ANTHRO 1405 - Borderlands: Limit Situations and Religious Experience





Prof. David Carrasco and Michael Jackson 
Tues. 12:00 PM - 2:00 PM
HDS Swartz Hall

This course explores the ambiguous and unstable borderlands – social, psychological, geographical, and spiritual - of human existence.  Drawing on empirical studies of transnational migration, displacement, marginality, culture contact, the colonial encounter, rites of passage, and limit experience, and using such key theoretical concepts as liminality, transculturation, contact zone, indeterminacy, and plurality, we will explore the destructive and constructive dimensions of what Karl Jaspers calls ‘border situations’ (grenzsituationen) and Gloria Anzaldúa calls the ‘new mestizaje’. Consideration will also be given to the transfigurative experience of carrying out ethnographic fieldwork in other societies, innovations in writing and art that do justice to borderland and borderline experiences, as well as the conditions of the possibility of genuinely mutual dialogue and understanding between people and societies that history has cast into relations of traumatic inequality.