Tamar Shirinian

Tamar Shirinian

Teaching Fellow in Sociology and Anthropology

BA, University of California, Berkeley; PhD, Duke University

“I am an anthropologist by training, but my research and teaching draws on queer studies, feminist studies, critical theory and psychoanalysis to think about questions of kinship, power, love, sexuality, sovereignty, and postsocialism (what comes after state socialism). My teaching is based on the philosophy that learning means being vulnerable to new ideas and problems. As such, my teaching is geared toward seeking newer and more questions rather than having any total answers for existing questions.

“I am currently teaching “Introduction to Anthropology,” which introduces students to the discipline through particular understandings of culture’s inseparability from politics, economy, power and ideology. I am also teaching “Love and Power: The Anthropology of Kinship and State,” where I am interested in looking for the links between what we feel personally and intimately to wider social relations based on disciplining institutions (like the State, the family and the nation). How is it, for example, that we as humans can desire our own subjection? Are we free subjects? What is freedom? How is love a force that subjects us to power? How can we take back this force of love toward other ends? These and other questions will help us disentangle and re-entangle the ways in which love and power are intricately and inseparably linked.

In Spring 2017 I will also teach “Thinking Sex: Studies of Gender and Sexuality in Culture,” which draws from queer and feminist anthropology as well as theory developed in literature and media studies to understand the social construction of sexual and gender identity and the practices, performatives, and ideologies that inform our understandings of these categories across cultures and histories.”

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