Critical Foundations of Anthropology II

Term: Spring 2010

Subject Code: GANT

Course Number: 6062

This course, required for incoming Anthropology MA students, examines contemporary theoretical and philosophical debates on the nature of the social and assesses the impact of these debates on recent ethnographic writing. We focus on some of the core conceptual domains critical to the practice of anthropology: society, language, the market, historicity, and difference. Questions of ontology and temporality are raised in these conceptual domains through reading of the social philosophical work of authors such as Bataille, Derrida, Deleuze, Bakhtin, and Fanon. By situating the work of these post-metaphysical thinkers in relation to the classical canon of social and moral philosophy and its liberal underpinnings, the course encourages students to speculate about the direction of anthropological practice. A final assignment, in the form of a research exercise, stresses critical readings of contemporary ethnographies and new ways of theoretical framing.

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