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

School of Consciousness and Transformation ANTH 6166 3.00

Kinship is one of the most basic principles for organizing individuals into social groups, roles, categories, and genealogy. Feminist postcolonial interventions, along with critical race and queer theorists, have highlighted the centrality of the intersecting roles of gender, race, sexuality, class, coloniality, and Western biomedical/life sciences that shape the lived experiences of women and “queer” subjects historically and in the present. What has emerged in the process are new understandings of human kinship relations revealing the multitude of alternative human kin relations, though structured by historical and current power hierarchies, that flourish and challenge heteronormativity (in marriage, family, reproduction) and biological essentialism as the necessary grounds for a flourishing life, formation of families, and being human. As we consider the relation between power and sexuality, we will explore which lives, forms of desire, and embodiment are enabled over others. In this course, we will consider the roles of science, technology, and medicine in constructing and redefining normative gender and sexualities, and will examine the challenges posed against these definitions by individuals and social movements across time and different geographies. Priority to ANTH students

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