Critical Foundations I
This seminar introduces students to modern social theory, its historical anchorings, and its relations with the anthropological enterprise. It investigates how the concept of society and culture evolved in relation to humanist thought and political economic circumstances as Europeans explored, missionized, and colonized. In capturing various peripheries of knowledge, we ask how anthropological theory and practice has been modeled within and against other natural and social science disciplines. We inquire into key debates and subjects related to the category of man, the social, and the primitive; social theory and state institutions and practices; human nature and diversity; science and colonial governance; Kultur and civilization; cultural evolution and race; objectivity and subjectivity. In charting how society and culture have been theorized and debated historically, we also reflect on forms of anthropological knowledge and ethnographic sensibilities that are relevant today and their meaning and stakes for a present and future anthropology and its connection to other scientific, political, and humanistic endeavors. This course is required for MA and PhD students in Anthropology.