Anthropology Courses

Anthropology Courses

Current Anthropology Courses: J Term 2018

Anthropology 250: Anthropology of Film, Professor David Anthony

This is a course about how modern Western audiences react to and understand “primitive” and non-Western people through film. Three themes are repeated in most of the films. First, when the “modern” meets the “primitive” the “primitive” is often regarded as uncivilized, dirty, violent, cruel, and barbaric.The second recurring theme, often appearing in the same film with the first one, is that the”primitive” is regarded as pristine, pure, authentic, simple, wise, and happy. The third recurring theme, again frequently woven into the same narrative as the first two, is that the “primitive” is an obstacle to progress, doomed to die out or even needing to be eliminated in order for progress to occur. These themes appear in the first film ever made about “primitive” Others Nanook of the North and continue to pop up in news programs and films today. Meanwhile, few Western audiences think of non-Western people on their own terms, as people with cultural values as rich as any in the modern West, with the right to live their own lives according to those cultural values. Your job as a participant in this course is to think about these themes and explore them as you write papers about the 14 films you will see. You will take notes on these films just as you would in a lecture. We will have a chance to discuss each film in class, but you also have to write about each one.

Anthropology 267: Anthropology of Resistance, Professor Mike Woost

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.

Anthropology 355: South Africa, Changes & Challenges, Professor Connie Anderson

Note: This is an off-campus January term course. For more information, see South Africa: Changes & Challenges.

Anthropology Courses: Spring 2018

Anthropology 105: Introduction to Anthropology, Professor Namita Sugandhi

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 235: Biological Anthropology, Professor Connie Anderson

Current evolutionary theory applied to the evidence for human evolution; human genetics and natural selection today; genetic and environmental factors in the origin of the human family; introduction to primate behavior and ecology. Biological anthropology focuses on describing and explaining the range of human biological diversity.

Anthropology 250: Ancient Civilization & Empire, Professor Namita Sugandhi

This class is an introduction to the rise and fall of early complex societies around the world. Throughout the semester we will survey the development of ancient states and empires in both the Old and New Worlds, and examine the archaeological evidence that is used to study these societies. From the rise of Ancient Egypt to the collapse of the Mayan civilization, we will examine questions such as the definition of states and civilizations as well as the reasons for their change over time. Note: For majors and minors, this course may be used to fulfill either the geographical area or archaeology requirement.

Anthropology 322: The Anthropology of War, Professor Connie Anderson

Cross-cultural description of warfare and organized violence, and critical evaluation of explanations of the causes of war. Consequences of war for demography, biology and culture. Peaceful and violent means of conflict resolution.

Anthropology 388: Classics of Anthropological Thought, Professor Mike Woost

Learning Outcomes: 1) To acquire basic knowledge about the history of anthropological theory from the 19th century to the present. 2) To acquire basic knowledge about how theory has been used in the effort to understand social life and societal change over time. 3) To understand how anthropological theories and practices are embedded in the historically shifting the social, political and ideological milieu. 4) To acquire practical experience in the use of anthropological concepts for the interpretation of social events in the contemporary world.

Anthropology 405: Capstone in Anthropological Issues, Professor Mike Woost

As a capstone this course is meant to test advanced majors’ knowledge of the discipline and their skills in applying that knowledge to the world around them. At this advanced stage of study students are expected to be able to take what they have learned and enter reasonably into debates about current events and about issues in their chosen discipline. In short, this course is meant to be a mechanism through which students become more acutely aware of the difficulties and rewards they will encounter while attempting to apply their anthropological knowledge in everyday life. As part of this endeavor, students will have to make decisions about where they stand on issues and events in the world. In making a decision they must understand that anthropology itself is not of one mind, that anthropologists themselves often vehemently disagree with one another about “what is to be done” (to borrow the famous phrase from V.I. Lenin). Thus they should leave this course with the ability to take a position in a given debate and be able to provide empirical support for their decision.

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.

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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