Theory 2: Beyond Me, Me, Me: Reflexive Anthropology
Fall 2015 not offered
|Certificates: Social, Cultural, and Critical Theory
Theory 1 and Theory 2 are core courses for the major, designed to elucidate historical influences on contemporary anthropological theory. While precise topics may vary from year to year, the overall goal of the courses remains the same: to familiarize students with the main traditions from which the discipline of anthropology emerged and to explore the diverse ways in which contemporary anthropological practice defines itself both with and against them. This semester our topic will be reflexive anthropology.
This course provides an introduction to reflexive/reflective anthropology. We chart the historical development of the field from the making of fieldwork memoirs to its current formulations in more creative ethnographies. Particular attention will be paid to the impact of the interpretive turn speared by Clifford Geertz in the 1970s that advocated the blurring of different genres of writing, which became a feature in contemporary cultural anthropology. The reflexive turn that followed over a decade later demanded ethnographers turn their gaze onto the self to answer questions about the making of otherness, power relations, and representation. Researchers began to consider their position vis-à-vis their intended subjects in the making of ethnographic projects to reinvent and decolonize anthropology. This emphasis has led ethnographers (especially feminists and minorities in the discipline) to engage in more expository writing that further obscured the boundary between social science and literature, which the discipline has historically occupied and continually struggles with. In so doing, they brought particular attention especially to the contested politics in the discipline.
The course explores the fundamental features and various approaches to reflexive/reflective work, its challenges and possibilities, and its fervent critics, as well as its embrace by other disciplines. Our ultimate aim is to deconstruct what is the personal and how has it been used to successfully access the social. In the end, we will put theory into practice and produce a significant piece of reflective writing.
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|Course Format: Discussion
|Grading Mode: Graded
|Fulfills a Major Requirement for: (ANTH)(CSCT)(SISP-Anth Conc)
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