Anthropology of/and/as Science

Spring 2011 – New School for Social Research, New York

Thu, 6:00 – 7:50 pm

Course description

Since anthropology has shifted its focus from the supposedly premodern to the contemporary, science – as a defining element of modern cultures – has become a key site of anthropological inquiry. This course will explore the impact Science Studies have had and could have on anthropology at large. Thematically, the course will cover a broad terrain ranging from the role of wonders in early modern science to cybernetic brain research and from the invention of the air pump in seventeenth-century England to present-day primatology and evolutionary psychology of religion. The common thread tying together this series of discussions is the question of how the discipline of anthropology should deal with different ontologies and its own ontological commitment to the distinction between nature and culture. Does the contestation of this dichotomy by Science Studies not also challenge the opposition of cultural and biological anthropology?