Undergraduate Module Descriptor
ANT2003: Current Debates in Anthropology
This module descriptor refers to the 2016/7 academic year.
|Term(s) and duration|
This module ran during term 1 (11 weeks)
ANT1004, ANT1005, ANT/SOC1003
|Available via distance learning|
This course will delineate some recent trajectories in anthropological theory. Over the course of eleven weeks we are going to explore four directions in which anthropological thought appears to be moving; but this is a joint adventure, because unlike the history of anthropological thought, contemporary debates shift and change as we speak. The course is structured into five parts: four ‘turns’ or reorientations of thought; and a look towards the horizon. We shall open with discussions of time and the ‘temporal turn’, especially the ways in which our time is inflected by the state and the market; but also our epoch, the so-called Anthropocene, a time of unprecedented anthropogenic planetary changes. This is followed by a discussion of ethics and morality, or the ‘ethical turn’, characterised by an increased attention to how moral lives are crafted in the everyday. In the following weeks we shall discuss the ‘ontological turn’, marked by a call to use indigenous ontologies to shed critical light onto dominant assumptions in Western thought, as well as an increased interest in non-human actors, including ‘things’; and the ‘affective turn’, which seeks to shift attention to affective states, moving away from emotions as individual states and instead towards feelings as coming into being in interaction with the world. Finally, we shall turn our attention to the future, covering a range of theoretical engagements with a prospective orientation: work on doubt and uncertainty, but also hope, creativity and imagination. The concluding session interrogates the idea of a ‘turn’ and suggests some underlying similarities and problems in these various debates.