A few days ago the History Department emailed about a new class, “Occupy the Field.” That’s “a field-based course about Occupy Wall Street and the Occupy Movement more broadly,” which, you will recall, began last semester. The Anthropology Department is responsible.
Apparently, the class will be split between seminar and field work at OWS. Accordingly, the reading is admittedly “lighter than many other classes.” Score! Attendance is also a big part of the grade.
For their field work, students can “get involved in one of the many working groups that run day to day operations in the Occupy Movement.” Doubters of the movement need not worry, however—Occupy the Field is nonetheless “about rigorous and creative intellectual inquiry, not movement-building.” Pinkie-promise.
Our favorite instructor quote from the syllabus (though in that respect, our cup runneth over):
As a regular participant in the Occupy movement, however, I can say with absolute certainty that there is no foreseeable risk in teaching this as a field-based class. On the contrary, the risks of disengaged scholarship seem more profound.
Dear History Student,
Please see below and attached for information regarding a new Anthropology course to be offered in the Spring 2012 term:
ANTH V3897 “Occupy the Field” which will take place Spring 2012:
Please direct questions to the instructor, Hannah Appel, email@example.com.
“Occupy the Field is a field-based course about Occupy Wall Street and the Occupy Movement more broadly. The course offers training in ethnographic research methods alongside a critical exploration of the conjunctural issues in the Occupy movement: Wall Street, finance capital, and inequality; political strategies, property and public space, and the question of anarchy; and genealogies of the contemporary moment in global social movements. Class requirements will be divided between seminar at Columbia and fieldwork in and around the Occupy movement. In addition to scheduled seminar, this class will meet off-campus several times, and students will be expected to be involved in ongoing OWS projects outside of class, to be developed in close conversation with the instructor. While the syllabus draws extensively on ethnographic and anthropological work, it is also broadly interdisciplinary, incorporating texts and approaches from sociology, political theory, economics, history, and primary source material from OWS and beyond. The class will also incorporate guest lecturers from Columbia and the wider intellectual and activist community. Dissenting voices of all kinds are encouraged in this class, and one need not have a particular orientation toward OWS to participate. The class is about rigorous and creative intellectual inquiry, not movement-building or political conversion.”