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Anthropology

Anthropology and Geography Courses Offered

The Anthropology department offers courses in wide range of courses in three sub fields of anthropology, archaeology, biological anthropology and cultural anthropology as well as in our sister discipline of geography.

General Anthropology (809-280) - Anthropology is the study of humans and their culture, which includes a survey of three major sub-disciplines of anthropology: physical anthropology, which explores human biology, evolution and the emergence of culture; archeology, which examines the physical evidence of past cultures; and cultural anthropology, which focuses on contemporary culture.

Archaeology

Archaeology and the Prehistoric World (809-281) - Designed for students interested in the human past, the period of prehistory where few written records exist and most knowledge of the period comes via archaeological investigations. Organized in a historical and topical fashion, the course traces the evolution of human culture through time, focusing on the best known archaeological sites in Africa, Asia, Europe, North America and Mesoamerica. Emphasis on major changes in human and cultural evolution, such as hunting, abstract thought, domestication of plants and animals, social stratification, the development of writing, the rise of states and urbanization.

Biological Anthropology

Human Biology and Physical Anthropology (809-288) - This course has been designed to give students a forum in which to explore the biological nature of the human species. Through this course, students will examine the current state of knowledge in anthropology regarding the genetic and biological diversity of the human species, the place of humanity in the primate and mammalian family trees, as well as of the evolution of the human line since its separation from that of apes.

Cultural Anthropology

Cultural Anthropology and Human Diversity (809-283) - This course focuses on exploring the range of modern human cultural diversity across the world. The class will examine the cultural practices and historical ties that constitute commonalities across cultures. Particular attention will be paid to the cultural complexity of modern urbanized societies such as that of the United States.

The Anthropology of Myth, Magic and Religion (809-285) - An anthropological course designed to explore and examine the place of magic and religion in human culture. Students will look closely and critically at 'world religions' (Buddhism, Islam, Christianity, etc.) with analytical exploration of smaller-scale religious and magical practices (shamanism, Wicca, new Age, Cargo Cults, etc.). The forms that magic and religion have taken in human cultures, both past and present, will be covered.

The Anthropology of Globalization and Multiculturalism (809-286) - This course explores the ways that our societies, cultures and experiences have been transformed, in both positive and negative ways, by the political, technological and economic changes brought about by the collapse of the old colonial systems and the continuing growth of all pervasive capitalism, consumerism and militarism.

The Anthropology of Islamic Societies and Cultures (809-287) - This course will explore the social, cultural, economic and political aspects of the emergence, development and spread of Islam as a world religion. It will focus on Islam in 7th century Arabia, how the religion changed in the time since the 7th century and as Islam moved out of Hijaz into Africa and Asia, and its historical and continuing encounters with the West.

Geography

World Regional Geography (809-289) - World Regional Geography introduces students to the basic physical and cultural geographies of the world's major regions (e.g., Central Asia, the Caribbean). Emphasis is placed on exploring what makes each region environmentally and culturally distinct, on regional human-environment relationships and associated environmental issues, and on the historical and contemporary linkages between the world's regions. Course themes are placed in the context of globalization, including its historical periods (e.g., European colonialism). The world's regions have become increasingly interconnected through transnational flows of people, plants, capital, and microbes, among other things. This course examines how and why the world has become more interconnected, and how globalizing processes have shaped the political, economic, ecological, and cultural character of each world region.