Graduate Courses - Fall 2017

ANT 500 (2133) - Proseminar in Anthropology

Peter Brown

Fri 9:00-12:00

Anthropology 500 provides a graduate introduction to the field of Anthropology, especially as practiced here at Emory University.  We begin with a brief introduction to some of the debates and issues surrounding the analytical scope, theories, and methods of the field of Anthropology. The bulk of the semester will be spent exploring how these wide ranging approaches to Anthropology, epistemology, methodology, theory, and inter-disciplinarity are reflected, translated, and applied in Anthropological research. These engagements with Anthropological scholarship will be enacted in several forms: (1) a pro-seminar, in which various faculty members of the Emory Anthropology Department visit the class to present and discuss their ‘sub-field’ of anthropology and their own scholarly research; (2) weekly précis papers summarizing a selected text from the assigned readings; (3) individual research projects (annotated bibliographies as well as a more integrative ‘review essay’) engaging a range of theories and methodological approaches within their chosen area of scholarship.  Students are also strongly encouraged to attend scholarly presentations sponsored within the department as well as related campus talks, seminars and workshops as they arise over the course of the semester. In sum, the course engages new members of the field in ongoing conversations and debates about the big questions, competing perspectives, and telling insights of anthropology.

Particulars: Only students registered in the Anthropology PhD program may enroll. All enrollments are processed through Anthropology.

ANT 504 (2138) - Agrarian Transformation

Peggy Barlett

TTh 10:00-11:15 am

Cultural anthropology for over sixty years has described and analyzed lifeways in agrarian societies, from small tribal groups to hydraulic empires and corporate agribusiness, from rice paddies to dryland pastures to craft cheese producers. This body of work is now foundational for current debates about sustainable food systems, resilience approaches to climate change, and political strategies to address inequality and control over land, water, and other resources. Classical anthropological work on smallholder production, gender and household decision-making, population growth, and new forms of consumption intersects with contemporary debates about industrial agriculture and agro-ecology, post-industrial development and corporate capitalisms, and forms of resistance that include the Via Campesina, Landless People’s Movement, food sovereignty, and market-based certifications such as Fair Trade. This course will use a series of ethnographies and readings from theoretical works to explore the threads of cultural ecology, economic anthropology, household decision-making, development studies, political economy, and emerging sustainability perspectives.  Delving into classic and contemporary anthropological works, the class will explore trends and tensions in bioregionalism/globalization, peasantries/post-peasants, and agrarian social movements. The course will be useful for students preparing to do research in agrarian societies and students will have an opportunity to tailor an independent research project to their own interests. 

Readings: Many issues will be explored in articles or book chapters, but in addition we will read:

Paxson, The Life of Cheese: Crafting Food and Value in America. California.

Boserup, The Conditions of Agricultural Growth: The Economies of Agrarian Change under Population Pressure. 

Netting, Smallholders, Householders: Farm Families and the Ecology of Intensive, Sustainable Agriculture.  Stanford.

Wolf, Europe and the People without History. California.

Barth, Nomads of South Persia. Waveland Press.

Wilk and Cliggett, Economies and Cultures: Foundations of Economic Anthropology. Westview. Second edition.

Barlett, Agrarian Dreams, Rural Realities: Family Farms in Crisis.  North Carolina.

Mintz, Sweetness and Power: The Place of Sugar in Modern History. Penguin.


Oral and written demonstration of understanding of course materials and creative use of those materials in periodic integrative essays, and a research paper engaging course materials with an ethnographic problem or region of the student’s choice.

ANT 510 (2145) - Medical Anthropology

Chikako Ozawa-de Silva

T 3:00-6:00 pm

This course is designed as an introduction to medical anthropology. The course is organized thematically and examines some of the important issues in contemporary medical anthropology, including: Illness, disease and sickness; illness as metaphor of socio-cultural distress; the process of medicalization; current paradigm shift in biomedicine; culture-bound syndromes; “naturalizing” processes; contestation for medical legitimacy in plural societies; non-western medical systems; body and mind in illness and healing; cross-cultural psychiatric anthropology; infectious disease and inequality; power/knowledge and medical practices; and ambiguity in death and dying in the era of high technology. This course will explore the role of medicine in our society, how anthropological analysis can be applicable in understanding the complexity of human conditions such as health, illness and sickness, physical and mental pain, suffering, death and dying.

Texts (Required and Suggested):

Anne Fadiman, The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down

Peter J. Brown, Understanding and Applying Medical Anthropology

Arthur Kleinman, Illness Narratives

Margaret Lock, Twice Dead: Organ Transplants and the Reinvention of Death

Susan Sontag, Illness as metaphor and AIDS and its Metaphors

Daniel Moerman, Meaning, Medicine and the “Placebo Effect”

Michel Foucault, The Birth of the Clinic

Nancy Scheper-Hughes, Death Without Weeping

Daniel Goleman, Destructive Emotions

Chikako Ozawa-de Silva, Psychotherapy and Religion in Japan

Carolyn F. Sargent and Thomas M. Johnson, Medical Anthropology

Byron Good, Medicine, Rationality, and Experience

Paul Farmer, Infections and Inequality

Tanya Luhrmann, Of Two Minds

ANT 555R (2151) – Research Seminar in Biological Anthropology

Th 4:00-5:00 pm

Required for first through third year biological anthropology graduate students.


ANT 585-001 (2154) - Infrastructure & Information: Ethnographies of Global/Local Media

Jenny Chio

M 11:30-2:30 pm

This seminar will explore the tensions and elasticity of media as a simultaneously local and global mode of sociality and politics. Through close readings of contemporary media and visual culture theory, alongside ethnographies of media infrastructures (production, circulation, and consumption), we will examine how media forms and media technologies engage and engender particular ways of being in/knowing the world that are equally specific to local contexts and expressions of global connectivity and potentialities. Moreover, this approach forces us to confront often taken for granted assumptions about media – as information, as knowledge, as constitutive of citizenship and relatedness. “Media” for our purposes will encompass a range of technologies and types, including television, radio, film, photography, print, and online; state-sponsored, commercial, underground, and independent; verbal, visual, and interactive. Seminar discussions will challenge us to consider media both as a text and as a social context, with a particular emphasis on developing productive methodological connections and analytical insights between approaches in cultural anthropology, film and media studies, and visual culture.  Topics to be addressed include the ethnographies of journalism and newsmaking, media infrastructures and public culture, "local" film industries (Nollywood, Bollywood, Ghanaian video films) and global circuits, soundscapes and radio, and histories of looking, witnessing, and documenting.

ANT 585-002 (2156) – Kinship and Marriage

Robert Paul

W 5:00-8:00 pm

The study of kinship was once the central concern of anthropology; it then fell out of favor after several notable deconstructive critiques, but more recently has re-emerged as an area of both theoretical and ethnographic concern. Contemporary approaches to the study of kinship and marriage have been strongly inflected by the impact of such powerful but widely diverse theoretical discourses as gender and LGBTQ studies, contemporary evolutionary theory, cultural studies, and others, and by developments such as the rise of new reproductive technologies and of non-traditional forms of marriage in western society. The course will address both some enduring classical ideas as well as examples drawn from the recent literature. Topics to be covered will revolve around important problems and debates that have marked the field, such as the questions of descent versus alliance theory. group marriage, incest prohibitions, polyandry, adoption, the matrilineal puzzle, kinship in the era of reproductive technology,  the role of biological relatedness and its relationship to social kinship, and ultimately the question of "what is kinship anyway?". These issues will be examined both in theory and through ethnographic examples.

ANT 585-003 (2165) – Statistical Methods

Adrian Jaeggi

TTh 11:20-12:45 pm

ANT 585-004 (2167) – Lives: Anthropology of Human Experience

Carol Worthman

MW 10:00-11:15 am

Anthropology aims to tap the diversity of human conditions and experiences, where they come from and how they matter. This ambitious, rather daunting mission drives an urgent and valuable quest for human understanding, now more than ever.  For any single study, the anthropologist necessarily brings a specific focus to a particular time and place where dynamics or conditions are in play that may illuminate a larger question, such as "What fuels the global sweep of Pentecostalism?", "Does schooling transform socialization, and with what cultural effects?", "How are identities forged in an unsettled age?", "Why is there a global obesity epidemic, and what does it 'mean'?", or "What is the impact of e-media on relationships?"

This course explores epistemological and methodological approaches to navigate the gaps between grand distal questions and gritty proximal realities. It engages multiple avenues of inquiry oriented to tapping everyday experience as the grounds where the "rubber" of societies meets the "road" of human lives. Readings, discussions, and exercises aim to build conceptual and research skills to address thorny challenges such as the following: How do we capture the specific dynamics at play among particular sets of people at specific moments and situations that will critically test and inform or re-form our thinking? Further, how do we adequately situate such specifics in the larger contexts (cultural, structural, ecological, political) that inform them? How do we stay close to lived realities with their multi-layered meanings and motives? How do we tap and represent the unspoken, perhaps even unconscious, elements that hold significance for value and meaning, life chances and trajectories, or well-being and health? The underlying approach to human diversity taken in this course privileges differences that make a difference.


Being there: the value of being present

Place and space: Mapping physical and perceived landscapes

      What comprises the study population or community?

      Physical ecologies (physical geography, properties)

            Candice Odgers, Robert Sampson

      Social ecologies (purposes, meanings, signification of places) Victor Turner, B Whiting


      Households, other units of residential organization (Bledsoe, Johnson-Hanks, JH Jones)

A day in the life: daily schedules and routines

      Levels: community, household, individual (age, gender)

      Weisner, Lowe


      Behavior observation (vs. observant participation) (Borgerhoff Mulder)

      Actigraphy and mobile tech (GPS)

      Daily routines, household routines  (Elinor Ochs, DeCaro)

      Settings and companions (B Whiting)

      Sleep (Worthman, Hollan)


      Perception  (Bateson, Desjarlais, Evan Thompson, Bitbol)

      Emotion  (Lutz, Feldman Barrett, HL Meisselman)

            Experience sampling techniques (Odgers;

            Biosensors (Dina Katabi NETMIT)


Person-centered interviewing (Doug Hollan 2005, Hollan & Throop 2012)

Trusting the Subject? Anthony Jack, Andreas Roepstorff. 2003.

Working cultural logic

      Rashomon and the use of triangulation (narratives: R Rosaldo, Ilongot Headhunting) Holland

      Cynosures: when stats don't tell the whole story (Borgerhoff-Mulder)

Relationships, roles and statuses (Hruschka)

Embodiment and body as lens


            Biomeasures (anthropometry, biomarkers) (Worthman, biomarker logic)

            Surveys: cross-cultural "translation"; participant-led indicators (Kohrt; Weaver & Kaiser)


            The curious value of self-rated health

            Phenomenological approaches (per above)

Why experiment?

Life history in four dimensions

      Autobiographical (Shostak)

      Biographical  (Biel, Robbins)

      Developmental  (Harkness & Super, Pope-Edwards)

      Evolutionary/design affordances and constraints  (Kaplan & Gurven/Tsimane, Kuzawa/Cebu)

Perils of the panopticon

      AAA on ethics (ethics statements)

      Ethics for present anthropology

RLR 700/ANT 585 - Ethnography, Everyday Ethics and Moral Thought

Don Seeman

W 12:00-3:00 pm

The question of ethics has long been central to ethnographic practice. Early anthropological works by Herskovitz, Boas and others developed the contested notion of cultural relativism as a corrective to Western moral arrogance or misunderstanding of various societies. But cultural relativism led to many problems of its own, including a failure to recognize the ways in which anthropologists and their subjects share a common moral world or face common moral dilemmas. Recently, the “Anthropology of Everyday Ethics” has generated a plethora of new ethnographic works by Michael Lambeck, James Laidlaw, Jarret Zigon, Veena Das and others devoted to the notion of “everyday ethics” grounded in social practice rather than consideration of abstract rules--often in conversation with Wittgenstein, Levinas or Aristotle.

Joel Robbins has recently critiqued some of these works for neglecting the “transcendent” domain associated with religious institutions and practices. The anthropology of religion, meanwhile, has been oriented for some time around questions of habituation and local moral experience that ought to be better integrated with the anthropology of ethics literature and moral thinking more broadly.

This new seminar is devoted to a critical reading of the anthropology of ethics genre, with special attention to the anthropology of religion. How can undeniable diversity of cultures be reconciled with the perception of transcendent ethical rules or natural law? Can a renewed engagement with moral philosophy enrich ethnography by alerting it to problems in everyday experience that may have been neglected in recent decades? And how can ethnography humanize fields like bioethics that have had difficulty accommodating the diversity of moral intuitions represented by different cultures and religious traditions?

Required Texts Include:
Webb Keane, Ethical Life: Its Natural and Social Histories
James Laidlaw, The Subject of Virtue: An Anthropology of Ethics and Freedom
Cheryl Mattingly, Moral Laboratories: Family Peril and the Struggle for a Good Life
Saba Mahmood, Politics of Piety
Omri Elisha, Moral Ambition
Michael Lambeck, Ordinary Ethics: Anthropology, Language and Action


ANT 797R: Directed Study


ANT 798R: Advanced Research


ANT 799R: Dissertation Research