course

This course considers state bureaucracies, international organizations, financial institutions, and NGOs as sites of anthropological research. Drawing on classic social theory and contemporary work in the areas of political anthropology, the anthropology of policy, and science and technology studies, among others, we examine conceptualizations of fieldwork and the field site, the challenges and dilemmas of conducting ethnographic research within institutional settings, and the relation of theory and method. Class readings and discussions are complemented by assignments that offer students the opportunity to conduct original research and produce their own institutional ethnographies. The course aims to demonstrate the ways in which anthropology can expand and deepen understandings of institutional power and practice, as well as the ways in which anthropological theory and practice have developed through the study of institutions.