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Queer/Anthropology: Ethnographic Approaches to Queer Studies
ANTH 398
Spring 2010
Section: 01  
Crosslisting: FGSS 398, AMST 398

This advanced seminar is organized around one central question: Can there be a queer anthropology?

Cultural anthropology and queer studies are often posed as oppositional fields, with the debate boiling down to methods/people/social science versus theory/abstractions/the humanities. Some anthropologists accuse queer studies scholars of excessive theoretical abstraction, narrow interest in Western forms of knowledge and power, and elitist, nonpopulist critiques of the political goals or modes of sexuality that "everyday" people desire (e.g., same-sex marriage). Meanwhile, while queer studies scholars take a less overtly hostile stance toward anthropology, they instead borrow its hallmark methodology (participant observation and cultural analysis) while ignoring questions of the politics of representation, the relationships between history and change, and the vexed understandings of culture that produce anthropology's most finely-tuned, sensitive ethnographic texts.

This course asks, Is it possible to resist this disciplinary debate and instead see anthropology and queer studies working productively with and against each other? We will pursue this question through a careful reading of a series of newly published queer ethnographies as well as work within queer studies that takes a more or less ethnographic approach. We will ask, Can a field such as anthropology, a foundationally humanistic field, be queer? Can there be an anti-agentic ethnography--an ethnography without people-as-agents? Or, conversely, can queer studies be coupled with ethnographic methodologies? How might one do an ethnography of queerness?

This is an advanced, reading-heavy seminar. We will read and discuss one ethnography a week. The last weeks of the course are TBD so that we can read work in which you are particularly interested. Because of the advanced nature of this course, prior preparation in queer studies (AMST or FGSS) and/or cultural anthropology is required. E-mail me if you are unsure about your previous coursework/preparation.

Essential Capabilities: Intercultural Literacy
course asks whether "queerness" or queer ethnography is possible outside the US/Western Europe; readings are cross-cultural and ethnographic, exploring sexuality in Indonesia, the US, Brazil, India, etc.
Credit: 1 Gen Ed Area Dept: SBS ANTH
Course Format: SeminarGrading Mode: Graded
Level: UGRD Prerequisites: None
Fulfills a Major Requirement for: (AMST)(FGSS)
Past Enrollment Probability: Not Available

Last Updated on NOV-17-2017
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