Graduate Courses with a focus on Critical Theory and Thought

GRMN 5051 Critical Theory of the Frankfurt School – Jette Gindner – Spring 2021

Serves as an introduction to the "Frankfurt School" and Critical Theory with particular emphasis upon rationality, social psychology, cultural criticism, and aesthetics. Through close readings of key texts by members of the school (Adorno, Benjamin, Horkheimer, Marcuse etc.) we will work toward a critical understanding of the analytical tools they developed and consider their validity. Required course for the Critical Theory Certificate.

GRMN 5510 States of Emergency and the Logic of Crises - Arne Höcker - Spring 2021
Investigates manifestations of power and authority by focusing on the concept of the state of emergency from Carl Schmitt's famous definition of sovereignty, Walter Benjamin's Critique of Violence, and Hannah Arendt's study of totalitarianism, to Giorgio Agamben's Homo Sacer, and Naomi Klein's "disaster capitalism". We will look into the history of crises and how crises have influenced perceptions of historical progress. From natural catastrophe and war, to terrorism and the global Covid-19 pandemic, we will discuss how crises have driven the demand for sovereign forms of authority.
Approved as elective for the Critical Theory Certificate.

ETHN5102: Special Topics in Africana Studies:

Black Women and Black Feminisms - Hillary Potter - Spring 2021

This is a graduate-level seminar that examines the lived experiences of Black girls and women and womanist and Black and Africana feminist theories and praxes. Subjects addressed include the intersect of ethnorace, gender, sexual orientation, economic standing, nationality and other identities; misogynoir; sexual, physical, and emotional/psychological violence and exploitation; reproductive health; queerphobia and heteronormativity; criminalization and State violence; activism and liberation efforts; and the effects of racism, gendered racism, colonization, colonialist legacies, and inequitable economic, vocational, and housing circumstances on Black women and Black communities. 

ANTH 7000.005 Empire Seminar: Colonialism, Postcolonial Theory, and Decolonizing Anthropology – Carole McGranahan – Spring 2021

Is it possible to understand the contemporary world without reference to empire? This seminar starts from the premise that it is not, that a history of the present requires attention to the colonial and postcolonial, as well as the imperial and still-imperial aspects of the world. In this seminar we will read broadly and deeply in the interdisciplinary Colonial Studies, Postcolonial Theory, and Settler Colonialism literatures considering a global range of imperial formations of and well beyond classic European empires. We will consider both the anthropology of empire, as well as anthropology as empire, including what a decolonized anthropology might look like. In line with this, an important portion of this class will be devoted to public anthropology, that is conducting our anthropology in public, for all to read and engage with. Learning how to be respectful in spaces long colonized, and to do the intellectual, community, and practice work to decolonize such spaces will be an integral part of this seminar. 

ARSC 5040.001 Ethnographic Methods: A Mini-Course – Carole McGranahan – Spring 2021 (CARTSS)

What is ethnography and what are ethnographic methods? In this mini-course, students will be introduced to ethnography as both a way of knowing and as something to know, and to ethnographic methods as a field-based practice. Topics covered will include ethnographic sensibilities, theory, writing, and hands-on participant-observation. 

LAWS 8455-801 Seminar: Gender & Criminal Justice – Carolyn Ramsey – Spring 2021

Explores the intersection of gender and criminal justice in such areas as police and prosecutorial discretion, the investigation and prevention of crimes, the definition of offenses and defenses, factors contributing to criminality, criminal sentencing and the experience of punishment, and the societal ramifications of incarcerating children's caregivers.

LAWS 6008 Foundations of International Legal Thought - Justin Desautels-Stein - Spring 2022

Provides students with a broad historical and philosophical introduction to international law. Addresses the basic concept of sovereignty as it was understood between 1492 and World War II, in the contexts of the Spanish conquest of the Americas, the international legality of the slave trade, relations between the Ottoman Empire and the so-called Great Powers, the Chinese opium wars, and the rise of modern international institutions. In the foundational style of the humanities, this course offers an intellectual context for LAWS 6400 and the rest of the international law curriculum.

GRMN 5030 Foundations of Critical Theory – every Fall term

An introductory study of nineteenth-century German philosophy (from Kant, Hegel, Marx to Nietzsche and Freud). Required course for the graduate certificate in Critical Theory.

ANTH 7000 Ethnography and/as Theory – Carole McGranahan

What is the ethnographic? How do we practice and write ethnography? In this seminar, we will look beyond ethnography as method to consider ethnography as theory. Ethnographic knowledge is both epistemology and ontology, a way of knowing and a way of being. It is experiential, embodied, and empathetic, and is the foundation of field efforts to arrive at—as Clifford Geertz so famously stated in 1973—how people collectively explain themselves…to themselves. It is through ethnography that we can get to “where true life and real lives meet.” Ethnography is excessive and it is messy, but so is life. Our goal in ethnographic research is to get to this excess and messiness, to the lived expectations, complexities, contradictions, and possibilities of any given cultural group. In this seminar, we will explore ethnographic theory through reading widely across contemporary anthropological ethnography.