Please email for a copy of the syllabus for any of these recent courses.
Introduction to Language and Culture
Lecture course: introduction to linguistic anthropology as the study of meaning produced and shaped in interaction. How do the structure of language a system of oppositions and the necessary conditions of verbal interaction shape the ways meaning happens, changes, and influences institutions, politics, unfolding interaction, and thought?+
Girl Talk: Language & Femininity
First Year Seminar: Women are often described as talking differently than men do, having a different relationship to language than men do. Is this true? If so, how? What are the implications? This interdisciplinary seminar explores the relationship between language and femininity in works of literature, psychology, sociolinguistics, anthropology, feminist sociology and philosophy, literary theory, and popular media including film and music. In addition to investigating these questions across disciplines, we consider them in a wide variety of social contexts. As we do so, we develop techniques of reading and discussion with which to engage both critically and descriptively. As a Barnard First Year Seminar, We are particularly attuned to the ways that the texts we engage make claims about the world, and how our readings of these texts contribute to these forms of world-making.
Cultures & Economies
Seminar: This course traces classic anthropological questions about exchange, property, the division of labor, kinship, and subject/object relations through classic theoretical and ethnographic readings to very new work in the anthropology of finance and global markets. We consider economic activity from four angles, focusing in turn on circulation, currencies, counterfeits, and charity in turn as social forms through which to consider the relationship between the cultural and the economic, and indeed, what “cultures” and “economies” themselves might be.
Language Matters: Language & Materiality
Seminar: Though some have oppose language to the material world, this course foregrounds language’s irreducibly material qualities. Language, in every instance it occurs, is produced and perceived by human bodies. But this is not all! The linguistic sign is material! Language as it appears in signs is manifest in other forms of physical matter — in stuff — including records, online videos, etc., and the specific qualities of these physicalities matter, too!
African Cultural Production
Seminar: an introduction to contemporary African art and popular culture, and methods for studying high art and popular culture ethnographically. As we encounter this new work, we will locate it in its local and international contexts of production, circulation, and consumption, reading both local criticism and ethnographies of art markets and modes of consumption in which this work is implicated, both on and off the continent. Students are encouraged to pursue their own thematic, regional, and/or medium-specific interests in the preparation of the culminating project: a curated online exhibit accompanying a written commentary.
Image: Malik Sidibe, “Vues de dos.” (‘views from behind’) 2003. Jack Shainman Gallery.
On the Power of Words, Jokes, & Gestures (@The New School)
Seminar: This class investigates language — more specifically moments of interaction mediated by language — as sites in which people encounter and engage with larger social forces. Through both readings and original ethnographic exercises we learn how it is that words, jokes, and gestures are themselves instruments of social power.
Language & Gender (@The New School)
Seminar: This course explores the many articulations of language and gender as systems of classification and meaning emergent in interaction. Readings from anthropology, philosophy, and literary criticism.
Gender, Sexuality, Kinship (@CUNY Guttman Community College)
Seminar: This introductory level course in anthropology presents the gendered body as, with apologies to Simone de Beauvoir, “not a thing, but a situation.” Reading accounts of people in Tokyo, Papua New Guinea, the Sahara, New York City, Regency England, and elsewhere, we attempt to define ‘gender,’ ‘sex,’ and ‘the family.’ We end by trying to work out how it is, really, that babies are made.
Image: From JeongMee Yoon’s The Pink and Blue Project.
World Cultures: Africa (@NYU SPS DAUS)
Hybrid: This survey course introduces students to the study of contemporary African culture and politics through popular, scholarly, literary and journalistic work produced both on and off the continent.
From Omar Viktor Diop’s series ALT+SHIFT+EGO