Graduate Courses - Spring 2015

ANT 555R-000  Research Seminar in Biological Anthropology

Craig Hadley
TH 4:30-5:30

Required for First-year through Third-year Biological Anthropology Students

ANT 560-000 [4997]  Methods in Cultural Anthropology

Bruce Knauft
M 6:00-9:00

This course explores methods of ethnographic fieldwork, proposal writing, and ethnographic write-up and representation in cultural anthropology.  The course is designed for first and second year graduate students in cultural anthropology who intend to conduct long-term ethnographic doctoral research in a field setting.  The course construes “methods” as the professional skills associated with practically conducting and completing doctoral fieldwork, on the one hand, and issues of writing and representation before, during, and following fieldwork, on the other.  This includes techniques and methods used to collect information in the field as well as the configuration and analysis of information for purposes of proposal writing, write-up, and various forms of media representation.  The course considers pilot studies, proposal writing, full fieldwork, and subsequent write-up as stages of professional development that are integrally linked and yet in important ways disjoined or disjunctive in our lived experience as researchers. 

The course draws heavily on the specific research agendas and field plans of the individual students taking the course.  Classes are structured in a seminar format that privileges engaged discussion, student presentation, and instructor analysis and commentary on student projects, both individually and collectively.  Reading includes highly selected classic and recent works concerning ethnographic methods, fieldwork experience, and ethnographic writing as well as successful field work funding proposals written in previous years by students and faculty.  Major attention is given to student proposal writing.  The course is not designed as a survey or literature review of available works concerrning field methods or ethnography.  The larger goal is rather to critically cultivate strategies whereby students can successfully implement and carry out their own doctoral field research projects.       

Students interested in taking this course should feel free to contact the instructor in advance concerning their research interests, including how these may be engaged with the course materials and structure.

The course is designed primarily for anthropology graduate students.  Students not intending to conduct long term ethnographic fieldwork as part of their doctoral research should definitely contact the instructor before attempting to enroll.  Class size is normally limited to twelve students.  

•    Bernard, Russell, Research Methods in Anthropology, 4th [not 5th] edition.
•    Emerson, Robert M., Rachel I Fretz, and Linda L. Shaw, Writing Ethnographic Fieldnotes, 2nd edition.
•    Van Maanen, John, Tales of the Field:  On Writing Ethnography
•    Strunk, William, Jr., The Elements of Style

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Note to students:  The first class meeting of ANT560 is Monday January 12, 6-9pm in Anthropology #105 -- and we will probably meet again Tuesday evening January 20 (Jan 21 is MLK Day).  This schedule provides students more leeway concerning class meetings and assignments toward the end of the semester.

ANT 585-001 [5001]  Statistical Methods

Paul Hooper
F 9:00-12:00

This seminar will provide an introduction to methods of statistical analysis for use in quantitative anthropological research. It will incorporate hands-on experience in data analysis. Students are encouraged to analyze their own datasets or other publicly available resources. Students will learn and use the R programming language for statistical computing.

ANT 585-002 [5002]  Evolution of the Human Brain and Cognition

Dietrich Stout
MW 1:00-2:15

The purpose of the course is to provide an in-depth exploration of scientific approaches to the evolution of human intelligence. This includes the nature of the available evidence, established methods of investigation, and challenges faced by researchers. The focus is on integrating evidence and approaches from biological and cultural anthropology, archaeology, evolutionary biology and neuroscience. The course opens with a consideration of basic philosophical issues surrounding the study of human cognition. This is followed by sessions devoted to understanding brain size, structure and function; comparative neuroanatomy; brain development and evolutionary biology, the “social brain”, and multidisciplinary approaches to the evolution of distinctive human characteristics like language, technology, music and mathematics.

The course is taught through a mixed seminar/lecture format. Seminars have weekly required readings, which students will be expected to have done, to be able fully to follow and actively to contribute to discussion. There are no required texts as the reading will be drawn primarily from journals and specific chapters from edited volumes or single author books.

ANT 585-003 [5004]  Alternative Farming Systems

Peggy Barlett
TH 1:00-4:00

This seminar will explore recent ethnographic and analytical contributions to the study of sustainable farming systems. How pioneering farmers and families address challenges and develop survival strategies is central to this work, but we will also look at efforts to shorten food chains and to articulate alternative agricultural development philosophies.  The class will assess agricultural approaches that seek to address global environmental challenges of climate change, water scarcity, soil erosion, pesticide contamination, and the need to feed a rising population, while at the same time recognizing economic and social challenges from farm labor conditions, concentration in input industries, corporate control of seeds and markets, maldistribution of land, and continued hunger and poverty in some regions.  While focused more on agriculture than food, the seminar will also explore dimensions of food activism such as farmers markets, CSAs, and Fair Trade that contribute to sustainable development.  Alternative systems that promote critical consumerism, active citizenship practices, and cooperative relationships are another theme in this literature.

Conventionalization of alternative foods and production systems—such as corporate organic—and the social justice limits of shortened supply chains are some of the critical perspectives in the literature of alternative farming systems. The increasing global impact of vertically integrated food corporations, contract production, biotech, and industrialized intensification can be seen as one part of the current political ecology, while emerging local food systems and practices contributing to new economic circuits have been studied in the US, Europe, and the global south.  The seminar will review how both ethnographic studies and critical analyses build on economic and ecological anthropology and in turn push the boundaries of the fields.  The class will be primarily student-led, focusing on current research interests of participants. 

Particulars: Writing for the course will be tailored to each student’s course of study.  Options are a 15-20 page major research paper, two integrative essays, or an annotated bibliography, exploring methodological and analytical themes.

Preliminary Book List

  • Alkon, Alison Hope, and Julian Agyeman, 2011. Cultivating Food Justice: Race, Class, and Sustainability. Cambridge: MIT Press.
  • Bell, Michael Mayerfeld, 2004. Farming for Us All: Practical Agriculture and the Cultivation of Sustainability.  University Park: Penn State University Press.
  • Gibson-Graham, J.K., Jenny Cameron, and Stephen Healy, 2013. Take Back the Economy: An Ethical Guide for Transforming our Communities. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
  • Guthman, Julie. 2004.  Agrarian Dreams: The Paradox of Organic Farming in California.  Berkeley: University of California Press.
  • Grasseni, Cristina, 2013. Beyond Alternative Food Networks: Italy’s Solidarity Purchase Groups.  NY: Bloomsbury Academic.
  • Hassenein, Neva, 1999. Changing the Way America Farms: Knowledge and Community in the Sustainable Agriculture Movement. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press.
  • Hinrichs, C. Clare, and Thomas A. Lyson, 2007. Remaking the North American Food System: Strategies for Sustainability.  Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press.
  • Lyson, Thomas A. 2004. Civic Agriculture: Reconnecting Farm, Food, and Community. Cambridge: Tufts University Press.
  • Trubek, Amy B. 2008.  The Taste of Place.  Berkeley: University of California.
  • Wright, Wynne and Gerad Middendorf, 2008. The Fight Over Food: Producers, Consumers, and Activists Challenge the Global Food System. University Park, PA: Penn State University Press.

ANT 585-004 [5006]  Muslim Cultures and Politics in Anthropological Perspective

Michael Peletz
MW 2:30-3:45

How have anthropologists approached the study of Muslim cultures and politics and what have we learned -- about ritual and religion (particularly “everyday Islam”); gender, sexuality, and subjectivity; law, discipline, and disorder; secularity, modernity, and governmentality; and the politics and poetics of “writing culture” -- from their scholarship? This seminar will explore questions such as these through an examination of the anthropological literature on Islam and a critical evaluation of the various theoretical traditions, methodologies, rhetorical devices, and narrative strategies that scholars in anthropology (and related fields) have drawn upon since the 1960s in their efforts to describe and interpret cultures and politics in the Muslim world.

We will start with a series of introductory readings by Abdul Hamid El-Zein, Talal Asad, and Edward Said that will help frame the course as a whole. Thereafter we will follow a rough historical trajectory, beginning with works by Clifford Geertz and others that provide entrée to some of the dominant intellectual approaches developed in the 1960s and 1970s. Subsequent readings -- by Michael Lambek, Lila Abu-Lughod, Saba Mahmood, Hussein Agrama, Dorothea Schulz, and others -- will focus on theoretically oriented texts produced in the 1980s and 1990s and in the early years of the new millennium. Some of the central issues that will orient us throughout the course derive from Talal Asad’s (1986) questions concerning whether or under what conditions “an anthropology of Islam” is possible or desirable, and if it (or a “new anthropology of Islam”) is, how it might be most productively pursued.

Course Requirements and Evaluations: The success of this seminar depends on the commitments and contributions of all its members. Twenty to twenty-five percent of your grade will be based on the quality of your class participation. The remainder of your grade will be based on your written work, which will consist of periodic “response papers” (2-3 pgs. each; once every few weeks) and a (15-20 page) theoretically oriented term paper on a topic of your choice (which may focus on assigned readings, or on other subjects of interest to you).

Required texts include the following books:

1. Geertz, Clifford, The Religion of Java. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1960.
2. Geertz, Clifford, Islam Observed: Religious Development in Morocco and Indonesia. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1968.
3. Fischer, Michael, and Mehdi Abedi, Debating Muslims: Cultural Dialogues in Postmodernity and Tradition. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1990.
4. Lambek, Michael, Knowledge and Practice in Mayotte: Local Discourses of Islam, Sorcery, and Spirit Possession. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1993.
5. Peletz, Michael G., Islamic Modern: Religious Courts and Cultural Politics in Malaysia. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2002.
6. Abu-Lughod, Lila, Dramas of Nationhood: The Politics of Television in Egypt. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2005.
7. Mahmood, Saba, Politics of Piety: The Islamic Revival and the Feminist Subject. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2005.
8. Agrama, Hussein, Questioning Secularism: Islam, Sovereignty, and the Rule of Law in Modern Egypt. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2012.
9. Schulz, Dorothea, Muslims and New Media in West Africa: Pathways to God. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2012.

ANT 585-000  Nations & Identities: Africa, Americas & Europe

Jeff Lesser and Ana Teixeira
TU 1:00-4:00
Cross-listed with HIST/AFS/CPLT/ILA
This graduate seminar focuses on a comparative study of Lusophone Africa, Brazil, and Portugal, from the end of World War II to today.  By focusing on the so-called Afro-Luso-Brazilian triangle we will explore the multidirectional exchanges of people, memories, ideas and goods in these three continents. Selected literary, cultural, historical, anthropological and religious texts, along with films and music, will serve as vehicles for analysis of major political and social shifts that have affected the landscape of the contemporary Portuguese-speaking world and beyond: from Brazil’s military dictatorship to its transition to democracy; from Portugal’s New State to membership in the European Union; and from the wars of independence in Africa to the formation of newly independent nations.  We will examine a variety of topics including the formation of national, local and individual identities, gender and family dynamics, generational change, rural and urban relationships, migration and diaspora, and race and ethnic relations.

ANT 585-005   Indigenous Peoples and Empires

Yanna Yannakakis
M 1:00-4:00

Traditionally, the study of indigenous peoples and empires in the Americas has tended to cleave along geographic lines, privileging either the territory of former indigenous empires (like the Inca of South America and the Mexica of Mesoamerica) or that of expansionist European empires (like the Spanish, Portuguese, British, French, and Dutch).  This course challenges the old divisions by integrating the histories of indigenous peoples’ interactions with European empires in Latin America and North America from the age of first contact to the Age of Revolution into a single analytical frame.  We will read classic and foundational as well as new and innovative scholarship that places native people at the center of complex relationships with diverse actors in the Atlantic World, including Europeans and Africans, while at the same time considering the methods, theoretical frameworks and politics of these histories.  Major themes include: encounter and conquest; economy and exchange; environment and landscape; race and caste; cultural brokerage; accommodation; indigenous literacies and colonial cultures; resistance and rebellion; indigenous participation in the Age of Revolution; borderlands, slave and captive economies, and violence.  Required texts will be paired with cutting-edge articles and essays that compare different regions and chronologies.

Required texts

  • Andres Resendez, A Land So Strange: The Epic Journey of Cabeza de Vaca (Basic Books, 2009).  ISBN 9780465068418
  • Richard White, The Middle Ground: Indians, Empires, and Republics in the Great Lakes Region, 1650–1815. 2d ed. Cambridge Studies in North American Indian History. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2010. ISBN: 9780521183444
  • William Cronon, Changes in the Land, Revised Edition: Indians, Colonists, and the Ecology of New England | Edition: 2 (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2003). SBN: 9780809016341
  • Rachel O’Toole, Bound Lives: Africans, Indians, and the Making of Race in Colonial Peru (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2012). ISBN: 9780822961932
  • James H. Merrell, Into the American Woods: Negotiators on the Pennsylvania Frontier (W.W.  Norton & co., 2000). ISBN: 9780393319767
  • David Silverman, Red Brethren: The Brothertown and Stockbridge Indians and the Problem of Race in Early America (Cornell University Press, 2010). ISBN: 9780801444777
  • Joanne Rappaport and Tom Cummins, Beyond the Lettered City: Indigenous Literacies in the Andes (Duke University Press, 2011).
  • ISBN: 9780822351283
  • Lisa Brooks, The Common Pot: The Recovery of Native Space in the Northeast (University of Minnesota Press, 2008). ISBN: 9780816647842
  • Gregory Evans Dowd, A Spirited Resistance: The North American Indian Struggle for Unity, 1745–1815 (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1993). ISBN: 9780801846090
  • Sergio Serulnikov, Revolution in the Andes: The Age of Túpac Amaru (Duke University Press, 2013). ISBN: 9780822354987
  • Claudio Saunt, West of the Revolution: An Uncommon History of 1776 (W.W. Norton, 2014). ISBN:  9780393351156
  • Pekka Hamalanien, The Comanche Empire (Yale University Press, 2009). ISBN: 9780300151176
  • Brian Delay, War of a Thousand Deserts: Indian Raids and the U.S.-Mexican War (Yale University Press, 2009). ISBN: 9780300158373

Recommended texts (synthetic overviews)

  • Kenneth J. Andrien, Andean Worlds: Indigenous History, Culture, and Consciousness under Spanish Rule, 1532–1825 (Diálogos. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2001). ISBN-13: 978-0826323583
  • Colin G. Calloway, One Vast Winter Count: The Native American West before Lewis and Clark (History of the American West. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2003). ISBN-13: 978-0803264656
  • Robert M. Carmack, Janine L. Gasco, and Gary H. Gossen, eds. The Legacy of Mesoameríca: History and Culture of a Native American Civilization. 2d ed (Exploring Cultures. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2007). ISBN-13: 978-0130492920
  • Daniel K. Richter, Facing East from Indian Country: A Native History of Early America (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2003). ISBN-13: 978-0674011175

Grading and Assignments
Class Participation: 20%
Weekly 500-word reading response and two discussion questions: 20%
One mini-lecture: 10%
One “review of the literature” presentation: 10%
Two approx. 10-page literature reviews: 20% each; 40% total (one at mid-term and the other at the end of the semester)

ANT 797R              Directed Study

ANT 798R              Advanced Research

ANT 799R              Dissertation Research