The contemporary moment could not be more controversial in black social movements. From responses to the enduring effects of transatlantic and plantation slavery, to the historic lynching of black bodies, to histories of rape and contemporary police violence and mass incarceration, the issues are significant and have fueled histories of protest. These protests have taken a range of different forms and demand that we consider both the complex and multivariant ways that people engage in the development of a more livable world. In an attempt to make sense of new models of humanity and new methods of knowing, this course will ask what tools we need to understand demands for a radical imagination through which to pose questions about histories and contemporary realities of black social protest.

Through the interrogation of the symbols and meanings of black life, we will examine the ongoing theories and tools through which various forms of protest and social life circulate. From imagery related to black nationalist and black power fist pumps, to black queer imagery, to monument removal movements to Caribbean dance hall, the course will focus on black symbols of engagement and their socio-political, historical and affective contexts and will end with new gendered and sexual imaginaries that connect the black body to various forms of unapologetic sexual imaginaries. We will end the course by asking who gets to determine which symbols should occupy various private and public spaces and, in doing so, we will interrogate the means and considerations through which such practices happen.

This course explores notions of justice as they are being invoked and mobilized in transnational spaces – from social mobilization movements, to refugee claims, to international courts and to various domestic spaces, the course explores the meanings of justice, its principles and core tenets as well as the institutions and politics that make its claims viable. With a focus on popular conceptions, legal principles and political and democratic assumptions, the course explores the spheres of engagement, contestations, forms of instrumentalism as well as the forms of affective expressions that are part of it. The goal is to offer students an opportunity to learn about and critically reflect on the processes and purposes through which transnational justice is being made, structured, contested and remade in the contemporary period.

The objective of this course is to provide an introduction to ethnographic field methods in cultural anthropology.  The focus is on using and analyzing qualitative research methods in order to develop the skills to conduct and pursue socio-cultural exploration and analysis.  We will examine a wide array of fieldwork approaches (referred to as techniques) ranging from data collection procedures such as participant observation, structured and semi-structured interview techniques, event analysis, and survey development.   Data analysis will involve making sense of ethnographic data collection techniques, text coding and survey coding.  The course is divided into twelve weeks and organized into three main sections: (1) Anthropology and the Making and Unmaking of a Science, (2) Ethnographic Field Research: Techniques and Methods, and (3) Reflections on “the state” of the Ethnography.  Students should expect to spend a considerable amount of time with their own project development, data collection, and analysis, as well with offering feedback to others.   The readings and discussions will be combined with actual fieldwork-based projects by which students will collect data and analyze findings.  Much of the emphasis will be on learning fieldwork techniques and putting them into practice—that is, the hands-on implementation of ethnographic techniques in highly controlled contexts.

As scholars of social change grapple with the changing scope and scale of global human interaction and the speed and sites of interconnection, amongst the most challenging developments have been how to make sense of global interconnections. This course examines the intersection of globalization processes with social and cultural diversity explored through the use of ethnography. The goal is to understand the cultural dimensions of social change with the added goal of grounding students in theories of social change and various forms of circulation as well as to ponder the limits of theorizing globalization as a unique form of social change. We will cover scholarship that explores issues related to modernity, transnational formations, growing economic equality, bio-genetics, changing forms of corporality, diasporic formations, shifting identities and the processes of subject formation within specific historical and contemporary contexts.

This is an introductory course in international law and politics and explores legal and political approaches to the study of states, their actors, the afterlife of their decisions, and the political challenges of co-operation and enforcement. Taking international law to be law that deals with the relationships between states, or between persons or entities in different states and international politics to be how states and non-state actors cooperate and compete on political issues, we will begin by examining theories, histories and philosophical foundations concerning the emergence and rise of modern state sovereignty, notions of citizenship and the rise of the individual. We will then examine the role of international law in addressing issues relating to economic investment, human rights, the rule of law, international criminal law, and the management of international trade and laws of war. The goal is to acquaint students with concepts and ideas for understanding the contemporary statecraft. This ranges from relationships among a range of actors in international and new regional domains (from states to activists and transnational NGO mobilizers, to the media, the UN and other inter-governmental organizations and victims), to the analytic tools for exploring the actors and institutions that characterize world politics.

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