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Course Catalog

Courses Primarily for Graduate Students

ANTHRO 485 – Mind, Body, and Health

This course will provide a graduate level introduction to the anthropology of mind, body, and health. We will address broadly the question of how Anthropologists understand and investigate the social and cultural contexts of health and illness and the diverse ways in which humans use cultural resources to cope with pain, illness, suffering and healing. In addition, we will analyze medical practices as cultural systems, as well as the ways in which health, body, and mind are socially and politically constructed and manipulated, bodies are controlled and policed, and definitions of mind and mental processes influence and are influenced by social context. There will be a particular focus on the concepts of embodiment and trauma and their various uses and meanings in specific contexts. We will combine an examination of current theoretical paradigms with ethnographic case material from a number of societies, including Brazil, Japan, the US, and Canada. The goal of this comparative endeavor will be to analyze similarities and differences across understandings of mind and body and systems of healing, and to examine American perspectives, behaviors, and practices critically in order to illuminate the ways in which they are socially embedded and culturally specific.

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ART_HIST 430 – Studies in Renaissance Art: Exposed to the Elements: Matter and Knowledge in Early Modern Europe (at Newberry)

Econ 420-2 – European Economic History

Application of economic theory and other quantitative techniques to studies of European economic evolution.

HISTORY 405-0-30 – Embodiment/ Materiality/ Affect Seminar in Historical Analysis

A varying menu of courses in methodology and/or theory. At least two seminars are offered every year.

Topic Varies by instructor. See Caesar for current course description.

HISTORY 485 – Literature of the History of Science

Recent scholarship in the history of science, technology and medicine has sought to open for examination the processes by which certain features of the world—including our social life—have come to be marked out as "natural," even as they have paradoxically been made more subject to control. But how was the boundary between the natural and the artificial drawn in the first place? And how has the character of this knowledge been shaped by its social and political context? In this class we read historical works alongside articles from the field of science studies. The course moves temporally from the early modern era to the twenty-first century, covering topics ranging from the role of wonder, artisanal labor, and global exchange in the rise of scientific knowledge… to science's more recent roles in state-building, marker of racial and sexual difference, and predictor of our climate's future. Throughout we will treat knowledge-making as a social process that involves the labor of many different kinds of people, working in ways that simultaneously reflect and reshape the broader culture.

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MTS 525-0-21 – Graduate Seminar: Environment and Climate Issues in MTS

This Ph. D. seminar investigates environmental and climatological issues in relation to the field of Media, Technology, and Society. The seminar is organized into five themes, with a book and additional readings (additional readings provided via Canvas) for each theme: Land (Schwoch, Wired Into Nature); Sea (Starosielski, The Undersea Network); Sky and Outer Space (Jones-Imhotep, The Unreliable Nation); Animals (Benson, Wired Wilderness); and Humans (Latour, Down To Earth.) In addition to readings, discussions, screenings, and in-class presentations, students will conduct research relevant to the themes of the class and their own Ph. D. research trajectories. There are several research possibilities for students. You might consider starting a research paper or grant application, doing early work in anticipation of eventually teaching a course in this area, or doing advance reading for a qualifying exam or for your dissertation. There might also be collaborative research possibilities at NU, to be discussed.

Rel 471-20 – Graduate Seminar: Embodiment, Materiality, Affect

This seminar explores theoretical approaches to the problems of embodiment/materiality/affect. One aim of the course is to examine various methodological approaches to embodiment, materiality and affect, making use of sociology and philosophy (Pierre Bourdieu, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Spinoza, Massumi). The second and closely related aim is to situate bodies in time and place, that is, in history. Here we look to the particular circumstances that shaped the manner in which historical actors experienced their bodies in the Christian west (Peter Brown, Caroline Bynum, Mary Carruthers, Michel de Certeau, Michel Foucault). Ultimately, we will be examining theoretical tools while we put them to work. The goal: how to use these thinkers to write more dynamic, creative, interesting scholarship.

Soc 406-3 – Contemporary Theory in Sociological Analysis

Modernity has become a contested term. This class investigates how various thinkers have conceived of what it means to be "modern" or "post-modern," critiques of modernity that have profoundly shaped our images of it, and skeptics who challenge the idea of modernity. It also includes sections that investigate in detail what I call "mechanisms" of modernity: procedures, devices, approaches or strategies that people adopt or promulgate in their efforts to be rational, manage uncertainty and conflict, or attain efficiency in various institutional arenas.

SOCIOL 406 – Contemporary Theory

Modernity has become a contested term. This class investigates how various thinkers have conceived of what it means to be “modern" or "post-modern," critiques of modernity that have profoundly shaped our images of it, and skeptics who challenge the idea of modernity. It also includes sections that investigate in detail what I call "mechanisms" of modernity: procedures, devices, approaches or strategies that people adopt or promulgate in their efforts to be rational, manage uncertainty and conflict, or attain efficiency in various institutional arenas.

SOCIOL 476 – Sociology of Health, Illness, and Biomedicine

This course will provide an introduction to central topics in the sociology of health, illness, and biomedicine. At the same time, it will show how that field has been redefined and reinvigorated by science and technology studies. We will seek to understand health, health care, and biomedicine by exploring multiple domains: the work sites in which health professionals interact with one another, with their tools, and with their clients; the research settings where medical knowledge and technologies are generated; the cultural arenas within which ideas of health and disease circulate; the market relations that produce health care as a commodity; the institutions and practices that transform social inequalities into health disparities; the social movements that challenge the authority of experts; and the bodies and selves that experience and are remade by illness.

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