Labels, Categories and Names: The Anthropology of People "Out of Place"

Schools of Public Engagement: Social Sciences

Liberal Arts

Undergraduate Course

Degree Students

Labels, Categories, Names

Spring 2020

Taught By: Rachel Heiman

Section: A

CRN: 7240

Credits: 3

We are in a global political moment in which the need for interrogating the labels, categories, and names in our midst is particularly acute. Anthropology is a discipline with a long history of critically and publically engaging the limiting and often grave use of particular concepts. Over 80 years ago, anthropologist Ruth Benedict, one of the leading figures in the cross-cultural exploration of diverse behaviors, made a declaration to her colleagues in the field of psychology that was extremely radical for the times: Behaviors that many Americans considered abnormal, such as same-sex sex or going into a trance state, were regarded as normal elsewhere. Therefore, Benedict proclaimed, abnormalities were not caused by individual psychological or biological problems; rather, they were the products of a society’s system of defining and classifying so-called normal behavior. In this course we read anthropologists and other social theorists who explore the extraordinary power of labels, categories, and names to include and to exclude, to create people in their image and to be altered by those same people, and to be both politically problematic and politically useful. Our topics range from transgender identities to refugee status to racial categories of colonial rule.

College: Schools of Public Engagement (NS)

Department: Social Sciences (NSOS)

Campus: New York City (GV)

Course Format: Seminar (R)

Max Enrollment: 18

Add/Drop Deadline: February 9, 2020 (Sunday)

Online Withdrawal Deadline: May 13, 2020 (Wednesday)

Seats Available: Yes

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: 8:50am 6/3/2020 EDT

Meeting Info:

Days: Monday

Times: 6:00pm - 7:50pm

Building: Johnson/Kaplan 66 West 12th

Room: 518

Date Range: 1/27/2020 - 5/11/2020