Graduate Courses — Winter 2011

32310. Cultures of Commensuration. From early Boasian concerns with linguistic and cultural relativity, to mid-20th century turns toward ethnography as the translation of cultures, to more contemporary preoccupations with the local sociocultural effects of global neoliberalism, the problem of cultural commensurability has been an underlying generative theme (and more than sometime anxiety) in anthropology. Whats more, anthropological reflections on the presumed incommensurability of languages and cultures have served as fodder for broader academic debates about the nature of rationality, value, communication, and difference, licensing such theoretical constructs as paradigms, epistemes, ontological relativity, radical interpretation, and arguably, the postmodern condition itself. In this course we will take up the question of cultural (in)commensurability by exploring scholarship that seeks to turn the problem on its head, namely, by considering how distinct social worlds come to be commensurated (or not) in specific, sociohistorical projects. As we explore, commensuration -- in the narrowest sense, the valuation or measuring of different objects with a common metric -- is both an activity and an achievement, a site of struggle and contest of vast epistemic and ethical consequence for collective life. By looking at the material and semiotic practices through which cultures of  commensuration are stabilized and extended, this course seeks to illuminate an often overlooked dimension of some of the key processes that social theorists equate with the making of contemporary worlds: legibility, standardization, quantification, institutionalization, rationalization, normalization, adequation, etc. Specific topics include: struggles over regimes of time-reckoning; differential collective valuations of natural resources; conflicts between psychiatric and pharmaceutical knowledges in the medical profession; the coordination of distinct understandings of the diseased body in hospitals; the local politics of global technoscience and economic development; audit cultures in contemporary universities; and the spread of liberal legal categories in multicultural societies. S.K. Scott Tues 1:30-4:20

34201-34202. Development of Social Cultural Theory-2: The Making of Modern Anthropology. PQ: Open only to first year graduate students in the Anthropology Department. The second part of Systems explores the interplay of theory and ethnography, professional practice and historical context, in the development of anthropology as a modernist and postmodern discipline. Rather than offer an overview of contemporary theoretical and methodological discourses, we shall examine, in critical depth, several of the major orientations that have shaped the history of Anglo-American anthropology this century. In so doing, we shall be concerned with (i) the historical roots and philosophical foundations of particular perspectives and (ii) their significance for modern theoretical concerns and critical discourses in the social sciences at large. J. Farquhar/S. Gal. TuTh 1:30-4:20.

37202. Language in Culture II (LING 3120, Psych 47002). Must be taken in sequence. This is the second part of a two-quarter sequence on the place of language in social life. Building on the first quarters discussions of the interactional order, this class explores the role of meta-semiotic practices in the social life of the signs to which they are oriented. We will be particularly interested in processes of mediation and institutionalization as they shape forms of social relations and the pragmatics of social interaction. The more general aim of the course is to investigate the constitutive role of semiosis in social and political forms.
         We start with the concepts of ideology”from the Enlightenment concept of the Idéologues to Marxist and post-Marxist notions of ideology”and language ideology”as developed in contemporary linguistic anthropology. Critically interrogating these concepts”in particular, asking what are the implicit semiotic assumptions that make them able to do analytic and critical work”we ask what are the possible uses and utilities of ideology in the investigation of the social life of language, and of language ideology in the investigation of social life more generally. In this part of the course we give particular attention to empirical materials and their discussion from linguistic anthropology and variationalist sociolinguistics.
         We then trace a particular historical trajectory of language ideology from Enlightenment thought onwards, looking at the various kinds of theories of language that circulated in 17th centuryEurope and the ways that such theories of language presupposed particular models of modern subjectivity, human nature, sociality, and governance. We trace out the entailments of these language ideologies in a number of social projects which presuppose and institutionalize these ideological formations, and thereby have set the conditions on future social interactions and social inequalities: universal and philosophical languages, language reform and standardization movements, disciplinary formations (comparative philology, modern formalist linguistics), and (sub-)nationalist projects.
         In the final part of the course, with the backdrop of this historical genealogy, we investigate a number of critical topics in contemporary social and linguistic theory: the notion of publics and the public sphere, speech and language communities, the imagined community, and the role of media(tion) in social process. We give particular attention to the notion of media process, looking at the role of circulation in social and political life, mediatization and commodity registers, and the semiotics of branded forms. We conclude with a re-evaluation of language ideology and dialectics of indexicality in social process. C. Nakassis. TuTh 12:00-1:50

37610. Language and the Politics of Culture. Ever since the work of scholars like Benedict Anderson and Ernest Gellner, anthropologists have been attuned to the constitutive role of linguistic processes in the emergence and maintenance of mass-scale social formations like nation-states. In the wake of work by scholars like Hobsbawm and Ranger and Anthony Smith, anthropologists have similarly been attuned to the ways that claims to participation in mass-scale social formations like nation-states are mediated through sociopolitical projects aimed at transforming local traditions -- invented or otherwise -- into distinctly differentiable national cultures. More recently, however, the sociohistorical links between language, tradition, and polity so well elucidated in this now classic scholarship have been challenged by the rise of new sociopolitical projects that justify themselves in and through such diverse and often contradictory discourses as multiculturalism, plurinationalism, ethnolocalism, transnational regionalism, and global cosmopolitanism. By reading contemporary works in linguistic anthropology and other semiotically-oriented social science, this course examines the reconfigured role of linguistic and communicative processes in this brave new world of cultural politics. How, for instance, do contemporary sociopolitical movements mobilize ethnolinguistic awareness to make and/or contest claims to privileged participation in mass-scale polities, at the level of as well as beyond the nation-state? How are local languages objectified and ethnicized as forms of cultural property bearing special rights and recognitions in contemporary political struggles? What kinds of expertise are brought to bear upon the problem of arbitrating and authenticating differential claims to national culture in ethnically plural societies? What kinds of ethical binds, moral dilemmas, and cultural intimacies are posed by this reconfigured terrain of ethnolinguistic belonging and national polity? Considering these questions and more, this course circles in on the linguistic dimensions of contemporary politics of culture. SK Soctt. Thurs 1:30-4:20.

40155. Imagining the Social: Modern Alternatives (=SOCI 40170). During the 19th century, the Enlightenment understanding of human togetherness as governed by a well ordered rational contract guarded by the state gave way to a perplexing plurality of social imaginaries. All of these have a common center in their opposition to contract theory. They emphasize the socials unintended emergence from a sea of seemingly chaotic transactions. Yet, they also deal in starkly contrasting explanatory metaphors; they bank on opposing epistemologies, and they ground themselves in irreconcilable ontological commitments. This class is dedicated to teasing out some of the main strands of modern social imaginaries with readings from a diverse group of social theorists. A. Glaeser. Mon 4:30-7:20.

42000. Anthropological Methods. (PQ: Required of 2nd year social/cultural/linguistic anthropology graduate students. Others only with consent of the instructor.) This course provides a critical introduction to the methods of anthropology, paying special attention to topic formation, deployment of theoretical resources, techniques of engagement in fields, and the politics and ethics of fieldwork and ethnographic knowledge production. Our approach will combine readings in critical anthropology relevant to methodological practice with workshop-style demonstrations of particular techniques for gathering and analyzing field material. The limits and powers of ethnography (broadly construed) will be explored through exploratory engagement with students ongoing projects and a few examples of anthropological writing. This course is intended to help students develop the tools needed to develop their own research objects and strategies while reflecting critically on anthropology as a practice.   J.Chu. Wed. 4:30-7:20

45405. Maverick Markets: Cultural Economy and Cultural Finance (SOCI 40172).What are the cultural dimensions of economic and financial institutions and financial action? What social variables influence and shape 'real' markets and market activities? 'If you are so smart, why aren't you rich?' is a question economists have been asked in the past. Why isnt it easy to make money in financial areas even if one knows what economists know about markets, finance and the economy? And why, on the other hand, is it so easy to get rich for some participants? Perhaps the answer is that real markets are complex social and cultural institutions which are quite different from organizations, administrations and the production side of the economy. The course addresses these differences and core dimensions of economic sociology; it is not focused on the sociology of organizations. K. Knorr Cetina. Tues 9:00-11:50 am

45600. When Cultures Collide (=CHDV 45600, HMRT 35600, PSYC 45300, GNDR 45600, CRPC 45600). Coming to terms with diversity in an increasingly multicultural world has become one of the most pressing public policy projects for liberal democracies in the early 21st century.   One way to come to terms with diversity is to try to understand the scope and limits of toleration for variety at different national sites where immigration from foreign lands has complicated the cultural landscape.   This seminar  examines a series of legal and moral questions about the proper response to norm conflict between mainstream populations and cultural minority groups (including old and new immigrants), with special reference to court cases that have arisen in the recent history of the United States. R. Shweder. Wed 9:30-11:5

46900. Archaeological Data Sets.(PQ Consent of Instructor. Open only to Archaeology doctoral students who need this course this year in order to be admitted to candidacy by June).This course focuses on the methodological basis of archaeological data analysis. Its goals are twofold, first to provide students with an opportunity to examine research questions through the study of archaeological data, and second to allow students to evaluate evidential claims in light of analytical results. We will consider data collection, sampling and statistical populations, exploratory data analysis, and statistical inference. The course is built around computer applications and, thus, will also provide an introduction to computer analysis, data encoding, and data base structure. M. Lycett. ARR

55605. Regulating Il/licit Flows: State, Territoriality, Law.This course examines how changing state practices, legal norms and technical innovations have variously shaped the flows of people, goods, capital and information within and beyond the national order of things. Drawing on anthropological theories and methods, we will explore both the historical genealogies and emergent forms of state sovereignty and territoriality and their relation to the production of lawful movements vis-à-vis illicit flows. The course is divided into two parts. Part I introduces students to anthropological approaches for analyzing the different spaces of state regulation (land, the seas, the market, checkpoints, refugee camps) while Part II focuses on the pragmatics and effects of law on the movement of various persons (citizens, refugees, migrants) and commodities (drugs, money, contraband). Julie Chu. Tues 4:30-7:20  

56200. The Human Environment: Ecological Anthropology and Anthropological Ecology. This graduate seminar is framed around a critical intellectual history of Nature/Culture concepts from the 18th century to the present. We will explore multiple, contradictory strands of social thought regarding Human/Environment interactions, including the concepts of Descartes, Thoreau, Linneaeus, Darwin, and Spencer, as well as a broad range of contemporary analysts. We will be particularly engaged in exploring the tensions between dualistic and monadic conceptions of the Human/Environment relationship. A. Kolata. Tues. 1:30-4:20. 

56500. Archaeology of Colonialism. This seminar is a comparative exploration of archaeological approaches to colonial encounters. It employs temporally and geographically diverse case studies from the archaeological and historical literature situated within a critical discussion of colonial and postcolonial theory. The course seeks to evaluate the potential contribution of archaeology both in providing a unique window of access to precapitalist forms of colonial interaction and imperial domination and in augmenting historical studies of the expansion of the European world-system. Methodological strategies, problems, and limitations are also explored. M. Dietler. Wed. 1:30-4:20.

 

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Related Courses of Interest

LACS 24200, Medicine in Modern Latin America: History, Politics, Lived Experience. This course explores the politics and lived experience of medicine in modern Latin America, focusing on the introduction and incorporation of biomedicine in different local settings and contemporary issues in the provision of public health care in Latin America. The course is loosely divided into two parts. The first half of the course introduces the issues to be explored and provides a brief but focused history of ˜Western medicine in Latin America. In particular, we will consider the ways in which local actors incorporated biomedicine into already-existing traditions and practices of healing and the ways in which empire, state-building, and the construction of public health systems were co-constitutive projects. In the second half of the course, we explore a number of contemporary issues in Latin American society as they relate to the provision of health care and the experience of illness and wellness. These include structural inequality, indigenous experiences of disease and state health care, the politics of community and locality, and possible futures in Latin American medicine that reflect contemporary regional trends toward both increasing privatization and a rebirth of the socialist and/or welfare state. Throughout the course we will reflect on the relationship between state power, local sources of autonomy and resistance, and subjective experiences of illness and health as they play out in particular settings and across different time periods. Amy Cooper. TuTh 12:00-1:20.

CRES 27313. Indigenous People in Twentieth-Century Mexico. This course aims to introduce students to the history of indigenous people in Mexico from the late nineteenth century to the present. It will focus both on elite discourse on Indians and on the diverse experiences of indigenous people and their communities. Topics include the relationship of indigenous people to the Mexican Revolution, the effects of the postwar "Mexican miracle" on native communities, the evolution of indigenous religious belief and practice, and the more recent phenomenon of indigenous cultural and political radicalization, including among Zapotec speakers in Oaxaca and the Maya of Chiapas. Stuart Easterling. TuTh 12:00-1:20.  

NEAA 20004/30004. Archaeology of the Ancient Near East -4: Pre-Islamic Arabia. From the Highlands of Yemen and deserts of Saudi Arabia to the islands in the Persian Gulf, this introductory course focuses on the archaeology and history of Arabia from the Paleolithic until the coming of Islam in the 7th century A.D. The first half will look at the prehistoric remains within both their social and environmental contexts. The second half will center on the complex network which emerges among the desert kingdoms, caravan oases, and commercial seaports beginning in the 1st mil. B.C. Lectures will explore the unique diversity of languages, religion, and art found in the region as well as examine its shifting economic and political systems. Overall, this course will show how Arabia developed along its own trajectory while interacting with its more well known neighbors in various ways. Daniel Mahoney. MW 3:00-4:20.  

NEHC 20405/30405. Biblical Archaeology (=JWSC 20005). (PQ: This course fulfills the Colleges general education requirement in civilization studies, in combination with either Introduction to the Hebrew Bible or  Modern Antiquities: Semitic Cultures, Language, and History in the Modern Middle East.)A course on how the latest interpretations of evidence unearthed by archaeologists contribute to a historical-critical reading of the Bible and vice versa. The focus will be on the cultural background of the biblical narratives, from Creation to the destruction of the Jerusalem temple by the Romans in year 70. David Schloen, MWF 3:30-4:20