several African American families established a neighborhood near the old village center and left traces of their own spiritual practices, possibly from their enslaved ancestors. We’ll read background texts and write short papers for weekly seminar, and do 4.5-hour excavation and/or lab sessions on Friday [or weekend afternoons before mid-term].  Class size: 12



ANTH 220

 Doing Ethnography:

 Cultural Memory

Laura Kunreuther

 T Th    1:30 pm-2:50 pm

OLIN 205



What are the ethical stakes, practical questions, and methodological tools that we use when we “do ethnography”? Ethnography is the cornerstone of contemporary cultural anthropological methodology, and includes both fieldwork and writing. This course is a survey of and practicum in ethnographic field methods with a thematic focus on cultural studies of memory. We will survey and critique traditional methods of ethnographic engagement such as participant-observation, interviews, archival research, visual, sonic and textual analysis, and address the challenges of doing fieldwork in a variety of contexts, including the virtual domain. Intensive writing exercises will raise important questions about how ethnographic research can be ethically and effectively “translated” into written text. Students will develop an ethnographic research project of their own design throughout the course of the semester that may be connected to an ethnographically grounded senior project. The practical aspects of conducting ethnographic fieldwork such as getting Internal Research Board (IRB) approval will be covered.  This course satisfies the “field methods” requirement needed for moderation into anthropology.

Class size: 22



ANTH 226

 Anthropology of Japan

Yuka Suzuki

 T Th    11:50 am-1:10 pm

OLIN 203



Cross-listed: Asian Studies; Gender and Sexuality Studies; Global & International Studies From post-war devastation to rapid economic recovery and affluence, Japan came to be seen as one of the most important non-Western countries of the 20th century. In the 1980s and 90s, as Japanese economic power and cultural influence grew worldwide, the nation's status as a global force was established beyond question. In more recent years, however, specters of economic recession, disenchanted youth, aging population, and nuclear disaster have produced new conditions of precarity, reconfiguring experiences and meanings of contemporary life. By focusing on such key transitions over the past seven decades, this course will offer an introduction to changing social, economic, and political formations in Japan from an anthropological perspective. Readings will include ethnographic works on economic recovery in the post-war period, gender in office politics, schools and disciplinary tactics, the culture of cuteness, delayed marriage and divorce, homelessness, and institutionalized care for the elderly. The final section of the course will explore transnational dimensions of Japan in a global context, including the aspirations of Japanese women abroad, and the globalization of popular culture genres such as anime. Class size: 22



ANTH 243

 African Diaspora Religions

Diana Brown

M W     1:30 pm-2:50 pm

OLIN 203



Cross-listed: Africana Studies; Global & International Studies; LAIS; Religion  The many contemporary religions in Latin American and the Caribbean that draw upon African theology and practice testify to the vitality of the African heritage in the New World. The course examines these religions within their historical context as dimensions of the African diaspora and as they are currently practiced. We will be particularly concerned with issues of identity, empowerment, and appropriation.  In this light will explore the religious and symbolic dimensions of these religions, from those that claim African orthodoxy to those that have embraced innovation and heterodoxy, and their sociopolitical structures. Issues concerning the race, class, gender, and politics of the leaders who guide these religions and the followers attracted to them will be examined in relation to the degree to which such affiliations may strengthen African identities and foster movements for cultural and racial political empowerment or may represent appropriations of the African heritage serving the interests of dominant groups. Throughout, the class will be attentive to the ways in which these religions are represented in ethnography and film. Religions examined include Candomble, Umbanda, and Batuque in Brazil; Santeria in Cuba and the Dominican Republic; Maria Lionza in Venezuela; Shango in Trinidad; and Vodun in Haiti.   Class size: 20



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 201



Cross-listed: Environmental & Urban Studies; Global & International Studies; Human Rights;  Midde 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



ANTH 304

 World Anthropologies

Mario Bick

M          10:10 am-12:30 pm

OLIN 310



Most American students of anthropology are made aware of the histories of, and the contemporary foci of anthropology in the United States, as well as Britain, France, and to some degree Germany.  This course will introduce students to the great variety of national traditions in anthropology that developed in the rest of the world, Japan, China, India, Eastern Europe, Scandinavia, Iberia, Italy, Africa, Latin America, Canada, ect.  We will examine both the histories of the development of national traditions as well as current practices.  These comparative explorations will provide some surprises as to what anthropology is, and what American anthropology could be.  Limited to upper college students.  Class size: 15



ANTH 323

 The Politics of Infrastructure

Sophia Stamatopoulou-Robbins

 W        1:30 pm-3:50 pm




Cross-listed: Environmental & Urban Studies; Science, Technology, Society  Infrastructure is said to be invisible until the point at which it breaks down. Drawing on ethnographic and historical readings from a number of disparate geographical locales (e.g. Japan, Ukraine, India, Palestine, South Africa, Egypt, Nigeria, France, Venezuela, the United States, the United Arab Emirates) we will start by asking when, and with what consequences, infrastructures become visible or invisible.  The course will be organized thematically around different types of infrastructure present in modern colonial and postcolonial contexts. These will include roads, water distribution networks, landfills, sewage pipelines, electricity, telecommunications, nuclear energy stations and mass media forms such as radio and television. We will explore how infrastructures become central to popular claims to rights, how they shape senses and sensibilities and how they shape relationships between the body and the public (the “body politic”). We will investigate how marginalized groups may reappropriate dominant infrastructures, for example, such that the “messages” infrastructures convey and the material effects they produce may be transformed. Climate change scientists increasingly have the ear of governments and multinational corporations. We will thus also consider how climate change “adaptation” and emissions reductions strategies through new large-scale infrastructures are producing new discourses around environmental security and new ways of imagining the future of human existence. This class will include engagement with local and regional communities and will include joint classroom and field experiences with Prof. Ellen Driscoll's ART206 Sculpture II: Fluid Dynamics class and Prof. Elias Dueker’s EUS 316 Waste class. Class size: 15



ANTH 346

 Surveillance: From the human to  the Digital

Laura Kunreuther

 W        10:10 am-12:30 pm

OLIN 310



Cross-listed: Experimental Humanities; Human Rights What does it mean to say we live in a culture of surveillance?  How do surveillance practices secure or undermine state sovereignty and citizen solidarity in a digital age? This course will look at a variety of surveillance techniques, ranging from low-tech forms of social surveillance to state and corporate surveillance in visual, audio, and digital forms. Drawing on ethnographic, artistic, and theoretical works, we will consider the importance of visual media to enhance state or corporate power/knowledge over citizens and workers. We will also study the uses of sound technology for surveillance purposes, from Anathasius Kircher’s 17th century listening tubes to 20th century telephone wiretapping (a metaphor now used to also describe monitoring digital data). Acoustic surveillance intervenes in human beings’ most primary form of social communication - talking and listening – and draws our attention to the ways that social groups monitor themselves through practices like gossip and rumor.  Surveillance is therefore not only related to the power of corporations or governments, but also gets at the heart of what it means to be social beings who constantly monitor each other and ourselves with or without technology. The course will traverse practices of surveillance in different parts of the globe and from both sides of the “digital divide” - from informal informants who spy on fellow refugees in Italy, to police surveillance in Gaza, to hacker groups like Anonymous or Wikileaks, or Snowden's exposure of the NSA, to more public citizen campaigns like #wearewatchingyou that also target state surveillance practices. As a student-generated Experimental Humanities course, this class will require significant participation on the part of the students to research a specific surveillance practice over the course of the semester and design their own experimental projects based around their research and our readings.   Class size: 15



ANTH 352


Aaron Glass

  Th      1:30 pm-3:50 pm

RKC 102



Cross-listed: Art History  Over the past two centuries, the museum has emerged as one of the primary institutional venues for intercultural encounter mediated by objects. Practices of both collection and display have been central to the imagining and valuing of various kinds of cultural others, and to the construction and communication of knowledge about the world’s peoples. This course will examine multiple historical and theoretical points of articulation (and disarticulation) between the museum and the discipline of anthropology. Topics include: the place of the “exotic” curio in early European and colonial collections; the rise of natural history and social evolutionary paradigms for exhibiting non-Western objects and people; the development of professional anthropology in the museum; popular forms of ethno-spectacle (e.g. the world’s fair, cinema, and commercial culture) and the lasting tension between education and entertainment; debates surrounding “primitivism” and avant-garde interest in non-Western art; nationalism, sovereignty, and repatriation in the wake of decolonization; and contemporary anthropological and ethnographic studies of museums as sites of cultural production and contest. Through critical readings, discussions, and a visit to museums in New York City, students will come to better understand and appreciate the dynamics of collecting, studying, and displaying the art and material culture of the world’s peoples.  Class size: 16





MUS 224

 Socialist Musical Imaginaries

Maria Sonevytsky

M W     10:10 am-11:30 am

BLM N210