Other Ways of Being Human: Alternative Sexualities, Family, and Kinship Systems

School of Consciousness and Transformation ANTH 6166 3.00

Being human under the conditions of late capitalism has become increasingly more precarious as neoliberal forms of governmentality produce less viable forms of life and sociality. Yet we can qualify this statement with two observations. First, that a longer history of oppression has been creating an extreme state of uncertainty or "state of emergency." As Walter Benjamin famously wrote in 1940, "The tradition of the oppressed teaches us that the 'state of emergency' in which we live is not the exception but the rule." Second, alongside the violent legacies of oppression--including colonialism, capitalism, sexism, and others--there have always been forms of resistance, survival, and even flourishing of lives lived otherwise. While human social relations have always been anthropology's object of study, in this course we will focus on how critical, feminist, queer, and postcolonial theories and experiences have challenged and transformed anthropological engagements with human social and cultural formations. We will consider how categories of difference and experience are not static but shifting and mutually constitutive and always in relation to power. As such, much of the scholarship we will be reading thinks through different forms of social belonging, sometimes tethered to normative privileges and others that move towards non-normative, or other ways of being. Our approach will be thematic, organized around specific topics, including transpolitics, homonationalism, biopolititcs, posthumanism, and multispecies approaches, amongst others. Priority to ANTH students

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