Graduate Courses — Spring 2008

34814.  Anthropology and Literature: World Poetry (=SCTH 32720). This course will explore fundamentals of poetry and poetics on a world basis: the music of language, theory of tropes, poetry and myth, linguistic-poetic relativism, the unique individual, sociopolitical context, the moral intention of the poet, metaphysical questions, and so forth.  The four poetic worlds to be central this year are: T'ang Chinese (e.g., Tu Fu), Russian (i.e., Pushkin), native American (e.g. Quechua, Eskimo), and three American poets (Dickenson, Frost, Hughes).  Brief introductions to other poetic worlds (e.g., Villon, Baudelaire, haiku).  Texts to be used in part: J. Rothenburg's Technicians of the Sacred, E. Weinberger's Anthropology of Classic Chinese Poetry. P. Friedrich. Thurs 9:00-11:50.

ANTH 35915.  Death and Mourning: The Politics of Self-Sacrifice in the Middle East (=PLSC 36800). This graduate seminar explores suicide bombing, discourses of martyrdom, contestation over gravesites, practices of commemoration, and the imagery of self-sacrifice in the Middle East. Drawing on debates in political science, anthropology, and history, we shall investigate the relevance of military occupation to suicide bombing, the relationships among dying, killing, and state sovereignty, the vexed connections between obligation and consent, changing norms about violence as a mode of political struggle, and the various forms of political solidarity that notions of sacrifice exemplify. This course is theoretically oriented and historically and ethnographically grounded. In contrast to approaches that posit the politics of self-sacrifice as a "problem" in need of a solution or as a peculiarly Middle Eastern phenomenon, this course seeks to de-pathologize such practices by comparing and contrasting them to practices of violence and commemoration in other times and places. Among the authors we will read are Hannah Arendt, Talal Asad, Lara Deeb, Frantz Fanon, Engseng Ho, Thomas Laqueur, Claudio Lomnitz, Robert Pape, Roxanne Varzi, and Slavoj Zizek.  Lisa Wedeen. Wed 10:30-1:20

362. Ceramic Analysis for Archaeologists.  This course introduces students to the theoretical foundations and analytical techniques that allow archaeologists to use ceramics to make inferences about ancient societies. Ethnographic, experimental, and physical science approaches are explored to develop a realistic, integrated understanding of the nature of ceramics as a form of material culture and to assess both the kinds of interpretations of ancient people that can plausibly be made on the basis of their pottery and which techniques and research strategies may best serve to obtain useful information.  Practical training in the use of the Ceramic Laboratories is included. Donna Nash.  Fri 11:00-1:50.  Course meets at the Field Museum.

37302. Phonology II (=LING 20900/30900). PQ: Anthro 373. The principles of generative phonology are introduced and studied in detail, emphasizing the role of formalism and abstractness in phonological analysis. The emphasis is on Sound Pattern of English theory, with brief discussion of more recent autosegmental and metrical models. Jason Riggle. TuTh 1:30-2:50

37500. Morphology (=LING 21000/31000). PQ: Anthro 373. This course deals with linguistic structure and patterning beyond the phono­logical level, primarily from a structuralist point of view. It concentrates on analysis of grammatical and formal oppositions and their structural relation­ships and interrelationships. Amy Dahlstrom. TuTh 1:30-2:50.

40145.  Imagining the Social: Ontological Presuppositions of Social Science (=SOCI 40149). This is an experimental course which concerns itself with the following sets of problematiques. Social theorists have developed a range of modes in which they have imagined the social. In other words they have developed rather different understandings about the most fundamental parts as components of larger social wholes, their dynamic relations with each other and the interaction effects between wholes and parts (e.g.various sorts of individualisms, holisms etc). One could also say that they have built their theories on rather different kinds of social ontologies. One goal of this course is to develop a certain feel for such ontological differences and their consequences for research. However, with the attack against overly scientistic understandings of societies at the end of the 19th century (for example by Wilhelm Dilthey) and the fundamental critique of the (especially Hegelian and perforce right wing (progress evolutionism) and left wing (progress revolutionism) philosophy of history (for example by Jacob Burckhardt) it became clearer that changes in social imaginations of the people at a particular time enabled and/or disabled processes of institution formation. The second goal of this course is therefore a thematization of the import of social imaginaries and the dynamics of their transformation.
If imaginaries matter, however, those developed by social theorists can no longer just be understood either as mere reflections of a particular social order (as vulgar Marxism does), nor as a timeless scientific accounts of social processes (as positivism holds), but they have to be seen as models for social life as much as models of social life (to use Geertz' felicitous rendering of Weber). Especially with the short 20th century behind us, it has become clear how various social imaginaries spawned by social theorizing and/or social science have helped to shape the institutional fabric of our time. This is not only true for the failed projects of state socialism and fascism but of course also for neo-liberal market capitalism. This is to say nothing less than that the social sciences are deeply implicated both in the glories and the miseries of what we have become. The third goal of this course is therefore to develop a sensitivity for the relationship between theoretical and popular social imaginaries (social theory as Zeitgeist, avant-garde etc) and the dialectic between social imaginaries and institutional arrangements. This dialectic raises questions about the goal, and the ethics of social scientific writing. On the other it raises a whole slew of old issues of individualism vs. holism, system vs. history, structure vs. agency, micro vs. macro, understanding vs. explaining anew.  Andreas Glaeser. Tues 4:30-7:20.

41200.  Anthropology of History (=HIST 44901). Anthropologists have long been concerned with the temporal dimension of human culture and sociality, but, until fairly recently (and with significant exceptions), have rarely gone beyond processual modeling. This has dramatically changed. Anthropologists have played a prominent role in the so-called "historic turn in the social sciences", acknowledging and theorizing the historical subjectivities and historical agency of the ethnographic "other", but also problematizing the historicity of the ethnographic endeavor itself. The last decades have not only seen a proliferation of empirically rich and theoretically sophisticated historical ethnographies, but also a decisive move towards ethnographies of the historical imagination. Taking its point of departure from a concise introduction to the genealogy of the trope of "historicity" in anthropological discourse, this course aims to explore the possibilities of an anthropology of historical consciousness, discourse and praxis - i.e. the ways in which human groups select, represent, give meaning to, and strategically manipulate constructions of the past. In this, our discussion will not just focus on non-western forms of historical knowledge, but include the analysis of western disciplined historiography as a culturally and historically specific form of promulgating conceptions of the past and its relation to the present. S. Palmie. Tues 12:00-2:50.

42915. Producing Authoritative Knowledge. This graduate seminar encourages a cross-fertilization between ethnographic approaches to the study of media production and to science studies.  Both fields deal with issues of technology, epistemology, and authority, although in different ways.  Yet, rarely are these fields brought into conversation with each other.  What can be gained by emphasizing the mediated nature of scientific knowledge like brain scans or archeological artifacts?  What can be gained by examining certain kinds of media, like journalism or documentary, as forms of knowledge?  What methods might be shared between the two fields?  Topics include:  embodied knowledge production, affect and knowledge production, the authority of the visual, and expertise and global identities.  Amahl Bishara. Thurs 12:00-2:50

43700.   Weber, Veblen and Genealogies of Global Capitalism.  Two intellectual traditions have dominated discussion of the history of capitalism:  classical to neo-classical economics, and Marxism.  This course searches for other possibilities.  It focuses on critical comparative reading of Thorstein Veblen's theory of the late modern "new order" and Max Weber's comparative sociology, but will also read widely among other authors, including Simmel, Sombart, Mahan, Tolstoy and Gandhi.  Questions to engage will include: relations between capital, the state, and military force (between means of production and means of coercion); commerce in Asia before European colonialism and the rise of colonial plantations and monopoly trading companies; types of capital, the rise and spread of joint-stock companies, stock markets, and capitalist corporations; the "new order," decolonization and the nation-state.  J. Kelly. Tues 6:00-8:50.

44700. Specters of Marx: Matter, Mind, Method.  (PQ. Limit 20).  In this seminar, we will interrogate a certain number of Marxist perspectives, and examine how/whether they can help to shed light on the relationship between ideas, material expressions, and social analysis in a post-Marxist world. While many post-mortems have been sung for Marxism, and many allegations of bankruptcy declared, there is often limited or distant engagement with the core texts from which this critique departs. Moreover, recent critical homage, such as Jacques Derridas /Specters of Marx/, seems to suggest that the force of Marx's spirit lives on not as timeless doctrine, to be sure, but as recombinant traces, orientations, and possibilities embedded in the work of writers influenced by his thought.  Without losing sight of the historical logics of capitalism and the state, we will focus on key texts in the Marxist intellectual tradition as they relate to issues of mind, matter, and method. Starting with Marx himself, the seminar will unfold in roughly chronological and thematic progression to track how his seminal ideas have been amplified, transformed, or undermined by later generations of social theorists (Lukacs, Gramsci, Adorno, Benjamin, Althusser, Debord, Lefebvre, Ollman, Sayer, Derrida, Jameson, Eagleton, Zizek). In the process, we will critically reflect on Marxist engagements with ideas of culture, space, time, history, ideology, hegemony, modernity, and politics, to name but a few.  Each of these topics could easily be the focus of a whole course. In this light, the seminar hopes to offer an introduction to ideas and concepts, while striving for depth of analysis. This being said, a modicum of familiarity with the broad horizon of Marxist thinking (e.g. labor, relations of production, commodity, fetishism, value, consciousness, alienation, etc.) will be useful and is strongly recommended. Francois Richard. Tues 1:30-4:20.

50500.  Commodity Aesthetics: Critical Encounters.  Walter Benjamin and Theodor Adorno's classic writings on the relationship between cultural production, capitalism and aesthetic experience, value and embodiment are back on the anthropological agenda. Why should this be the case? What relevance does the cultural critique of the Frankfurt School hold for contemporary ethnographic projects? Although this seminar in a sense hinges on the work of Benjamin and Adorno, it is above all an attempt to locate the questions they asked in relation to a longer philosophical genealogy: broadly, German critical responses to capitalist modernity and its particular claims on the senses. Readings will include excerpts from key texts by Kant, Hegel, Marx, Lukacs, Weber, Simmel, Balasz, Kracauer, Adorno, and Benjamin. William Mazzarella.  Tues 9:00-11:50

51035  Culture and Agency (=SSAD 50812) This seminar explores the relationship between agency and
culture-that is, between the capacity to act and the dynamic systems that frame the meaning and direction of that action. Readings and discussions are geared toward understanding key scholarly formulations of agency-from the familiar notion that agency is a property of individual actors to the idea that agency exists as a kind of opportunity in time and space. While the course focuses on reading primary texts in cultural and social theory, we will also examine a number of empirical studies which demonstrate how different groups of people, across an array of cultural and historical settings, have thought about how and under what circumstances it is possible
to act. Throughout the course, we will think critically about the ethical and political consequences of such popular and scholarly notions. For example, we will inquire into how certain formulations of agency intersect with neoliberal projects (e.g. globalization, multiculturalism) and discourses (e.g. "learned helplessness," "dependency") that are familiar to contemporary, American social work. Students concerned with issues of political mobilization may also have special interest in this course, as we grapple with how human agency
both reproduces and transforms cultural systems.  E. Summerson Carr. Thurs 1:30-4:20

52200.   Proposal Preparation.  (PQ: Open only to anthropology graduate students preparing for field work) This is a required course for (primarily third-year) graduate students who are preparing field work grant applications and dissertation proposal during the current academic year.  The course is taken pass/fail and provides each student the opportunity to present a pre-circulated draft research proposal for discussion and critique.  The course focuses on preparation and discussion of students' draft proposals.  Michael Silverstein. ARR.

52210.  Archaeological Research Design. This a practicum course for archaeology graduate students (typically in their third or fourth year) to prepare the dissertation research proposal and dissertation grant applications.  The focus of the course will be the intellectual as well as the pragmatic issues involved in developing a strong archaeological research design.  Issues related to professional development will also be incorporated. Steady work on proposal writing is expected.  Most of the required work will consist of weekly writing and critique exercises. Alan Kolata.  ARR.

53315.  Rethinking Travel and Migration (=CRPC 52215). Migration and travel are unusual themes in the social sciences, humanities, and even policy studies areas.  These themes, for a variety of reasons, have been taken up by each of the disciplines in these fields; but rarely do writers from these disciplines engage each other. Consequently, we have amassed an enormous literature on travel-related topics that has no center/core and few points of connection.  This seminar is about identifying some points of connection from the discipline of anthropology. We will identify problem spots that have emerged through various approaches to the study of travel (and political/economic migrations in particular) and then address how a selection of ethnographies have worked to bind concepts of travel to broader socio-cultural themes.  Kesha Fikes. Mon 8:30-11:20.

54100.  Professionalization Seminar. (PQ: Anthropology post-field graduate students only) Course covers a number of topics of interest to post-field students who either are or are soon to be on the job market:  construction of job letters & CV's, "AAA" & on-campus job interviews/talks, negotiating with prospective employers, publication (journal articles, first book), first job and advancement to tenure,  etc. M. Silverstein.  ARR

55020.  Anthropological Readings on Contemporary Islam.  Hussein Agrama.  Wed 1:30-4:20.