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ANT 4274 Political Anthropology

Dr. Chalfin

Political Anthropology is a vast field covering the spectrum of human political organization past and present. In addition to documenting the organization of political life in small-scale societies, political anthropologists are concerned with the incorporation of such societies into wider political orders via colonialism, capitalism and processes of predatory expansion. The field equally seeks to understand the similarities and differencesbetween indigenous, non-western and non-modern polities, and modern states. As few so-called ‘traditional societies’ remain to be discovered -or have ceased to exist -political anthropologists are increasingly preoccupied with the nation-state and global/planetary processes. At the same time, the preoccupations of political anthropology are down-shifting in scale to consider molecular and what have been coined ‘microbiopolitical’ processes. With this in mind, the course combines classic themes and case studies in political anthropology with interrogations of issues of new interest to anthropology such as border security and migration policy, climate change and the notion of the ‘anthropocene,’ energy extraction and large scale infrastructure, and multispecies relations. Some of these topics force scholars and students of anthropology alike to chart new ground at the same time they return us to core questions about strategies of human cooperation, the regulation of human mobility and the humans’ place in nature. Case studies will be global in scope with special consideration given to African issues to reflect faculty research expertise. The class is seminar style and discussion intensive with opportunities for group projects, independent research and experiential learning.

For more information contact Dr. Brenda Chalfin