ANTHR-105 Introduction to Cultural Anthropology
Introduces the analysis of cultural diversity, including concepts, methods, and purposes in interpreting social, economic, political, and belief systems found in human societies.
ANTHR-204 Anthropology of Modern Japan
Since the mid-nineteenth century, Americans have viewed Japan as the Orient's most exotic and mysterious recess, alternately enticing and frightening in its difference. Intense economic relations and cultural exchange between Japan and the U.S. have not dispelled the image of Japanese society and culture as fundamentally different from our own. In this course, we will strive for greater understanding of shared experiences as well as historical particularities. Issues covered may vary from one semester to another, but frequently focus on work, women, minorities, and popular culture. Films and anthropological works provide ethnographic examples of some key concepts.
ANTHR-212 Shopping and Swapping: Cultures Consumption and Exchange
We shop for our food, for our clothes, for our colleges. We purchase cars, manicures, and vacations. It seems that there is little that cannot be bought or sold. But we also give and receive gifts, exchange favors, 'go dutch' in restaurants, and invite friends for potlucks. This course examines exchange systems cross-culturally, in order to understand their cultural significance and social consequences. It explores how our own commodity exchange system, which appears to be no more than an efficient means of distributing goods and services, in fact contains intriguing symbolic dimensions similar to the gift exchange systems of Native North America, Melanesia, and Africa.
ANTHR-216 Special Topics in Anthropology
ANTHR-216AD Special Topics in Anthropology: 'Approaching Death: Culture, Health, and Science'
This class challenges assumptions about death and dying as we examine its meanings and related practices in various cultural contexts. We will ask: what is universal about death and dying, and what is socially constructed? What can the social sciences, bio medicine, literature, the arts, and our own qualitative research tell us about the processes of dying, of grieving, and of providing care? In essence, what does it take to approach death?
ANTHR-216AU Special Topics in Anthropology: 'Peoples and Cultures of Indigenous Australia'
Indigenous peoples of Australia have long been objects of interest and imagination by outsiders-for their ceremonial practices, social structures, religious forms, aesthetic expressions, and relationships to land. This course will explore how Aboriginal peoples have struggled to reproduce and represent themselves and their lifeways on their own terms -- via visual media (pigment designs on bark, acrylic paintings on canvas); performances (cultural festivals, plays, other forms); archival interventions (photographic, textual, digital); museum exhibition; and various textual genres (autobiography, fiction, poetry). We will examine "traditional" and "contemporary" productions as all part of culture and culture-making in the present, emphasizing that this is ongoing and intercultural work.
ANTHR-216BD Special Topics in Anthropology: 'Sex and Gender in the Black Diaspora'
This course explores, in global perspective, concepts of blackness and its relationship to feminist, women-led, queer and gender-based political movements that have shaped complex discourses on the intersections of race, gender, class, sexuality, and nationality. We begin with an introductory examination of the ways in which "race" has been historically theorized in U.S. sociological and anthropological discourse. The course integrates a survey of ethnographies and ethnographically informed studies of the intersections of race, gender, class, sexuality, and nationality and concludes with a student-led ethnographic project. Students should leave the course having simultaneously explored sociological and anthropological conceptualizations of the intersections of race, gender, class, sexuality, and nationality, their political implications, and how these issues resonate within broader fields of identity formation, globalization, public discourse and political movements.
ANTHR-216CF Special Topics in Anthropology: 'Cultures of Africa and the African Diaspora'
This course considers experiences of power, personhood, and community across a range of societies in contemporary Africa and the African Diaspora. We explore how complex cultural repertoires are creatively drawn upon to engage with social challenges and crises including climate change, biodiversity and habitat loss, gender inequality, food insecurity, public health emergencies, displacement, and uneven urbanization. Special attention is given to the roles of prophetic and spiritual movements across the Black Atlantic world in inspiring and helping forge struggles for liberation, democratic renewal, environmental sustainability, health security, social inclusion, and human rights.
ANTHR-216EF Special Topics in Anthropology: 'Ethnographic Film'
Anthropologists have made films since the origins of the discipline and have long debated the role of film in the production of knowledge about others. This course explores the history, evolution, critiques, and contemporary practices of ethnographic film. We will consider key works that have defined the genre, and the innovations (and controversies) associated with them; we will engage documentary, observational, reflexive, and experimental cinema; and we will consider Indigenous media as both social activism and cultural reproduction. We will learn about film as a signifying practice, and grapple with the ethical and political concerns raised by cross-cultural representation.
ANTHR-216GH Special Topics in Anthropology: 'Case Studies in Global Health'
This class is designed to provide an introduction to the field of global health intervention. We will first acquire some historical and analytical tools, including familiarity with a set of social theories to help us identify relevant issues and understand the complexity of situations we will examine over the course of the semester. We will then delve into particular case studies from around the world, using a biosocial approach that draws on a range of disciplines (including anthropology, clinical medicine, history, public health, economics, and delivery science) to understand global health problems and to design intervention strategies. With attention to historical precedent and a critical sociology of knowledge, we will explore how global health problems are defined and constructed, and how global health interventions play out in expected and unexpected ways.
ANTHR-216HM Special Topics in Anthropology: 'Feminist Engagements with Hormones'
This course takes a transdisciplinary and multi-sited approach to explore the social, political, biocultural, and legal complexities of hormones. Hormones "appear" in many discussions about reproductive and environmental justice, identity, health and chronicity. But what are hormones? What are their social, political and cultural histories? Where are they located? How do they act? The course will foster active learning, centering feminist pedagogies of collaborative inquiry. Examples of topics to be explored are: transnational/transcultural knowledge production about hormones; hormonal relations to sexgender, natureculture, bodymind; and hormone-centered actions and activism.
ANTHR-216HP Special Topics in Anthropology: 'Feminist Health Politics'
Health is about bodies, selves and politics. We will explore a series of health topics from feminist perspectives. How do gender, sexuality, class, disability, and age influence the ways in which one perceives and experiences health and the access one has to health information and health care? Are heteronormativity, cissexism, or one's place of living related to one's health status or one's health risk? By paying close attention to the relationships between community-based narratives, activities of health networks and organizations and theory, we will develop a solid understanding of the historical, political and cultural specificities of health issues, practices, services and movements.
ANTHR-216HR Special Topics in Anthropology: 'Anthropology and Human Rights'
This course explores anthropological approaches to human rights -- a key theme of transnational politics and international law. Anthropologists have contributed to discussions on human rights since the UN Declaration and the field has provided a vibrant platform to analyze ideologies, politics, and practices surrounding human rights. We will survey an array of anthropological studies that approach human rights from the perspective of cultural relativism, contextualization, advocacy, and practice. Students will gain a critical perspective on the seemingly universal rhetoric of human rights by learning how it produces diverse effects in places such as Africa, Latin America, and the Middle East.
ANTHR-216LA Special Topics in Anthropology: 'Anthropology of Latin America'
Latin America has undergone massive political, economic and cultural transformations since the end of the Cold War. Indeed, during the final decades of the twentieth century, much of the region embraced neoliberal governance and free market capitalism. However, by the turn of the millennium, many Latin American governments had made a sharp "turn to the Left," as states began to intervened more directly in the economy, promote alternative imaginings of modernization, and recognize greater rights for Indigenous and Afro-descendent peoples. This course will begin with a focus on these shifts in governance, but largely focuses on the consequences of these changes within people's everyday lives.
ANTHR-216LT Special Topics in Anthropology: 'Race and Religion in Latin America'
We often imagine race and religion as two distinct aspects of social life. However, this course considers their historical and contemporary interconnections in Latin America. It begins with an investigation of the proto-racial and religious categories through which Europeans in the early modern era conceived of human difference. We then trace how the encounter between Europeans, Africans, and Indigenous Peoples transformed these notions, with particular attention to how the overlapping racial and religious hierarchies that emerged were both constructed and resisted. We conclude with a series of ethnographies that highlight the contemporary entanglements of race and religion in the region.
ANTHR-216MT Special Topics in Anthropology: 'Multispecies Ethnography: Across Humans, Animals, and Plants'
This course considers emerging strategies in Anthropology and allied disciplines for researching, witnessing, and documenting the full web of life, broadly conceived, within which human and non-human beings are entangled. We explore debates over non-human personhood and the rights of natural ecosystems, such as rivers, mountains, and the earth itself. Close attention is given to varied indigenous perspectives on reciprocal (and non-extractive) relations among diverse living beings, and the possibilities of intersubjective awareness across human and animal domains.
ANTHR-216PY Special Topics in Anthropology: 'Anthropology of Play'
We associate play with childhood, a time of spontaneous and creative activity, in contrast to the boring routine of adult responsibilities. And yet play is more than just fun and games. It is through play that children develop lasting cognitive and social skills. For adults too, there can be serious play -- play that has real consequence -- play that shapes the intimate lives of individuals, as well as entire social formations. In this course, we will explore play cross-culturally, from the Balinese cockfight to American football, from gambling to roll playing. We will design games based on the anthropological readings in order to appreciate the game-like qualities of many domains of life.
ANTHR-216RE Special Topics in Anthropology: 'Anthropology of Reproduction'
This course focuses on the biological and cultural components of childbirth through evolutionary and cross-cultural perspectives. From the evolution of the pelvis to how nutrition, growth and development, health, trauma and cultural contexts can affect successful childbirth, we explore the birth process in the ancient world, historical trends, and recent dialogues surrounding the technocratic model of birth, to understand the changing focus of birth as female centered to a medical condition. Indigenous birthing customs and beliefs from a number of different cultural contexts will be considered, as well as contemporary rates of maternal mortality to understand the risks facing some today.
ANTHR-216WC Special Topics in Anthropology: 'Writing Capitalism's Ruins'
There's a low buzz; we feel nervous. Is this capitalism's end? Have zombies hit the horizon yet? Keep checking. Anthropology narrates collective feeling, gives form to the ambience. But what is late industrialism's ambience? As factory buildings crumble, we wonder whether the tap water's clean. The question of how to write the world is also a question of how to survive and even flourish. Drawing from archaeology, cultural anthropology, ecology, and literary theory, this course is a writing-oriented study of contemporary experiences of infrastructural failure, capitalist collapse, and ruination. One focus is the effects of capitalism on people of color and North American non-English speakers.
ANTHR-216WT Special Topics in Anthropology: 'Witchcraft, Misfortune, and Ritual Healing'
This course explores the often-misunderstood concept of "witchcraft," past and present. "Witchcraft" is at times used to characterize nuanced cultural systems of power and healing, which seek to explain and redress suffering. In turn, many societies experiencing environmental insecurity, health crises, and rapid economic transitions have seen the rise of "witch-hunting" movements, from the Salem witch trials to present-day global conspiracy theories. We consider the causes and trajectories of these movements, which often promise collective redemption and salvation through the scapegoating of suspected malefactors, and examine alternative approaches to redressing injustice and misfortune.
ANTHR-221 Anthropology of Media
This course critically examines how media make a difference in diverse peoples' lives. How are media produced, circulated, and consumed? Together, we will explore the material forms through which subjectivities, collectivities, and histories are produced; and the social practices of constructing and contesting national identities, forging alternative political visions, transforming religious practice, and producing new relationships. In this 21st century, media are not just indispensable to what is known, but also, to how we know. Case studies will include film, TV, photography, art, archives, journalism, and digital platforms; ethnographic examples will be drawn from around the world.
ANTHR-230 Language in Culture and Society
Language is integral to human experiences across cultures. Interpersonal communication holds social worlds together, lending them significance. This course examines language as a complex, embodied field of cultural practice and performance. It bridges core concepts within linguistic anthropology and semiotics -- such as relativity, indexicality, performance, and language ideology -- with critical analyses of social fields including race, gender, and sexuality. Illustrative examples are drawn from Western and non-Western societies.
ANTHR-235 History of Anthropological Thought
This course offers a historical foundation for themes in contemporary social theory and ethnography. We build this foundation through readings of twentieth-century anthropological and critical theories, including historicism, interpretive anthropology, structuralism, feminism, and postcolonialism. The course encourages critical and creative responses to anthropology's history through readings that challenge the canon and through active engagement with primary documents revealing the field's social, ethical, and political contexts.
ANTHR-240 Medical Anthropology
This course provides an introduction to medical anthropology. Core topics will include: the culture of medicine, the interaction of biology and society, the experience of illness, caregiving, addiction, violence, and humanitarian intervention. We will explore how ethnographic research and social theory can enrich understanding of illness and care, raising issues for and about medicine and public health often left out of other disciplinary approaches. Throughout, we will emphasize the vantage point of the local worlds in which people experience, narrate, and respond to illness and suffering, and the ways in which large-scale forces contribute to such local experience.
ANTHR-248 Science, Feminism, and Mount Holyoke
Students in this course will develop a collaborative history and ethnography of cultures of science at Mount Holyoke College. Through archival and ethnographic research carried out across the semester, we will examine scientific education and knowledge production at Mount Holyoke in cultural perspective. The collaborative project will introduce students to two broader stories: a history of feminist activist and scholarly challenges to the power of the life sciences; and a history of feminist scientists' work to reform their own institutional cultures. The interdisciplinary field that emerged at the nexus of these two movements, feminist science studies, will offer critical frameworks.
ANTHR-261 Cultures of Power in Mexico
This course introduces the anthropology of Mexico through ethnographies of power, knowledge, and indigeneity. Drawing on feminist and decolonial critical methods, we will trace constructions of Mexican indigeneity through two intersecting stories. The first centers the effects of neocolonial capitalism on indigenous lives, with attention to contemporary ethnographic themes including bioprospecting, narcoculture, social movements, and resistance/refusal. The second lends historical texture to these themes by tracing how state anthropologists have constructed and governed indigenous communities since the Revolution.
ANTHR-275 Research Methods in Cultural Anthropology
Topics include research design, ethical dilemmas, and the relationship between academic research and community based learning. Applied fieldwork and presentations are an integral part of this course.
ANTHR-295 Independent Study
ANTHR-316 Special Topics in Anthropology
ANTHR-316CA Special Topics in Anthropology: 'Carbon Christianity'
This seminar investigates the multiple connections between modern forms of Christianity and fossil fuels. The course begins with a consideration of recent scholarship that details how workers' everyday experiences in coal mines and oil fields profoundly shaped their religious sensibilities. We then examine how fossil fuel companies funded many of the most significant Christian institutions in the United States-both liberal and conservative -- during the twentieth century. Finally, the course will reflect on contemporary Christian responses to climate change, both those that seek to halt the burning of fossil fuels and those that deny it is taking place.
ANTHR-316DE Special Topics in Anthropology: 'Settler Colonialism: Working Towards Decolonizing Indigenous American History'
What is settler colonialism? What does it mean to decolonize Indigenous history? This class offers an overview of settler colonialism and the complex ways in which colonial narratives, imperialism, and white supremacy infiltrate interpretations of the past. Exploring theoretical frameworks alongside empirical data, readings and discussions will focus on the long legacy of these colonial practices throughout North America, shedding light on the impact and legacy of colonial encounters. By recognizing the ways that settler colonialism works, we will then examine the formation of the Genízaro ethnic identity in the American Southwest to illuminate the lasting impact of colonial encounters.
ANTHR-316DM Special Topics in Anthropology: 'Decolonizing Museums'
Museums collect, preserve, categorize, and exhibit objects, and through these practices, produce and circulate knowledge. This course takes "the museum" as an object of ethnographic inquiry, focusing especially on Indigenous peoples and their ways of knowing, being, and doing things. How might museums acknowledge the confronting truths of colonization, and the intergenerational and ongoing trauma endured by Indigenous peoples? How might this often-intercultural work offer possibilities for healing? Teaching and learning will be guided by principles of Indigenous sovereignty, and grounded in storytelling and in making things as Indigenous ways of transmitting knowledge.
ANTHR-316EG Special Topics in Anthropology: 'Eggs and Embryos: Innovations in Reproductive and Genetic Technologies'
This seminar will focus on emerging innovations in the development, use and governance of reproductive and genetic technologies (RGTs). How do novel developments at the interface of fertility treatment and biomedical research raise both new and enduring questions about the'naturalness' of procreation, the politics of queer families, the im/possibilities of disabilities, and transnational citizenship? Who has a say in what can be done and for which purposes? We will engage with ethnographic texts, documentaries, policy statements, citizen science activist projects, and social media in order to closely explore the diversity of perspectives in this field.
ANTHR-316ET Special Topics in Anthropology: 'Advanced Seminar in Ethnomusicology'
Designed for music and non-music majors, this advanced seminar examines core theoretical and methodological issues in ethnomusicology and the debates that have shaped its practice since its origins in the early twentieth century as comparative musicology. Drawing on musical traditions from different parts of the world and supplemented by workshops conducted by visiting professional musicians, the course explores the interdisciplinary approaches that inform how ethnomusicologists study the significance of music "in" and "as" culture. Topics covered will include ethnographic methods, the intersection of musicological and anthropological perspectives, the political significance of musical hybridity, applied ethnomusicology, and sound studies.
ANTHR-316LV Special Topics in Anthropology: 'Living in End Times: Religion and Climate Change'
Religion and climate change might seem to be an odd combination. After all, we tend to imagine religion as the domain of faith, emotion, and the otherworldly and the climate as the realm of science, objective knowledge, and the here and now. Nevertheless, this course investigates the sometimes surprising connections between them. For example, how do religious communities work to promote or oppose political action on climate change? How do religious conceptions about God's relationship with nature or with humanity have consequences for adherents' views on climate change? How do the futures predicted by climate models and those prophesied in sacred texts affect people's actions today?
ANTHR-316LW Special Topics in Anthropology: 'Ethnographies of Law'
This seminar focuses on the anthropological study of the legal field. The class will begin with a survey of some classical texts that underpin the legal thought in the modern era. We will then see how anthropologists contributed to the study of law by conceptualizing it as part of larger socio-political processes and as a field that includes social relations, processes, and practices. The students will learn how some key legal issues such as dispute management, decision making, and reconciliation are actualized in diverse cultural and social settings, to think critically and evaluate legal processes in a multicultural setting and in plural societies.
ANTHR-316MD Special Topics in Anthropology: 'Museums, Difficult Dialogues, and Social Repair'
Museums increasingly are called to nurture courageous conversations about the most difficult challenges of the day. This course explores strategies for museum design, exhibition development, and public programming that promote meaningful, civil debate about such topics as climate change, environmental justice, and the biodiversity crisis; race and the legacies of slavery and social violence; indigeneity and cultural diversity; gender and sexuality, and the rights of non-human beings. What roles in turn might, and should, museums play in building partnerships and processes of social and ecosystem repair, restorative justice, and reconciliation across painful divides of history? Students will work closely with local museums, historical societies, libraries, and community organizations to develop innovative exhibitions and public programs that promote meaningful dialogues about inclusivity, belonging, and social justice.
ANTHR-316ME Special Topics in Anthropology: 'Political Anthropology of the Middle East'
This seminar focuses on anthropological studies of how power - both in its open and hidden forms - manifests itself and shapes everyday life in the contemporary Middle East. It explores how authority is established and contested in various domains including bureaucracy and the state; sexuality and the family; religion and civil society; markets and the media. We will trace how experiences of colonization, imperialism, modernization, nationalism, capitalism, occupation, war and revolt mold the conditions of living for peoples of the Middle East. We will also examine how specific forms of knowledge production attribute coherence to the region, allowing its imagination as an object of intervention in the name of development and security.
ANTHR-316MT Special Topics in Anthropology: 'Multispecies Ethnography: 'Across Humans, Animals, and Plants'
This course considers emerging strategies in anthropology and allied disciplines for researching, witnessing, and documenting the full web of life, broadly conceived, within which human and non-human beings are entangled. We explore debates over non-human personhood and the rights of natural ecosystems, such as rivers, mountains, and the earth itself. Close attention is given to varied indigenous perspectives on reciprocal (and non-extractive) relations among diverse living beings and to the possibilities of intersubjective awareness across human and animal domains.
ANTHR-316NC Special Topics in Anthropology: 'Across Nature and Culture: Anthropology and the Environment'
This course explores the complex, dynamic relationships between "nature" and "culture" in various systems of human thought and practice, past and present. We explore worldviews predicated on reciprocal exchanges between human and non-human entities, as well as those anchored in hierarchical relations of extraction and exploitation of natural resources. Students draw on anthropological methods to observe and interpret contested local sites of biodiversity and resource management. Special attention is given to struggles over the rights of indigenous peoples to manage local ecosystems and natural resources and to collaborative partnerships nurturing environmental sustainability and restoration.
ANTHR-316NW Special Topics in Anthropology: 'Religion: It's Not What It Used to Be'
Not so long ago, anthropologists had a relatively clear understanding of what they meant by "religion" -- any and all manner of beliefs and practices related to the supernatural or the sacred. However, in recent years, religion has been rethought in light of its own specific Western history, its normative tendencies, and its place in colonialism and other projects of domination. This course will begin with a review of the conventional ways that anthropologists have conceived of religion. It will then move on to investigate the exciting new theoretical and ethnographic perspectives that have emerged to more fully take into account the diverse world-making practices that humans engage in.
ANTHR-316PA Special Topics in Anthropology: 'Outside the Frame: The Social Lives of Photography and Archives'
Archival and photographic practices emerge from shared paradigms seeking to know and classify the world. This seminar explores what archives and photographs are and what they do -- what are their conventions and cultures of use, and how are these being creatively resisted? We examine photographs as archives themselves, as well as vehicles of remembering, evidence of kin relationships, tools of national discourse, and objects of exchange. We reflect on how digital forms are changing how we know ourselves and our histories. We will learn together about how photography and archives are mobilized as people in myriad contexts strive for belonging, recognition, understanding, and change.
ANTHR-316PG Special Topics in Anthropology: 'Who's Involved?: Participatory Governance, Emerging Technologies and Feminism'
Deep brain stimulation, genome sequencing, regenerative medicine...Exploring practices of 'participatory governance' of emerging technologies, we will examine the formal and informal involvement of citizens, patients, health professionals, scientists and policy makers. What initiatives exist at local, national and transnational levels to foster science literacy? How do lived experiences of nationality, ability, class, race, ethnicity, gender and sexuality become visible and/or disappear within constructed frameworks of participatory governance? How can feminist ethnographic research and feminist theory contribute to a larger project of democratizing knowledge production and governance?
ANTHR-316RC Special Topics in Anthropology: 'Ethnographic Research in Religious Communities'
With a focus on local religious communities, this course puts into practice the research methods, modes of analysis, and writing styles that characterize ethnographic fieldwork. We first consider prominent ethnographies of religious communities in the United States in order to better understand the specific questions, debates, and ethical challenges that this literature addresses. Students then gain hands-on experience with a variety of ethnographic methods through course field trips to local places of worship. Final projects are rooted in extensive independent ethnographic research with a religious community.
ANTHR-316SE Special Topics in Anthropology: 'Anthropology of Secularism'
What is secularism? For many of us, the answer is obvious: the world without religious belief, or the separation of church and state, or even the "really real" world. In recent years, scholars in number fields have begun to question these common sense notions about secularism. In this course, we will investigate this rapidly expanding literature and the critical lines of inquiry it has opened up: Under what specific cultural and historic conditions did secularism first emerge? Is secularism experienced today in the same way throughout the world? If not, how do they vary? What ways of being and living does secularism encourage or allow to flourish? Which does it stunt, block, or prohibit?
ANTHR-342 Science as Culture
What is science? The progressive discovery of Nature's laws? The process of honing claims about the universe? Is science the act of postulating and testing hypotheses? Or is it tinkering, experimentation? This course offers an advanced introduction to cultural and anthropological studies of science. Through careful readings of work in areas such as the sociology of scientific knowledge, actor-network theory, feminist science studies, and affect theory, we will explore the sciences as complex systems of cultural production. The course will culminate in a series of critical ethnographic studies of how the sciences shape concepts and experiences of race, the body, gender, and sexuality.
ANTHR-350 Issues in Contemporary Anthropological Theory
This course explores the major theoretical frameworks developed and debated by anthropologists of the past two decades. It covers core issues in anthropological epistemology, the relationship of ethnography to social and cultural theory, trends in anthropological analysis, and the place of anthropological theory in broader academic and public discourses.
ANTHR-395 Independent Study