Anthropology

Departmental Office: 452 Schermerhorn; 212-854-4552
http://www.columbia.edu/cu/anthropology

Directors of Undergraduate Studies:

Professor Catherine Fennell; 959 Schermerhorn Extension; 212 854-4752; ckf2106@columbia.edu; Office Hours:  TBA

Professor John Pemberton; 858 Schermerhorn Extension; 212 854-7463; jp373@columbia.edu; Office Hours: Tuesdays 2:30-4:30

Departmental Consultants:
Archaeology: Prof. Zoë Crossland, 965 Schermerhorn Extension; 212-854-7465; zc2149@columbia.edu
Biological/Physical Anthropology: Prof. Ralph Holloway, 856 Schermerhorn Extension; 212-854-4570; rlh2@columbia.edu

Anthropology at Columbia is the oldest department of anthropology in the United States. Founded by Franz Boas in 1896 as a site of academic inquiry inspired by the uniqueness of cultures and their histories, the department fosters an expansiveness of thought and independence of intellectual pursuit.

Cross-cultural interpretation, global socio-political considerations, a markedly interdisciplinary approach, and a willingness to think otherwise have formed the spirit of anthropology at Columbia. Boas himself wrote widely on pre-modern cultures and modern assumptions, on language, race, art, dance, religion, politics, and much else, as did his graduate students including, most notably, Ruth Benedict and Margaret Mead.

In these current times of increasing global awareness, this same spirit of mindful interconnectedness guides the department. Professors of anthropology at Columbia today write widely on colonialism and postcolonialism; on matters of gender, theories of history, knowledge, and power; on language, law, magic, mass-mediated cultures, modernity, and flows of capital and desire; on nationalism, ethnic imaginations, and political contestations; on material cultures and environmental conditions; on ritual, performance, and the arts; and on linguistics, symbolism, and questions of representation. Additionally, they write across worlds of similarities and differences concerning the Middle East, China, Africa, the Caribbean, Japan, Latin America, South Asia, Europe, Southeast Asia, North America, and other increasingly transnational and technologically virtual conditions of being.

The Department of Anthropology traditionally offered courses and majors in three main areas: sociocultural anthropology, archaeology, and biological/physical anthropology. While the sociocultural anthropology program now comprises the largest part of the department and accounts for the majority of faculty and course offerings, archaeology is also a vibrant program within anthropology whose interests overlap significantly with those of sociocultural anthropology. Biological/physical anthropology has shifted its program to the Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Environmental Biology. The Anthropology Department enthusiastically encourages cross-disciplinary dialogue across disciplines as well as participation in study abroad programs.

Sociocultural Anthropology

At the heart of sociocultural anthropology is an exploration of the possibilities of difference and the craft of writing. Sociocultural anthropology at Columbia has emerged as a particularly compelling undergraduate liberal arts major. Recently, the number of majors in sociocultural anthropology has more than tripled.

Students come to sociocultural anthropology with a wide variety of interests, often pursuing overlapping interests in, for example, performance, religion, writing, law, ethnicity, mass-media, teaching, language, literature, history, human rights, art, linguistics, environment, medicine, film, and many other fields, including geographical areas of interest and engagement. Such interests can be brought together into provocative and productive conversation with a major or concentration in sociocultural anthropology. The requirements for a major in sociocultural anthropology reflect this intellectual expansiveness and interdisciplinary spirit.

Archaeology

Archaeologists study the ways in which human relations are mediated through material conditions, both past and present. Particular emphases in the program include the development of ancient states and empires, especially in the indigenous Americas; the impact of colonial encounters on communities in the American Southwest, the Levant and Africa; and human-animal relations in prehistory, religion and ritual, and the archaeology of the dead.

Themes in our teaching include the political, economic, social, and ideological foundations of complex societies; and archaeological theory and its relationship to broader debates in social theory, technology studies, and philosophy. Faculty members also teach and research on questions of museum representations, archaeological knowledge practices, and the socio-politics of archaeology. The program includes the possibility of student internships in New York City museums and archaeological fieldwork in the Americas and elsewhere.

Advising

Majors and concentrators should consult the director of undergraduate studies when entering the department and devising programs of study. Students may also seek academic advice from any anthropology faculty member, as many faculty members hold degrees in several fields or positions in other departments and programs at Columbia. All faculty in the department are committed to an expansiveness of thought and an independence of intellectual pursuit and advise accordingly.

Honors Thesis

Anthropology majors with a minimum GPA of 3.6 in the major who wish to write an honors thesis for departmental honors consideration may enroll in ANTH UN3999 The Senior Thesis Seminar in Anthropology. Students should have a preliminary concept for their thesis prior to course enrollment. Normally no more than 10% of graduating majors receive departmental honors in a given academic year.

Professors

  • Nadia Abu El-Haj (Barnard)
  • Lila Abu-Lughod
  • Partha Chatterjee
  • Myron L. Cohen
  • Terence D’Altroy
  • Steven Gregory
  • Ralph L. Holloway
  •  
  • Claudio Lomnitz
  • Mahmood Mamdani
  • Brinkley Messick
  • Rosalind Morris
  • Elizabeth Povinelli
  • Nan Rothschild (Barnard, emerita)
  • David Scott, Department Chair
  • Lesley A. Sharp (Barnard)
  • Michael Taussig
  • Paige West (Barnard)

Associate Professors

  • Zoe Crossland
  • Catherine Fennell
  • Severin Fowles (Barnard)
  • Marilyn Ivy
  • Brian Larkin (Barnard)
  • John Pemberton
  • Audra Simpson

Assistant Professors

  • Vanessa Agard-Jones
  • Naor Ben-Yehoyada
  • Hannah Rachel Chazin
  • Maria Jose de Abreu
  •  
  •  

Lecturers

  • Ellen Marakowitz
  • Karen Seeley

Adjunct Research Scholar

Guidelines for all Anthropology Majors and Concentrators

Grading

No course with a grade of D or lower can count toward the major or concentration. Only the first course that is to count toward the major or concentration can be taken Pass/D/Fail.

Courses

Courses offered in other departments count toward the major and concentration only when taught by a member of the Department of Anthropology. Courses from other departments not taught by anthropology faculty must have the approval of the director of undergraduate studies in order to count toward the major or concentration.


Major in Anthropology

The requirements for this program were modified on January 29, 2016.

The program of study should be planned as early as possible in consultation with the director of undergraduate studies.

The anthropology major requires 30 points in the Department of Anthropology.

Sociocultural Focus

Students interested in studying sociocultural anthropology are required to take the following courses:

ANTH UN1002The Interpretation of Culture
ANTH UN2004Introduction to Social and Cultural Theory
ANTH UN2005Ethnographic Imagination

Archaeology Focus

Students interested in studying archaeological anthropology are required to take the following courses:

ANTH UN1002The Interpretation of Culture
ANTH UN2004Introduction to Social and Cultural Theory
ACLG UN2028Pasts, Presents & Futures: An Introduction to 21st Century Archaeology

NOTE: Students wishing to pursue an interdisciplinary major in archaeology should see the Archaeology section of this Bulletin.

Biological/Physical Focus

Students interested in studying this field should refer to the major in evolutionary biology of the human species in the Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Environmental Biology.


Concentration in Anthropology

The anthropology concentration requires 20 points in the Department of Anthropology.

Sociocultural Focus

Students interested in studying sociocultural anthropology are required to take the following course:

ANTH UN1002The Interpretation of Culture

Archaeology Focus

Students interested in studying archaeological anthropology are required to take the following course:

ACLG UN2028Pasts, Presents & Futures: An Introduction to 21st Century Archaeology

Biological/Physical Focus

Students interested in pursuing study in this field should refer to the concentration in evolutionary biology of the human species in the Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Environmental Biology.

Fall 2018
Sociocultural Anthropology

ANTH UN1002 The Interpretation of Culture. 3 points.

The anthropological approach to the study of culture and human society. Case studies from ethnography are used in exploring the universality of cultural categories (social organization, economy, law, belief system, art, etc.) and the range of variation among human societies.

Spring 2018: ANTH UN1002
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
ANTH 1002 001/60903 T Th 10:10am - 11:25am
5ab Kraft Center
Naor Ben-Yehoyada 3 41/71
ANTH 1002 002/03929 M W 1:10pm - 2:25pm
202 Altschul Hall
Paige West 3 107/227
Fall 2018: ANTH UN1002
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
ANTH 1002 001/14566 T Th 10:10am - 11:25am
Room TBA
Naor Ben-Yehoyada 3 59/120
ANTH 1002 002/01207 M W 11:40am - 12:55pm
Room TBA
Brian Larkin 3 33

ANTH UN1007 The Origins of Human Society. 3 points.

Mandatory recitation sections will be announced first week of classes.

An archaeological perspective on the evolution of human social life from the first bipedal step of our ape ancestors to the establishment of large sedentary villages. While traversing six million years and six continents, our explorations will lead us to consider such major issues as the development of human sexuality, the origin of language, the birth of “art” and religion, the domestication of plants and animals, and the foundations of social inequality. Designed for anyone who happens to be human.

Fall 2018: ANTH UN1007
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
ANTH 1007 001/22359 M W 2:40pm - 3:55pm
Room TBA
Adam Watson 3 40/120

ANTH UN2004 Introduction to Social and Cultural Theory. 3 points.

Introduces students to crucial theories of society, paying particular attention to classic social theory of the late 19th and 20th centuries. Traces a trajectory through writings essential for an understanding of the social: from Saussure, Durkheim, Mauss, Marx, Freud, and Weber, on to the structuralist ethnographic elaboration of Claude Levi-Strauss, the historiographic reflections on modernity of Michel Foucault, and contemporary modes of socio-cultural analysis. Explored are questions of signification at the heart of anthropological inquiry, and to the historical contexts informing these questions.

Fall 2018: ANTH UN2004
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
ANTH 2004 001/64576 M W 1:10pm - 2:25pm
Room TBA
Marilyn Ivy 3 57/100

ANTH UN2026 On Precarity. 3 points.

The topic of precarity is a growing field in the social sciences. The main purpose of this course is to explore the wide semantics and potentials of the term in relation to domains such as labour, law, ethics, technology, health, relationships, moods, shifts in opinion, in fashions or the durability of goods. Our interest in precarity is grounded in two interrelated key motives: the first addresses it as an object of study in its own right. Judging from recent unemployment rates of the industrialized west, the mass scale displacement of populations or the corrosion of security, there is enough reason to put precarity into context. Yet, we might also proceed by inquiring about its potentials as a methodology, one might even call it “a style of reasoning”.  Given how much history relies on causation, sequence and linearity how to relate to precarity as a temporal structure in light of the complexities of the present? How does such multilateral present redefines the very conception of that present, of the historical and the now?


We will be relating to precarity not just as a condition of existence but also as an infrastructure with which to think societies across space and time. The course will focus on narratives, practices and structures that problematize and displace prima facie logics of the either/or. Instead, we want to highlight conjoined operations of the both/and which are changing the very nature of how we think norms, time and episteme. Taking a clue from the proliferation of forms of precarity, the course will be organized around specific themes. Within each two-week section, the first sessions will be a lecture and the remaining will combine lecture and discussion of the assigned items. As a whole, the course aims to sensitize students to the complexities and conditioning possibilities involved in the process of knowledge-making and to provide students with tools to better structure and critically access the information they receive and generate.

Fall 2018: ANTH UN2026
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
ANTH 2026 001/63942 T Th 6:10pm - 7:25pm
Room TBA
Maria Jose de Abreu 3 16/30

ANTH UN3151 Living with Animals: Anthropological Perspective. 4 points.

This course examines how humans and animals shape each other’s lives. We’ll explore the astounding diversity of human-animal relationships in time and space, tracing the ways animals have made their impact on human societies (and vice-versa). Using contemporary ethnographic, historical, and archaeological examples from a variety of geographical regions and chronological periods, this class will consider how humans and animals live and make things, and the ways in which humans have found animals “good to think with”.  In this course, we will also discuss how knowledge about human-animal relationships in the past might change contemporary and future approaches to living with animals.

Fall 2018: ANTH UN3151
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
ANTH 3151 001/14470 M W 10:10am - 11:25am
Room TBA
Hannah Chazin 4 20/20

ANTH UN3661 South Asia: Anthropological Approaches. 4 points.

Not offered during 2018-19 academic year.

This course draws on ethnography, history, fiction, and other genres to think about diverse peoples and places in the region known as South Asia. Rather than attempt to fix or define "South Asia" as a singular category, we will explore how particular social and scholarly categories through which dimensions of South Asian life have come to be known (such as caste, class, religion, gender, sexuality, disability, and kinship) are experienced, negotiated, and reworked by actual persons in specific situations. By examining both categories and practices, we will ask: What kinds of relationships exist between the messiness of everyday life and the classifications used by both scholars and "local" people to describe and make sense of it? How do scholarly and bureaucratic ideas not merely reflect but also shape lived realities? How do lived realities affect the ways in which categories are named and understood? In addressing such questions, categories sometimes thought of as stable or timeless emerge as, in fact, contingent and embodied. 

Fall 2018: ANTH UN3661
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
ANTH 3661 001/01215 T 12:10pm - 2:00pm
Room TBA
Elizabeth Green 4 15/31

ANTH UN3823 Archaeology Engaged: The Past in the Public Eye. 4 points.

Enrollment limited to 15. Enrollment Priorities: Seniors and Juniors in ARCH or ANTH

This course provides a panoramic, but intensive, inquiry into the ways that archaeology and its methods for understanding the world have been marshaled for debate in issues of public interest. It is designed to examine claims to knowledge of the past through the lenses of alternative epistemologies and a series of case-based problems that range from the academic to the political, legal, cultural, romantic, and fraudulent.

Fall 2018: ANTH UN3823
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
ANTH 3823 001/23746 T 12:10pm - 2:00pm
Room TBA
Terence D'Altroy 4 15/15

ANTH UN3828 The Anthropology of War. 4 points.

In this class, we will think about the various ways in which philosophers, social theorists, historians and anthropologists have thought about war, violence, and responsibility. The course focuses on a set of themes and questions: for example, the nature of violence and the question of responsibility or accountability, shifting technologies of warfare, and the phenomenology and aftermath of warfare, for civilians and for combatants. The reading list incorporates different approaches to such questions—from historical to philosophical to ethnographic accounts.

Fall 2018: ANTH UN3828
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
ANTH 3828 001/08512 Th 4:10pm - 6:00pm
Room TBA
Nadia Abu El-Haj 4 20/20

ANTH UN3829 Absent Bodies. 4 points.

Enrollment limited to 15.

Prerequisites: Open to undergrad majors; others with the instructor's permission.

Across a range of cultural and historic contexts, one encounters traces of bodies - and persons - rendered absent, invisible, or erased. Knowledge of the ghostly presence nevertheless prevails, revealing an inextricable relationship between presence and absence. This course addresses the theme of absent bodies in such contexts as war and other memorials, clinical practices, and industrialization, with interdisciplinary readings drawn from anthropology, war and labor histories, and dystopic science fiction.

Fall 2018: ANTH UN3829
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
ANTH 3829 001/01216 W 10:10am - 12:00pm
Room TBA
Lesley Sharp 4 19/15

ANTH UN3861 Anthropology of the Anthropocene. 4 points.

Enrollment limited to 20. Priority given to majors in Anthropology.

This course focuses on the political ecology of the Anthropocene. As multiple publics become increasingly aware of the extensive and accelerated rate of current global environmental change, and the presence of anthropogenesis in ever expanding circumstances, we need to critically analyze the categories of thought and action being developed in order to carefully approach this change. Our concern is thus not so much the Anthropocene as an immutable fact, inevitable event, or definitive period of time (significant though these are), but rather for the political, social, and intellectual consequences of this important idea. Thus we seek to understand the creativity of "The Anthropocene" as a political, rhetorical, and social category. We also aim to examine the networks of capital and power that have given rise to the current state of planetary change, the strategies for ameliorating those changes, and how these are simultaneously implicated in the rhetorical creation of "The Anthropocene".

Fall 2018: ANTH UN3861
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
ANTH 3861 001/01217 W 10:10am - 12:00pm
Room TBA
Paige West 4 0/15

ANTH BC3871 Senior Thesis Seminar: Problems in Anthropological Research. 4 points.

Prerequisites: Limited to Barnard Anthropology Seniors.

Offered every Fall. Discussion of research methods and planning and writing of a Senior Essay in Anthropology will accompany research on problems of interest to students, culminating in the writing of individual Senior Essays. The advisory system requires periodic consultation and discussion between the student and her adviser as well as the meeting of specific deadlines set by the department each semester.  Limited to Barnard Senior Anthropology Majors.

Fall 2018: ANTH BC3871
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
ANTH 3871 001/07710 M 4:10pm - 6:00pm
Room TBA
0. FACULTY 4 13

ANTH UN3933 Arabia Imagined. 4 points.

CC/GS/SEAS: Partial Fulfillment of Global Core Requirement

This course explores Arabia as a global phenomenon. It is organized around primary texts read in English translation. The site of the revelation of the Quran and the location of the sacred precincts of Islam, Arabia is the destination of pilgrimage and the direction of prayer for Muslims worldwide. It also is the locus of cultural expression ranging from the literature of the 1001 Nights to the broadcasts of Al Jazeera. We begin with themes of contemporary youth culture and political movements associated with the Arab Spring. Seminar paper.

Fall 2018: ANTH UN3933
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
ANTH 3933 001/14692 M 10:10am - 12:00pm
Room TBA
Brinkley Messick 4 40/40

ANTH UN3949 Sorcery and Magic. 4 points.

Enrollment limited to 40.

Prerequisites: the instructor's permission.

What is sorcery? What is shamanism? Role of storytelling in healing New World and Old based on instructor's experience

Fall 2018: ANTH UN3949
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
ANTH 3949 001/17144 M 2:10pm - 4:00pm
Room TBA
Michael Taussig 4 35/35

ANTH UN3999 The Senior Thesis Seminar in Anthropology. 4 points.

Enrollment limited to 15. Open to CC and GS majors in Anthropology only.

Prerequisites: The instructor's permission. Students must have declared a major in Anthropology prior to registration. Students must have a 3.6 GPA in the major and a preliminary project concept in order to be considered. Interested students must communicate/meet with thesis instructor in the previous spring about the possibility of taking the course during the upcoming academic year. Additionally, expect to discuss with the instructor at the end of the fall term whether your project has progressed far enough to be completed in the spring term. If it has not, you will exit the seminar after one semester, with a grade based on the work completed during the fall term.

This two-term course is a combination of a seminar and a workshop that will help you conduct research, write, and present an original honors thesis in anthropology. The first term of this course introduces a variety of approaches used to produce anthropological knowledge and writing; encourages students to think critically about the approaches they take to researching and writing by studying model texts with an eye to the ethics, constraints, and potentials of anthropological research and writing; and gives students practice in the seminar and workshop formats that are key to collegial exchange and refinement of ideas.,

During the first term, students complete a few short exercises that will culminate in a fully developed, 15-page project proposal, as well as a preliminary draft of one chapter of the senior thesis. The proposal will serve as the guide for completing the thesis during the spring semester. The spring sequence of the anthropology thesis seminar is a writing intensive continuation of the fall semester, in which students will have designed the research questions, prepared a full thesis proposal that will serve as a guide for the completion of the thesis or comparable senior capstone project, and written a draft of one chapter. Readings in the first semester will be geared toward exploring a variety of models of excellent anthropological or ethnographic work.  Only those students who expect to have completed the fall semester portion of the course are allowed to register for the spring; final enrollment is contingent upon successful completion of first semester requirements. Weekly meetings will be devoted to the collaborative refinement of drafts, as well as working through issues of writing (evidence, voice, authority etc). All enrolled students are required to present their project at a symposium in the late spring, and the final grade is based primarily on successful completion of the thesis/ capstone project.,

Note: The senior thesis seminar is open to CC and GS majors in Anthropology only. It requires the instructor’s permission for registration. Students must have a 3.6 GPA in the major and a preliminary project concept in order to be considered. Interested students should communicate with the thesis instructor and the director of undergraduate study in the previous spring about the possibility of taking the course during the upcoming academic year. Additionally, expect to discuss with the instructor at the end of the fall term whether your project has progressed far enough to be completed in the spring term. If it has not, you will exit the seminar after one semester, with a grade based on the work completed during the fall term.,

Spring 2018: ANTH UN3999
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
ANTH 3999 001/72799 T 6:10pm - 8:00pm
467 Ext Schermerhorn Hall
Catherine Fennell 4 9/10
Fall 2018: ANTH UN3999
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
ANTH 3999 001/28491 T 6:10pm - 8:00pm
Room TBA
Audra Simpson 4 1/15

Archaeology

ANTH UN1007 The Origins of Human Society. 3 points.

Mandatory recitation sections will be announced first week of classes.

An archaeological perspective on the evolution of human social life from the first bipedal step of our ape ancestors to the establishment of large sedentary villages. While traversing six million years and six continents, our explorations will lead us to consider such major issues as the development of human sexuality, the origin of language, the birth of “art” and religion, the domestication of plants and animals, and the foundations of social inequality. Designed for anyone who happens to be human.

Fall 2018: ANTH UN1007
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
ANTH 1007 001/22359 M W 2:40pm - 3:55pm
Room TBA
Adam Watson 3 40/120

Physical Anthropology

Spring 2018
Sociocultural Anthropology

ANTH UN1002 The Interpretation of Culture. 3 points.

The anthropological approach to the study of culture and human society. Case studies from ethnography are used in exploring the universality of cultural categories (social organization, economy, law, belief system, art, etc.) and the range of variation among human societies.

Spring 2018: ANTH UN1002
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
ANTH 1002 001/60903 T Th 10:10am - 11:25am
5ab Kraft Center
Naor Ben-Yehoyada 3 41/71
ANTH 1002 002/03929 M W 1:10pm - 2:25pm
202 Altschul Hall
Paige West 3 107/227
Fall 2018: ANTH UN1002
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
ANTH 1002 001/14566 T Th 10:10am - 11:25am
Room TBA
Naor Ben-Yehoyada 3 59/120
ANTH 1002 002/01207 M W 11:40am - 12:55pm
Room TBA
Brian Larkin 3 33

ANTH UN1009 Introduction to Language and Culture. 3 points.

This is an introduction to the study of the production, interpretation, and reproduction of social meanings as expressed through language. In exploring language in relation to culture and society, it focuses on how communication informs and transforms the sociocultural environment.

Spring 2018: ANTH UN1009
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
ANTH 1009 001/00267 T Th 1:10pm - 2:25pm
304 Barnard Hall
Elizabeth Green 3 61/120

ANTH UN2005 Ethnographic Imagination. 3 points.

Introduction to the theory and practice of “ethnography”—the intensive study of peoples’ lives as shaped by social relations, cultural images, and historical forces. Considers through critical reading of various kinds of texts (classic ethnographies, histories, journalism, novels, films) the ways in which understanding, interpreting, and representing the lived words of people—at home or abroad, in one place or transnationally, in the past or the present—can be accomplished.  

Spring 2018: ANTH UN2005
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
ANTH 2005 001/61687 M W 11:40am - 12:55pm
501 Schermerhorn Hall
Lila Abu-Lughod 3 38/90

ANTH UN2028 Pasts, Presents and Futures: An Introduction to 21st Century Archaeology. 3 points.

$25 mandatory lab fee.

This course provides a comprehensive introduction to archaeology. We start with a critical overview of the origins of the discipline in the 18th and 19th centuries, and then move on to consider key themes in current archaeological thinking. These include: ‘Time and the past: what is the difference’? What are archaeological sites and how do we ‘discover’ them? How is the relationship between the living and the dead negotiated through archaeological practice? What are the ethical issues? How do we create narratives from archaeological evidence? Who gets written in and out of these histories? Archaeology in film and media is also covered.

ANTH UN2071 MATERIAL RELIGION. 3 points.

This course is dedicated to the study of religion through materiality. Following what is termed a “material turn” in the humanities and the social sciences, the course is designed to highlight the potentialities and limits of using a materialist approach to the study of religious objects, spaces, images and practices. We will be engaging with a variety of ethnographic and theoretical readings across time and space that focus on the (im)-materiality of things in order to explore, both conceptually and ethnographically, the nexus between religion and matter.

Spring 2018: ANTH UN2071
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
ANTH 2071 001/22046 T Th 6:10pm - 7:25pm
404 International Affairs Bldg
Maria Jose de Abreu 3 6/60

ANTH UN3007 Holy Lands, Unholy Histories: Archaeology before the Bible. 3 points.

This course provides a critical overview of prehistoric archaeology in the Near East (or the Levant - the geographical area from Lebanon in the north to the Sinai in the south, and from the middle Euphrates in Syria to southern Jordan). It has been designed to appeal to anthropologists, historians, and students interested in the Ancient Mediterranean and Middle Eastern Studies. The course is divided into two parts. First, a social and political history of prehistoric and "biblical" archaeology, emphasizing how the nature of current theoretical and practical knowledge has been shaped and defined by previous research traditions and, second, how the current political situation in the region impinges upon archaeological practice. Themes include: the dominance of "biblical archaeology" and the implications for Palestinian archaeology, Islamic archaeology, the impact of European contact from the Crusades onwards, and the development of prehistoric archaeology.

Spring 2018: ANTH UN3007
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
ANTH 3007 001/66730 T Th 2:40pm - 3:55pm
457 Ext Schermerhorn Hall
Brian Boyd 3 13/20

ANTH UN3041 Anthropological Theory II. 3 points.

Prerequisites: Required of all Barnard Anthropology majors; open to other students with instructor’s permission only. To be taken in conjunction with ANTH 3040, preferably in sequence.

The second of a two semester sequence intended to introduce departmental majors to key readings in social theory that have been constitutive of the rise and contemporary practice of modern anthropology. The goal is to understand historical and current intellectual debates within the discipline. This course replaces ANTH V 3041 - Theories of Culture: Past and Present.

Spring 2018: ANTH UN3041
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
ANTH 3041 001/03338 W 12:10pm - 2:00pm
318 Milbank Hall
Elizabeth Green 3 22/30

ANTH UN3878 Neoliberal Urbanism and the Politics of Exclusion. 4 points.

Enrollment limit is 20.

This seminar examines the impact of neo-liberal strategies and practices of urban development and governance on contemporary American cities with special emphasis on the dividing practices that have led to the segregation, stigmatization and exclusion of urbanites on the basis of class, race, sex/gender and other power-laden ascriptions of difference and pathology. We will situate the formative period of neoliberal urbanism in the urban renewal or "slum clearance" programs of the 1950s and 1960s-initiatives that registered post-war anxieties concerning civil defense, urban disinvestment and growing populations of racial-cum-ethnic "minorities." Through a reading of key anthropological ethnographies and other literature across disciplines, we will examine topics including: deindustrialization and the construction of the inner city and "ghetto underclass," the cultural politics of neo-liberal governance, the privatization and policing of public space, gated communities, gentrification and socioeconomic polarization, and homelessness

Spring 2018: ANTH UN3878
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
ANTH 3878 001/21725 T 2:10pm - 4:00pm
558 Ext Schermerhorn Hall
Steven Gregory 4 21/28

ANTH UN3880 Listening: An Ethnography of Sound. 4 points.

Prerequisites: the instructor's permission.

This course explores the possibilities of an ethnography of sound by attending to a range of listening encounters: in urban soundscapes of the city and in natural soundscapes of acoustic ecology; from histories of audible pasts and echoes of auditory cultural spaces; through repeated listenings in the age of electronic reproduction, and through chance encounters at the limits of listening with experimental music.  Sound, noise, voice, reverberation, and silence, from the technological resonances produced by Edison, Bell, and others, to the theoretical reflections of John Cage and beyond: the course turns away from the screen and dominant epistemologies of the visual, for an extended moment, in active pursuit of sonorous objects and cultural sonorities. 

Spring 2018: ANTH UN3880
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
ANTH 3880 001/63551 T 12:10pm - 2:00pm
963 Ext Schermerhorn Hall
John Pemberton 4 16/25
Fall 2018: ANTH UN3880
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
ANTH 3880 001/16998 T 2:10pm - 4:00pm
Room TBA
John Pemberton 4 5/25

ANTH UN3887 The Anthropology of Palestine. 4 points.

Enrollment limited to 20.

This course examines the relationship between different forms of knowledge about Palestinians and the political and social history of the region. It explores the complex interplay of state, ethnicity, gender, sexuality and class at both local and global levels in constructing what Palestine is and who Palestinians are. The course takes up diverse areas, from graphic novels to archaeological sites, from news reporting to hiking trails, to study how Palestine is created and recreated. Students will gain a familiarity with anthropological concepts and methodological approaches to Palestine. They will become familiar with aspects of the social organization, historical developments, and political events that have shaped the region over the last century. The course is also intended to develop students’ skills in written and oral communication, analysis, ethnographic observation, and critical thinking.

Spring 2018: ANTH UN3887
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
ANTH 3887 001/14207 W 12:10pm - 2:00pm
467 Ext Schermerhorn Hall
Rhoda Kanaaneh 4 15/20

ANTH UN3888 Ecocriticism for the End Times. 4 points.

Prerequisites: the instructor's permission.

This seminar aims to show what an anthropologically informed, ecocritical cultural studies can offer in this moment of intensifying ecological calamity.  The course will not only engage significant works in anthropology, ecocriticism, philosophy, literature, politics, and aesthetics to think about the environment, it will also bring these works into engaged reflection on "living in the end times" (borrowing cultural critic Slavoj Zizek's phrase).  The seminar will thus locate critical perspectives on the environment within the contemporary worldwide ecological crisis, emphasizing the ethnographic realities of global warming, debates on nuclear power and energy, and the place of nature.  Drawing on the professor's long experience in Japan and current research on the aftermath of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant disaster,  the seminar will also take care to unpack the notion of "end times," with its apocalyptic implications, through close considerations of works that take on the question of ecocatastrophe in our times.  North American and European perspectives, as well as international ones  (particularly ones drawn from East Asia), will give the course a global reach.

Spring 2018: ANTH UN3888
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
ANTH 3888 001/62050 T 2:10pm - 4:00pm
467 Ext Schermerhorn Hall
Marilyn Ivy 4 14/21

ANTH UN3912 Ethnographic China. 4 points.

Contemporary China through the writings of anthropologists who have done fieldwork there during the past decade.

ANTH UN3947 Text, Magic, Performance. 4 points.

CC/GS/SEAS: Partial Fulfillment of Global Core Requirement

Prerequisites: the instructor's permission.

This course pursues interconnections linking text and performance in light of magic, ritual, possession, narration, and related articulations of power. Readings are drawn from classic theoretical writings, colonial fiction, and ethnographic accounts. Domains of inquiry include: spirit possession, trance states, séance, ritual performance, and related realms of cinematic projection, musical form, shadow theater, performative objects, and (other) things that move on their own, compellingly. Key theoretical concerns are subjectivity - particularly, the conjuring up and displacement of self in the form of the first-person singular "I" - and the haunting power of repetition. Retraced throughout the course are the uncanny shadows of a fully possessed subject --within ritual contexts and within everyday life.

Spring 2018: ANTH UN3947
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
ANTH 3947 001/68292 W 2:10pm - 4:00pm
963 Ext Schermerhorn Hall
John Pemberton 4 32/35

ANTH UN3976 Anthropology and Science. 4 points.

Not offered during 2018-19 academic year.

Spring 2018: ANTH UN3976
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
ANTH 3976 001/00391 Th 2:10pm - 4:00pm
406 Barnard Hall
Nadia Abu El-Haj 4 15/30

ANTH UN3977 Trauma. 4 points.

Enrollment limited to 20.

Prerequisites: Instructor's permission.

Investing trauma from interdisciplinary perspectives, the course explores connections between the interpersonal, social, and political events that precipitate traumatic reactions and their individual and collective ramifications. After examining the consequences of political repression and violence, the spread of trauma within and across communities, the making of memories and flashbacks, and the role of public testimony and psychotherapy in alleviating traumatic reactions.

Spring 2018: ANTH UN3977
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
ANTH 3977 001/72381 T 10:10am - 12:00pm
951 Ext Schermerhorn Hall
Karen Seeley 4 16/20

ANTH UN3998 Supervised Individual Research Course In Anthropology. 2-6 points.

Prerequisite: the written permission of the staff member under whose supervision the research will be conducted.

Spring 2018: ANTH UN3998
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
ANTH 3998 001/15090  
Brian Boyd 2-6 0
ANTH 3998 002/12809  
Myron Cohen 2-6 0
ANTH 3998 003/61591  
Paige West 2-6 0
ANTH 3998 004/13137  
Zoe Crossland 2-6 2
ANTH 3998 005/25274  
Terence D'Altroy 2-6 0
ANTH 3998 006/15141  
Maria Jose de Abreu 2-6 0
ANTH 3998 007/18496  
Severin Fowles 2-6 2
ANTH 3998 008/72851  
Catherine Fennell 2-6 1
ANTH 3998 009/14408  
Nadia Abu El-Haj 2-6 0
ANTH 3998 010/76998  
Elizabeth Green 2-6 0
ANTH 3998 011/22003  
Yasmin Cho 2-6 0
ANTH 3998 012/65815  
Naor Ben-Yehoyada 2-6 0
ANTH 3998 014/73589  
Ellen Marakowitz 2-6 0
ANTH 3998 015/18301  
David Harvey 2-6 0
ANTH 3998 016/27951  
Rosalind Morris 2-6 0
ANTH 3998 017/12110  
John Pemberton 2-6 0
ANTH 3998 018/60063  
Elizabeth Povinelli 2-6 0
ANTH 3998 021/18784  
Partha Chatterjee 2-6 0
ANTH 3998 022/65844  
Karen Seeley 2-6 0
ANTH 3998 024/16156  
Michael Taussig 2-6 0
ANTH 3998 026/67285  
Lila Abu-Lughod 2-6 0
ANTH 3998 029/10302  
Ralph Holloway 2-6 1
ANTH 3998 030/70142  
Adam Watson 2-6 0
ANTH 3998 031/63478  
Steven Gregory 2-6 0
ANTH 3998 032/60466  
Brinkley Messick 2-6 0
ANTH 3998 033/66822  
Mahmood Mamdani 2-6 0
ANTH 3998 034/62456  
David Scott 2-6 0
ANTH 3998 036/67113  
Claudio Lomnitz 2-6 0
ANTH 3998 039/10215  
Brian Larkin 2-6 0
ANTH 3998 041/77169  
Hannah Chazin 2-6 0
ANTH 3998 042/61429  
Marilyn Ivy 2-6 0
ANTH 3998 044/66472  
Vanessa Agard-Jones 2-6 0
ANTH 3998 045/75100  
Nan Rothschild 2-6 1
ANTH 3998 046/69394  
Elizabeth Povinelli 2-6 0
ANTH 3998 052/19782  
Rhoda Kanaaneh 2-6 0

ANTH UN3999 The Senior Thesis Seminar in Anthropology. 4 points.

Enrollment limited to 15. Open to CC and GS majors in Anthropology only.

Prerequisites: The instructor's permission. Students must have declared a major in Anthropology prior to registration. Students must have a 3.6 GPA in the major and a preliminary project concept in order to be considered. Interested students must communicate/meet with thesis instructor in the previous spring about the possibility of taking the course during the upcoming academic year. Additionally, expect to discuss with the instructor at the end of the fall term whether your project has progressed far enough to be completed in the spring term. If it has not, you will exit the seminar after one semester, with a grade based on the work completed during the fall term.

This two-term course is a combination of a seminar and a workshop that will help you conduct research, write, and present an original honors thesis in anthropology. The first term of this course introduces a variety of approaches used to produce anthropological knowledge and writing; encourages students to think critically about the approaches they take to researching and writing by studying model texts with an eye to the ethics, constraints, and potentials of anthropological research and writing; and gives students practice in the seminar and workshop formats that are key to collegial exchange and refinement of ideas.,

During the first term, students complete a few short exercises that will culminate in a fully developed, 15-page project proposal, as well as a preliminary draft of one chapter of the senior thesis. The proposal will serve as the guide for completing the thesis during the spring semester. The spring sequence of the anthropology thesis seminar is a writing intensive continuation of the fall semester, in which students will have designed the research questions, prepared a full thesis proposal that will serve as a guide for the completion of the thesis or comparable senior capstone project, and written a draft of one chapter. Readings in the first semester will be geared toward exploring a variety of models of excellent anthropological or ethnographic work.  Only those students who expect to have completed the fall semester portion of the course are allowed to register for the spring; final enrollment is contingent upon successful completion of first semester requirements. Weekly meetings will be devoted to the collaborative refinement of drafts, as well as working through issues of writing (evidence, voice, authority etc). All enrolled students are required to present their project at a symposium in the late spring, and the final grade is based primarily on successful completion of the thesis/ capstone project.,

Note: The senior thesis seminar is open to CC and GS majors in Anthropology only. It requires the instructor’s permission for registration. Students must have a 3.6 GPA in the major and a preliminary project concept in order to be considered. Interested students should communicate with the thesis instructor and the director of undergraduate study in the previous spring about the possibility of taking the course during the upcoming academic year. Additionally, expect to discuss with the instructor at the end of the fall term whether your project has progressed far enough to be completed in the spring term. If it has not, you will exit the seminar after one semester, with a grade based on the work completed during the fall term.,

Spring 2018: ANTH UN3999
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
ANTH 3999 001/72799 T 6:10pm - 8:00pm
467 Ext Schermerhorn Hall
Catherine Fennell 4 9/10
Fall 2018: ANTH UN3999
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
ANTH 3999 001/28491 T 6:10pm - 8:00pm
Room TBA
Audra Simpson 4 1/15

Archaeology

ACLG UN2028 Pasts, Presents & Futures: An Introduction to 21st Century Archaeology. 3 points.

This course provides a comprehensive introduction to archaeology. We start with a critical overview of the origins of the discipline in the 18th and 19th centuries, and then move on to consider key themes in current archaeological thinking. These include ‘time and the past: what is the difference’? What are archaeological sites and how do we ‘discover’ them? How is the relationship between the living and the dead negotiated through archaeological practice? What are the ethical issues? How do we create narratives from archaeological evidence? Who gets written in and out of these histories? Archaeology in film and media is also covered. 

Spring 2018: ACLG UN2028
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
ACLG 2028 001/15673 T Th 11:40am - 12:55pm
5ab Kraft Center
Hannah Chazin 3 32/70

ANTH UN3007 Holy Lands, Unholy Histories: Archaeology before the Bible. 3 points.

This course provides a critical overview of prehistoric archaeology in the Near East (or the Levant - the geographical area from Lebanon in the north to the Sinai in the south, and from the middle Euphrates in Syria to southern Jordan). It has been designed to appeal to anthropologists, historians, and students interested in the Ancient Mediterranean and Middle Eastern Studies. The course is divided into two parts. First, a social and political history of prehistoric and "biblical" archaeology, emphasizing how the nature of current theoretical and practical knowledge has been shaped and defined by previous research traditions and, second, how the current political situation in the region impinges upon archaeological practice. Themes include: the dominance of "biblical archaeology" and the implications for Palestinian archaeology, Islamic archaeology, the impact of European contact from the Crusades onwards, and the development of prehistoric archaeology.

Spring 2018: ANTH UN3007
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
ANTH 3007 001/66730 T Th 2:40pm - 3:55pm
457 Ext Schermerhorn Hall
Brian Boyd 3 13/20

Physical Anthropology

ANTH GU4148 The Human Skeletal Biology II. 3 points.

Enrollment limit is 12 and Intructor's permission required.

Recommended for archaeology and physical anthropology students, pre-meds, and biology majors interested in the human skeletal system. Intensive study of human skeletal materials using anatomical and anthropological landmarks to assess sex, age, and ethnicity of bones. Other primate skeletal materials and fossil casts used for comparative study.

Spring 2018: ANTH GU4148
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
ANTH 4148 001/24271 W 12:10pm - 2:00pm
865 Ext Schermerhorn Hall
Ralph Holloway 3 8/12

ANTH UN3970 Biological Basis of Human Variation. 4 points.

Enrollment limited to 15.

Prerequisites: ANEB UN1010 and the instructor's permission.

Biological evidence for the modern human diversity at the molecular, phenotypical, and behavioral levels, as distributed geographically.

Of Related Interest

Anthropology (Barnard)
ANTH BC3868Ethnographic Field Research in New York City
Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race
CSER UN3904Rumor and Racial Conflict
CSER UN3924Latin American and Latina/o Social Movements
CSER UN3990Senior Project Seminar
Ecology, Evolution, and Environmental Biology
EEEB GU4700Race: The Tangled History of a Biological Concept
Women's and Gender Studies
WMST UN1001Introduction to Women's and Gender Studies