ANTHRO 2900 - Genealogies of Social Anthropology at Harvard





Prof. Byron Good
Thurs. 3:00 PM - 5:45 PM
Tozzer 102

This course is designed for students beginning graduate study in social and cultural anthropology and is required for all first-year Social Anthropology graduate students. It is intended to provide critical skills for reading in and contributing to social and cultural theory. It offers a selective overview of theoretical and empirical trends in the discipline of anthropology, focusing on intellectual connections between writing and research of faculty members at Harvard and different theoretical genealogies within the discipline at large.  Rather than providing a single historical overview of the classic anthropological corpus, the course will provide an opportunity to read selected writings by faculty members in the Department, as well as writings that faculty members recommend that represent a stream of anthropological writing with which they identify, and to discuss these in the seminar with each faculty member. The course asks what has counted for anthropologists as legitimate research questions, forms of research, ways anthropologists have situated themselves in the field, and approaches to ethnographic writing.

The hope is that students will begin to re-assemble elements of the discipline’s past and present in the form of their own vision of a scholarly agenda for the discipline’s future. Ultimately, the course is designed to prepare students to answer questions such as the following: What should be specifically anthropological questions in the 21st Century? How should anthropology define itself in relation to other scholarly projects, especially those in other social sciences?  What is the relationship between generating knowledge, social critique, and forms of engagement? What should define anthropology’s central intellectual problematics? And thus, what are the primary historical genealogies within anthropological theorizing, and where do the students in the class position themselves within those genealogies? 

Required of candidates for the PhD in Social Anthropology. Not open to undergraduates.