Fall 2017 ANTH Special Topics Courses

A number of interesting new Anthropology courses will be taught this fall.  A flyer is available for each of these:
Anthropology Special Topics Courses Being Taught Fall 2017:
1) Course:  ANTH 395B, Section 001: Special Topics in Cultural Anthropology
Title: Fight the Power
Instructor: Dr. Lindsay Montgomery
Day/Time: Tuesday/Thursday 9:30–10:45 AM
Location: Biol Sci West, Room 210
Description: In 1989 the world heard the words “Fight the Power”, blasting from Radio Raheem’s boom box in Spike Lee’s film Do the Right Thing. A rap anthem against racism, Public Enemy’s song has become iconic. The lyric is a rallying cry for unity against oppression, a call which transcends the racial tensions which produced the song. Inspired by the legacy of this lyric, this course takes a critical look at the long standing and deep-seated desire of marginalized communities to rise up and overcome. Drawing on historical and anthropological methods, we will look at the complex ways that indigenous groups have responded to and resisted colonialism. Using case studies from Africa, North America, India, and the Caribbean, we will explore the inner workings of hegemonic power and the impact of colonial encounters on the contemporary world.
2) Course:  ANTH 395B, Section 002, Special Topics in Cultural Anthropology
Title: The Death Penalty in U.S Culture
Instructor: Dr. Brackette Williams
Day/Time: Monday/Wednesday 4:00–5:15
Location: Chavez Building, Room 109
Description:  Looking for a course off the beaten path this fall? Join me in an anthropological examination of the cultural selection, adjudication and eradication of life unworthy of life.  Imagine the post-modern lament: “Now I lay me down to sleep . . . on a gurney, three poisons will soon flow through my veins from head to feet, assuring that I do not wake.   Or, perhaps, I might still expire in an electric chair, boiled from the inside out. Then again, I might be made to suffocate in a gas chamber or by dangling from a rope. Maybe a hail of bullets, once reserved for the honorable culprit, will do me in? Why have most of the method of killing available to states given way to lethal injection?  What has this uniformity for the method of eradication done to the ability of law to fit the punishment for a crime to the public sensibilities of its horror? Put in other words: What has become of the spectacle that gruesome methods of killing killer (and a few non-killers) made possible? As I die, who will have the privilege of watching? To the array of carefully selected witnesses, will I appear sympathetic or just hideously pathetic through windows provided them for this purpose? If the killers selected to be killed are deemed to be “life unworthy of life,” why should modern culture struggle to devise humane means to kill such killer? Are all killers killed guilty? What is the difference between factual and actual innocence? Should the difference matter? Who within and across present-day social orders benefits and how from killing killer (and here and there a few non-killers)?
This course offers students an opportunity to consider these and many other questions from a comparative anthropological perspective on the symbolic, moral, and, and financial role of the death penalty in present-day production of U.S and global culture. Comparing and contrasting practices in the United States with those in other nations that retain the death penalty, this course present the cultural sense that modern humans make as they select among and dispose of the once-human creatures they no longer deem to be worthy of life. Join me in watching the world turn, pushed forward then backward by moral, legal, and financial rationales aim to make morally acceptable selecting to kill killers.
3) Course: ANTH 395B, Section 003, Special Topics in Cultural Anthropology
Title: Bodies in Medicine
Instructor: Dr. Eric Plemons
Day/Time: MWF 10:00–10:50 AM
Location: Chavez Building, Room 308
Description: This course introduces students to fundamental questions in medical anthropology through an engagement with surgical procedures that remake the body and its world. A practice at once familiar and strange, we center surgical interventions to ground abstract social and political concepts firmly in the materiality of the human body. For example, we’ll examine belief and belonging through analyzing male circumcision, cultural relativism through female genital cutting, the constitution of race through cosmetic procedures that reshape the eyes and nose, nationalism and patriotism through the surgical rehabilitation of soldiers’ bodies, and more. These procedures invite us to consider the body as a site at which particular ideas about what is “normal” and what is “good” quite literally find their form. They make manifest the economic, racial, political, and ethical forces through which contemporary life and value unfold.
This will be a great course for Anthropology students, pre-med students, and anyone else with an interest in how medical practice both shapes and is shaped by the social world. Join us!
4) Course: ANTH 395D, Section 001, Special Topics in Biological Anthropology
Title: Dog Thought
Instructor: Dr. Evan MacLean
Format: Hybrid (In class and on-line); Meeting times: Monday/Wednesday 10:00–10:50 AM
Location: Chavez 109
Description: Dogs were once written off as a boring domesticated species with little to contribute to the scientific study of behavior, cognition, or human evolution. However, research in the past two decades has led to a resurgence of interest in dogs across scientific disciplines, especially those focusing on behavioral and cognitive evolution. In this course, we will explore the scientific literature addressing how dogs understand their world, how dog psychology evolved during domestication, and what these processes may tell us about the evolution of other species, including our own.
5) Course: ANTH 495A, Section 001: Special Topics in Archaeology
Title: Archaeology of Identity
Instructor: Dr. Barbara Mills
Day/Time: Tuesday/Thursday 4:45–6:00 PM
Location: Haury Anthropology Building, Room 215
Description:  Identity is a fundamental concept in anthropology, including distinctions by gender, kinship, age, residence, occupation, religion, status, and ethnicity. This course will begin with anthropological definitions of identity, including key issues and concepts. Then, we will address the questions of how did people ascribe identity to themselves and others in the past and how do archaeologists approach these differences? Foodways, clothing, houses, technology, and religious rituals are among the ways in which archaeologists may approach identity. The goal is to link anthropologically relevant concepts with archaeological case studies to understand contemporary approaches to identity from the archaeological record.
6) Course: ANTH 495B/595B, Section 001: Special Topics in Cultural Anthropology
Title: An Anthropology of Migration: The Borderlands of the American Southwest and the Mexican North
Instructor: Dr. Linda Green
Meeting Times: Monday 8:00 AM–4:00 PM
Location: Nogales, Mexico (Transportation Provided).  Some weeks at the UA in Tucson for Guest Speakers.
Description:  An experience-oriented seminar that allows students to explore and engage with a ranges of issues with regard to migration and the border in communities on both sides of the Arizona-Sonora divide. Fall semester 2017 we will focus topically on security and militarization of the border and borderlands. This class is coordinated with JOUR/LAS 473/573. Most students take both classes to earn 6 credits. The purpose of this course is to understand the current situation of migration locally by drawing on anthropological concepts with an emphasis on critical thinking and ethical practices.
7) Course: ANTH 495B, Section 002, Special Topics in Cultural Anthropology
Title: Political Anthropology: Culture and Power
Instructor: Dr. Brian Silverstein
Day/Time: Tuesday/Thursday 3:30 PM–4:45 PM
Location: Haury Anthropology Building, Room 215
Description:  Why do cultures change in the directions they do, and not in others? What are the connections between our everyday lifestyles and worldviews, on the one hand, and social institutions and hierarchies on the other? Are these connections universal? Are they ‘natural’? Is it ‘human nature’ for people to be basically selfish, or to cooperate? Through cross-cultural cases from around the world, this course explores the relationship between culture and power, and the ways anthropologists have studied this relationship for about a century, including: defining power and ‘politics’ cross-culturally, hierarchy, inequality, bands, tribes, the ‘state/non-state’ distinction, institutionalizations of power, authority, informal power and daily life, identity, gender, adaptation, cooperation, coercion, prestige, colonialism, capitalism, bureaucracy, and the state. Approaching such topics cross-culturally and in historical and evolutionary perspectives furnishes us with more powerful tools for modeling human behavior than if we focus solely on our own society.