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  • Current Courses

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        General Admission Contact
        The New School for Social Research
        Office of Admission
        79 Fifth Avenue, 5th floor
        New York, NY 10003
        212.229.5600 or 800.523.5411
        SocialResearchAdmit@newschool.edu

        Admissions Liaison
        Aryana Ghazi-Hessami

        Department of Anthropology
        6 East 16th Street, 9th floor
        New York, NY 10003
        Tel: 212.229.5757 x3016
        Fax: 212.229.5595

        Mailing Address
        79 Fifth Avenue, 9th floor
        New York, NY 10003

        Chair 
        Nicolas Langlitz

        Senior Secretary
        Charles Whitcroft

        Student Advisor
        Isabel Arciniegas Guaneme

        Anthropology Student Handbook

        Admission Links

    • Courses in the Department of Anthropology explore the entwined concepts of “knowing that” and “knowing how.” All courses in the department follow one of two tracks. The “Perspectives” track examines different viewpoints on the subject of anthropological research. The “Practices” track trains students in ethnographic fieldwork and other research methods.

      Please consult the New School Course Catalog for a full list of courses. Spring 2021 Anthropology courses include:

      • Religion & Secularism, GANT 6170
        Abou Farman, Assistant Professor of Anthropology

        The resurgence of religion and spirituality worldwide in both private and public life, and questions about the limits of scientific knowledge, have led to critiques of secularism and secular views on religion and politics. This seminar will start with overviews of the anthropology of religion and the more recent work on the anthropology of secularism, reviewing the political and epistemological assumptions and colonial histories behind the separation of public and private, religious and secular, and theological and political spheres. The rest of the course will move through the disordered, shadowy zones of the religious-secular divide where the secular uncanny hovers over the realities of science, where the spiritual rises out of the machinic and computational, where postcolonial ghosts come to haunt the courts of law, and where life and death, mortality and immortality disappear into each other. What are the senses, practices, phenomena and categories that are used to create, in habit or analyze such spaces? What are the political and epistemological stakes in these zones? We will look especially at those instances when these surge up through apparently secular modern contexts – in courts, within the state, through political action, in recastings of scientific and medical work, in the sacralization of consciousness, the equivocations of psychology and the fashioning of selves…

      • The Commons- From Private Property to Feminist Other Ways, GANT 6172
        Miriam Ticktin, Associate Professor of Anthropology 

        We live in a world that is overwhelmingly structured by private property. Yet hiding in the interstices of this dominant political-economic and legal formation are a set of commons, forms of mutual responsibility or commoning that escape, challenge or subvert the limits of private property. From air and ocean to radical forms of mutual aid to open source science, as the Marxist feminist theorist Sylvia Federici notes, “not only has the commons not vanished, but also new forms of social cooperation are constantly being produced, including in areas of life where none previously existed like, for example, the Internet.” Recent years have seen a renewed interest in the commons, as we grapple with the tremendous social, political, and environmental fallout from four decades of neoliberalism and rampant privatization. This course will examine how the commons have been organized and debated, paying close attention to how feminist, indigenous, critical race, and postcolonial thinkers and actors have theorized forms of commoning necessary for remaking community in a violent and rapacious world. We will ask how social reproduction is enacted in the interstices of privatization and in new experimental domains.

      • Mapping the Field, GANT 6218
        Shannon Mattern, Professor of Anthropology

        Maps reveal, delineate, verify, orient, navigate, anticipate, historicize, conceal, persuade, and, on occasion, even lie. From the earliest spatial representations in cave paintings and on clay tablets, to the predictive climate visualizations and crime maps and mobile cartographic apps of today and tomorrow, maps have offered far more than an objective representation of a stable reality. In this hybrid theory-practice studio we’ll examine maps as artifacts, as texts, as media; and mapping as a method useful in the social sciences, humanities, arts, and design. We’ll explore the past, present, and future – across myriad geographic and cultural contexts – of our techniques and technologies for mapping space and time. In the process, we’ll address various critical frameworks for analyzing the rhetorics, poetics, politics, and epistemologies of spatial and temporal maps. Throughout the semester we’ll also experiment with a variety of critical mapping tools and methods, from techniques of critical cartography to indigenous practices to sensory mapping to time-lining, using both analog and digital approaches. Students are encouraged to use the course, which will be supported by a skilled cartographer teaching assistant, to supplement their fieldwork, to develop their own thesis / dissertation projects, or to advance other personal research and creative pursuits. Course requirements include: individual map critiques; lab exercises; and individual research-based, critical-creative “atlases” composed of maps in a variety of formats.

      • Science & Society, GANT 6410
        Nicolas Langlitz, Associate Professor and Chair of Anthropology

        The sciences have served as a motor of modernization. They have both addressed and created social problems – and their status in our societies is itself a site of intense problematization. This course equips students with the conceptual and methodological toolkit necessary to study the social construction of science and the scientific construction of society. As a cornerstone of the Science & Society track, the course provides a more general introduction to anthropological engagements with the sciences. But every year it also explores a particular topic. This year, we will ask: How do the sciences study and relate to morality?

      • Technopolitics, GANT 6614 
        Antina von Schnitzler, Associate Professor of International Affairs 

        This course explores the relationship between the political and the technical, with a particular focus on recent work on infrastructure and expertise in the humanities and social sciences. From railroads to communication networks, water pipes and electricity wires, infrastructures and technology have been central to mediating modernity. Rather than neutral means towards more substantive ends, this course approaches infrastructures as networked systems that both shape and are shaped by social life and as such, can open up a broader set of questions in relation to classical questions of political theory, from democracy and citizenship to protest and disagreement. Specifically, we’ll be interested in how infrastructures and technical devices become central to the constitution of political terrains in a context in which the formal political sphere is often de facto inaccessible to many. The course begins by examining the historical relationship between infrastructure, technology and power via studies of colonial infrastructures, Cold War technopolitics and the centrality of infrastructure and technology in projects of development and modernization. We will then explore contemporary instances of technopolitics, from climate change expertise and the protests surrounding extractive infrastructures to the technopolitical questions laid bare by COVID-19. Readings will focus on theory that has influenced the “infrastructural turn” and draw on science and technology studies, anthropology, political theory and geography.

      • PhD Proseminar III: Grant Writing, GANT 7007
        Hugh Raffles, Professor of Anthropology

        This seminar brings together two distinct but complementary modes of inquiry: anthropological inquiry into forms of reasoning and design practice that focuses on experimentation with material forms. The premise of the collaboration is that both modes of inquiry entail “concept work,” or attention to the ways concepts both shape material practice and can be given form through material practice. The seminar is project-centric. Students are encouraged to bring a topic or theme to the class, which they explore through a combination of lenses and approaches from the social sciences and design (text-based inquiry and inquiry through materialization). The structure consists of three phases, based on an open-ended syllabus, to be developed with the members of the seminar depending on their research interests and project proposals: 1) Concept shifts, a set of readings on concept work (Foucault, Rabinow, Marcus), followed and enhanced by tailored readings that serve to open new perspectives and paths of inquiry in relation to students’ research interests and project proposals; 2) Elaborations of propositions and speculations, idea generation using “what if…" scenarios, speculative design methods, and extrapolations from emergent practices; and 3) Materializations, experimentation with a range of media including text, narrative form, photography, models, performance, and video to materialize students’ proposals.
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