Graduate Courses - Spring 2014
ANT 501-00P  History of Anthropological Thought
W 3:00 – 6:00 PM
This course focuses on the history of theory in sociocultural anthropology, beginning with the founding figures of the 19th century and continuing through the present. Along the way we will examine important traditions in early and mid-20th-century American anthropology, British Social Anthropology, and French Structuralism, as well as the emergence of paradigms that helped define the discipline in the second half of the 20th century, such as cultural materialism, interpretive/symbolic anthropology, and the turn toward postmodernism.
The overarching objectives of the course are (a) to equip students with the skills necessary to navigate and evaluate a significant part of the discipline’s ‘canon’ and (b) to help students begin to develop an understanding of the relevance of ‘theory’, social theory, and anthropology for the 21st century.
Students will develop skills for close reading of classic texts in their own right, and in comparison to other works. We will examine the strengths and weaknesses of the dominant perspectives and paradigms in the history of the discipline, while developing an understanding of the historical rise and fall of these different paradigms. In our work, we will historicize/contextualize, i.e. work to understand ideas, individuals, and institutions in their own contexts. We will also examine the practices of ‘theory building’ and ‘thinking anthropologically’ as part of disciplinary history, disciplinary language practices, professional identity formation, and interested action, among the diverse kinds of scholars and writers encountered in the course.
Paul A. Erickson and Liam Murphy, Readings for a History of Anthropological Theory
Jon R. McGee and Richard L. Warm, Anthropological Theory: An Introductory History
Margaret Mead, Sex and Temperament in Three Primitive Societies
E.E. Evans-Pritchard, The Nuer
Ruth Behar, The Vulnerable Observer: Anthropology That Breaks Your Heart
ANT 503-00P  Evolutionary Processes
T/TH 1:00 – 2:15 PM
This course aims to situate the study of human adaptation and evolution within the broader theoretical framework of evolutionary biology. We will cover core issues including genetics, phylogenetics, natural selection, sexual selection, behavioral ecology, life history evolution, the evolution of development, and gene-culture coevolution using examples drawn from both ancient and recent human evolution.
ANT 507-00P  Human Biology: A Life Cycle Approach
MW 11:30 AM – 1:00 PM (NEW TIME)
The course focuses on human biology as studied through the lens of anthropology, and aims to empower the student to think substantively, comparatively, and creatively about it. During the semester we will apply cultural, ecological and adaptationist perspectives to examine the interactions of social and biological factors in determining the causes and consequences of human variation, particularly in the production of differential well-being and experience. We first will examine foundational constructs such as life history, adaptation and trade-offs, ecocultural pathways, and cultural models. Then we turn to human development as a key to understanding how these constructs operate in the course of a life to yield differential outcomes. We move on to review a set of core body functions – reproductive, energetics, cardiovascular, immune, neuroendocrine, and central nervous system – alongside exemplars of key insights from human biology into how these functions are shaped by human experience and ecology (e.g., workloads, malnutrition, inequality). Thence we will trace how these effects translate into differential mental and physical health. A subtheme concerns measures and methods for pursuit of transdisciplinary biocultural studies with humans “in the wild”. We also review a series of field research programs that represent contemporary work.
E.P. Widmaier, H. Raff, K.T. Strang. Vander’s Human Physiology. New York: McGraw Hill.
Weekly articles from multiple primary and secondary sources.
Particulars: Classes follow a seminar format, including some structured input from the instructor as well as student presentations. Requirements include 3 presentations and short write-ups, and a single final paper.
ANT 510-00P  Medical Anthropology
T 9:00 AM – 12:00 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
Particulars: Requirements include class presentations, weekly response papers, a mid-term paper, and a final paper.
ANT 555-00P  Research Seminar in Biological Anthropology
TH 4:30 - 5:30 PM
ANT 560-00P  Methods in Cultural Anthropology
M 6:00 – 9:00 PM
This course explores methods of proposal writing, ethnographic fieldwork, and ethnographic write-up and representation in cultural anthropology. The course is designed for graduate students in cultural anthropology — and potentially from associated disciplines and different sub-fields of anthropology — who intend to conduct long-term ethnographic doctoral research or its equivalent. This course construes “methods” as the professional skills associated with writing/representing, practically conducting, and successfully completing doctoral fieldwork. This substantially includes but is not limited to the practical techniques and methodologies used to collect ethnographic research data in the field as well as the configuration and analysis of information for purposes of subsequent ethnographic writing and other forms of media representation. The course considers proposal writing, fieldwork, and write-up both in-and-of-themselves and as stages of professional development that are linked but in significant ways distinctively different if not disjoined or disjunctive in lived experience. The course draws heavily on the specific research agendas and field research plans of the individual students in the course; it is structured in a seminar format that privileges engaged discussion and student presentation and analysis as well as instructor instruction and analysis, both collectively and for individual students. Reading includes highly selected classic and recent works concerning ethnographic methods, fieldwork experience, and ethnographic writing, as well as relevant successful funding proposals written in previous years by students and faculty. Significant attention is given to student proposal writing and ethnographic writing/representation more generally. The emphasis in the class as a whole is more on engaged reflection, discussion, and writing than on absorbing a large corpus of methodological or ethnographic literature.
Students interested in taking this course are invited to contact the instructor in advance concerning their interests, including how these may be included and engaged in the course materials and structure. The course is limited in size to twelve graduate students. Any students not pursuing work in cultural anthropology should definitely contact the instructor before enrolling.
Reading list TBA.