Prof. Nancy Scheper-Hughes (Anthropology, uc, Berkeley) Credits: 4 Fall Semester 2013 Day and Time

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Violence and Human Rights in War and Peace:

A Holistic and Interdisciplinary Perspective

Prof. Nancy Scheper-Hughes (Anthropology, UC, Berkeley)

Credits: 4

Fall Semester 2013

Day and Time:  Tuesdays, 6 to 9 p.m.

Semester Dates: 

August 27 to December 6, 2013

Semester Elective

Course Description: 

This seminar explores violence as a continuum that includes both legitimate and illegitimate, recognized and unrecognized, visible and invisible, normative and deviant, political and private, physical and psychological, structural and symbolic violence. We will juxtapose the routine, the ordinary – the normative violence of everyday life against sudden eruptions of unexpected, extraordinary, or gratuitous violence (as in genocide, state terror, dirty wars, terrorism, rough justice, guerrilla warfare, and civil wars).  We will look at the continuities between political and criminal violence, state violence and 'communal' violence, between structural violence and domestic violence.  The approach is interdisciplinary drawing on anthropological, ethnographic, historical, literary, documentary, philosophical readings on violence, genocide, torture, gendered violence, human trafficking. We will discuss trauma and memory at the level of individuals and communities and discuss transitional and redistributive justice, the benefits and risks of humanitarian interventions, forms of  'witnessing', representing, and responding to violence and genocide.  Finally, we will look at the emergence of human rights discourses in response to violence and their extension to new populations and problems and the creation of new rights, including medical and cultural rights, rights of asylum, and notions of global, cultural and medical citizenship.   What are the effects of the applications of human rights to medicine, psychiatry, to expanded notions of citizenship, especially in the fraught context of new nation building following civil wars and political violence?  How are violence, trauma, history, memory of traumatic histories shaped by different social, cultural and political contexts? What notions of 'the human' and human dignity are encoded in human rights discourses. 

Requirements and Grading. The format of the class is lecture and discussion. Final grades are based on: Critical reaction papers (2 pages) each week responding to or raising points of discussion from the assigned readings. (35%); co-facilitating one class with the Instructor (10%); a 6-page book review article comparing two recommended books on a selected and approved topic. (2o%); final research paper 15 pages + bibliography based on original research (35%) due at the final class meeting.

The Required Text for this course is:

Nancy Scheper-Hughes and Philippe Bourgois. 2003. Violence in War and Peace: An Anthology . Blackwell (Wiley)

Note: There is a new 2013 paperback edition of VWP but there are also many used copies available on line.
Additional and Recommended Readings

(Excerpts from some of the following will be posted electronically)

Peter Redfield. 2013. Life in Crisis: The Ethical Journey of Doctors Without Borders.

University of California Press.

Didier Fassin. 2012.  Humanitarian Reason. U California Press

Samuel Moyn. 2010. The Last Utopia: Human Rights in History. Harvard University

Pine, Adrienne. 2008. Working Hard and Drinking Hard: On Violence and Survival

in Honduras. University of California Press.

Seth Holmes. 2013. Fresh Fruit, Broken Bodies: Migrant Farmworkers in the United

States. University of California Press.

Lear, Jonathan. 2006. Radical Hope: Ethics in the Face of Cultural Devastation.

Harvard University Press.

Eyal Press. 2012. Beautiful Souls: Saying No, Breaking Ranks, and Heeding the Voice

of Conscience in Dark Times. New York, Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2012

Albie Sachs. 2000. The Soft Vengeance of a Freedom Fighter. University of California Beatriz Manz. 2003. Paradise in Ashes. U California Press.

Primo Levi. 1996. Survival in Auschwitz. New York : Touchstone

Jan Gross. 2002. Neighbors: Destruction of the Jewish Community in Jedwabne.

Penguin Books.

Tracy Kidder. 2004. Mountains Beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul

Farmer, a Man who would Cure the World. New York: Random House.

Jacques Derrida. 2001. On Cosmopolitanism and Forgiveness. London: Rutledge

Philip Gourvitch. 2005. We Wish to Inform You that TomorrowWe will be Killed

with Our Families. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux.

Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela
. 2003. A Human Bring Died That Night: A South African Story of Forgiveness. Boston and New York: Houghton Mifflin.

Course Schedule
WEEK 1. TU August 27

Orientation and Introductions.

Discussion of key concepts, requirements, assignments, relation to field studies and internships field assignments. Hand out syllabus.

WEEK 2, TU September 3

Violence – A Continuum

Read: All fromVWP unless otherwise indicated:

N Scheper-Hughes and P Bourgois “Introduction: Making Sense of Violence”, p.1-31

Jean-Paul Sartre, Preface to Franz Fanon, The Wretched of the Earth. P.229-235

Hannah Arendt, “On Violence”, p.236-245

Walter Benjamin, Critique of Violence”


Slavoj Zizek. 2009. Violence, chapter 1, ‘SOS Violence’

Week 3, September 10

Continuum of Violence, continued.

Peace-Time Crimes -Everyday and Structural Violence

Read: All from VWP

M. Taussig: “Terror as Usual”, p. 269-271

N. Scheper-Hughes, “Two Feet Under and a Cardboard Coffin”, p.275-280, Death without Weeping”, Natural History Magazine

P. Bourdieu and Loic Wacquant “ Symbolic Violence”, p, 272-275

P. Farmer, “On Suffering and Structural Violence”,p. 281-289

P.Bourgois, “US Inner City Apartheid”, p, 301-307

E. Kleinenberg, Denaturalizing Disaster: the Chicago Heat Wave”, p. 308-317
Week 4, September 17

Colonialism –Conquest and Ethnocide


Part 1, chapters 1-4, and 5 VWP: Conrad, Taussig, Kroeber, Scheper-Hughes, and Gordon, VWP


Homecoming of the Kagga Kamma Busmen

Orin Starn. 2008. Ishi's Brain: In Search of America's Last "Wild" Indian. New York: W. W. Norton

Mario Vargas Llosa. 2012. The Dream of the Celt. New York: Faber.
Week 5, September 24

The Holocaust


Part 11 “The Holocaust”, chapters by Foucault, Primo Levi, Hannah Arendt; Browining, Borowski, Spieglman), pp. 79-120.

Jan Gross. 2002. Neighbors: the Destruction of the Jewish Community at Jewabne, Poland. 
Princeton University Press (pp. 1-55, to be posted electronically)


Philippe Bourgois , 2005. “Missing the Holocaust: My Father's Account of Auschwitz from August 1943 to June 1944” Anthropological Quarterly 
Volume 78, Number 1, Winter 2005

Levi, Primo. 1996. Survival in Auschwitz. New York: Touchstone
Week 6, TU October 1

Communal and Gendered Violence.

Film: Hotel Rwanda


Part 111, The Politics of Communal Violence, (chapters 13-15, Litwak, Malkki, Gourevitch) in VWP

Veena Das, “Language and the Body: Transactions in the Construction of Pain” ,p, 327-333, VWP.

P.Bourgois, “The Everyday Violence of Gang Rape”,

Maria B. Olujic. 1998. “War and its Aftermath in Croatia”. In N. Scheper-Hughes and C. Sargent,eds. Small Wars. University of California Press.


Ignatieff, Michael. 1997. The Warrior's Honor: Ethnic War and the

Modern Conscience. NY: Henry Holt
Week 7, October 8

The State Amok – Dirty Wars

N.B. Book Review Article assignment due this week


Part V, “The State Amok” from VWP

Chapters 19-23: Taussig, Scheper-Hughes, Green, Franco, and Robben.

Marguerite Feitlowitz, A Lexicon of Terror, page 1-32 (posted electronically)


Jacobo Timerman. 1981. A Prisoner without a Name, Cell without a Number. Random House

Manz, Beatriz. 2003. Paradise in Ashes. Berkeley: University of

California Press

Danner, Mark. 1994. The Massacre at El Mozote. New York: Vintage
Week 8, TU October 15

Terrorism, Torture and War

Film:Death and the Maiden” (Ariel Dorfman)


Part 1X, Torture, from the Violence Reader ( chapters 46, 48, 49: Elaine

Scarrry, Antjie Krog, Suarez-Orozco)

Mark Danner, “The Logic of Torture”, The New York Review of Books, 2004,

Allen Feldman. 2005. On the Actuarial Gaze: From 9-11 to Abu Ghraib’

Nancy Scheper-Hughes. 2011. “The Body of the Terrorist: Blood Libels, Bio-Piracy, and the Spoils of War at the Israeli Forensic Institute”, Social Research, 78 (3), Special Issue on the Body and the State


Karen J.Greenberg and Josua Dratel, eds. 2005. The Torture Papers: The Road to Abu Ghraib. Cambridge University Press

Week 9, TU October 22

The Emergence of Human Rights


The Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

M.Ishay. 2004. “What are Human Rights? Six Historical Controversies”, Journal of Human Rights 3(3): 359-371

Sally Engle Merry, “Human Rights Law and the Demonization of Culture ( and Anthropology along the Way”),” PoLAR: Political and Legal Anthropology Review 26(1): 55-76


Mark Goodale and Sally Engle Merry, The Practice of Human Rights

Mark Goodale, ed. 2009. Human Rights; An Anthropological Reader. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell

Samuel Moyn. 2010. The Last Utopia: Human Rights in History. Harvard University Press.

Human Rights Watch:

Amnesty International USA:<>
Week 10,Tu October 29

Human Rights of Refugees, Asylum Seekers, and Undocumented Labor


Jacques Derrida, 2001. On Cosmopolitanism and Forgiveness, Part One. London: Rutledge

Abdelmaek Sayad. 2004. The Suffering of the Immigrant. Polity Press, chapters 9, 11.

Thomas Ordóñez . 2008. “The state of confusion : Reflections on Central American asylum seekers in the Bay Area.” Ethnography 2008 9: 35

Didier Fassin and Estelle D’Halluin. 2005. “The Truth from the Body: Medical certificates as Ultimate Evidence for Asylum Seekers. American Anthropologist 107 (4): 597-608.

Seth Holmes. 2013. Fresh Fruit, Broken Bodies: Migrant Farmworkers in the United States. University of California Press, Chapters TBA

Pine, Adrienne. 2008. Working Hard and Drinking Hard: On Violence and Survival in Honduras. University of California Press, Chapters, TBA

Guest Speaker: TBA
Week 11, Nov.5

Human Rights and Human Mobility: Sex and Kidneys: Trafficking or ‘Trafficking”

On the Risks and Dangers of Human Trafficking Discourses and the UN Convention on Human Trafficking. When Moral Panics, Evangelical Christians , ngos and Organized Crime collide: The Real, the Unreal, and the Uncanny.

Film: “Dirty Pretty Things”


The 2000 UN Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women, and Children ( a supplement to the UN Convention Against Oranized Crime.

Elizabeth Bernstein. 2010. ”Militarized Humanitraianism Meets Carceral Feminism: The Politics of Sex, Rights, and Freedom in Contemporary Antitrafficking Campaigns” in Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, 36(1) 45-71, pdf.
Nancy Scheper-Hughes. 2012. “Mr Tati’s Holiday and Joao’s Kidney Safari- Seeing the World through Transplant Tourism”, in Body & Society, Vol. 17 (2&3), 2011, p. 55-92, pdf. Nancy Scheper-Hughes, 2008 . “Portrait of Gaddy Taubber: Holocaust Survivor, Human Trafficker” Berkeley Latin American Review, pdf.


Sam Dubal, 2012. Making Sense of Kony.

Roger Nelson Lancaster. 2011. Sex Panic and the Punitive State. University of California Press.

Carol S, Vance, 2011, “States of Contradiction: 10 Ways to do Nothing About Trafficking while Pretending to”, Social Research.
Week 12, November 12

Total Institutions: Prisons, Mental Asylums and Human Rights

Restoring Civil Rights to the Mentally Ill, the Addicted, and Prisoners ; Critical and Democratic Psychiatry

Film: Life and Work of Franco Basaglia, C'era una volta la città dei matti... (There was once the city of the mad...) directed by Marco Turco, 2010.


Franco Basaglia, Selected chapters from Psychiatry Inside Out, TBA

Phil Brown. 1982. Public Policy and the Rights of Mental Patients. Mental Disability Law Reporter Vol. 6, No. 1 (JANUARY-FEBRUARY 1982), pp. 55-58

Nancy Scheper-Hughes and Anne M. Lovell. 2012. “Breaking the Circuit of Social Control”,

Angela Garcia. 2011. The Pastoral Clinic, chapters, TBA


Lorna Rhodes, excerpt, Total Confinement.

Erving Goffman, excerpt from Asylums.
Week 13, November 19

Saying No, Breaking Ranks - the Roots of Resistance


Eyal Press. 2012. Beautiful Souls: Saying No, Breaking Ranks, and Heeding the Voice of Conscience in Dark Times, chapters, TBA

Nancy Scheper-Hughes. 2010. “The Habit of Courage”. KAS Papers, Special Issue on the Crisis in the University.

David Graeber. 2007. “An Army of Altruists: On the Alienated right to do good”, Harper’s Magazine, January 2007.


Gene Sharp. How to Start a Revolution.

Gandhi, Mohandas. 1992. Gandhi an Autobiography: The Story of My Experiments with Truth. 1992. Random House
Week 14, Nov. 26

Modest Witnesses/ Humanitarian Heroes

Read: (Chose one)

Tracy Kidder. 2003. One Man’s Quest to Change the World: Anthropologist Physician, Paul Farmer and his Partners in Health. New York: Random House.

Peter Redfield. 2012. Life in Crisis: The Ethical Journey of Doctors without Borders. University of California Press
Week 15, TU December 3 – Undoing/Getting Over

Film: Long Night’s Journey into Day, Iris Films


Chapters 59,60,62, VWP: Albie Sachs, Soft Vengeance of a Freedom Fighter, N. Scheper-Hughes, Undoing, and Wole Soyinka, The Burden of Memory


Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela
. 2003. A Human Bring Died That Night: A South African Story of Forgiveness. Boston and New York: Houghton Mifflin.

****Discussion, celebration. Hand in final papers, research reports

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