Anthropology History of the Present
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Level: Graduate
Division: The New School for Social Research
Department: Anthropology
Course Number: GANT 6125
Course Format: Seminar
Location: NYC campus
Permission Required: No
Topics:
  • Anthropology
  • Social Sciences
  • History
Description:
In 1950 don of British anthropology, Evans Pritchard warned that anthropology would have to choose between being history or being nothing. What did he mean by that statement? How prescient was he in charting the direction that anthropology would take in the 21st century? This course explores the changing form and content of historical reflection in the making of anthropology as a discipline, a set of practices, and mode of inquiry. It starts from the notion that anthropological knowledge is always grounded in implicit and explicit assumptions about the ways in which the past can be known, how people differently use their pasts, and what counts in different societies as relevant and debatable history. We will examine the range of forms in which the past is imagined to be know: the written and more general inscription of the past in written and visual documents, material objects, memory, and literary form and how ethnographers in historical pursuit draw on these forms of knowledge. We will look at how different understandings of the relationship between history, culture and power and the concepts that join them -- habitus, architecture, cultural debris, social memory, genealogy, tradition -- have given shape to critical currents in ethnographic method and social theory. This course draws on work from a range of disciplines and students from all disciplines are welcome to join. For MA students of the NSSR anthropology department, this seminar fulfills the requirements of a Perspectives course. Permission of Instructor is required for students outside of the NSSR Division.
Course Open to: Majors Only