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Cornell University    
  Jan 17, 2018
Courses of Study 2015-2016 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

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ANTHR 4478 - [Taboo and Pollution]

(GHB) (CA-AS)      
Fall. Next offered 2016-2017. 4 credits.

M. Fiskesjö.

This course introduces students to the anthropology of taboo, dirt, cleanliness and purification. We’ll examine the latest attempts to re-think and understand these classic topics through a range of cases, including sexual and blood taboos; ideas of racial or ethnic purity and purification; taboos governing food choices or religious practices; “primitive” fear and avoidance; as well as contemporary conceptions of filth and waste and their treatment in Western societies. We’ll survey a wealth of writings on these topics, from anthropology (Douglas, Valeri, and others) as well as from psychology and literary studies (Freud, Kristeva, etc.).

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