Problems in Anthropology

Term: Fall 2012

Subject Code: GANT

Course Number: 6065

This course provides an introduction into contemporary anthropology through a selection of problems preoccupying the field today. Through this lens students will get glimpses of the discipline's past and will have ample opportunity to imagine its futures. But the focus will be on current questions such as the following: What role does cultural difference play in anthropology in an increasingly globalized world? How does anthropology relate to ethnography? Does a reflection on different ethnoi still present a royal road to our understanding of anthropos? Can the descriptive practice of ethnography serve as a basis for the prescriptive project of cultural critique? Or has critique run out of steam? How does anthropology relate history to human possibilities? What happens to the separation of cultural and biological anthropology at a time when the nature/culture dichotomy is constantly called into question? Working through these and many other questions on the basis of both ethnographic and more theoretical texts will enable students to rethink the role of anthropology in the twenty-first century-as a discipline that has always been responsive to the historical moment while aiming at knowledge of the human, tout court.

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