The Dead: Terminable and Interminable, and How to Write about Them
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Level: Undergraduate, Graduate
Division: The New School for Social Research
Department: Anthropology
Course Number: GANT 6360
Course Format: Seminar
Location: NYC campus
Permission Required: No
  • Anthropology
  • Philosophy
  • Sciences
From the Ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead, to Heidegger's "authentic moment" and Derrida's aporia through Freud's "death instinct" and Lincoln's "ideology of death," death has been credited as the force of culture, resistance to civilization, organizational practice, structure of subjectivity, the ultimate signifier. We will examine some paradigmatic moments in the development of an ideology of death, particularly, but not exclusively, in what has come to be known as "the West" and we will consider different possibilities of writing about the dead. Giorgio Agamben's Homo Sacer, Jacques Derrida's The Gift of Death, Bruce Lincoln's Death, War, and Sacrifice, Nicole Loraux’s Divided City, Gillian Rose's Love's Work, and Mourning Becomes the Law, and excerpts from Freud, Foucault, and the Frankfurt School, along with foundational texts in the anthropology of death: Max Gluckman, Maurice Bloch and Jonathan Perry, Deborah Bataglia, Emile Durkheim. For MA students of the NSSR anthropology department, this seminar fulfills the requirements of a Practices course.
Course Open to: Degree Students with Restrictions