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Key Themes in Contemporary Anthropology

The course offers a selective overview of a number of key empirical and theoretical themes or fields of study in contemporary anthropology.

The themes and reading lists are replaced on a regular basis to keep the course up to date.

The course will focus attention on contextualizing and historicizing the themes in the course in order to offer an understanding of how contemporary antrhopology has developed.

  • Schedule

    The schedule will be available no later than one month before the start of the course. We do not recommend print-outs as changes can occur. At the start of the course, your department will advise where you can find your schedule during the course.

    To be updated

  • Course literature

    Note that the course literature can be changed up to two months before the start of the course.

    Literature (chronological order)

    Introduction: Anthropology after Globalization

    Sherry Ortner. 1984. “Theory in Anthropology since the Sixties,” Comparative Studies in Society and History 26(1): 126-166.

    Ulf Hannerz. 1989. “Notes on the Global Ecumene,” Public Culture 1(2): 66-75.

    George Marcus. 1995. “Ethnography in/of the World System: The Emergence of Multi-Sited Ethnography,” Annual Review of Anthropology 24: 95-117.

    Anna Tsing. 2000. “The Global Situation,” Cultural Anthropology 15(3): 327-360.

    Aihwa Ong. 2007. “Neoliberalism as a mobile technology,” Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers 32(1): 3–8.

    T Thelen, L Vetters & K von Benda-Beckmann. 2014. “Introduction of stategraphy”, Social Analysis, Vol 58, 3:1-19.

    Anthropology Today. 2020. Special Issue on Covid -19, Vol 36, No 3, June (SUB).

    Recommended

    Arjun Appadurai. 1990. “Disjuncture and Difference in the Global Cultural Economy,” Public Culture 2(2): 1-24.

    Akhil Gupta and James Ferguson. 1992. “Beyond ‘Culture’: Space, Identity, and the Politics of Difference,” Cultural Anthropology 7(1): 6-23.

    Michael Kearney. 1995. “The Local and the Global: The Anthropology of Globalization and Transnationalism,” Annual Review of Anthropology 24: 547-565.

    Jean Comaroff and John Comaroff. 2000. “Millennial Capitalism: First Thoughts on a Second Coming,” Public Culture 12(2): 291-343.

    Carla Freeman. 2001. “Is Local : Global as Feminine : Masculine? Rethinking the Gender of Globalization,” Signs: Journal of Women, Culture and Society 26(4): 1007-1037.

    Don Kalb. 2005. “From Flows to Violence: Politics and Knowledge in the Debates on Globalization and Empire,” Anthropological Theory 5(2):176-204. 2

    David Harvey: Interviewed by Alberto Toscano. 2007. Development and Change 38 (6):1127- 1135.

    1. Urban Infrastructures

    Teresa Caldeira. 1996. “Fortified Enclaves: The New Urban Segregation,” Public Culture 8(2): 303-328.

    Theodore Bestor. 2001. “Supply-Side Sushi: Commodity, Market, and the Global City,” American Anthropologist 103(1): 76-95.

    Jonathan Bach. 2010. “They Come in as Peasants and Leave as Citizens”: Urban Villages and the Making of Shenzhen, China,” Cultural Anthropology 25(3): 421-458.

    Brian Larkin. 2012. “The Politics and Poetics of Infrastructure,” Annual Review of
    Anthropology 42: 327-43.

    Antina Von Schnitzler. 2013. “Traveling Technologies: Infrastructure, Ethical Regimes, and the Materiality of Politics in South Africa,” Cultural Anthropology 28(4): 670-93.

    Lisa Björkman. 2014. “Un/known Waters: navigating the everyday risks of infrastructural breakdown in Mumbai”, Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East 34(3): 497-517.

    Hannah Appel et al. 2015. “The Infrastructure Toolbox,”
    http://www.culanth.org/fieldsights/714-introduction-the-infrastructure-toolbox

    Recommended

    Friedrich Engels. 1943. The Condition of the Working-Class in England in 1844 (Allen and Unwin), pp. 1-74.

    Saskia Sassen. 2000. “Spatialities and Temporalities of the Global: Elements for a Theorization,” Public Culture 12(1): 215-223.

    Setha Low. 2001. “The Edge and the Center: Gated Communities and the Discourse of Urban Fear,” American Anthropologist 103(1): 45-58.

    Christina Schwenkel. 2015. “Spectacular infrastructure and its breakdown in socialist Vietnam,” American Ethnologist 42(3): 520-534.

    Veena Das & Shalini Randeria. 2015. “Politics of the urban poor. Aesthetics, ethics, volatility, precarity”, Current Anthropology, Vol 56, Supplement 11, S3- S14

    2. Anthropology of Development

    Arturo Escobar. 1991. “Anthropology and the development encounter: the making and marketing of development anthropology”, American Ethnology, Vol. 18(4): 658-682.

    Nancy Sheper-Hughes. 1995. “The Primacy of the Ethical: Propositions for a Militant Anthropology”, Current Anthropology, Vol. 36(3): 409-440.

    Liisa Malkki. 1995. “Refugees and Exile: From ‘Refugee Studies’ to the National Order of Things”, Annual review of Anthropology, Vol. 24: 495-523.

    Didier Fassin. 2007. “Humanitarianism as a Politics of Life”, Public Culture, 19(3): 499-520.

    Marisol de la Cadena. 2010. “Indigenous Cosmopolitics in the Andes: Conceptual Reflections beyond ‘Politics’”, Cultural Anthropology, Vol. 25(2): 334-370.

    David Mosse. 2013. “The Anthropology of International Development”, Annual Review of Anthropology, Vol. 42: 227-246.

    Alpa Shah. 2014. “’The muck of the past’: revolution, social transformation, and the Maoists in India”, Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, Vol. 20(2): 337-356.

    Stef Jansen. 2014. “Hope For/Against the State: Gridding in a Besieged Suburb”, Ethnos, Vol. 79(2): 238-260.

    Kevin Donovan. 2015. “Infrastructuring aid: materializing humanitarianism in northern Kenya,” Environment and Planning D 33(4): 732-748.

    3. Social Movements and Activism

    Arturo Escobar. 1992. Culture, Practice and Politics – Anthropology and the Study of Social Movements. Critique of Anthropology. 12 (4) 395-432.

    Marc Edelman. 2001. Social Movements: Changing Paradigms and Forms of Politics. Annual Review of Anthropology, Vol. 30:285-317. (Parts of the article. Note specifically the section “Right-wing and Conservative Movements”, pp 301-303.)

    Evelina Dagnino. 2003. “Citizenship in Latin America: An Introduction”. Latin American Perspectives, Vol 30, issue 2: 211-25

    Jeffrey S. Juris. 2012. “Reflections on #Occupy Everywhere: Social media, public space, and emerging logics of aggregation”. American Ethnologist, Vol. 39, issue 2, May: 259-79.

    George J. Kunnath. 2013. “Anthropology’s Ethical Dilemmas Reflections from the Maoist Fields of India”. Current Anthropology, Volume 54, Number 6, December.

    Sherry B. Ortner. 2016. “Dark anthropology and its others: Theory since the eighties”. Hau: Journal of Ethnographic Theory 6 (1): 47–73.

    Patty Gray. 2016. “Memory, body, and the online researcher. Following Russian street demonstrations via social media”, American Ethnologist, Vol 434, 3:500-510.

    Pasieka, Agnieszka. 2017. “Taking far-right claims seriously and literally: anthropology and the study of right-wing radicalism.” Slavic Review 76, no. S1: S19-S29.

    Recommended

    Catherine Eschle and Neil Stammers. 2004. “Taking Part: Social Movements, INGOS and Global Change”. Alternatives 29:333-73.

    Jeffrey S. Juris. 2008. “Introduction: The Cultural Logic of Networking”. In Networking Futures. Durham: Duke University Press.
    http://www.jeffreyjuris.com/books/networking-futures-the-movements-against-corporateglobalization

    Maple Razsa and Andrej Kurnik. 2012. “The Occupy Movement in Zizek’s hometown: Direct democracy and the politics of becoming.” American Ethnologist 39 (2): 238-58.

    4. Fractured Citizenship

    Pnina Werbner.1998. Exoticising Citizenship: Anthropology and the New
    Citizenship Debate, Canberra Anthropology, 21:2, 1-27,  DOI: 10.1080/03149099809508364

    Saskia Sassen. 2003. “Citizenship Destabilized”, Liberal Education, Spring, Vol. 89, no.2. https://www.aacu.org/publications-research/periodicals/citizenship-destabilized

    Angela Davis. 2003. Are Prisons Obsolete? New York: Seven Stories Press. (Parts of the volume.)

    Shahram Khosravi. 2009. “Sweden. Detention and deportation of asylum seekers”, Race and Class, Vol 50 (4): 38-56.

    Carole McGranahan. 2016. “Refusal and the Gift of Citizenship.” Cultural Anthropology 31, no. 3 (2016): 334–341. https://doi.org/10.14506/ca31.3.03

    Anthropology Today. 2020. Special Issue on Covid- 19, Vol 36, No 3, June. [Students choose two articles.] (SUB).

    Recommended

    Ruth Lister. 1997. “Citizenship: Towards a Feminist Synthesis”. Feminist Review, No. 57, Autumn 1997, pp 28-485

    Jamie Peck and Adam Tickell, 2002. ‘Neoliberalizing Space’. Antipode 34(3), July: 380-404.

    Saskia Sassen. 2003. “The Repositioning of Citizenship: Emergent Subjects and Spaces for Politics.” CR: The New Centennial Review 3, no. 2 (2003): 41-66.

    David Graeber. 2012. “Dead zones of the imagination. On violence, bureaucracy, and interpretative labor”, HAU: Journal of Ethnographic Theory, 2 (2):105-128