Courses

Fall 2021

ANTH 64: Public Archaeology in Bronzeville, Chicago’s Black Metropolis
Dr. Anna Agbe-Davies 

In the early 20th century millions of African Americans migrated to large northern cities. The Phyllis Wheatley Home for Girls was run by black women to provide social services for female migrants to Chicago starting in 1926. The course combines elements of archaeology, anthropology, and history to study their lives.

ANTH 454  The Archaeology of African Diasporas
Dr. Anna Agbe-Davies 

How is archaeological evidence used to understand the movement of Africans and their descendants across the globe? This course focuses on what archaeologists have learned about the transformation of societies on the African continent and in the Americas from the era of the trans-Atlantic slave trade to the present.

ANTH 62: First-Year Seminar, Indian Country Today
Dr. Valerie Lambert 

This course explores the tremendous diversity that exists within and across American Indian tribes in the United States and engages with a range of concerns, issues, and challenges that are helping shape the kinds of futures American Indians are charting for themselves.  Students will learn and use various methodologies in anthropology and American Indian and Indigenous Studies to critically examine and analyze the social, legal, and political landscapes that Indians and non-Indians are creatively negotiating. 

ANTH 406: Native Writers
Dr. Valerie Lambert 

In this course, students will have the opportunity to read a broad selection of writings by Native or Indigenous scholars. We will explore the hopes, dreams, priorities, and perspectives of these authors. All of the authors we will read are Indigenous, with most being professionally-trained ethnographers, ethnologists, or written record-keepers of their societies. Students will read narratives from a broad range of historical periods, from the mid-16th century to the late 19th century to the present.

ANTH 63: First-Year Seminar: The Lives of Others: Exploring Ethnography | 3 Credits
Dr. Towns Middleton

Anthropology opens windows onto diverse peoples and cultures. But can we truly access, understand, and represent the lives of others? What might such an endeavor entail? And what might it do for the people involved? In this class, we will take on these questions by exploring ethnography: a research method consisting of entering into a community, interacting with its members, observing social life, asking questions, and writing about our findings.

FYS 89: Race and Small Town America
Dr. Karla Slocum

The goal of this course is for students to understand the conditions under which race is influential in the ways that people live their lives in U.S. small and rural towns. We will also address such questions as: How do a rural identity and a racial identity connect? How do different racial groups experience rural life? How is race significant for small town experiences in the areas of economies and work; education; culture; health and environment; and community history and heritage? To explore these questions, we will focus on ethnographic studies of particular U.S. rural communities. Students will also understand how race features in small town America by conducting life histories research of an individual from a small town.

ANTH 102: Introduction to Cultural Anthropology
Dr. Angela Stuesse

My principal goal in this course is for students to develop an appreciation for and understanding of cultural difference, and to gain a relativistic view of themselves and their own culture as one particular system among many. By examining our own cultural practices and comparing them with those of other peoples, we can come to understand the roles of culture, power, and economics in shaping the taken-for-granted structures and meaning systems within which we live. 

ANTH 490: Work and Migration in the Americas
Dr. Angela Stuesse

In recent decades globalization has dramatically transformed working people’s life and employment prospects throughout the world.  This course examines experiences of migration and low-wage work in order to better understand the consequences of advanced capitalism in Latin America and the United States.  With a focus on the intersections of class, race, gender, and citizenship, students explore how neoliberal globalization has molded the terrains of power, oppression, and resistance in key immigrant-rich industries. 

 

Spring 2021

ANTH 102: Introduction to Cultural Anthropology
Dr. Valerie Lambert 

This class is designed to give you a better understanding and appreciation of the diversity of human experience and the fact that there are multiple perspectives within and across different societies. You will be encouraged to explore these experiences and perspectives through readings, lectures and films which will help you try to see the world from different points of view. At the same time, you will learn what it is like to be an anthropologist and what skills and techniques anthropologists use to try to better understand the perspectives, experiences, and viewpoints of different peoples.

ANTH 206: American Indian Societies
Dr. Valerie Lambert 

This course engages in an exploration of 20th– and 21st-century American Indian tribes in the United States.  We will wrestle with material that provides insight into the experience and challenges of particular tribes or communities. As we learn about the different kinds of sociocultural landscapes and histories that shape Indian and non-Indian experience in these geographic spaces, we also gain a perspective on the range of experiences, problems, and challenges American Indians in the United States face both as tribes and as individuals.

ANTH 490: Race, Place and Violence: The Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921
Dr. Karla Slocum 

The HBO series, Watchmen increased public awareness of the 1921 attack by Whites on an Oklahoma Black community known as Greenwood. But what more is there to know about this horrific event? This class uses an anthropological lens to explore not only what happened in Greenwood, but also what the historic massacre of a Black community tells us about race, place and violence in America. Through readings, podcasts, films, guest lectures and popular culture, students will understand how the past and present Black Tulsa experience relates to larger questions of race, place, and the long history of threats to Black life in the U.S.

ANTH 68: Forced Out and Fenced In | New Ethnographies of Latinx Migration
Dr. Angela Stuesse 

Undocumented immigration receives considerable media attention in the United States today. But what does it actually mean to be undocumented?  How does illegality shape the lived realities of migrants themselves?  Through in-depth engagement with five new ethnographies on the topic, this course examines the social, political, and legal challenges faced by undocumented Latinx immigrants and their families.

ANTH 850: Engaging Ethnography
Dr. Angela Stuesse

What is engaged ethnography?  We often speak of engaged research, but what does it look like on the ground?  How is it represented through textual narrative?  And what difference does it make in the “real” world?  In this seminar students engage these questions through an exploration of ethnographies produced by politically- and community-engaged scholars.  With an eye to how methodologies, epistemologies, and the products of research are transformed by various forms of engagement, students work toward defining their own approach to engaged scholarship.

Spring 2020

AAAD 260: Blacks in Latin America
Dr. Maya Berry

This course examines the development of African descendant communities in Latin America and the Caribbean.  We will focus on the cultural, social, and political dimensions of slavery and race relations in countries such as Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, Nicaragua, and Cuba. Cuba will be highlighted as a unique case study to explore these dimensions in-depth.  We will also explore the impact of nationalist ideologies on contemporary racial dynamics and the ways in which members of Afro-Latin communities have struggled for full citizenship and social justice. The course will conclude by looking at Afro-Latinx experiences in the U.S.


AAAD 461: Race, Gender, & Activism in Cuba 

Dr. Maya Berry

The course is designed to give students a simulated experience of ethnographic fieldwork and qualitative research.  Students are led through a learning experience where they will forge their own understanding of how a cross-section of Afro-Cubans, from different professional backgrounds and social spheres, are re-imaging political possibility in the contemporary moment when Cuba is “re-opening” for business. The incomplete realization of the state’s promise of full racial equality within the Cuban Republic since the 1959 Revolution have led Afro-Cubans to navigate the present era of reform in ways that draw on prior legacies of black activism while charting new territory. Thus, the course examines black activism in Cuba from historical and contemporary perspectives. How are Afro-Cubans mobilizing amidst the openings and limitations that have emerged in the new context of state-sponsored economic reforms and U.S.-Cuban rapprochement? To answer this central question, the course features a range of examples from Cuban society demonstrating a diversity of approaches. Situating the Cuban cases within ongoing Afrodescendant social movements in the Americas, we will explore how dynamics of race, gender, class, religion, and nation, shape strategies toward social change and visions of racial justice.
Assignments are designed to practice core skills required in qualitative research: fieldnotes, formulation of research questions, identification and analysis of a variety of sources, interview design, and synthesis. Course material draws from both primary and secondary sources, texts from multiple disciplines, and multimedia objects of analysis.

ANTH 490: Race | Sex | Latin America
Dr. Florence Babb

This course is intended for Anthropology majors completing their degrees. What can we learn by considering past and present differences of race, gender, and sexuality in Latin America and the Caribbean? What might this tell us about such a diverse region of the Americas, and even perhaps about our own forms of difference and inequality in North America? How might this exploration expand and transform our knowledge about this part of the world? We will consider how race, gender, and sexuality come together from precolonial to postcolonial and contemporary Latin America.  We will explore histories of indigenous, Afrodescendant, and mestizo (mixed race) peoples and how racial and sexual differences  have persisted or changed over time. To learn about the current context in the region, we will draw from selected case studies ranging from rural to urban settings, from Andean to tropical and coastal settings, from heteronormative to LGBTQ populations, and from conservative politics to social movements that are calling for expanded rights to political inclusion. We will ask why race, sex, and power are so often commingled in outsiders’ thinking about the Latin American and Caribbean region, and how this relates to such exoticized phenomena as Carnival and sex tourism. Students will be expected to read and discuss material in lively seminar formats and to take an active part in this seminar.

ANTH 711: Feminist Ethnography
Dr. Florence Babb

This graduate seminar considers issues in qualitative research methodology through reading and discussing feminist ethnographies, critical assessments of feminist scholarship and methods, and related work. We ask challenging questions about the relation of gender to race, class, and sexuality, and about the dilemmas of field research, including the fundamental question of whether there is indeed a feminist ethnographic methodology. Moreover, we discuss the feminist politics of ethnographic representation (by the researcher depicting the researched) and of positionality (of the researcher in relation to the researched). Race is a fundamental aspect of all of these considerations in the seminar.

Fall 2019

ANTH 89: Transforming Our Food System  
Dr. Don Nonini

This course focuses on an analytical and ethnographic critique of the transnational corporate food economy, and on its classed, raced and gendered exclusions and oppression of workers and people of color, and explores alternative food practices that embody challenges to its domination.

 

LTAM 101: Intro to Latin American Studies
Dr. Florence Babb  

This course introduces the interdisciplinary field of Latin American Studies. Readings encompass discussion of Mexico and Central America, South America, and the Caribbean, with significant attention to Latin America in the global context. We highlight recent developments in the region and the broader context of the Americas, which include the United States and Canada in North America, and the complex history of relationships throughout the hemisphere. There is an emphasis on histories of difference and inequality that are evident on a notably uneven playing field. We focus on race, class, gender, and sexuality and ask whether legacies of colonialism and inequality are being overcome or persist in the contemporary period of neoliberal development and globalization.

ANTH 503: Gender, Culture, and Development
Dr. Florence Babb

This course is intended for upper-level undergraduates and graduate students interested in critical and feminist approaches to development studies.  We will consider classic writings and debates since the 1970s relating to gender and development, and then turn to recent writings that assess and critique conventional economic development models.  The primary emphasis will be on countries of the Global South and on such questions as how alternative approaches to gender, culture, and development may be more inclusive of diverse peoples and grassroots movements for change. Themes will include feminism and critical development studies and the cultural turn in gender and development studies.  Case studies and videos on gender, culture, and development will serve to illuminate questions of rural and urban political economy, health and wellbeing, sexual rights, and social policy, as well as gender, race, and cultural identity.  Students will be active participants in the seminar and will take turns helping to facilitate discussion.  Research projects will be developed in consultation with the instructor. Occasionally, outside lectures and other events will be recommended.

ANTH 897: Ethnography and Black Communities
Dr. Karla Slocum

This graduate seminar looks at twentieth and twenty-first century ethnographic studies of African American communities as conducted by anthropologists and other humanistic social scientists (especially sociology and geography). This includes studies of urban neighborhoods, rural and suburban locales, and other sites or collectives where groups or places that are black-identified in some way reside in high concentration or have had significant influence. In exploring these places and groupings, the primary focus is as much on what we can understand about various social processes associated with them as it is on ethnographic approaches to studying black community. With readings from W.E.B DuBois to Bianca Williams, we explore texts that focus on such topics as: social organization and everyday life in particular black communities; race, class, gender and generational relations, intersections and positions in black communities; heritage projects and the role of history and memory in community identities; different forms of community and community organizing especially in the context of black and  black diasporic sensibilities as well as in the face of anti-black racism, and social and economic injustice.

ANTH 898: State, Politics, Power
Dr. Townsend Middleton

A graduate seminar examining key theories of the state and power, with an abiding interest in how difference figures in various forms of rule and governance.

Spring 2019

ANTH 89: Blackness and Racialization: A Multidimensional Approach

Introduces students to the history, social construction, cultural production, and lived experience of race, racialization, and racial identity. The course focuses on “Blackness” in the United States (with occasional reference to Jamaica for comparison), though it necessarily addresses other race formations such as “Whiteness” and “Brownness.” The course approaches racialization from four perspectives: historical; structural-institutional; personal-individual; and ethnographic. Major course goals include showing the various ways that race is socially constructed and preparing students to think and talk intelligently about race.

 

ANTH 439: Political Ecology
Dr. Don Nonini
This course explores the ecological and political processes through which “nature” and the city encounter each other as these processes reinforce racial, class and gender inequalities.  We deal with the metabolism of food, water and energy flows that connect cities and countryside but traverse and reinforce these inequalities; with urban-based environmental racism; and with contestations over urban infrastructures and the commons.

 

AAAD461: Race, Gender, & Activism in Cuba
Dr. Maya J. Berry

Examines black activism in Cuba from historical and contemporary perspectives. Students are led through a simulated experience of ethnographic fieldwork, where they will forge their own understanding of how a cross-section of Afro-Cubans have re-imagined and are re-imaging political possibility in the contemporary moment when Cuba is “re-opening” for business. The course features a range of examples demonstrating a diversity of approaches to social change.

ANTH 567: Urban Anthropology
Dr. Don Nonini
This course examines the racial, class, gendered and related inequalities that are reinforced (and challenged) in cities; it considers the projects of domination over urban spaces and people associated with neoliberal globalization, transnational migration and infrastructure “development”; and it explores social movements against environmental racism and dispossession, and the making of urban commons.  (No Prerequisites.)

 

GLBL 703: Global Migration
Dr. Angela Stuesse

What factors shape human migration worldwide? How are processes of mobility regulated? How does migration transform both sending and receiving societies, and what does it teach us about citizenship and belonging? This seminar will enable you to think critically about and contribute thoughtfully to debates about the primary economic, humanitarian, and political forces and inequalities driving, sustaining, and governing the phenomenon of contemporary global migration.

ANTH 711: Feminist Ethnography
Dr. Florence Babb

This graduate seminar considers issues in qualitative research methodology through reading and discussing feminist ethnographies, critical assessments of feminist scholarship and methods, and related work. We ask challenging questions about the relation of gender to race, class, and sexuality, and about the dilemmas of field research, including the fundamental question of whether there is indeed a feminist ethnographic methodology. Moreover, we discuss the feminist politics of ethnographic representation (by the researcher depicting the researched) and of positionality (of the researcher in relation to the researched). Race is a fundamental aspect of all of these considerations in the seminar.

ANTH 898: Decolonizing Methodologies
Dr. Angela Stuesse

With a focus on the fundamental connection between critical social theory and qualitative inquiry, in this class students will explore the challenges of decolonization, the promise of participatory methodologies, and the politics, problems, and practice of engaged research.


Fall 2018

ANTH 89: Transforming Our Food System  
Dr. Don Nonini

This course focuses on an analytical and ethnographic critique of the transnational corporate food economy, and on its classed, raced and gendered exclusions and oppression of workers and people of color, and explores alternative food practices that embody challenges to its domination.

 

LTAM 101: Intro to Latin American Studies
Dr. Florence Babb  

This course introduces the interdisciplinary field of Latin American Studies. Readings encompass discussion of Mexico and Central America, South America, and the Caribbean, with significant attention to Latin America in the global context. We highlight recent developments in the region and the broader context of the Americas, which include the United States and Canada in North America, and the complex history of relationships throughout the hemisphere. There is an emphasis on histories of difference and inequality that are evident on a notably uneven playing field. We focus on race, class, gender, and sexuality and ask whether legacies of colonialism and inequality are being overcome or persist in the contemporary period of neoliberal development and globalization.

AAAD260: Blacks in Latin America
Dr.
 Maya J. Berry

We will focus on the historical, cultural, social, and political dimensions of slavery, racial formation, and race relations in Latin America. What impact has nationalist ideologies had on contemporary racial dynamics and the ways in which members of Afro-Latin communities have struggled for full citizenship and social justice? Cuba will be highlighted as a unique case study to explore these dimensions in-depth.  The course will conclude by looking at Afro-Latinx experiences in the U.S.

ANTH 347: Travel and Tourism
Dr. Florence Babb

This course considers anthropological approaches to travel and tourism in the contemporary world and asks what focusing on travel and tourism can tell us more broadly about cultures and societies. We examine differences of race, class, gender, sexual orientation, and national origin among travelers as well as of those who work in the service industries that accommodate travelers’ needs. We examine ways in which travel destinations are  represented and marketed as “exotic” locations, appealing to notions of the desirable, foreign “other.” We ask how the commodification of cultural identities and practices shapes the tourism encounter of tourists and toured. Most fundamentally, we ask how power relations are negotiated and what prospects communities in the global South have for constructing the terms of their engagement with travelers from the global North.

ANTH 427: Race
Dr. Karla Slocum

The objective of this course is for upper level anthropology majors to understand and critically explore different influential arguments and debates about categories of race, how they developed, how they function, and what they mean for individuals’ lived experience. As a starting point, we critically examine anthropologists’ contribution to an understanding of race. Students in the course also explore the implications of race and racial categorizations in the context of science, identity, history, power, economics and social justice. Finally, students explore how different groups of people come to be racially identified and what that identification process means for the way they live their lives.