Classes

Religion, Politics, and Power in Africa and the Diaspora

Semester: 

Fall

Offered: 

2018

How do religious and spiritual groups and forces exist in dynamic interrelationship with political life and social power across Africa and the diaspora? This course examines the panoply of religious and spiritual formations that animate politics across time and place. In particular, we explore the rich arrays of Christian, Islamic, and “traditional” indigenous religions that fashion social lives, and we analyze the ways in which they intersect with political movements.

Vision and Mystery: Spirits, Fields, Truths

Semester: 

Fall

Offered: 

2016

How do people apprehend signs, traces, or apparitions that emanate from what we might call the spiritual, sublime, or mystical realms? How does “seeing” or otherwise sensing the mysterious register within broader regimes of knowledge, power, and truth? This course explores dimensions of key enigmas that transect spirituality, consciousness, and fields of vision across cultural and historical settings. It foregrounds anthropological work, but it also draws upon related work in history, philosophy, literature, psychoanalysis, and film.

Labors of Consciousness: Culture, Capital, Moral Economy

Semester: 

Fall

Offered: 

2016

How have the modes and meanings of labor transformed across time and place? What are the significant interplays among labor, politics, subjectivity, belief, and sociality? How do cultural dimensions inflect, refract, or otherwise help to fashion these interrelationships? This course draws upon classic and contemporary anthropological, historical, and social theoretical texts.

Rituals of Governing

Semester: 

Spring

Offered: 

2016

What are the enduring places of the spiritual and the sacred across many realms of political and social life? How do anthropological studies both reinforce and unsettle the received wisdom within much Western thought about an ostensibly progressive disenchantment of modernity? This course draws upon classic and contemporary anthropological works on a range of topics concerning cultures of governing, including ritual theory, divine rule, stranger-kings, witchcraft and magic, spirituality and embodiment, and law.

The Ethnographer's Craft

Semester: 

Spring

Offered: 

2016

What are the core approaches of the anthropological method, and what are the distinctive forms of knowledge and analysis that they offer? How has anthropology developed the art and the science of ethnography within a broader universe of social scientific approaches? This course examines classical methods, their various itineraries in multiple ethnographic domains, and their afterlives in the plurality of contemporary anthropological practice. We examine these techniques with careful attention to their social, political, and ethical dimensions.