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Theory 2: Anthropology of Affect

ANTH 296
Spring 2015
Section: 01  
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 overarching 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 its antecedents. This semester, our topic is the anthropology of affect.

Affect--to affect and be affected. Anthropologists and other social theorists from Durkheim onward have considered questions of bodies, sensation, emotion, and social change. In recent years, the "affective turn" in the humanities and humanistic social sciences has brought renewed attention to these dynamics. For some, affect is contrasted with emotion; it is potential or capacity, not set cultural meaning. For others, affect is contrasted with structure or form; it is bodily sensation or intensity--dynamic, energetic, mobile. And for others still, affect might enable us to grasp how it feels to inhabit a life world, a particular atmosphere, texture, sensuality, the feel of things.

This course explores the genealogy and range of theories of affect, foregrounding anthropology's distinctive contributions to and critiques of the study of affect. We'll discuss ways that centralizing affect might disrupt dichotomies of structure/agency, opening up modes of analysis that are not centered on cultural meaning-making, and enabling us to explore forms of life that exceed human subjects and socialities. Readings will tack between more theoretical essays and ethnographic representations of affect, sensuality, mobility, and emotion.
Credit: 1 Gen Ed Area Dept: SBS ANTH
Course Format: Lecture / DiscussionGrading Mode: Graded
Level: UGRD Prerequisites: ANTH101
Fulfills a Major Requirement for: (ANTH)(SISP-Anth Conc)
Past Enrollment Probability: 90% or above

Last Updated on JUL-25-2017
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