Anthropology Courses

Anthropology students during First Year Symposium

Current Anthropology Courses: J Term 2020

Anthropology 237 or HIST 250: Peoples & Cultures of Latin America & Caribbean, Professor Jason Antrosio

This course explores anthropological and historical approaches to the peoples in the places called Latin America and the Caribbean. We seek to understand common themes and variations in processes occurring across the Americas. The peoples of North, Central, South America and the Caribbean are interconnected. Some of these themes include 1) The active role of indigenous peoples into the present; 2) Colonial interactions and the legacy of colonialism; 3) Independence and attempts to create national identities against the backdrop of difference and inequality; 4) Migration and immigration.

Anthropology 355 or PUBH 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 2020

Anthropology 105: Introduction to Anthropology, sections taught by Professor Jason Antrosio and 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 239: 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.

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 341: Cultural Ecology, Professor Jason Antrosio

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. This course aims to build on previous anthropological, philosophical, and academic work, but also incorporate issues of race and the outdoors as well as how to live on a damaged planet.

Anthropology 350: Political Archaeology, Professor Namita Sugandhi

This class examines the way in which archaeologists understand the exercise of power and organization of political systems in ancient societies, as well as the way in which archaeological knowledge is used for political purposes in the modern world. In this course we will question the definitions used to identify and categorize political systems, explore how relationships of power are reflected in the material record, and investigate the way contemporary groups project archaeological claims onto modern society.

Anthropology 361: Medical Anthropology, Professor Connie Anderson

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.

Anthropology 388: History 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. (DR)

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. (DR)

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 archaeological 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 Ancient Civilization and Empire (3 credits) 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. 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)

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)

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. 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)

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 History 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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