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Spring 2001

ANTH 70000 - Current Topics in Anthropology

GC: F, 4:15 - 6:15 p.m., Rm. 6417, 0 credits, Profs. Blim and Lindenbaum [40337]

ANTH 70200 - Core Course in Cultural Anthropology: Contemporary Issues and Debates II

GC: W, 2:00 - 4:00 p.m., Rm. 6495, 3 credits, Profs. Lindenbaum and Mullings [40338]

ANTH 70400 - Contemporary Anthropological Theory

GC: F, 2:00 - 4:00 p.m., Rm. 6114, 3 credits, Prof. Asad [40339]

There is no permanent way of defining anthropology or "the core" of anthropology. What we have is a complex set of interconnected disciplines. Tracing the genealogy of anthropology would mean describing the coming together - and separation - of a number of problems, methods, and perspectives. It is not only "the four fields" that are contingently related (through a Boasian vision of anthropology as an evolutionary subject). Cultural anthropology itself represents contingent fields of study and intervention. That is why cultural anthropologists often talk past each other - and why its easier for many of them to discuss intellectual issues with students in other disciplines than with "fellow anthropologists." This is not a new situation. Anthropology has been repeatedly shaped and reshaped as an academic discipline (perhaps more so than others because of its ambitious scope) by its contacts with other fields of study. That's part of the reason for the instability and challenge that anthropology contains today. The most innovative work in anthropology has been done when its temporary boundaries are overstepped, when ideas and methods are borrowed from other disciplines and also argued with. Old Testament Studies (Robertson Smith), Classics (Frazer), Durkheimian sociology (Radcliffe Brown), Saussurian linguistics (Levi-Strauss), Marxism, Feminism, Literary criticism, Bio-sciences, etc.

This course will concentrate on detailed readings of texts by anthropologists as well as by non-anthropologists. These will include such writers as Levi-Strauss, Leach, Douglas and Bourdieu; Wolf, Geertz, and Sahlins; Foucault, Koselleck, and MacIntyre; Rose and Nussbaum. Close, critical familiarity with these writings will be encouraged with a view to discussing some concepts that are used in anthropology today - structure, symbolic interpretation, class, world system, the self, history, and others. This is an intensive course, and those who register will be expected to have some prior familiarity with the history of anthropology.


  • STRUCTURALISM Text: C. Levi-Strauss,"The Scope of Anthropology" in Structural Anthropology, Volume 2
  • REFLECTIONS ON THE ANTHROPOLOGY OF TIME Text: E. R. Leach, "Two Essays Concerning the Symbolic Representation of Time" in Rethinking Anthropology
  • AN ANTHROPOLOGICAL CONCEPT OF "SYMBOLIC POWER" Text: C. Geertz, "Centers, Kings, and Charisma: Reflections on the Symbolics of Power" in Local Knowledge
  • POLITICAL ECONOMY AND WORLD HISTORY Text: E. Wolf,"Introduction" & "Afterword" in Europe and the People Without History
  • MAKING ONE'S OWN HISTORY IN THE WORLD SYSTEM Text: M. Sahlins, "Cosmologies of Capitalism: The Trans-Pacific Sector of 'The World System'" in A Reader in Contemporary Social Theory, edited by N.Dirks, G.Eley, S.Ortner
  • AN ENQUIRY INTO HISTORICAL TIME Text: R. Koselleck, "History, Histories, and Formal Structures of Time" and "Representation, Event, and Structure" in Futures Past.
  • THINKING ABOUT MODERN POWER Text: M. Foucault, "Governmentality" in The Foucault Effect, edited by G.Burchell, C.Gordon, P.Miller
  • THE MORAL SELF IN THE POST-ENLIGHTENMENT WORLD Text: Kelvin Knight (ed.), The MacIntyre Reader, Part II, 1998.
  • A CONCEPT OF EMBODIMENT Text: P. Bourdieu, The Logic of Practice, 1990, Book 1, Chapters 3-4.
  • SCIENTIFIC KNOWLEDGE AND THE MODERN SELF Text: N. Rose, "Assembling the Modern Self" in Rewriting the Self: Histories From the Renaissance to the Present, edited by R.Porter

ANTH 71300- Reexamining the Anthropology of Gender and Sexuality

GC: W, 11:45 a.m. - 1:45 p.m., Rm. 6493, 3 credits, Prof. Susser [40340] PERMISSION OF INSTRUCTOR IS REQUIRED FOR REGISTRATION.

ANTH 71400 - Political Economy of Urbanization

GC: W, 4:15 - 6:15 p.m., Rm. 6421, 3 credits, Prof. Harvey [40341]

The first part of the course will deal with urbanization processes occurring in diverse geographical settings at different historical stages of capitalist development. Examples may include Paris and Chicago in the nineteenth century, contemporary cities like Singapore, Mumbai, Los Angeles. But students familiar or interested in particular cities may wish to bring their interests and experiences into the conversation. In the second part of the course we will consider a Marxian theoretical framework to understand the urban process under capitalism. The central issue to be debated is if such a theory is robust enough to shed light on the incredible diversity of urban processes and outcomes to be found under capitalism. If not, are there alternative theoretical frameworks available or in what ways must the Marxian theory be adapted to shed more profound insights upon the dynamics of urbanization under capitalism in different settings.

Students will be expected to write two papers. The first should attempt a brief comparative sketch of capitalist urbanization processes in time and space (perhaps contrasting two cities), while the second should address the issue of the relations between a political-economic theory of urbanization and historical- geographical materializations on the ground.

ANTH 71600 - Nature and Society

GC: TH, 4:15 - 6:15 p.m., Rm. 6495, 3 credits, Prof. Smith [40343]

The purpose of this course is to examine contemporary conceptions of nature and their relationship to a politics of nature. Nature, as Raymond Williams once said, is one of the most complicated concepts in most western languages. It is also one of the most resonant, embodying a bewildering range of meanings. In the course of the class we shall try to unpeel these various meanings and develop a critical perspective on ideas of nature. As the course title suggests we will be critical of intellectual traditions that attempt to treat nature as a discrete realm, emphasizing instead the inherent connections between nature and society. The relationship with nature is from the start a social relationship. We will begin from the assumption, therefore, that different conceptions of nature are in part an expression of different ways of conceiving social relations.

The course will cover a broad array of topics. Much of the reading will be theoretical but toward the end we shall look more explicitly at the environmental movement today and, using our theoretical discussions, attempt to evaluate the various conceptual bases for an environmental politics and the practical political implications of different conceptions of nature. Among the topics we shall consider are nature and labor, human and inhuman nature, production and construction of nature, nature and gender, nature romanticism, corporate environmentalism, deep ecology, local or global approaches.

ANTH 72800 - Ethnology of the North Atlantic: States, Localities, Difference

GC: W, 6:30 - 8:30 p.m., Rm. 6493, 3 credits, Prof. Sider [40344]

Anthropology has contributed surprisingly little to an analysis of the heartlands of capital formation. While it would substantially diminish our understanding of the 20th century history not to read at least some of the anthropology produced from and about Africa, rural India, Oceania, the Andes, and the interior of Amazon basin (although it would often be a deeply critical reading), it is quite likely that one could ignore almost the entire anthropology of western Europe and non-Native North America and not have our understanding of this region substantially diminished. Although there are some quite significant ethnographies of the central regions of capital formation ø the work of Don Kalb, for one ø most of the more broadly significant ethnographies of Western Europe and the North Atlantic center on such places as rural Iceland, Newfoundland, Sicily, a few of the agrarian regions of Spain, and, of course the poor of Europe and North America: in sum, primarily the marginal places and people that are usually seen, even if wrongly, as actively producing culture and simply having history.

Constructing an anthropology of the North Atlantic region thus raises issues that are fundamental to the discipline. These issues are both conceptual (why have we so little to say about the historical dynamics of capital proper?) and practical (as field work in the hinterlands of the former third world becomes increasingly difficult to pursue, can we simply take our usual theory-birthing mid-wifeÕs tools and go elsewhere?). Since the answer to this second question is prefigured; the key question becomes: why wont our usual methods and theories work well in this context? What has to be changed to make anthropology a central part of the analysis of core capitalist regions? Two different sorts of answers are required: one having to do with problems intrinsic to anthropology, the other with the deficiencies and inadequacies of social history, which plays the role of anthropology at the core of capital and class formation in Western Europe and the North Atlantic.

This course will consider several ethnographies and social histories of the North Atlantic, including north-western Europe, Iceland, and Atlantic Canada. Our purpose will be to reexamine a broad range of processes of differentiation to see how ethnography and social history might more effectively address the continual reconstruction of inequality at the core of capital. Toward this end the course will consider issues in doing multi-sited ethnography and the social-historical equivalent: histories of disjunction and rupture.

ANTH 73300 - Ethnology and Ethnography of the Caribbean

GC: F, 11:45 a.m. - 1:45 p.m., Rm. 6114, 3 credits, Prof. Robotham [41341]

ANTH 77000 - Core Course: Linguistics

GC: T, 2:00-4:00 p.m., Rm. 6494, 3 credits, Prof. Bendix [40771]

The study of human verbal behavior, showing how languages are internally organized as codes of communication, how they differ from one another, and how they are similar under the surface in the kinds of information they must allow people to express. Emphasis on understanding the physical system of different languages' speech sounds; the cognitive organization of these sounds in their speakers' heads; grammar as internalized code and as means for signaling meaning relations within sentences and the structuring of information across sentences in connected discourse; the processing of meaning in messages; and hearers' pragmatic interpretation of messages in context using conversational principles of interaction, beliefs about the world, and common sense reasoning. The methods for analyzing and describing these components of linguistic communication for any language/dialect. Language change through time. Methods of using the evidence of known languages to reconstruct undocumented earlier languages and to reconstruct sociocultural prehistory. Sociolinguistics and the ethnography of communication. The sociopolitical construction of the concept "a language" and its history.

ANTH 79500 - Core Course in Evolutionary Morphology

H: T, 5:30 - 8:30 p.m., Rm. 730 HN, 3 credits, Prof. Szalay [40346] [cross-listed with Hunter College MA course, ANTH 791.58] Please note: this is a 3-hour course which meets at Hunter College.

Lecture and laboratory survey and analysis of selected areas of morphology from the perspective of evolutionary analysis. It is an introduction to a synthetic field of evolutionary biology (a combination of comparative functional-adaptive, developmental, and phylogenetic analyses) and to the anatomy of selected areas of mammalian musculoskeletal morphology, emphasizing primates. A brief review of primate phylogeny and the principles of stratigraphic paleontology is appended at the end in order to bridge neontological and paleontological aspects of the course. As the syllabus indicates, some difficult and judicious selecting had to be exercised in order to choose a realistic survey for one semester. Some detailed accounts are presented so that you may appreciate the critical interplay of the empirical data and conceptual perspectives. Understanding this subject is difficult without being made aware how new information is obtained, and how the testing of historical-narrative explanations against such information is conducted. Evolutionary morphological analysis is not equivalent to any one of its critical components such as anatomy, phylogenetics, or functional-adaptive analysis. It is an integrated perspective of these various research areas.

Readings: Books and reprints at Hunter College Library and at NYU. Requirements: a) laboratory reports; b) occasional analytical reviews of articles and chapters, to be prepared and handed in before the appropriate lectures and labs; c) a brief outline of a proposed project in evolutionary morphology which integrates the various perspectives presented in the course. This proposal is to be handed in three weeks before the final exam for a first reading, then an updated version handed in along with the various reports at the time the final is taken; d) final exam.


  • The nature of evolutionary morphology as practiced today. Brief review of the interrelationship of evolutionary theory with taxonomy and systematics.
  • Development: ontogenetic constraints and pathways (up to neurulation). Discussion of chronological shifts in development (heterochronies) and the general topic of allometry. We deal with the details of specific developmental patterns under skull, teeth, sense organs, etc.
  • Bone development, muscle, joint, ligament etc. biology and adaptations.
  • The head from developmental and functional-adaptive perspectives. Jaw mechanics. Sense organs. Ear region.
  • Laboratory on skull and feeding strategies.
  • Development of teeth and dentitions, their history and adaptive biology; laboratory on dental evolution.
  • Evolution, mechanics, and adaptive modifications of the pectoral and pelvic girdles and the axial skeleton. Joint mechanics and paleobiology; locomotion and posture in a terrestrial and arboreal environment; laboratory.
  • Stratigraphy and paleontology.
  • Some connections between evolutionary theory, systematics, and functional and ecological morphology: the merging of different perspectives in evolutionary morphology; survey of primate evolution.

ANTH 80800 - Seminar in Doctoral Dissertation Writing

GC: TH, 4:15-6:15 p.m., Rm. 6402.01, 3 credits, Prof. Schneider [40347]

ANTH 81500 - Seminar: Social Science and the African Diaspora

GC: T, 4:15-6:15 p.m., Rm. 5212, 3 credits, Prof. Mullings [40348]

"Social and political theory - bodies of knowledge by which African Americans attempted to analyze and address the social, cultural and political issues they confronted - emerged from everyday practices to reform and resist the structures of oppression, and to renew their community through imagining and enacting its continuity." This seminar is organized around two interrelated themes: theorizing the black experience and the relationship of the intellectual to the community. This semester we will focus on the diverse experiences of Black people in the United States. We will examine major issues, debates and controversies concerning the African American community, such as culture, race, kinship and family, gender and community. For example, we begin with such questions as: Does a black community exist? How have classical and contemporary social theorists conceptualized the black diaspora? What are the boundaries of black culture? After critically reviewing the dominant discourse, we focus on the counter-canonical tradition as found in the work of classical and contemporary black scholars. Several prominent scholars have agreed to attend a seminar session, allowing seminar participants to develop relationships with a larger group of scholars in the New York area. We will have the opportunity to discuss their contemporary work, as well as their approaches to the relationship between the researcher and the "subject", community collaboration in research, ethical responsibilities of researchers, and scholarship and social change.

We will review the work of classical scholars such as WEB Dubois, Oliver Cromwell Cox, Ida B. Wells, as well as that of contemporary scholars such as Patricia Hill Collins, Farah Griffin, Del Jones, Robin Kelley, Kimberle Crenshaw, Manning Marable, Mignon Moore, Sudhir Venkatesh and others.

The course will be run as a seminar with weekly assigned readings and structured student participation. Each participant will be required to produce a research paper. Books will be on order from the Graduate School Bookstore.

ANTH 81600 - Seminar on Rethinking Hybridity

GC: TH, 11:45 a.m. - 1:45 p.m., Rm. 6494, 3 credits, Prof. Robotham [40349]

Course Outline
Issues of hybridity and creolization have become central in anthropological discourse in recent years. The question we examine in this course is the following: is there substance to the concept of hybridity, or is the concept simply an ideology of alienated third world intellectuals traveling in the West but yearning for legitimacy?

In Europe in particular, cultural fundamentalism and xenophobia directed at immigrants remain important political forces in the Balkans and in countries such as Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Norway and Switzerland. In Africa, awful outbursts of ethnocide and ethnic chauvinism have occurred and in India Hindutva ideology has gained official blessing. Assertions of the (cultural and religious) purity of the volk are common assumptions of public discourse. At the same time, claims that globalization is leading to the growth of a new type of cultural mixing-glossed as 'hybridity'-are widespread. Ethnocide and hybridity seem to be co-occurring in the world today. What accounts for this conjuncture?

Ideas of hybridity go back to the colonial period when the notion of the Creole was used to refer to a perceived deterioration in European culture which, it was claimed, had occurred in the colonies. This usage was particularly widespread in Spanish and Portuguese colonial discourse but was also commonly used to describe the effects of living in the tropics on local whites in the plantation colonies of England, France and the Netherlands. Arising out of this colonial experience, hybridity first entered the 19th century anthropological literature in Europe when it was discussed in the context of attempts to identify human races, relying on definitions of inter- and infertility as the criteria for establishing biological boundaries within human populations. Theories of the infertility and inferiority of so-called hybrid populations-themselves an outcome of the colonial experience-were used to spuriously substantiate the scientific existence of races among human beings. These ideas were discussed in detail in 19th century physical anthropology, especially in the work of scholars such as Broca and Topinard.

The colonial discourse on the Creole was taken up and inverted by Latin American nationalist intellectuals such as Vasconcelos, the metizaje movement and Jose Marti. By turning the discourse on its head they sought to provide an ideological justification for the overthrow of Spanish and Portuguese colonial rule and for the rule of a locally based elite. From Latin America, the Creole concept traveled into Caribbean studies, especially through the work of Mintz, Smith and Braithwaite where it was used as the basic theoretical framework for understanding the cultural outcome of so-called plantation societies. From there it has come full circle and returned to Europe, mediated by the work of scholars such as Hannerz, Hall and Gilroy, used to capture processes of transcontinental cultural mixing which are allegedly occurring there. This course seeks to critically theorize these journeys of a concept. Issues of cultural unification, 'othering', homogenization and disjuncture in the context of contemporary patterns of globalization, class and power will be discussed. The basic argument is that these processes can only be understood by analyzing the way deregulated economic forces are reshaping the power and position of nations, classes and elites on an international scale, enhancing the power of some and undermining others.

The course will follow a seminar format, with participants making presentations on key topics. It will discuss the work of major theorists in the field-Stuart Hall, Homi Bhaba, Gilroy, Appadurai, Hannerz, Stolcke, Garcia Canclini, Castells, Sassen-as a means to explore the issues involved. Are there processes of conjuncture which are new? In what ways new and how? What are the global economic, social, cultural and political forces driving these processes? What role does immigration and the reaction to immigration play? Are all cultures always 'creole' and is the issue really that of the reified and homogenized conception of 'culture'? Is Creole theory simply an ideology to legitimize the power and respectability claims of certain social strata? What are the ideas which contest notions of hybridity? Is 'othering' primordial? Does an anthropology which emphasizes culture as difference share an intellectual responsibility for the rise of xenophobia and cultural fundamentalism?

ANTH 82100 - Seminar in Aesthetics and Economics

GC: TH, 2:00 - 4:00 p.m., Rm. 6493, 3 credits, Prof. Blim [40350]

The object of this seminar is to explore the possibilities for the study of aesthetics in everyday life. After reviewing basic traditions for the interpretation of aesthetic judgement and practices, emphasis is placed on ethnographic accounts of aesthetics in the organization of everyday life and the arts. Some attention will be paid to the impact of market societies and social stratification on the formation of aesthetic concepts.

Students will be encouraged to take up short research projects that enable them to explore first-hand the use of aesthetic judgement and the role of aesthetic practices in everyday life.

ANTH 82303 - Seminar in Field Methods and Proposal Writing

GC: F, 2:00-4:00 p.m., Rm. 6493, 3 credits, Prof. Lennihan [40351]

This course is designed as a workshop in which students will prepare a full scale research proposal suitable for submission to funding agencies and for the Second Examination. Its purpose is to provide students with time, advice and feedback on proposal writing and the funding process.

The aims of the workshop are:

  • To assist in refinement of your research topic and its presentation; and
  • To allow you to anticipate as much as possible about the review and funding process.

Classes will include discussion of such practical questions as the varying requirements of different funding agencies, how to formulate a budget, how to obtain research affiliation abroad, etc. as well as discussion of research design and proposal writing.

Students will be expected to complete various assignments designed to take them through the process of writing a proposal. Students will also be required to critique thoroughly various drafts of classmates' proposals. The final grade will be based on these assignments and a revised draft of a complete proposal.

ANTH 89000 - Seminar in Physical Anthropology

GC: F, 1:00-4:00 p.m., Rm. 6417, 3 credits, Prof. Delson Please note: this is a continuing subfield seminar; students are NOT to register for this course.

ANTH 89500 - Seminar: Lab Methods in Bone Biology and Microscopy

H: M, 4:00-7:00p.m., Rm. 730 HN, 3 credits, Prof. Bromage [40354] Please note: this is a 3-hour course and meets at Hunter College.

This course will highlight basic principles of mineralized tissue 1) preparation and 2) imaging. A survey of bone and tooth development and microanatomy will be presented. Technologies and methods relevant to the preparation of ground thin sections and bulk tissues will be reviewed and demonstrated. Each student will have the opportunity to work with a sample, the object being to prepare a bone or tooth for some specific imaging mode. Transmitted and reflected light microscopy (in both 2D & 3D) and scanning electron microscopy will be reviewed and demonstrated. Students will exposed to and perform digital processing, analysis, and measurements of images acquired from their prepared sample.

Requirements of the course are two written reports, both of which shall be 10-15 pages (not inclusive of bibliography, tables, and figures) and written at a significantly more informed level than we are permitted to address topics in class. The first report must be a detailed examination of the operating principles of a hard tissue preparation or imaging technology. Progress on this report will be orally presented to the class at various points during the term. The second report shall be an in depth description of the preparation, imaging, image processing, and structure of the hard tissue examined. Both reports are due by the assigned final exam date.

ANTH 89700 - Seminar: Natural History of the Great Apes

H: W, 5:00 - 8:00p.m., Rm. 730 HN, 3 credits, Prof. Oates [40355] [cross-listed with Hunter College MA course, ANTH 791.63] Please note: this is a 3-hour course and meets at Hunter College.

This seminar course will focus on recent research findings on the biology of our closest relatives, the gibbons, orang-utans, gorillas and chimpanzees. For instance, gibbons long assumed to be strictly monogamous have been found to be occasionally polygamous. Lowland gorillas have been found to prefer fruit to leaves when a choice of food is available, and to live in groups that sometimes fission. Bonobos have been shown to be remarkably different from common chimpanzees in many aspects of their social and reproductive behavior Based partly on genetic research, all the apes have recently been reclassified into different sets of species and subspecies, with different distributions than were long recognized. After reviewing the background to our current knowledge of ape biology, our course will focus on the current literature and discuss the implications of the new findings. We will also consider the future outlook for the living apes, given the increasing threats to their survival and the conservation options available.

ANTH 89901 - Independent Study/ Research: Cultural Anthropology

GC: Rm. TBA, 3-9 credits, Doctoral Faculty

ANTH 89902 - Independent Study/Research: Archaeology

GC: Rm. TBA, 3-9 credits, Doctoral Faculty

ANTH 89903 - Independent Study/Research: Linguistics

GC: Rm. TBA, 3-9 credits, Doctoral Faculty

ANTH 89904 - Independent Study/Research: Physical Anthropology

GC: Rm. TBA, 3-9 credits, Doctoral Faculty