Anthropology 295

The Culture of Intersubjectivity

Spring 2009

Time: Tuesday 1pm-3:50 Place: Haines 310
Instructors: Prof. Alessandro Duranti and Prof. Jason Throop

[Updated February 10, 2009]

NB (for students in the course): check this site every week for possible additions and changes; readings and assignments are calibrated to the pace of the class.

Course Description: An introduction to the notion of intersubjectivity and its relevance for anthropological research. The discussion will start from philosophical and anthropological accounts of human consciousness and the constitution of self in the streaming flux of social life. With an emphasis on the role of temporality in meaning-making acts, the seminar will explore the existential, semiotic, and linguistic dimensions of such key anthropological notions as: intentionality, empathy, agency, experience, and embodiment.

Prerequisites: Consent of instructors. Preference will be given to graduate students in Anthropology.

Organization: Each meeting will be divided into two parts. In the first part, the readings will be discussed together with portions of the students' written assignments. In the second part, the instructor(s) will introduce themes and issues that anticipate what students will find in the readings for the next week. All participants are potential discussants of earlier and current topics.

Grading: The grade for the class is based on class participation and weekly written assignments.

Assignments. All assignments are due via e-mail by Sunday (2 days before the next class) at 1pm to and Assignments should be conceptualized as short response papers ("short" means that, although each paper should be organized and readable, you are not writing a "whole" paper as if you were going to submit it to a journal for publication - you can think of it as a sketch of a paper or one or more sections of a paper). A topic or a question will be provided each week to the students for them to reflect on the issues currently discussed. The "response" quality of the exercise should make the paper as an extended "turn" in an on-going conversation with the instructor, with the rest of the students, and the readings. Your paper should provide an intellectual bridge between what you see as the direction and goals of the seminar at any particular moment and your own direction and goals around the same moment. Your response papers can take the form that you find the most appropriate to your style and interests. For example, you might choose to expand on a topic touched upon in the last lecture/discussion. You might also decide to argue with a particular point or author. Whatever you do, be engaged with the themes and issues of the seminar. Ideally, through your response papers you will find a way of making sense of the seminar and connect it to something that you are interested in (even if you didn't know that you were interested in it before starting the seminar). Ultimately, your weekly response papers should build up toward a final response paper that looks more like a real, whole paper, but doesn't need to be (10 weeks is a short time to really finish a paper, but you can outline an idea and go in depth in some areas, hopefully with some examples taken from your own work).

In writing their assignments, students should take into consideration that their assignment/paper might be copied and distributed (or forwarded) to the entire class or portions of it might be used for discussion (If this is not acceptable to you in general or in specific cases, make it explicit when you submit your assignment).

Books that have been ordered for this class [NB: we may not discuss each of these books in their entirety]:

i) Goffman, E. 1959. The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life. Garden City NY: Doubleday.
ii) Emmanuel Levinas. 1985. Ethics and Infinity. Conversations with Philippe Nemo. Pittsburgh: Duquesne University Press.
iii) Marco Iacoboni. 2008. Mirroring People. New York: Ferrar, Straus and Giroux.
iv) Edith Stein. 1989. On the Problem of Empathy. Washington, D.C.: ICS Publications. Other authors' articles and book chapters will be made available week by week.

Week I (March 31): Introduction to the Seminar: Why Intersubjectivity?

a) Discussion of requirements, assignments, readings.

b) Lecture: (a) On the title of the seminar; (b) Two meanings of intersubjectivity.

To read before the first meeting:
i) Alessandro Duranti. Husserl, Anthropology, and the Notion of Intersubjectivity. Paper delivered at the Austrian Academy of Sciences, Vienna, July 2007. [pdf available from the author]

Week II (April 7): Consciousness and Experience

Readings for this week:
i) William James (1890) "The Stream of Thought." Principles of Psychology . New York: Holt & Company. Pp. 224-291.
ii) William James (1912) "Does Consciousness Exist?" Essays in Radical Empiricism. New York: Longmans, Green and Co., pp. 1-38.
iii) Edmund Husserl (1962 [1913]) Ideas: General Introduction to Pure Phenomenology (Vol 1). New York: Collier. Part Two: the Fundamental Phenomenological Outlook. Ch. 3. "The Thesis of the Natural Standpoint and its Suspension," pp. 91-100; and Ch. 4. "Consciousness and Natural Reality." Pp. 101-124.
iv) Robert Desjarlais 1994 "Struggling Along: Possibilities Experience among the Homeless Mentally Ill." American Anthropologist 96(4): 886-901.
v) Victor W. Turner. 1986. "Dewey, Dilthey, and Drama: An Essay in the Anthropology of Experience," in The Anthropology of Experience. Edited by V. W. Turner and E. M. Bruner, pp. 33-44. Urbana: University of Illinois Press.
vi) C. Jason Throop (2003) "Articulating Experience." Anthropological Theory 3(2):219-241.

Week III (April 14): Intentionality

Readings for this week:
i) Edmund Husserl. 1970. Logical Investigations. Volume One, "Investigation I. Expression and Meaning," pp. 267-284.
ii) Edmund Husserl. 1970. Logical Investigations. Volume Two, "The Fifth Logical Investigation: Intentional Experiences and their Contents." Pp. 562-3 ("The fixing of our terminology"), pp. 582-6 ("The function of attention in complex acts...").
iii) Edmund Husserl. 1931. Ideas: General Introduction to Pure Phenomenology (Vol 1). New York: Collier, Ch. 9 "Noesis and Noema," pp. 235-251.
iv) Martin Heidegger. 1984 The Metaphysical Foundation of Logic. Translated by Michael Heim. Bloomington, ID: Indiana University Press. "Intentionality and Transcendence," pp. 128-136.
v) Alessandro Duranti. 2006. The Social Ontology of Intentions. Discourse Studies 8:31-40.
vi) Joel Robbins. 2008 "On Not Knowing Other Minds: Confession, Intention, and Linguistic Expression in a Papua New Guinea Community." Anthropological Quarterly 81(2): 421-29.
vii) Alessandro Duranti. 2008. Further Reflections on Reading Other Minds. Anthropological Quarterly 81(2):483-494.

Week IV (April 21): Empathy

Readings for this week:
i) Wilhelm Dilthey. 1977. The Understanding of Other Persons and Their Expressions of Life. In Descriptive Psychology and Historical Understanding.The Hague: Nijhoff, pp. 123-145.
ii) Theodor Lipps. 1940. Empathy, Inner Imitation, and Sense-Feelings. In Melvin M. Rader (Ed.), A Modern Book of Esthetics: An Anthology. New York: Holt, pp. 287-304 (It includes and "Introductory Note" by the Editor).
iii) Max Scheler 1973 "The Perception of Other Minds." The Nature of Sympathy. Hamden: Archon Books. Pg. 238-264.
iv) Edith Stein (1989) The Problem of Empathy, ICS Publications.
iv) Douglas Hollan and C. Jason Throop. 2008. "Whatever Happen to Empathy?: Introduction." Ethos 36(4): 385-401. v) C. Jason Throop. 2008. On the Problem of Empathy: The Case of Yap, Federated States of Micronesia. Ethos 36(4): 402-426.

Week V (April 28): Temporality

Readings for this week:
i) Edmund Husserl. 1991. On the Phenomenology of the Consciousness of Internal Time (1893-1917) . Translated by John Barnett Brough. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers, pp. 3-43; and pp. 237-244.
ii) Martin Heidegger ([1927] 1962) Being and Time Harper and Row. Section 5. 'The Ontological Analytic of Dasein etc. (on temporality), pp. 38-40, Section 15; Sections 22-24 on Space and Spatiality, pp. 135-148; Part IV, Temporality and Everydayness, pp. 383-423; Section 81 on "the Ordinary Conception of Time", pp. 472-480.
iii) Maurice Merleau-Ponty. 1999. Phenomenology of Perception. London: Routledge. Part Three: Being-For-Itself and Being-in-the-World. Part III, Ch. 2. "Temporality." Pg. 410-433.
iv) Alfred Schutz (1967) The Phenomenology of the Social World. Evanston: Northwestern University Press. Section 33 "The Face-to-Face Situation and the We Relationship" through Section 41 "The Past as a Dimension of the Social World." Pg. 163-207.
v) Clifford Geertz (1973) "Person, Time and Conduct in Bali." The Interpretation of Cultures. New York: Basic Books. Pg. 360-411.

Week VI (May 5): Encounters: Goffman and Levinas

Readings for this week:
i) Erving Goffman. 1959. The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life . Garden City NY: Doubleday, Ch. 1 'Performances,' pp. 17-76; Ch. VI 'The Arts of Impression Management,' pp. 237;
ii) Erving Goffman. 1967. Interaction Ritual: Essays in Face to Face Behavior . Garden City, New York: Doubleday, 'On Face-Work,' pp. 5-45; 'The Nature of Deference and Demeanor,' pp. 47-95.
iii) Levinas, E. 1985. Ethics and Infinity. Conversations with Philippe Nemo. Pittsburgh: Duquesne University Press.
iv) Raffel, S. H. 2002. If Goffman Had Read Levinas. Journal of Classical Sociology 2:179-202.

Week VII (May 12): Intersubjectivity: Mirror Neurons Perspective. (Guest speaker: Prof. Marco Iacoboni)

Readings for this week:
Marco Iacoboni. 2008. Mirroring People. New York: Ferrar, Straus and Giroux.

Week VIII (May 19): Language and dialogue (Guest speaker: Prof. John McCumber)

Readings for this week:
i) Martin Heidegger. 1971. "Language," in Poetry, Language, Thought, pp. 189-210. New York: Harper & Row.
ii) Martin Heidegger. 1971. "A Dialogue on Language," in On the Way to Language, pp. 1-54. New York: Harper & Row.
iii) John McCumber. 1989. 'Heidegger's View of Intrinsically Emancipatory Interaction: "From a Dialogue on Language."' In Poetic Interaction. Language, Freedom, Reason. University of Chicago, Chapter Seven, pp. 143-161..
iv) John R. Searle. 1965. "What is a Speech Act?" in Philosophy in America. Edited by M. Black, pp. 221-39. London: George Allen & Unwin.
v) Karl-Otto Apel. 1991. "Is Intentionality More Basic than Linguistic Meaning?" in John Searle and His Critics. Edited by E. Lepore and R. Van Gulick, pp. 31-55. Oxford: Blackwell.
vi) Emanuel A. Schegloff. 1992. Repair after Next Turn: The Last Structurally Provided Defense of Intersubjectivity in Conversation. American Journal of Sociology 97:1295-1345.

Week IX (May 26): Narrative, Lives, and Temporality

i) Martin Heidegger. 1985. History of the Concept of Time. Prolegomena. Bloomington: Indiana University Press: pp. 261-293, which include: "Discourse and Language," 29 "Falling as a basic movement of Dasein," and 30 The Structure of Uncanninness."
ii) Martin Heidegger ([1927]1962) Being and Time, 65 Temporality as the Ontological Meaning of Care, pp. 370-380.
iii) Paul Ricoeur. 1981. Narrative Time. In W.J.T. Mitchell (ed.), On Narrative. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.
iv) Elinor Ochs. 2004. "Narrative Lessons," in A Companion to Linguistic Anthropology. Edited by A. Duranti, pp. 269-89. Malden, MA: Blackwell.
v) Alessandro Duranti. 2006. Narrating the Political Self in a Campaign for U.S. Congress. Language in Society 35:467-97.
vi) Duranti, A. In press. "The Force of Language and Its Temporal Unfolding," in A Festschrift for Jacob Mey on the Occasion of his 80th Birthday. Edited by B. Fraser and K. Turner: Emerald Publishers.

Week X (June 2): Final Discussion on the relevance of the notion of intersubjectivity to anthropology.