The objective of this course is to take an in-depth look at the “Other”. We’ll think about and discuss the concept itself, hone in on the norms and techniques that have been used to identify and marginalize groups of people, and highlight some of the concrete roles “others” have played in the shaping of our communities.
From a historical perspective, the course will focus in on different instances wherein "others" have played a crucial role in societal change. From a cross-cultural perspective, we will become acquainted with the different practices, institutions and norms that contribute to "othering" not only people, but also wildlife, the world we inhabit and technical objects.
Students will be invited to conduct anthropological investigations: through critical use of advertising, political institutions, ethnography, film, literature, news media, social media data gathering, pop culture etc. you will isolate some of the techniques through which types of othering occur and are perpetuated.
Finally, a philosophical component will help us understand what the terms “other”, “otherness” and “othering” might mean for those who wish to use them: not only theorists, but also poets, playwrights and novelists have contributed to our understanding of alterity and the human condition.
Coursework includes: some reading in preparation for class (theory, poetry, prose and empirical studies); stimulating class discussion; a group “decoding” project (e.g., video, advert, visual analysis…), one 5 page research paper OR fictional work exploring our theme.