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Course Details

Spring 2015-2016
* ANT 453 / AFS 453 (SA)   Graded A-F, P/D/F, Audit

Rituals of Governing

Lauren Coyle

The spiritual and the sacred hold enduring significance across many central realms of political and social life. Anthropological studies productively unsettle standard assumptions in many aspects of Western thought, which often presume the declining importance of religion and spirituality in political life. This course draws upon classic and contemporary anthropological works on a range of topics concerning cultures of governing, including ritual theory, divine rule, stranger-kings, witchcraft and magic, spirituality and embodiment, and law. Secondarily, the course engages materials from film, psychoanalysis, literature, and critical theory.

Sample reading list:
Taussig, Michael, The Magic of the State
Sahlins, Marshall, Islands of History
Bataille, Georges, The Accursed Share
Geschiere, Peter, The Modernity of Witchcraft
Pietz, William, The Problem of the Fetish
Benjamin, Walter, Critique of Violence

Reading/Writing assignments:
About 100 pages of reading per week. Take-home midterm exam (5-6 pp.). Final paper in lieu of final exam (9-10 pp.)

Requirements/Grading:
Paper in lieu of Final - 45%
Take Home Mid term Exam - 25%
Oral Presentation(s) - 20%
Class/Precept Participation - 10%

Schedule/Classroom assignment:

Class numberSectionTimeDaysRoomEnrollmentStatus
43568 S01 1:30 pm - 4:20 pm W   Aaron Burr Hall   216   Enrolled:12 Limit:20