Graduate and Undergraduate Courses: Autumn 2013

ANTH 20405/30405.  Anthropology of Dis/Ability (=MAPS 36900, CHDV 30405, SOSC 36900, HMRT 25210/35210). This seminar undertakes to explore “dis/ability” from an anthropological perspective that recognizes it as a socially constructed concept with implications for our understanding of fundamental issues about culture, society, and individual differences. The course will explore a wide range of theoretical, legal, ethical and policy issues as they relate to the experiences of persons with disabilities, their families, and advocates. At the conclusion of the course, participants will make presentation on fieldwork projects conducted during the quarter.  Morris Fred/Don Kulick Thurs 3:00-5:50.

20701-20702. Introduction to African Civilization I, II  (=AFAM 20701-20702, CHDV 21401 [20702], HIST 10101-10102, SOSC 22500-22600) PQ. Completion of the general education requirement in social sciences recommended. Taking these courses in sequence is recommended but not required. This sequence meets the general education requirement in civilization studies. African Civilization introduces students to African history in a two-quarter sequence. Part One considers literary, oral, and archeological sources to investigate African societies and states from the early iron age through the emergence of the Atlantic World: cases studies include the empires of Ghana and Mali, and Great Zimbabwe. The course also treats the diffusion of Islam, the origins and effects of European contact, and the trans-Atlantic slave trade. Part Two takes a more anthropological focus, concentrating on Eastern and Southern Africa, including Madagascar. We explore various aspects of colonial and postcolonial society. Topics covered include the institution of colonial rule, ethnicity and interethnic violence, ritual and the body, love,   marriage, money, youth and popular culture. This course sequence meets the general education
requirement in civilization studies. Completion of the general education requirement in social sciences recommended. Taking these courses in sequence is recommended but not required.  E. Fransee, Autumn, J. Cole, Winter. MW 1:30-2:50

21105.  Classical Readings in Anthropology: Foundational Concepts in the Anthropology of Religion: Animism, Totemism, Shamanism.  Raymond D. Fogelson. TuesThurs 3:00-4:20

21114.  Classical Readings in Anthropology: Fetishism and the “Spirit of Matter.” The fetish emerged in the 16th and 17th centuries out of the historical intersection of Enlightenment preoccupations and colonial encounters in West Africa. As curio, idol, and obsession, the fetish became one of the foundational objects of anthropological inquiry, manifesting a form of radical alterity that haunts the epistemological and ontological frameworks of the social sciences. In the first half of this course, students will trace the historical trajectory of fetishism within and beyond anthropological discourses. Beginning with the reading of 19th century texts in which fetishism is presented as the most “primitive” of all religious forms, they will move on to engage classic redeployments of the fetish in Marxist and psychoanalytical traditions. In the second half, students will read 20th century ethnographic, archaeological, philosophical, and art historical texts that speak to the contemporary legacy of the fetish. Throughout, we will concentrate on two key questions. How does the fetish both mediate and transgress fundamental boundaries within anthropological theory, particularly those between the primitive and the modern, the subject and the object, and the mental and the material? How can contemporary anthropologists critically reengage with literature on the fetish in order to develop productive analytical approaches to the relationships between humans and their material worlds? The goal of the course is to challenge students to think critically about how anthropologists construct arguments about difference and identity, desire and value, and contingency and agency.  Jonah Augustine. MonWed 3:00-4:50

21619. Reading Ethnographies: Ethics of Medicine and Biotechnology. Advances in medicine and biotechnology are raising increasingly complex ethical questions, many of which are related to core anthropological concerns: how are boundaries are created—for instance between life and death? How are ‘nature’ and ‘culture’ defined, and what does this entail for uses of technology? What are the legacies of historic exploitation for disease epidemics, and what are adequate responses? This course will explore ethnographic perspectives on ethical problems raised by medicine and biotechnology. While bioethics, policy, or law typically provide the framework to think about ethical problems, we will explore how ethnographic contextualizations can denaturalize the tacit assumptions of these philosophical approaches: what are the larger social and political contexts within which ethical dilemmas emerge? How can we understand the consequences of these ethical shifts? What alternative resources are there to solve ethical problems? Addressing these questions by reading ethnographies will also illustrate the potential of anthropology to speak to ethical issues related to scientific progress.

After an introduction to recent conceptualizaitons for thinking about ethics, we will deal with several different cases. We will first examine the work of defining the beginning (stem cells) and end of life (death), as well as the kinds of routine exceptions made (organ transplant). The next section will examine the  larger political and economic context of health care, using the examples of prescription medicines and clinical trials of new drugs. We will then focus on global infectious diseases, and the response of the international community. The course will conclude with reflections on how the ‘ethical’ can be transformed by practices of those involved, and the role of the ethnographer as an observer. Frederick Ketchum. Wed 9:30-12:20

22140/32140. Digital Socialities. Digital media are often credited with a utopian potential to completely transform politics and society. This seminar critically examines claims made for the internet and social media from an anthropological perspective that sees technology as deeply connected to history, place, and everyday social practice.  Part of the project of this seminar is to analyze visions of digital media as an all-transforming, game-changing force. The other part of our project is to move from these sweeping claims to more grounded analysis of how digital media make a difference without changing everything.  Along the way we will discuss methods of online ethnography, conceptualizations of digital publics, issues of political participation, and related questions of political economy.  All participants will be expected to conduct a research project on digital media during the quarter.  Susanne Cohen. TuTh 10:30-11:50.

23101-23102-23103. Introduction to Latin American Civilization I, II, III. (=HIST 16101-16102-16103, LTAM 16100-16200-16300, LCAS 34600-34700-34800, SOSC 26100-26200-26300) PQ: May be taken in sequence or individually. This sequence meets the general education requirement in civilization studies. This course introduces the history and cultures of Latin America (e.g., Mexico, Central America, South America, Caribbean Islands).  Autumn Quarter examines the origins of civilizations in Latin America with a focus on the political, social, and cultural features of the major pre-Columbian civilizations of the Maya, Inca, and Aztec.  The quarter concludes with consideration of the Spanish and Portuguese conquest and the construction of colonial societies in Latin America.  Winter Quarter addresses the evolution of colonial societies, the wars of independence, and the emergence of Latin American nation-states in the changing international context of the nineteenth century.  Spring Quarter focuses on the twentieth century, with special emphasis on the challenges of economic, political, and social development in the region.  Emilio Kouri. MWF 1:30-2:20.

24001-24002-24001. Colonizations I, II, III (=CRPC 24001-24002-24003, HIST 18301-18302-18203, SOSC 24001-24002-24003).  PQ: These course must be taken in Sequence.  This sequence meets the general education requirement in civilization studies.  This three-quarter sequence approaches the concept of civilization from an emphasis on cross-cultural/societal connection and exchange.  We explore the dynamics of conquest, slavery, colonialism, and their reciprocal relationships with concepts such as resistance, freedom, and independence, with an eye toward understanding their interlocking role in the making of the modern world.  Themes of slavery, colonization and the making of the Atlantic world are covered in the first quarter.  Modern European and Japanese colonialism in Asia and the Pacific is the theme of the second quarter.  The third quarter considers the processes and consequences of decolonization both in the newly independent nations and the former colonial powers.  FG Richard. TuTh 9:00-10:20;  J. Saville. MW 1:30-2:50

24101-24102. Introduction to the Civilization of South Asia, I, II (= SALC 20100-20200, HIST 10800-10900, SASC 2000-20100, SOSC 23000-23100).  Must be taken in sequence.  This course meets the general education requirement in civilization studies.  This sequence introduces core themes in the formation of culture and society in South Asia before colonialism.  The Autumn  Quarter focuses on Islam in South Asia, Hindu-Muslim interaction, Mughal political and literary traditions, and South Asia’s early encounters with Europe.  The Spring Quarter analyzes the colonial period (i.e., reform movements, the rise of nationalism, communalism, caste, and other identity movements) up to the independence and partition of India.  Muzaffer Alam. MW 1:30-2:50.

24320/35110  Cultural Psychology (=CHDV 21000/31000, PSYC 2300/33000, HDCP 41050, GNDR 21001/31001, AMER 33000) There is a substantial portion of the psychological nature of human beings that is neither homogeneous nor fixed across time and space.  At the heart of the discipline of cultural psychology is the tenet of psychological pluralism, which states that the study of "normal" psychology is the study of multiple psychologies and not just the study of a single or uniform fundamental psychology for all peoples of the world.  Research findings in cultural psychology thus raise provocative questions about the integrity and value of alternative forms of subjectivity across cultural groups.  In this course we analyze the concept of "culture" and examine ethnic and cross-cultural variations in mental functioning with special attention to the cultural psychology of emotions, self, moral judgment, categorization and reasoning. R. ShwederTuTh 3:00-4:20

25105. Local Bodies, Global Capital: Speculative, Scientific and Spectral Economies (INST 27501). The project of this class is to examine the relationship between global capital and local bodies, or put differently to look at the implications of economic forms for particular people’s experience and forms of bodily existence. The class will read divergently critical theories of “capitalism” and some historically-situated field materials, to ask how critical insights travel across speculative, scientific, and, spectral – occult or uncanny – domains of economic practice. The class will examine some local sites of multinational capital investment, production, and circulation: from factory floors to marketplaces, from transnational scientific research to pharmaceutical marketing. In order to better grasp local bodies, the class will pay special attention to biomedical and pharmaceutical industries that emerged as a major locus of global capital investment, as well as read for the existential and bodily complaints voiced around the globe in relation to the shared economic conditions. By examining comparatively some particular health disorders, incidents, and interventions, the class will ask: How are ways of being, feeling, and thinking determined by the abstract global power of capital? How are local bodies and economies implicated in the global dynamics? How can we speak critically of “global capital” in the face of its contingent configurations: scientific, spectral and speculative? How do local bodies and subjectivities negotiate temporalities, commodities, forms of knowledge, domination, mediation and discipline that are associated with the dynamics of global capital? Can we grasp a shared global condition which is capitalism from the vantage point of some particular local lives? Larisa Jasarevic. TuTh 3:00-4:20.

25710/35710.  Global Society and Global Culture: Paradigms of Social and Cultural Analysis (=SOCI 20169/30169). This course will introduce students to major theories of globalization and to core approaches to global society and global culture. We will discuss micro- and macroglobalization, cultural approaches to globalization, systems theory, discourse approaches and the strong program in globalization studies. Topics include a section on the ethnography of the global, empirical studies that illustrate the interest and feasibility of globalization studies and critical studies of dimensions of globalization. Karin Knorr Cetina. Tues 9:00-11:50

26315/36315. Turning South: Politics and Practice of Latin American Historical Archaeology (LACS 26315/36315).   How has the study of past material cultures contributed to our comprehension of the Iberian colonial experience in the New World? How has an archaeology of the recent past been presented to the public and made socially relevant in contemporary Latin American nations? This course invites students to address these questions in the light of current Latin American thought, and to gain innovative perspectives on the different processes through which archaeological knowledge participates in the formation and transformation of cultural, social, and racial identities in present-day Latin America.

Exploring a wide array of scholarly literature, principally produced in countries such as Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, and Mexico, this course will provide a detailed insight into the achievements, limitations, possibilities, and future challenges of Latin American historical archaeology. During the semester, students will be familiarized with some of the main topics that have been approached in Latin America through a strategic interplay of material data and written texts. These topics range from the study of cultural contact in early colonial settlements to the development of forensic archaeology as a therapeutic instrument facilitating the remembrance of a traumatic past. Class discussions will also delve into rich archaeological evidence testifying to the development of specific social spaces and categories, such as maroons, colonial borderlands, or gentrified households in republican urban centers. The careful analysis of each one of these highly varied topics, as described in local archaeological literature, shall eventually contribute to a better understanding of the way in which the politics of cultural heritage can be played out in different areas of Latin America.  Felipe Gaitan-Ammann.  TuTh 9:00-10:20

26710/36710.  Ancient Landscapes-1: GIS and Landscapes (=NEAA 20061/30061; GEOG 25400/35400; ANST 22600).  This course, along with Ancient Landscapes II in the Winter Quarter, will expose students to numerous spatial theories underlying studies of ancient and historical landscapes.  It will also provide students with practical experience in the methodologies and GIS tools that can be used to collect and analyze spatial data within these landscapes.  As such it is relevant to anyone who wishes to analyze data about and within the landscape in their spatial and temporal contexts.  The course has both a classroom and a laboratory component.  The classroom component consists of lectures and discussions while the laboratory component will allow students to get involved applying the concepts discussed in class through the hands on use of GIS software.  That said, the course is not a simple introduction to GIS, but rather enables students to use GIS software for advanced analysis of landscapes. Scott Branting. TuTh 10:30-11:50.

29500/59500.  Archaeology Lab Practicum  (PQ Only w/ Consent of Instructor) The course is a lab practicum with 2 hours of lecture and 5 hours of required lab time weekly.  This course will introduce students to the archaeological analysis and processing of material culture, using collections from an ongoing research project in west-central Senegal. This research is concerned with the long-term effects and material signatures of the Atlantic economy on local societies, focusing particularly on the first three centuries of interaction. Our study materials for this class thus come from a range of archaeological settlements surveyed or excavated between 2003 and 2012 in the Siin region, and occupied from about 1400 AD to the 20th century. They include imported objects obtained through long-distance commercial circuits and locally manufactured African goods. Through a combination of small lectures and intensive hands-on work, students will be exposed to the basic steps of material culture analysis and learn about major classes of artifacts (ceramic imports, local pottery, glass, metals, beads, tobacco pipes, buttons, and other small finds….) produced, used, and traded along the Senegalese coast over the past 600 years. Their specific provenance notwithstanding, these collections have ‘broad’ resonance with materials commonly encountered on West African sites occupied during the same period, as well as European (British and French) settlements in other parts of the world. The course will thus provide foundations in material culture studies with relevance beyond the examined collections. In addition to acquiring basic analytical skills, students will be required to pursue an independent project under the guidance of the instructor. F.G. Richard, Wed 9:30-11:20 Lecture + 5 hours of lab time

29700. Readings in Anthropology. PQ: Consent of instructor and program chairman. Students are required to submit the College Reading and Research Course Form. At the discretion of the instructor, this course is available for either Pass or letter grading. Staff. Autumn, Winter, Spring.

29900. Preparation of Bachelor's Essay. PQ: Consent of instructor and program chairman. Students are required to submit the College Reading and Research Course Form. At the discretion of the instructor, this course is available for either Pass or letter grading. For honors requirements, consult the honors section under Program Requirements. Staff. Autumn, Winter, Spring.

34000. Introduction to Chicago Anthropology. PQ:  Open only to first-year Anthropology graduate students. An introduction to the current faculty of the Department of Anthropology, their intellectual genealogies, and their current work.  Staff. WedFri+some Mondays  12-1:20. Haskell 315.

34101-02. Development of Social/Cultural Theory-I (200 units) PQ: Open only to first-year Anthropology graduate students. Systems 1 is designed to introduce you to the intellectual context of the emergence of anthropology as a professional scholarly discipline, as well as some of the broader theoretical concerns that have conditioned its development. The class presents anthropology as a response to the experience of global modernity – that is to say, the historical conjuncture of, on the one hand, the rise of industrialized mass societies in ‘the West’ and, on the other hand, the consolidation of colonialism around the world. This historical conjuncture lends urgency, as we will see, to a series of questions or themes, such as:

·       How can universalizing ideals be reconciled with an acknowledgment of sociocultural difference?

·       Is there such a thing as ‘human nature’? Why does the question matter? Why would we want to be able to say, for example, that human beings are inherently selfish or fundamentally compassionate?

·       Does it make sense to speak in terms of a unified world history? If it does, does it move toward freedom and, if so, by what means?

·       What holds societies together in an age of mass anonymity, alienation, and specialization?

·       What makes power and domination legitimate? What makes them illegitimate?

·       What are the respective roles of ‘reason,’ ‘passion’ and ‘desire’ in social life? Why should we imagine them as separate in the first place?

·       What is the relation between formal equality and substantive inequality in social life, e.g. when human beings encounter each other as commodities or as citizens?

·       What is the relation between ‘culture’ and ‘ideology’ in a mass mediated world? What gives murderous ideologies (e.g. fascism, racism) their curious power?

Many of these themes run right through the course; a few are more specifically located. Some may at times turn out to be subsets of others.   W. Mazzarella. TuTh 9:00-11:50  Haskell 101).

35005. Classical Theories of Religion (=AASR 32900, HREL 32900). This course will survey the development of theoretical perspectives on religion and religions in the 19th and early 20th centuries.  Thinkers to be studied include: Kant, Hume, Schleiermacher, Marx, Muller, Tiele, Tylor, Robertson Smith, Frazer, Durkheim, Weber, Freud, James, Otto, Van der Leeuw, Wach and Eliade.  C. Wedemeyer, TuTh 10:30-11:50.

 37201. Language in Culture-1 (LING 3110, Psych 47001).  Must be taken in sequence.  This is a two-quarter sequence to introduce some of the central theoretical issues involved in the semiotic, cognitive and sociopolitical study of language in its contexts of communicative “use.”  By developing and using semiotic concepts, the first quarter concentrates on two major problems that organize a vast literature and diverse theoretical approaches.  The first problem is to understand interpersonal communication is carried on in-and-by the medium of language.   Such communication manifests itself both in an orderly, or at least ‘(non-in)coherent’ unfolding of information and in the structured and culturally consequential social action that is accomplished in-and-by that unfolding.  The second problem is to understand how language is a medium of and factor in so-called ‘conceptual’ representations or mental “knowledge.”  There are various sources of such knowledge ‘coded’ in the forms of language, and this diversity reveals the modes of semiosis of which language is composed at its various planes.  We concentrate in particular on the semiotic characterization of dialectially emergent “cultural knowledge” or “cultural conceptualization,”  the nature of which is a current research frontier between social and cognitive sciences, between modernist and post-modernist humanities. Michael Silverstein. WedFri 9:30-11:30

40160 Contemporary Social Theory (=SOCI 40187).  This course is about how contemporary theorists and those interested in a theoretical sociology, anthropology or related fields think about societies, how they rearrange themselves, and how social and cultural forms and relations can be analyzed.  It addresses connections that transcend national borders and connections that require us to dig deeper than the person and look at the brain.  We address different theoretical traditions, including those attempting a diagnosis of our times, and mechanism theories.  The overall focus is on defining and agenda setting paradigms in the second half of the 20th century and some new 21st century theorizing. Karin Knorr Cetina. Wed 9:30-12:20

40805.  New Perspectives on Vulnerability (=CHDV 41160, GNSE 41160). Vulnerability is undergoing re-evaluation in philosophy, the social sciences and the humanities. From having been perceived as a condition from which subjects should be defended, rescued or liberated, vulnerability has increasingly come to be theorized as a position and experience that confronts us with the limits of understanding, empathy, morality and theory. This course will read work that attempts to engage with vulnerability not so much as something to be overcome, but, rather, as a challenge that can guide us towards new ways of thinking about political life and engaging with the world. Course literature includes Giorgio Agamben’s work on “bare life”,  Judith Butler’s writing on precarious life, Jacques Derrida’s writings on animals, Rosemarie Garland-Thomson’s book on staring, Martha Nussbaum’s book on “frontiers of justice” and Bryan Turner’s work on vulnerability and human rights.  Don Kulick. Thurs 12:00-2:50

 41905.  Moral Imaginaries. Modernity is often said to herald the breakdown of morality.  More recent developments associated with neoliberalism are similarly described as disruptive and amoral (if not immoral) extensions of market logics into pre-existing moral economies.  This seminar starts from a different premise:  Social actors moralize about a wide range of domains of contemporary social life, encompassing not only religion and “tradition,” but also fundamental aspects of modernity itself.   The seminar will interrogate the moral aspects of key Western social imaginaries with particular interest in their transnational circulation.  Topics will range from everyday language and conduct to colonial encounters, democratic politics, and market ethics.  Readings will be diverse, encompassing philosophical, ethnographic, historical, and linguistic approaches.  Susanne Cohen, Wed 12:30-3:20

52720.  Seminar: Ontological Politics. A turn toward thinking of cultural and historical specificity in ontological terms is emerging in anthropology, science studies, ecology/environmental studies, political theory, new systems theories (computer science, physics, biology), phenomenology, and ethnography.  That is to say, metaphysical, unarticulated, or non-rational assumptions about the nature of what exists, which seem to underpin knowledge and belief in various times and places, are now coming into focus as a site of cultural comparison, political concern, and even practical work. This attention to the things that populate, and the processes that make, the lived and known experience of anthropology’s subjects yields a new awareness of plural worlds. At the same time it heightens our awareness of dueling knowledge regimes.  Political tension arises when modernist science asserts its “one world, multiple cultures” version of modernity in settings where unfamiliar or non-modern beings and forces are recognized and addressed by “other” political actors.

Anthropology has been acknowledging these tensions in its use of terms like natureculture, perspectivalism, object agency, virtual realities, embodiment, cosmopolitics, vitalism, and so on.  Rather than trying to find a human nature bedrock that cancels out all differences at the level of being, rather than trying to wash away conceptual and material conflict with “understanding,” some anthropologists are turning to political models involving conversation, translation, debate, agonistic fields, equivocations. This seminar explores some of this thinking, methodology, writing, and position-taking.

If this is one big interdisciplinary movement, it is already too large for one seminar.  Readings, lectures, presentations, and discussions will be organized around a few major themes: 

Difference and perspective (the South Americans)

Cosmopolitics and Nature-Cultures  (Stengers and the Latourians)

The Thing and Dwelling in the World (the Heideggerians)

Knowledge and the Metaphysical  (Foucault and after)

Decentering the human (the political ecologists)

The practical heterogeneity of bodies (medical anthropology)

Hybrid histories, hybrid ethnographies (the methodologists)

The aim is to read a few key works carefully, to share and teach our insights as readers, and to re-consider our own research methods and writing in recognition of undeniable and seldom reconcilable ontological difference in the world(s).   Judith Farquhar. Tuesday, 9:00-11:50

54100. Anthropology Professionalization.  (PQ Anthropology post-field students, others by consent)  With the hope that gaining familiarity with these matters will build professional confidence, this workshop explores the organizational and institutional frames that define the universe of the professional anthropologist.  Included especially is the professional’s own role in engaging that universe by making oneself and one’s work visible in and contributory to professional loci: beginning (or intensifying) presentation and publication of one’s work; understanding and seeking to enter the academic and other employment markets; dealing with others’ expectations of one as a potential and actual colleague; framing and articulating a research trajectory with short- and medium-range plans; and imagining a professional profile as a component of one’s life.

Topics:  Assessing job ads, CV, letters of application, national meeting interviews and on-campus job talks, publication, becoming a departmental colleague, working towards tenure, etc. Michael Silverstein. Tuesdays, 1:00-3:00