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Spring 2015-2016
ANT 406 (EC)   na, npdf

Theoretical Orientations in Cultural Anthropology - Conspiracy Theory and Social Theory

Elizabeth A. Davis

What does it mean to theorize in paranoid times? Social theory shares with conspiracy theory an array of analytic tools for connecting seemingly disparate cultural practices, characterizing the consciousness and agency of political subjects, and accounting structurally for the invisible workings of power. This course will examine these intersections between conspiracy theory and social theory on epistemological and ethical grounds, asking what kinds of knowledge are enabled and what kinds of politics are empowered by conspiracy theories and by their debunking, and how theorists use different kinds of evidence to substantiate their claims.

Sample reading list:
Naomi Klein, The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism
Michael Taussig, The Nervous System
Joseph Masco, The Theater of Operations
Adriana Petryna, When Experiments Travel
James Faubion, The Shadows and Lights of Waco: Milennialism Today
Thomas Sugrue, The Origins of the Urban Crisis

Reading/Writing assignments:
Approximately 200 pages of reading per week. Students will give one class presentation, and write short (2-3 pp) weekly reading responses as well as a final 15-pp paper.

Requirements/Grading:
Papers - 30%
Oral Presentation(s) - 10%
Term Paper(s) - 35%
Class/Precept Participation - 25%

Other Requirements:
Not Open to Freshmen.

Prerequisites and Restrictions:
At least one anthropology course or permission of instructor..

Schedule/Classroom assignment:

Class numberSectionTimeDaysRoomEnrollmentStatus
41862 S01 1:30 pm - 4:20 pm T   Friend Center   306   Enrolled:11 Limit:15