History 210S / Cultural Anthropology 207
Anthropology and History
Fall, 2008

Carr 229, MW, 10:05-11:20 am

Instructor: William M. Reddy
216 Carr Bldg.

This course examines the unfolding collaborations and mutual influences that have drawn anthropologists and historians together since the 1970s. We begin with texts from the 1960s, to show what the state of play was in each discipline prior to the beginning of interdisciplinary work. These texts are problematic in characteristic ways, especially when examined together. We then examine early attempts to put “culture” into history and “time” into anthropology. These initial successes had to be rethought, however, as the “linguistic turn”—especially the influence of Foucault—began to be felt, and the issue of gender came to the fore. We then look at several very different kinds of work that respond to these challenges from the early 1990s to today. Class discussions will be informal and wide-ranging.

Students are asked to participate in class discussions and to write a term paper. The paper may be either a “think-piece” that considers issues raised by the course material (and relevant outside material) or a research report. In a research report, the paper focuses on a specific subject matter that the student knows well from another course or project. Either way, the paper should focus on the problem of how to “put culture in motion,” that is, how to conceive of historical change in the everyday deep structures of common sense, personal identity, institutions, and practice. The paper topic must be selected in collaboration with the instructor, and pre-approved by the instructor, by the deadline of 23 October. Students will present very informal chats about their papers on 17 and 24 November. The paper will be due on 1 December. Class participation: 30% of grade; paper: 70% of grade.

Books ordered through the Textbook Store in Bryan Center:
Eric J. Hobsbawm, Age of Revolution (David McKay Co., Inc., 1961) ISBN: 0679772537
Claude Lévi-Strauss, Totemism (Beacon, 1962) ISBN: 080704671X
William H. Sewell, Work and Revolution in France: The Language of Labor from the Old Regime to 1848 (Cambridge 1980) ISBN: 0521299519
Edward W. Said, Orientalism (Vintage 1978) ISBN: 0-394-74067-X
Marshall Sahlins, Islands of History (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1985)
Sherry Ortner, High Religion - A Cultural & Political Historical History of Sherpa Buddhism (Princeton 1989) ISBN: 0691028435
John L. Comaroff, and Jean Comaroff, Of Revelation and Revolution (Chicago, 1991) ISBN: 0226114422
Kumkum Sangari and Sudesh Vaid, eds., Recasting Women: Essays in Colonial History (New Delhi: Kali for Women, 1989)
Ann Laura Stoler, Race and the Education of Desire: Foucault’s History of Sexuality and the Colonial Order of Things (Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 1995)
William H.Sewell, Logics of History: Social Theory and Social Transformation (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2005)
Engseng Ho, The Graves of Tarim: Genealogy and Mobility Across the Indian Ocean (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2006) ISBN: 0520244540

These books will all be placed on reserve in Lilly Library.


25 August. Introduction

27 August. Cultural anthropology in the 1960s, Part 1.
Geertz, Clifford “Person, Time, and Conduct in Bali,” Interpretations of Culture (Basic Books, 1973)—available on the course web site, under “Course Documents.”

1-3 September. Cultural anthropology in the 1960s, Part 2.
Lévi-Strauss, Totemism, entire

8 September. Social history in the 1960s.
Hobsbawm, The Age of Revolution, 1-76, 149-181

10 September. Social historians turn to anthropology, Part 1
Thompson, E. P., “The Moral Economy of the English Crowd in the Eighteenth Century,” Past and Present No. 50 (1971): 76-136—link available on the course web site, under “Course Documents.”

15-17 September. Social historians turn to anthropology, Part 2
Sewell, William, Work and Revolution in France: The Language of Labor from the Old Regime to 1848 (Cambridge 1980), chs 1-4, 7, 9, 12

22-24 September. Anthropologists turn to history, Part 1
Sahlins, Islands of History, entire

29 September – 1 October. Anthropologists turn to history, Part 2
Ortner, High Religion, pages TBA

6-8 October. The challenge of the linguistic turn.
Said, Orientalism, 1-110, 201-265, 285-328

10-14 October – Fall Break

15 October. The question of gender.
Sangari & Vaid, Recasting Women, 27-179

20-23 October. Solutions, Part 1: Mission history.
Commaroff & Comaroff, Of Revelation and Revolution, chs. 1, 2, 4, 5, 6

23 October. Deadline for approval of paper topic.

27-29 October. Solutions, Part 2: Imperial history.
Stoler, Race and the Education of Desire, chs. 1, 2, 5, 6

4-5 November. Solutions, Part 3: Skewed history.
Ho, Graves of Tarim , chs. 1-2, 4-5, 8-9

10 November. General discussion: Culture, practice, history
Look over: George Marcus, “The End(s) of Ethnography,” Cultural Anthropology, February 2008, Vol. 23, No. 1: 1–14.
Ann Laura Stoler, “Imperial Debris: Reflections on Ruins and Ruination,” Cultural Anthropology, May 2008, Vol. 23, No. 2, pp. 191-219.
William Sewell, Jr., Logics of History,  2 essays--pp. TBA

(12 November—no class)

17 November. Student presentations.

(19 November—no class)

24 November. Student presentations.

1 December. Paper due, by 4 pm, 216 Carr Bldg.