Anthropology Courses

Anthropology Courses

Current Anthropology Courses: Fall 2016

Anthropology 105: Introduction to Anthropology, Sections taught by Professor David Anthony and Professor Jason Antrosio

This class is an introduction to the discipline of Anthropology–the study of humans and human society. Throughout the course we will explore numerous dimensions of the human condition including the biological evolution of our species, the development of social complexity and cultural variation over time and space, and the way in which contemporary processes impact different communities around the world.

Anthropology 181: Introduction to Forensic Osteology (First Year Seminar), Professor Connie Anderson

Working in the Anthropology Laboratory of Hartwick’s Yager Hall, students will receive a whole or partial skeleton which they will analyze and describe. They will learn what information can be gleaned from bones and study some important cases, including remains from Stonehenge, Inca tombs in the Andes, 1607 Jamestown, and other examples. We will discuss contentious issues in forensic osteology, and each student will share a presentation on an issue, method or discovery near the end of the semester. Evaluation will consist of regular quizzes dealing with the bones themselves, the description of their skeletons, the final presentation, and three essay exams combining casework and theory.

Anthropology 223: Cultural AnthropologyProfessor Jason Antrosio

Although archaeology and biological anthropology (“stones and bones”) are the most widely known and stereotyped subfields of anthropology, cultural anthropology is its largest subfield. When cultural anthropology enters the popular imagination, it too is often stereotyped, as the study of “primitives,” “in the jungle,” “like Margaret Mead.” Certainly cultural anthropology has been marked by the study of non-Western peoples. However, from its inception, cultural anthropology has been comparative, taking the whole of humanity as object of study. With its vast number of practitioners and nearly unbounded research agenda, it is impossible to provide an overview of cultural anthropology in a single course. This course takes the approach of exploring the concept of culture and its trajectory through US anthropology and the public. This course also emphasizes anthropological writing.

Anthropology 225, Fundamentals of Archaeology, Professor Namita Sugandhi

How do archaeologists find ancient cities and tombs? How do they know how old they are? What can they learn from ancient animal bones? Stone tools? How are human bodies preserved in bogs, or in glaciers? This course answers those questions. Our goal is to understand the how-to of archaeology: why archaeologists do what they do, what methods they use in the field and in the laboratory, and how they interpret how prehistoric people lived. Archaeologists use a distinct set of methods to find, test, excavate, and analyze archaeological sites. Many of our methods were invented by archaeologists–in many ways it is methods that define archaeology and make it distinct from ancient history or cultural anthropology. There will be field and lab-based exercises in this course where students will have the opportunity to learn some of the techniques of archaeological exploration and analysis.

Anthropology 237: Peoples and Cultures of South AsiaProfessor Mike Woost

In this course students will examine a variety of anthropological writings on modern South Asia. Given the huge geographical spread of the region, the course for the most part focuses on India and Sri Lanka. Much of the material covered focuses on everyday life in rural India, yet all of the writings we will examine make concerted efforts to demonstrate that rural life in South Asia is deeply embedded in economic, political, cultural and ideological processes that go beyond the local community. In this way we can dispel some of the many myths about South Asia being a backward region with societies locked in “tradition”. At the same time students will be able to come to grips with the key cultural and political developments and conflicts as they touch the everyday lives of people in this vast region.

Anthropology 239: Old World Prehistory, Professor David Anthony

A survey of major developments in Old World prehistory including: the origin of technology, food production, and complex civilizations. Emphasis on Near East and Europe.

Anthropology 250: Travel, Tourism, and Ethnography, Professor Mike Woost

The anthropological literature on travel and tourism is large. It covers a wide range of topics including the analysis of travel writing, tourist development (from elite tours to rudimentary forms of ecotourism), the construction of national and international travel destinations, religious pilgrimage, and more. After taking this course students will be able to think more critically about travel and study abroad thereby enhancing their overall experience.

Anthropology 335: South Africa, Professor Connie Anderson

This course is intended to give students who will spend January term in South Africa the background that they need in order to learn as much and to enjoy themselves as much as possible. For those who cannot go in 2015, I hope you can go in the future. This information also serves as an introduction to Anthropology and an introduction to (South) Africa for students who are unable to go but are interested in the material. We will examine precolonial history and cultures of southern Africa, the impact of European invasion, the rise and eventual triumph of liberation movements, and the contemporary situation: political, economic, social, ecological and health patterns, all viewed from the perspective of the world as a system of interdependent societies and states – that’s Anthropology.

Anthropology 387: Ethnographic Methods, Professor Mike Woost

In this course students will examine the theoretical foundations and debates about the conduct of ethnographic field research including recent innovations aimed at discovering how local experiences are shaped by larger, sometimes global, structures that exist beyond the local setting. However, the primary goal of the course is to familiarize students with the methods of conducting qualitative research. In that vein students will put together and carry out their own ethnographic research project in the course of which they will get practical experience conducting interviews, collecting case histories, and mapping social relationships. They will also learn how to organize and write up field notes. They will then learn how to organize their data in order to produce a written analysis/interpretation of the data they collected.


Anthropology Courses, Regular Offerings

Introductory, 100-level courses

105 Introduction to Anthropology (4 credits) An introduction to anthropology and the study of human culture. Basic concepts, aims, and methods of biological, archaeological, and cultural anthropology. Emphasis on the origins of humankind, the relationship of the human past to present and the comparative study of contemporary cultures. Required preparatory course for anthropology majors and minors.

Intermediate, 200-level courses

(ANTH 105 Prerequisite unless otherwise indicated)

223 Cultural Anthropology (3 credits) The comparative study of cultures and societies. The nature of culture and its relation to society; patterns, similarities and differences found in material culture, language, and kinship; economic, political, and religious institutions of different peoples; and their interpretations.

225 Fundamentals of Archaeology (3 credits) The systematic study of the fundamental principles of method and theory in archaeology: establishing cultural chronologies, reconstructing extinct life ways and interpreting the archeological record. General theory in archaeology. Contemporary archaeology.

235 Biological Anthropology (4 credits) A review of current evolutionary theory as it applies to the fossil evidence of human evolution; human genetics and natural selection today; genetics and environmental factors in the origin of humans; introduction to primate behavior and ecology. Lectures and laboratory. (EL, QFR)

237 Peoples and Cultures (of selected areas) (credits vary by specific course, 3 to 4 credits) Survey of peoples and cultures of different regions of the world including: Native North America, Mesoamerica, South America, Pacific Islands, Africa, the Middle East, Caribbean, American Southwest, Asia. Specific emphases vary by instructor. May be taken more than once for credit.

239 Old World Prehistory (3 credits) A survey of major developments in Old World prehistory including: the origin of technology, food production, and complex civilizations. Emphasis on Near East and Europe. No prerequisite.

241 Native North American Prehistory (3 credits) Survey of major developments of the prehistory of North America from the peopling of the continent to the arrival of Columbus. Emphasis on the origins of domestication and development of complex societies. No prerequisite.

250 Topics in Anthropology (credits vary by specific course) Special topics of current interest are considered in depth. Examples have included South African Culture, History and Ecology; Language and Culture; South Africa and the Media; Political Anthropology; Anthropology of Development; Ethnic Conflict; Subcultures; Contract Archaeology; Pop Archaeology. More than one topics course may be taken for credit.

267 Anthropology of Resistance, Rebellion, and Civil War (3 credits) This course examines the ways in which anthropologists have drawn on the writings of Marx and other critical theorists in their efforts to understand major social upheavals as well as resistance in everyday life. The course offers students the opportunity to learn about foundational theory in the discipline that goes beyond Introduction to Anthropology. It draws on both historical and contemporary ethnographic case studies (readings and film) of resistance, rebellion and civil war, from a range of geographical areas.

Seminars, 300-level courses

(ANTH 105 Prerequisite unless otherwise indicated)

305 Hunters and Gatherers (3 credits) Comparative analysis of hunting and gathering societies in today’s world as well as the prehistoric past. Emphasis on specific cultural groups and environments to demonstrate diversity and continuity; examination of such societies as exemplars of “human nature.” (ILS)

307 Sex and Gender (3 credits) A critical examination of anthropological data and theory on sex and gender, comparison of biological and social explanations, stereotyping of sex roles in different societies, and the gender component in social relations.

322 The Anthropology of War (4 credits) Cross-cultural description of warfare and organized violence, critical evaluation of explanations of causes of war. Consequences of war for demography, biology, and culture. Peaceful and violent means of conflict resolution. (ILS)

326 The Anthropology of Religion (3 credits) The relation of religious belief and practice to patterns of culture and society; mythology, magic, soccer, witchcraft, sacrifice, supernatural beings, shamanism, divination, and totemics in traditional and modern societies with focus on non-Western traditions; religion and culture change.

335 Third World Studies (3 credits) Studies in selected areas such as: Africa south of the Sahara, China, India, the Islamic world, Latin America, the Pacific, and Southeast Asia. An examination of the pre-colonial kinship, economic, political, and religious systems and related ecological and population patterns; the impact of European expansion upon them; the rise and fulfillment of independence movements; and contemporary political, economic, social, ecological, and population patterns–all viewed in the perspective of the world as a system of interdependent societies and states. Prerequisite: ANTH 105 or SOCI 105. May be taken more than once for credit. (ILS)

340 Primate Behavior and Ecology (4 credits) Comparative analysis of non-human primates, and application to questions of human evolution and biological bases for human behavior. Primate taxonomy, evolution, and ecology are studied for their relevance to primate behavior and adaptation. (ILS)

341 Cultural Ecology (3 credits) Analysis of the relationships between culture and environment: the ways in which populations adapt to and transform their environments; ways in which environments condition cultural developments. (ILS)

346 Race and Human Variability (3 credits) Scientific and popular conceptions of “race.” Genetics and adaptation to environmental (and social) stress, including intense cold and heat, high altitudes, and disease. Survival through natural and cultural selection.

347 Human Evolution (3 credits) Human biological and cultural evolution from 5 million to 20,000 years ago: what happened, why, and what kinds of evidence are appropriate and available? A review of the evidence and interpretations drawn from it.

348 Anthropology of Development (3 credits) The analysis and interpretation of the historical expansion of the world economic system and its cultural foundations. The notion of development also is examined from a variety of critical perspectives. The relation of development practices to the problems currently facing the global system such as environmental degradation, population expansion, Third World debt, famine, etc., also are explored. This exploration ultimately leads to questions about whether prevailing notions of development have any relevance in the contemporary world system, particularly for members of the underdeveloped world. (ILS)

350 Topics in Anthropology (credits vary by course, 3 to 4 credits) For description see ANTH 250. (ILS)

361 Medical Anthropology (3 credits) Anthropological approach to the study of health problems. The use of clinical, ecological, and ethnographic material to study causes and effects of disease on humans. The impact of population growth and migration; human contact through time and space on societies around the world. A bridge between the health sciences and anthropology. (ILS)

367 Anthropology of Violence and State Terror (3 credits) This course examines the “continuum of violence” that stretches from the intimate context of domestic violence, to the more obvious forms of state terror and genocide. Emphasis is given to: 1) the ways in which violence takes on meaning in everyday life; 2) the ways in which violence is supported and reproduced materially and ideologically by the state and its many agents, and by anti-state agents. These context of violence will be examined through case studies and analyses produced by anthropologists. The overall goal of the course is not simply to read through an inventory of violence, but to see how an understanding of the “continuum of violence” can provide tools for making a difference in the world. (ILS)

381 Anthropological Forensics (3 credits) This course is a bare-bones introduction to what we can learn from human bones. Students who hope to attend graduate school in forensic anthropology or who wish to take an intensive summer course can benefit from working with the bones, learning to identify them; they will learn how to identify age and sex, fractures and other injuries, diseases, etc. and how to estimate height in order to identify individuals and/or compile information about past populations.

387 Ethnographic Methods (4 credits) Problems, theories, and techniques of anthropological fieldwork. Students conduct field studies in the local area. Methods of building rapport with subjects. Data collection, analysis, and interpretation. Cross-cultural comparisons. Class presentations.

388 Classics of Anthropological Thought (3 credits) The history and integration of anthropological theory as social science. An introduction to anthropology’s great thinkers; major issues of 19th and 20th century thought. Required core course for anthropology majors. Prerequisite: ANTH 105, 223 and 237. (ILS)

Advanced seminars, 400-level courses

405 Capstone in Anthropological Issues (3 credits) This course focuses on contemporary anthropological theory, seeking to introduce students to the process and emergence of anthropological discovery and debate. The emphasis is on process rather than content, with three primary features: (1) concentrating on anthropology that has been produced in the last decade; (2) relating student interests to this material through an independent research project or commentary; and (3) discussing materials that have been assembled by students, especially in the latter portions of the course. Each version of the course will be individually titled under a broad contemporary issue theme. It is therefore possible that students could take this course two times, with instructor permission. It is assumed that students will already be familiar with the history of anthropological thought, as well as an understanding of the theories and methods from the major anthropological subdisciplines. Prerequisites: Junior standing and at least 20 completed credits in Anthropology.

421 Field Research in Archaeology (6 credits) Methods in field archaeology, taught through actual field excavation. Prerequisite: ANTH 105, 225, or permission of instructor.

487 Junior Seminar in Cultural Dynamics (3 credits) Seminar focused on the application of classical and modern theories of social change and continuity. At the end of the course, students submit a research proposal for their senior thesis for departmental approval. Required core course for anthropology majors. Prerequisite: Near completion of major in anthropology, especially 223 and 388.

490 Senior Thesis in Anthropology (3 credits) Student-initiated project of substantial scope done under faculty guidance. Integration of theory, method, and fact in cultural, biological, or archaeological anthropology. Prerequisite: Consent of anthropology faculty supervisor.

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