Course Offerings


FALL 2016 COURSE OFFERINGS

UNDERGRAD


ANTH-UA 331 Human Rights & Culture

Offers an overview of the human rights system, looking at its basic elements and studying how it works. Focuses on the relationships between human rights and culture. Human rights campaigns frequently encounter resistance in the name of protecting cultural differences. This is particularly common with issues concerning women, children, and the family. Explores several issues that raise questions of human rights and culture, such as female genital cutting, honor killing, trafficking of persons, and indigenous peoples' rights to culture. Using these examples, considers how the human rights system deals with tensions between global standards and local ways of life. Examines the meanings of rights and of culture in these debates and shows the implications of adopting an anthropological analysis of these situations. The goal of the course is developing an understanding of human rights in practice.



CORE-UA 536 Cultures & Contexts: Indigenous Australia

For course description, please consult the College Core Curriculum website: http://core.cas.nyu.edu



IDSEM-UG 1711 Politics, Writing and the Nobel Prize in Latin America

In the course of the twentieth century, seven Latin American authors have won the Nobel Prize: Gabriela Mistral (1945); Miguel Angel Asturias (1967); Pablo Neruda (1971); Gabriel García Márquez (1982); Octavio Paz (1990); Rigoberto Menchú (Peace Prize, 1992); Mario Vargas Llosa (2010). Together, they give us a chance to consider some of the major literary and political movements in Latin America leading up to the present. Through novels and autobiography, Asturias and Menchú explore very different aspects of the indigenous struggle in Guatemala; the poetry of Mistral and Neruda reveals the successive influences of surrealism, communism, socialism, up to the eve of the Pinochet coup in Chile; the novels of García Márquez in Colombia and Vargas Llosa in Peru embody different sides of magical realism; and Paz, in Mexico, in his poetry and essays, represents a country that has been a literary cornerstone of Latin America. We will look at these authors in the context of the history, politics, and anthropology of their respective countries, and conclude by considering a few authors who did not get the prize but were equally deserving,such as Jorge Luis Borges and Roberto Bolaño.



IDSEM-UG 1883 Aesthetic Justice

How is art made to matter through the law? How do policies for governing cultural heritage define art as a valued resource to be protected for future generations, and what are the histories and anxieties surrounding these regulations? This course will focus on several instances of art’s intersections with legal regimes, with special attention to the attempt to treat art as a form of property. We will look at examples of legal conflict over the status and meaning of art including: the censorship of “dangerous” art and exhibitions; the repatriation of Indigenous cultural property in the United States, Australia, Aotearoa/New Zealand, and Canada; uses of art as evidence in court hearings; and the place of propaganda in international art worlds. We will develop understandings of how art shapes and is shaped by the “lawfare” that regulates property and propriety. Moving beyond representational understandings of art, we will engage with the connective and critical practices of artists such as Bonnie Devine, Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons, Félix González-Torres, James Luna, Fred Wilson, and Lorna Simpson. We will read texts by social and critical theorists who interrogate the relationships between aesthetics and justice, including Jennifer González, Audra Simpson, and Lynda Nead.


IDSEM-UG 1900 Indigenous Futures: Decolonizing NYC - Documenting the Lenape Trail

The seminar is a collaborative research project working with experts and knowledge bearers, including Algonquian language scholars, digital mappers, and artists, to explore the many facets of indigenous life along the Lenape Trail in 1609. Shrouded in the mythos of an island real estate deal for “baubles,” the “purchase” of colonial Nieuw Amsterdam has always been suspect. The Wayfinding Lab will use technologies, time-tested and cutting edge, to reconstruct fragments of the Lenape Trail now known as Broadway. The engaged, layered, multi-organized knowledge of the Lenape peoples linked to the coastal estuaries of Mannahatta has been scattered to all corners of North America. Yet revitalizing that indigenous philosophy, respecting the people, and reckoning with the unresolved past is foundational towards an enhanced understanding of how to change the here and now, especially in the era of environmental and climate degradation. The Wayfinding Lab will be experimenting with AR/VR conveying the simultaneous presence of pasts and futures on one parcel of Broadway.


SPAN-UA 300 The Iberian Atlantic

This course explores the Iberian Atlantic world, from Al-Andalus (Moorish Spain) and Anahuac (indigenous America) to the era of Spanish and Portuguese conquest and colonization that closely tied the Iberian Peninsula, Western Africa, and the Americas to one another in a vast oceanic inter-culture and political economy.


ANTH1-UC 5014 World Cultures: Latin America & The Caribbean

This course offers a historic and comparative study of the cultures and societies of Central and South America and the Caribbean region. Hispanic, native, and Afro-Creole cultures are analyzed with special emphasis on ethnicity, class, and nationhood. This course also reviews the historical factors that shaped and defined contemporary Latin and Caribbean cultures, including the Iberian conquest and the marginalization of indigenous peoples, the slave trade and the plantation economy, and the problems of post-colonial development.



GRAD


ANTH-GA 1215 Culture & Media I: Hist & Theory of Ethno Film

This course offers a critical revision of the history of the genre of ethnographic film, the central debates it has engaged around cross-cultural representation, and the theoretical and cinematic responses to questions of the screen representation of culture, from the early romantic constructions of Robert Flaherty to current work in film, television, and video on the part of indigenous people throughout the world. Ethnographic film has a peculiar and highly contested status within anthropology, cinema studies, and documentary practice. This seminar situates ethnographic film within the wider project of the representation of cultural lives, and especially of ?natives.? Starting with what are regarded as the first examples of the genre, the course examines how these emerged in a particular intellectual context and political economy. It then considers the key works that have defined the genre, and the epistemological and formal innovations associated with them, addressing questions concerning social theory, documentary, as well as the institutional structures through which they are funded, distributed, and seen by various audiences. Throughout, the course keeps in mind the properties of film as a signifying practice, its status as a form of anthropological knowledge, and the ethical and political concerns raised by cross-cultural representation.


ANTH-GA 2600 The Anthropology of Human Rights

Examines the contemporary elaboration and dissemination of human rights law and discourse in the post-World War II period. Explores the opposition between culture and rights and examines current anthropological work on human rights in political struggles in various parts of the world. Specific areas of focus include indigenous rights and women’s rights. The course also examines transnational, deterritorialized, and multi-sited ethnographic research methods for studying human rights.


IDSEM-UG 1900 Indigenous Futures: Decolonizing NYC - Documenting the Lenape Trail

The seminar is a collaborative research project working with experts and knowledge bearers, including Algonquian language scholars, digital mappers, and artists, to explore the many facets of indigenous life along the Lenape Trail in 1609. Shrouded in the mythos of an island real estate deal for “baubles,” the “purchase” of colonial Nieuw Amsterdam has always been suspect. The Wayfinding Lab will use technologies, time-tested and cutting edge, to reconstruct fragments of the Lenape Trail now known as Broadway. The engaged, layered, multi-organized knowledge of the Lenape peoples linked to the coastal estuaries of Mannahatta has been scattered to all corners of North America. Yet revitalizing that indigenous philosophy, respecting the people, and reckoning with the unresolved past is foundational towards an enhanced understanding of how to change the here and now, especially in the era of environmental and climate degradation. The Wayfinding Lab will be experimenting with AR/VR conveying the simultaneous presence of pasts and futures on one parcel of Broadway.



SPRING 2016 COURSE OFFERINGS


UNDERGRADUATE


ARTS-UG 1431 Of Fire and Blood: Art-making, Culture and Mythology in Mexico

A rich landscape of art and culture flourished in Mexico for thousands of years beginning with the Olmec civilization at around the second millennium before Christ. With the arrival of the Spaniards in 1519, a new hybrid culture resulted from the fusion of Iberian and Native American cultures. This Arts Workshop will examine the art, culture and mythology of Mesoamerica, combining it with hands on art making. It will move chronologically in the following manner: the Olmec culture; Teotihuacan, or the City of the Gods; the Toltecs of Tula, and Quetzalcoatl the “Feathered Serpent”; the hyper-religiosity of the Aztecs; and, lastly we will read almost the entire text of the Popol Vuh, the Mayan creation myth of the universe, a highly visual and almost hallucinatory document once pushed underground for centuries. Topics throughout the course will include: astrology/astronomy and calendrical dating; religion, shamanism, and ecstatic experience; mythology, and cosmological belief; human sacrifice, and finally beliefs dedicated to vampirism. It is beneficial that students have a cursory understanding of art making. Techniques such as collage, 3-D model making, drawing and painting, will be utilized as well as working from a live model. A final exhibition will be created to show students work to the NYU community.


ENGL-UA 230 American Literature I

This course surveys the evolution of literary themes and forms from the period of European exploration of the Americas through the Civil War, tracing distinctive traditions of writing and thinking that have shaped the development of modern literature and thought in the United States. How, in particular, did this writing and thought address religious, political and economic conflict? How was it shaped by encounters between European and native American cultures; the arts of religious devotion and cosmopolitan enlightenment; the cultural politics of revolution and modern nationalism; responses to the expansion of capitalism and slavery; the development of print media and modern literary values; and the philosophy and aesthetics of American transcendentalism and sentimentalism?


LING-UA 47 The Lang of America's Ethnic Minorities

Examines the role of language in communities in the United States, specifically within African American, Asian American, Latino, and Native American populations. Explores the relationship of language to culture, race, and ethnicity. In particular, it looks for similarities and differences across these communities and considers the role that language experiences play in current models of race and ethnicity.


SCA-UA 232 Ethnicity & The Media

Examines media images in relation to the making of ethnic and racial identities in the United States. Surveys some of the theoretical approaches to the study of images, paying particular attention to the intersection of history and ideologies or representation. Looks into the nature and politics of stereotypes; inquires into their reproduction through discourses, representations, and practices; and then moves to a comparative examination of media images in relation to the making of African American, Latino, Asian, and Native American images in the media, looking specifically at changes and continuities in the representation of these four minority groups in the media.


ARTH-UA 570 North American Indian Arts

Major traditions in painting, sculpture, and architecture of the native peoples of North America, Mexico, Central America, and Andean South America. Material from pre-contact times through the 20th century. Deals with questions of theory and differences between indigenous and Western world views; the relationship of the arts to shamanism, priesthoods, guardian spirits, deities, and beliefs regarding fauna and flora; impact of European contact on indigenous arts and civilization.


LAGC-UF 101 Latin American Cultures

This course is intended to give a general view of the great diversity in the areas south of the United States. Given the influences of Europe, the United States, Africa and indigenous Indian cultures on the regions varied cultures and societies, the course may cover different topics and time periods, such as the historical background to the social, political, economic, and/or ethnological issues of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries; the course may also explore the artistic developments in different countries and their relationship to larger social structures.


LING-UA 30 Language in Latin America

Examines the diversity of language usage in modern Latin America and considers historical perspectives as to how the present situation came about. Considers the dialectology of Latin America: how and why American varieties of Spanish and Portuguese differ from European varieties; the distribution and nature of dialect differences in different regions of the Americas. Examines sociolinguistic issues, such as class and ethnic differences in Spanish and Portuguese in the Americas, the origin and development of standard and nonstandard varieties, and the effects of contact with Amerindian and African languages. Considers Spanish- and Portuguese-based creoles and the question of prior creolization in the popular speech of Brazil, Cuba, and other areas with a substantial population of African descent. Other topics include bilingualism, code switching, language attitudes, the impact of contact with English, and the present status of indigenous languages.


CORE-UA 519 Cultures & Contexts: Indigenous North America


CORES-AD 29 Property

The institution of property describes one of the fundamental relationships between people: The relationship between people as it pertains to things. In this seminar, we explore how understandings of property have been influenced by cultural and ethical norms in different civilizations; how property rights have evolved with technological progress and changes in the demands of the environment; how property is affected by and influences the sphere of individual freedom, the relation between the individual and the state, and the organization of productive activity. As examples, we will look at property in the ancient civilizations of Egypt, Greece and Rome; consider the views on property expressed in Christianity and Islam; as well as the role that changing views on property played in the Declaration of Independence, the French Revolution, and the Russian Revolution. We use our insights to debate contemporary issues in property rights of interest to seminar participants. These might include intellectual property rights, rights to genetic material, inheritance, airwaves, financial regulation, the rights of indigenous tribes of the Amazon rain-forest, claims on the Arctic, or the trade-off between rights to privacy and freedom of the press.



FRSEM-UA 493 Women in Social Movements in Latin America

The overarching theme of this seminar is the exploration of women’s political agency in terms of emancipatory thought and action in diverse social movements throughout Latin America. We will locate this agency and characterize the thought and actions of women within social movements in various national contexts but we will also look at the rising trans-nationalism of the movements under scrutiny. More concretely, we will focus on indigenous and other popular sectors as well as middle class movements concentrating on the ways in which women brought new meanings and vitality to diverse forms of struggle in these movements. A central consideration in this exploration is the historical relation between movements and states and the gendered logics that enter in the negotiations between the two. This will allow us to weave women’s individual and collective thought and action in relation to their own notions of political and democratic gains and inclusion and attainment (or not) of economic, cultural, racial and gender justice vis-a-vis the state in each country examined.


LING-UA 9 Indigenous Languages of the Americas

A linguistic survey of structural and social aspects of indigenous languages throughout North, Central and South America. Through case studies of specific languages and language families, analytical concepts and skills from linguistics are introduced, focusing particularly on phonology and phonetics (sound structure). The situation of indigenous languages in the social and political sphere is also discussed in depth, through topics such as: bilingualism, language contact, language loss, education, literacy, orthography, and language policy. A large portion of the class focuses on the Quechuan languages of South America. This course is designed to appeal to students with a range of backgrounds and interests in linguistics, language, and indigenous communities in the Americas.