Eugene Lang College Lib Arts: Anthropology

Liberal Arts

Undergraduate Course

Degree Students


Fall 2019

Taught By: Cedric Williams

Section: A

CRN: 7476

Credits: 4

“Just be yourself,” they say: such an empty and yet pressing demand. And indeed, the question of individualism has long troubled social scientists. Is the individual the atomic unit of all social action, or is individualism an ideology that clouds the collective nature of society? Against the universalizing nature of such questions, anthropologists have long argued that individualism is particular to Western, Modern, Capitalist or even Anglo-American societies. Many indigenous and subaltern peoples do not appear to recognize individualism as an essential sense of self or basis of social organization: ethnologies of Melanesia and Amazonia have been particularly instrumental in throwing individualism into relief. And yet, if individualism is socio-historically produced, what is the history of that production? Is individuality a secularization of the medieval soul, the product of Renaissance fashions, the seat of Enlightened reason and the basis for equality or, conversely, the outcome of a Romantic glorification of difference and inequality? In this course, we will ask: What is individualism? Where and how is it achieved or produced? How has it been gendered, racialized, and politicized? We will read the classic anthropological and sociological theories on the matter (Mauss, Dumont, Simmel, etc.) and also pursue alternative individualisms (anarcho-individualism, feminist individualism, etc.) that bely and question these theories. This course will satisfy the reading and writing requirements.

College: Eugene Lang College Lib Arts (LC)

Department: Anthropology (LANT)

Campus: New York City (GV)

Course Format: Seminar (R)

Max Enrollment: 18

Add/Drop Deadline: September 9, 2019 (Monday)

Online Withdrawal Deadline: November 17, 2019 (Sunday)

Seats Available: No

Status: Closed*

*Status information is updated every five minutes. The status of this course may have changed since the last update. Open seats may have restrictions that will prevent some students from registering. Updated: 1:11pm 1/26/2020 EST

Meeting Info:

Days: Tuesday, Thursday

Times: 10:00am - 11:40am

Building: 6 East 16th Street

Room: 911

Date Range: 8/27/2019 - 12/12/2019