Introduction to Anthropology
An introduction to anthropology and key topics in becoming and being human. Anthropology examines human experience through diverse lenses integrating biology, ecology, language, history, philosophy, and the day to day lives of peoples from across the globe. Anthropology has things to say about being human, it seeks to make the familiar a bit strange and the strange quite familiar. We will take critical reflexive and reflective approaches in asking about key aspects of being human (like war/peace; race/racism; sex/gender; childhood/parenting; religion and the human imagination; human relations to other species).Two lectures, one preceptorial.
An assessment and understanding of the evolutionary history and processes in our lineage over the last 7 to 10 million years, with a focus on the ~2.5 million year history of our own genus (Homo).This outline of the history of our lineage offers an anthropological and evolutionary context for what it means to be human today. Two lectures, one preceptorial.
An assessment and understanding of the evolutionary history and processes in our lineage over the last 7 to 10 million years, with a focus on the ~2.5 million year history of our own genus (Homo). This outline of the history of our lineage offers an anthropological and evolutionary context for what it means to be human today. Two lectures, one preceptorial, one 90-minute laboratory.
Human adaptation focuses on human anatomy and behavior from an evolutionary perspective. Lectures and weekly laboratory sessions focus on the evolution of the human brain, dentition, and skeleton to provide students with a practical understanding of the anatomy and function of the human body and its evolution, as well as some of its biological limitations. No science background required. Two 90-minute lectures, one three-hour laboratory.
Social Lives, Social Forces
Examining "social forces" through social relationships provides a way to examine some key assumptions behind such everyday distinctions as altruism/self-interest, public/private, rules/ norms, regulation/free market, kinship/citizenship, friend/foe. This seminar untangles these binaries by exploring various settings--of family, community, law, and business--where they have been put into practice as organizing principles, and thus into contention. It also follows them beyond the United States into postcolonial and post-socialist environments, so as to further hone our comparative and interpretive questions. One three-hour seminar.
Exploration of cross-cultural constructions of sickness, disease, health, and healing interrogates our basic ethical, moral, and political positions. Our healing and disease models derive from specific cultural assumptions about society, gender, class, age, ethnicity, and race. Categories of disease from one culture can compromise ethical positions held by another. We pursue the moral implications of a critique of medical development and the political and ethical implications of treating Western medicine as ethnoscience as well as universal truth. One 90-minute lecture, one 90-minute class.
Ethnography, Evidence and Experience
This course relates key concepts in anthropology (e.g., culture, society, power, meaning) to everyday experience, with the aim of fostering students' ability to think analytically across diverse cultural fields. We alternate between classic theoretical texts and "dossiers" of highly current readings about issues both familiar to students (from experiences at home or abroad) and relevant to ethnographic research and writing. For example: digital media, embodied knowledge, language, ritual and symbols, textual interpretation, and modern forms of power and inequality.
The Ethnographer's Craft
What are social and cultural facts? And how do we identify these facts using anthropological research methods? This field methods course is for students interested in learning how to work with complex and often contradictory qualitative data. Students will examine how biases and beliefs affect the questions we ask, the data we collect, and our interpretations. Key topics include objectivism, interpretation, reflexivity, participant-observation, translation, and comparison.
Economic Experience in Cultural Context
Professor/InstructorRena S. Lederman
This course explores the social and cultural contexts of economic experience in the US and around the world. It considers how the consumption, production, and circulation of goods--today and in times past--become invested with personal and collective meanings. It pays special attention to symbolic and political dimensions of work, property (material, intellectual, and cultural), wealth, and "taste" (i.e., needs and wants). Additionally, course participants do a bit of anthropological fieldwork by learning to draw everyday experiences systematically into conversation with academic sources.
A cross-cultural examination of collective action, power, authority and legitimacy. Topics will include the diversity of systems of leadership and decision making, the sociocultural contexts of egalitarianism and hierarchy, contemporary contests over power-sharing and state legitimacy, forms of power outside the state, and human rights struggles. One three-hour seminar.
Professor/InstructorElizabeth Anne Davis
This seminar addresses the social relations in which mental health, mental illness, and psycho-medical knowledge are entangled and produced. We will engage various cross-cultural approaches to mental conflicts and pathologies: psychoanalysis, ethnopsychology, biomedical psychiatry, transcultural psychiatry, and religious and "alternative" practices of diagnosis and healing. Drawing on ethnographic and clinical studies from Greek and other contexts, we will examine the role of culture in determining lines between normal and pathological, and consider the intertwining of psyche and body in human experience and behavior.
Current Issues in Anthropology
A course taught by different members of the department and visiting faculty on various subjects not normally taught in regular courses.
An introduction to the analytical techniques that biological anthropologists apply to forensic (legal) cases. Topics include human osteology, the recovery of bodies, the analysis of life history, the reconstruction of causes of death, and various case studies where anthropologists have contributed significantly to solving forensic cases. Discussions will cover the limitations of forensic anthropology and the application of DNA recovery to skeletal/mummified materials. One three-hour seminar.
Fundamentals of Biological Anthropology
A survey of current data and debates in evolutionary theory, molecular anthropology, primate biology and behavior, primate and human evolution, and modern human biology and adaptation. One three-hour seminar.
The Anthropology of Development
Professor/InstructorCarolyn M. Rouse
Why do development projects fail? This course examines why well-meaning development experts get it wrong. It looks closely at what anthropologists mean by culture and why most development experts fail to attend to the cultural forces that hold communities together. By examining development projects from South Asia to the United States, students learn the relevance of exchange relations, genealogies, power, religion, and indigenous law.
Cultural Diversity: Money, Sex, Nation
Professor/InstructorJohn W. Borneman
This course explores the use of money, sex, and national belonging in processes of cultural diversification. Its focus is anthropological: making and understanding difference in space and time. Its method is primarily ethnographic: relating face-to-face or personal encounters to macro-political factors and to contemporary issues. Drawing from film, music, and selected readings, it examines how money, sex, and national form create value and interact to create people. Students will be asked to examine critically and reflexively their own prejudices as they influence the perception and evaluation of cultural differences. One three-hour seminar.
Ritual, Myth, and Worldview
An exploration of classic and modern theories of religion (belief, ritual, myth, worldview) as they pertain to a cross-cultural understanding of these phenomena. One 90-minute lecture, one 90-minute class.
Japanese Society and Culture
Professor/InstructorAmy Beth Borovoy
An exploration of Japanese labor, gender and feminism, crime and social control, race and notions of homogeneity, nationalism and youth culture. The course considers Japan's struggle to come to terms with the West while at the same time integrating its past. It also looks at American misperceptions of Japanese society and economics. Two lectures, one preceptorial.
The Rights of Indigenous Peoples
Using American Indian sovereignty, Australian Aborigine land claims, the Canadian Bill of Rights, the Maori Treaty of Waitangi, and various international conventions, students will consider whether there is a fundamental right to cultural integrity, and the historical, legal, and ethical implications posed by the relations between modern states and their indigenous populations. One 90-minute lecture, one 90-minute class.
The Anthropology of Selected Regions
The significant impact of peoples of particular regions on the development of anthropological theory, method, and sensibility. Special attention to the dynamic precolonial history of the region and to political and religious movements in the contemporary context of rapid socioeconomic change.
Medicine and the Humanities
A course taught by different members of the department or visiting faculty on various subjects that connect student interests in the humanities with the sub-field of medical anthropology.
The Anthropology of Gender
Comparative perspectives on sexual divisions of labor, sex-based equality and inequality, and the cultural construction of "male'' and "female.'' Analysis of gender symbolism in myth and ritual, and of patterns of change in the political participation and power of the sexes. Two 90-minute lectures with discussion.
The Anthropology of Law
Professor/InstructorLauren Coyle Rosen
How do legal concepts and categories--such as rights, duties, obligations, liabilities, risks, injuries, evidence, redress, and even personhood--come to appear as fundamental, natural, or universal? How are seemingly essential natures of law, in fact, constructed and produced? What is the role of culture in fashioning key forms of consciousness, power, truth, freedom, violence, and justice? This course draws upon exemplary anthropological studies of law to investigate and illuminate the conceptions, operations, and transformations of law across many cultural and historical realms. The course also draws upon court cases and legal theory.
Pacific Islanders: Histories, Cultures, and Change
Professor/InstructorRena S. Lederman
This course concerns histories of Pacific Islanders from the first settlements through colonial rule. It will also look at the diversity of cultures and their sociocultural transformation in more recent times. Throughout the semester, we will also use Pacific ethnography to shed light on general questions concerning cultural difference, inequality, and issues of interpretation/translation. Two 90-minute classes.
Acting, Being, Doing, and Making: Introduction to Performance Studies
Professor/InstructorJill S. Dolan, Stacy E. Wolf
The place of performance--for example, Greek tragedy, Noh drama, modern dance, opera, performance art, crossdressing--within the social, political, cultural, and religious structures it has served. Perspectives from theater and dance history, classical and contemporary theory, and ancient and modern practice. Prerequisite: fulfillment of writing requirement. Two 90-minute seminars.