Anthropology

Undergraduate

Anthropology is devoted to the study of human cultural diversity through time and around the world. Its cross-cultural approach helps students not only appreciate diversity, but reflect back on the unstated assumptions of their own cultures.

Program Overview

Explore cultural contact, diffusion, transformation and resilience in a world of rapidly increasing connections.

By making the foreign familiar, and the familiar foreign, anthropology helps us make sense of the human condition.  But diversity is not fixed. It is ever changing, always in flux. Anthropology explores cultural contact, diffusion, transformation and resilience in a world in which connections are increasing at a rapid pace.

Anthropology at Mount Holyoke College is devoted to the study of human cultural diversity through time and around the world. The approach is cross-cultural, the perspective non-ethnocentric. The analytic tools will help you make sense of the human condition no matter how familiar or foreign it may seem.

The Five College anthropologists have a history of lively collaboration, including cross-registration for students in five college anthropology courses and an annual Five College Undergraduate Anthropology Conference featuring student presentations.

Can I do an independent study in Anthropology?

You may request to enroll in independent study after your freshman year. Independent studies can accommodate a range of research projects and may become an honors thesis. Small grants are available to help support the costs of these projects for sophomores, juniors and seniors who are majoring in Sociology or Anthropology.

 

ALUM CONNECTIONS

Stories from Anthropology Alums

Courses and Requirements

Our courses are designed to expose students to a variety of cultures and introduce them to the different topics, theories, and methods of the discipline of anthropology.

Learning Goals

The Anthropology major is designed to cultivate in students:

  • The knowledge of human cultural diversity to foster cross-cultural tolerance and understanding.
  • The ability to investigate distinct human conditions around the world by applying an ethnographic perspective.
  • Skills to conduct fieldwork in adherence with ethical protocols by using participant observation, in-depth interviews, archival and media research, narrative and discourse analysis and the analysis of material culture.
  • Proficiency in the history, development, and contemporary significance of theoretical debates in cultural anthropology.
  • Competence to analyze written, visual, and cultural texts and to evaluate evidence.
  • Aptitude to clearly and effectively articulate arguments and conclusions in written and spoken form.

Requirements for the Major

A minimum of 32 credits:

ANTHR-105Introduction to Cultural Anthropology4
ANTHR-235History of Anthropological Thought 14
ANTHR-275Research Methods in Cultural Anthropology4
ANTHR-350Issues in Contemporary Anthropological Theory4
One cultural area course in anthropology OR a community-based learning (CBL) course in anthropology other than ANTHR-2754
Alternatively, this requirement can be fulfilled through: approved study abroad, or foreign language through two semesters at the intermediate level, or an approved area or CBL course in another discipline. While satisfying this specific requirement, these alternative methods of satisfying the cultural area requirement will not count towards the 32 credits required for the major. 2
4 additional credits in Anthropology 34
8 additional credits at the 300 level8
Total Credits32
1

Majors should take ANTHR-235 before ANTHR-350.

2

Discuss your plan for fulfilling this requirement with your advisor in advance, to be sure it will satisfy the requirement.

3

If you have fulfilled the cultural area/CBL requirement in anthropology by taking an approved area or CBL course in anthropology, you would need only 4 additional credits. If not, you will need 8. 

Additional Specifications

  •  ANTHR-295 or ANTHR-395 do not count toward the requirements of courses in the major at the 200 and 300 level.

Requirements for the Minor

A minimum of 20 credits:

ANTHR-105Introduction to Cultural Anthropology4
4 credits at the 300 level 14
12 additional credits above the 100 level12
Total Credits20
1

Cannot be fulfilled by ANTHR-395

Course Offerings

ANTHR-105 Introduction to Cultural Anthropology

Fall and Spring. Credits: 4

Introduces the analysis of cultural diversity, including concepts, methods, and purposes in interpreting social, economic, political, and belief systems found in human societies.

Applies to requirement(s): Social Sciences; Multicultural Perspectives
M. Auslander, W. Girard, J. Roth
Restrictions: This course is limited to first-years and sophomores.

ANTHR-107 Introduction to Asian American Studies

Not Scheduled for This Year. Credits: 4

In 1882, the U.S. passed the Chinese Exclusion Act, the first federal law to ban a specific ethnic group. Over a century later, President Trump would designate COVID-19 the "Chinese virus," reigniting anxieties of "Yellow Peril," even as reports of anti-Asian violence spiked nationwide. This course aims to bridge these two moments by examining the social, political, and historical contexts that come to bear on contemporary Asian American experience. Focusing on East and Southeast Asian communities, we explore issues of citizenship, belonging, labor, representation and resistance, considering how theories of race, class and gender intersect with national and intergenerational identities.

Crosslisted as: CST-107
Applies to requirement(s): Social Sciences; Multicultural Perspectives
Other Attribute(s): Speaking-Intensive
The department

ANTHR-204 Anthropology of Modern Japan

Spring. Credits: 4

Since the mid-nineteenth century, Americans have viewed Japan as the Orient's most exotic and mysterious recess, alternately enticing and frightening in its difference. Intense economic relations and cultural exchange between Japan and the U.S. have not dispelled the image of Japanese society and culture as fundamentally different from our own. In this course, we will strive for greater understanding of shared experiences as well as historical particularities. Issues covered may vary from one semester to another, but frequently focus on work, women, minorities, and popular culture. Films and anthropological works provide ethnographic examples of some key concepts.

Applies to requirement(s): Social Sciences; Multicultural Perspectives
J. Roth

ANTHR-212 Shopping and Swapping: Cultures Consumption and Exchange

Fall. Credits: 4

We shop for our food, for our clothes, for our colleges. We purchase cars, manicures, and vacations. It seems that there is little that cannot be bought or sold. But we also give and receive gifts, exchange favors, 'go dutch' in restaurants, and invite friends for potlucks. This course examines exchange systems cross-culturally, in order to understand their cultural significance and social consequences. It explores how our own commodity exchange system, which appears to be no more than an efficient means of distributing goods and services, in fact contains intriguing symbolic dimensions similar to the gift exchange systems of Native North America, Melanesia, and Africa.

Applies to requirement(s): Social Sciences; Multicultural Perspectives
J. Roth
Prereq: ANTHR-105.

ANTHR-216 Special Topics in Anthropology

ANTHR-216AD Special Topics in Anthropology: 'Approaching Death: Culture, Health, and Science'

Not Scheduled for This Year. Credits: 4

This class challenges assumptions about death and dying as we examine its meanings and related practices in various cultural contexts. We will ask: what is universal about death and dying, and what is socially constructed? What can the social sciences, bio medicine, literature, the arts, and our own qualitative research tell us about the processes of dying, of grieving, and of providing care? In essence, what does it take to approach death?

Applies to requirement(s): Social Sciences; Multicultural Perspectives
F. Aulino
Prereq: ANTHR-105.

ANTHR-216AU Special Topics in Anthropology: 'Peoples and Cultures of Indigenous Australia'

Spring. Credits: 4

Indigenous peoples of Australia have long been objects of interest and imagination by outsiders-for their ceremonial practices, social structures, religious forms, aesthetic expressions, and relationships to land. This course will explore how Aboriginal peoples have struggled to reproduce and represent themselves and their lifeways on their own terms -- via visual media (pigment designs on bark, acrylic paintings on canvas); performances (cultural festivals, plays, other forms); archival interventions (photographic, textual, digital); museum exhibition; and various textual genres (autobiography, fiction, poetry). We will examine "traditional" and "contemporary" productions as all part of culture and culture-making in the present, emphasizing that this is ongoing and intercultural work.

Applies to requirement(s): Social Sciences; Multicultural Perspectives
S. Thorner
Prereq: ANTHR-105.

ANTHR-216BD Special Topics in Anthropology: 'Sex and Gender in the Black Diaspora'

Not Scheduled for This Year. Credits: 4

This course explores, in global perspective, concepts of blackness and its relationship to feminist, women-led, queer and gender-based political movements that have shaped complex discourses on the intersections of race, gender, class, sexuality, and nationality. We begin with an introductory examination of the ways in which "race" has been historically theorized in U.S. sociological and anthropological discourse. The course integrates a survey of ethnographies and ethnographically informed studies of the intersections of race, gender, class, sexuality, and nationality and concludes with a student-led ethnographic project. Students should leave the course having simultaneously explored sociological and anthropological conceptualizations of the intersections of race, gender, class, sexuality, and nationality, their political implications, and how these issues resonate within broader fields of identity formation, globalization, public discourse and political movements.

Crosslisted as: GNDST-209
Applies to requirement(s): Social Sciences
R. Barnes

ANTHR-216CF Special Topics in Anthropology: 'Cultures of Africa and the African Diaspora'

Fall. Credits: 4

This course considers experiences of power, personhood, and community across a range of societies in contemporary Africa and the African Diaspora. We explore how complex cultural repertoires are creatively drawn upon to engage with social challenges and crises including climate change, biodiversity and habitat loss, gender inequality, food insecurity, public health emergencies, displacement, and uneven urbanization. Special attention is given to the roles of prophetic and spiritual movements across the Black Atlantic world in inspiring and helping forge struggles for liberation, democratic renewal, environmental sustainability, health security, social inclusion, and human rights.

Applies to requirement(s): Social Sciences; Multicultural Perspectives
M. Auslander
Prereq: ANTHR-105.

ANTHR-216CM Special Topics in Anthropology: 'Culture and Mental Health'

Not Scheduled for This Year. Credits: 4

Are psychiatric disease categories and treatment protocols universally applicable? How can we come to understand the lived experience of mental illness and abnormality? And how can we trace the roots of such experience - whether through brain circuitry, cultural practices, forms of power, or otherwise? In this course, we will draw on psychological anthropology, cultural psychiatry, science studies, and decolonizing methodologies to examine mental health and illness in terms of subjective experience, social processes, and knowledge production. Our goal will be to recognize the centrality of the social world as a force that defines and drives the incidence, occurrence, and course of mental illness, as well as to appreciate the complex relationship between professional and personal accounts of disorder.

Crosslisted as: PSYCH-229CM
Applies to requirement(s): Social Sciences; Multicultural Perspectives
Other Attribute(s): Speaking-Intensive, Writing-Intensive
F. Aulino
Prereq: ANTHR-105.

ANTHR-216EF Special Topics in Anthropology: 'Ethnographic Film'

Not Scheduled for This Year. Credits: 4

Anthropologists have made films since the origins of the discipline and have long debated the role of film in the production of knowledge about others. This course explores the history, evolution, critiques, and contemporary practices of ethnographic film. We will consider key works that have defined the genre, and the innovations (and controversies) associated with them; we will engage documentary, observational, reflexive, and experimental cinema; and we will consider Indigenous media as both social activism and cultural reproduction. We will learn about film as a signifying practice, and grapple with the ethical and political concerns raised by cross-cultural representation.

Crosslisted as: FMT-230EF
Applies to requirement(s): Social Sciences; Multicultural Perspectives
S. Thorner
Prereq: ANTHR-105, or FLMST-201 or FLMST-202, or FMT-102 or FMT-103.

ANTHR-216GH Special Topics in Anthropology: 'Case Studies in Global Health'

Spring. Credits: 4

This class is designed to provide an introduction to the field of global health intervention. We will first acquire some historical and analytical tools, including familiarity with a set of social theories to help us identify relevant issues and understand the complexity of situations we will examine over the course of the semester. We will then delve into particular case studies from around the world, using a biosocial approach that draws on a range of disciplines (including anthropology, clinical medicine, history, public health, economics, and delivery science) to understand global health problems and to design intervention strategies. With attention to historical precedent and a critical sociology of knowledge, we will explore how global health problems are defined and constructed, and how global health interventions play out in expected and unexpected ways.

Applies to requirement(s): Social Sciences; Multicultural Perspectives
Other Attribute(s): Speaking-Intensive, Writing-Intensive
F. Aulino
Prereq: ANTHR-105.

ANTHR-216HM Special Topics in Anthropology: 'Feminist Engagements with Hormones'

Fall. Credits: 4

This course takes a transdisciplinary and multi-sited approach to explore the social, political, biocultural, and legal complexities of hormones. Hormones "appear" in many discussions about reproductive and environmental justice, identity, health and chronicity. But what are hormones? What are their social, political and cultural histories? Where are they located? How do they act? The course will foster active learning, centering feminist pedagogies of collaborative inquiry. Examples of topics to be explored are: transnational/transcultural knowledge production about hormones; hormonal relations to sexgender, natureculture, bodymind; and hormone-centered actions and activism.

Crosslisted as: GNDST-241HR
Applies to requirement(s): Social Sciences
J. Luce
Prereq: 4 credits in gender studies.

ANTHR-216HP Special Topics in Anthropology: 'Feminist Health Politics'

Not Scheduled for This Year. Credits: 4

Health is about bodies, selves and politics. We will explore a series of health topics from feminist perspectives. How do gender, sexuality, class, disability, and age influence the ways in which one perceives and experiences health and the access one has to health information and health care? Are heteronormativity, cissexism, or one's place of living related to one's health status or one's health risk? By paying close attention to the relationships between community-based narratives, activities of health networks and organizations and theory, we will develop a solid understanding of the historical, political and cultural specificities of health issues, practices, services and movements.

Crosslisted as: GNDST-241HP
Applies to requirement(s): Social Sciences
J. Luce
Prereq: 4 credits in gender studies.

ANTHR-216HR Special Topics in Anthropology: 'Anthropology and Human Rights'

Not Scheduled for This Year. Credits: 4

This course explores anthropological approaches to human rights -- a key theme of transnational politics and international law. Anthropologists have contributed to discussions on human rights since the UN Declaration and the field has provided a vibrant platform to analyze ideologies, politics, and practices surrounding human rights. We will survey an array of anthropological studies that approach human rights from the perspective of cultural relativism, contextualization, advocacy, and practice. Students will gain a critical perspective on the seemingly universal rhetoric of human rights by learning how it produces diverse effects in places such as Africa, Latin America, and the Middle East.

Applies to requirement(s): Social Sciences; Multicultural Perspectives
E. Babül
Prereq: ANTHR-105.

ANTHR-216LA Special Topics in Anthropology: 'Anthropology of Latin America'

Spring. Credits: 4

Latin America has undergone massive political, economic and cultural transformations since the end of the Cold War. Indeed, during the final decades of the twentieth century, much of the region embraced neoliberal governance and free market capitalism. However, by the turn of the millennium, many Latin American governments had made a sharp "turn to the Left," as states began to intervened more directly in the economy, promote alternative imaginings of modernization, and recognize greater rights for Indigenous and Afro-descendent peoples. This course will begin with a focus on these shifts in governance, but largely focuses on the consequences of these changes within people's everyday lives.

Applies to requirement(s): Social Sciences; Multicultural Perspectives
W. Girard
Prereq: ANTHR-105.

ANTHR-216LT Special Topics in Anthropology: 'Race and Religion in Latin America'

Not Scheduled for This Year. Credits: 4

We often imagine race and religion as two distinct aspects of social life. However, this course considers their historical and contemporary interconnections in Latin America. It begins with an investigation of the proto-racial and religious categories through which Europeans in the early modern era conceived of human difference. We then trace how the encounter between Europeans, Africans, and Indigenous Peoples transformed these notions, with particular attention to how the overlapping racial and religious hierarchies that emerged were both constructed and resisted. We conclude with a series of ethnographies that highlight the contemporary entanglements of race and religion in the region.

Crosslisted as: RELIG-225LT
Applies to requirement(s): Social Sciences; Multicultural Perspectives
W. Girard
Prereq: ANTHR-105 or an introductory course in Religion.

ANTHR-216PY Special Topics in Anthropology: 'Anthropology of Play'

Fall. Credits: 4

We associate play with childhood, a time of spontaneous and creative activity, in contrast to the boring routine of adult responsibilities. And yet play is more than just fun and games. It is through play that children develop lasting cognitive and social skills. For adults too, there can be serious play -- play that has real consequence -- play that shapes the intimate lives of individuals, as well as entire social formations. In this course, we will explore play cross-culturally, from the Balinese cockfight to American football, from gambling to roll playing. We will design games based on the anthropological readings in order to appreciate the game-like qualities of many domains of life.

Applies to requirement(s): Social Sciences; Multicultural Perspectives
J. Roth
Prereq: ANTHR-105.

ANTHR-216RE Special Topics in Anthropology: 'Anthropology of Reproduction'

Not Scheduled for This Year. Credits: 4

This course focuses on the biological and cultural components of childbirth through evolutionary and cross-cultural perspectives. From the evolution of the pelvis to how nutrition, growth and development, health, trauma and cultural contexts can affect successful childbirth, we explore the birth process in the ancient world, historical trends, and recent dialogues surrounding the technocratic model of birth, to understand the changing focus of birth as female centered to a medical condition. Indigenous birthing customs and beliefs from a number of different cultural contexts will be considered, as well as contemporary rates of maternal mortality to understand the risks facing some today.

Applies to requirement(s): Social Sciences; Multicultural Perspectives
Other Attribute(s): Speaking-Intensive, Writing-Intensive
P. Stone
Prereq: ANTHR-105.

ANTHR-216RN Special Topics in Anthropology: 'Race, Nature and Power'

Spring. Credits: 4

How do appeals to nature -- so called "natural" traits or "essences" -- undergird the way race adheres to specific bodies? How does race, in turn, go beyond bodies to mark particular "natural" landscapes and non-human entities as other? In short, how can we understand the historically powerful relationship between race and nature? Drawing on anthropology and critical race theory, this course examines how race and nature work to convey "timeless truths", inform notions of difference, and justify inequalities. To these ends, we analyze ideas of wilderness/wildness, biological racism, human-animal relations, and environmental disasters to explore how race gets naturalized, and nature racialized.

Crosslisted as: CST-249RN
Applies to requirement(s): Social Sciences; Multicultural Perspectives
Other Attribute(s): Speaking-Intensive
V. Nguyen
Prereq: ANTHR-105 or 4 credits in Anthropology.

ANTHR-216WC Special Topics in Anthropology: 'Writing Capitalism's Ruins'

Not Scheduled for This Year. Credits: 4

There's a low buzz; we feel nervous. Is this capitalism's end? Have zombies hit the horizon yet? Keep checking. Anthropology narrates collective feeling, gives form to the ambience. But what is late industrialism's ambience? As factory buildings crumble, we wonder whether the tap water's clean. The question of how to write the world is also a question of how to survive and even flourish. Drawing from archaeology, cultural anthropology, ecology, and literary theory, this course is a writing-oriented study of contemporary experiences of infrastructural failure, capitalist collapse, and ruination. One focus is the effects of capitalism on people of color and North American non-English speakers.

Crosslisted as: CST-249WC
Applies to requirement(s): Social Sciences; Multicultural Perspectives
Other Attribute(s): Speaking-Intensive, Writing-Intensive
M. Watson
Prereq: ANTHR-105.

ANTHR-216WT Special Topics in Anthropology: 'Witchcraft, Misfortune, and Ritual Healing'

Spring. Credits: 4

This course explores the often-misunderstood concept of "witchcraft," past and present. "Witchcraft" is at times used to characterize nuanced cultural systems of power and healing, which seek to explain and redress suffering. In turn, many societies experiencing environmental insecurity, health crises, and rapid economic transitions have seen the rise of "witch-hunting" movements, from the Salem witch trials to present-day global conspiracy theories. We consider the causes and trajectories of these movements, which often promise collective redemption and salvation through the scapegoating of suspected malefactors, and examine alternative approaches to redressing injustice and misfortune.

Applies to requirement(s): Social Sciences
M. Auslander
Prereq: ANTHR-105.

ANTHR-221 Anthropology of Media

Not Scheduled for This Year. Credits: 4

This course critically examines how media make a difference in diverse peoples' lives. How are media produced, circulated, and consumed? Together, we will explore the material forms through which subjectivities, collectivities, and histories are produced; and the social practices of constructing and contesting national identities, forging alternative political visions, transforming religious practice, and producing new relationships. In this 21st century, media are not just indispensable to what is known, but also, to how we know. Case studies will include film, TV, photography, art, archives, journalism, and digital platforms; ethnographic examples will be drawn from around the world.

Applies to requirement(s): Social Sciences; Multicultural Perspectives
Other Attribute(s): Writing-Intensive
S. Thorner
Prereq: ANTHR-105.

ANTHR-235 History of Anthropological Thought

Fall. Credits: 4

This course will review the key issues and paradigm shifts in the development of anthropology from its foundations in classical thought through its emergence as an independent discipline to its coming-of-age in the 1960s. The readings will include works from the American, British, and Continental traditions.

Applies to requirement(s): Social Sciences
Other Attribute(s): Writing-Intensive
M. Watson
Restrictions: Course limited to sophomores, juniors and seniors
Prereq: 4 credits in Anthropology at the 200 or 300 level.

ANTHR-240 Medical Anthropology

Not Scheduled for This Year. Credits: 4

This course provides an introduction to medical anthropology. Core topics will include: the culture of medicine, the interaction of biology and society, the experience of illness, caregiving, addiction, violence, and humanitarian intervention. We will explore how ethnographic research and social theory can enrich understanding of illness and care, raising issues for and about medicine and public health often left out of other disciplinary approaches. Throughout, we will emphasize the vantage point of the local worlds in which people experience, narrate, and respond to illness and suffering, and the ways in which large-scale forces contribute to such local experience.

Applies to requirement(s): Social Sciences; Multicultural Perspectives
The department
Prereq: ANTHR-105.

ANTHR-275 Research Methods in Cultural Anthropology

Fall. Credits: 4

Topics include research design, ethical dilemmas, and the relationship between academic research and community based learning. Applied fieldwork and presentations are an integral part of this course.

Applies to requirement(s): Meets No Distribution Requirement
Other Attribute(s): Community-Based Learning
E. Babül
Restrictions: This course is limited to Anthropology majors.
Prereq: Anthropology 105.

ANTHR-295 Independent Study

Fall and Spring. Credits: 1 - 4

The department
Instructor permission required.

ANTHR-316 Special Topics in Anthropology

ANTHR-316CA Special Topics in Anthropology: 'Carbon Christianity'

Fall. Credits: 4

This seminar investigates the multiple connections between modern forms of Christianity and fossil fuels. The course begins with a consideration of recent scholarship that details how workers' everyday experiences in coal mines and oil fields profoundly shaped their religious sensibilities. We then examine how fossil fuel companies funded many of the most significant Christian institutions in the United States-both liberal and conservative -- during the twentieth century. Finally, the course will reflect on contemporary Christian responses to climate change, both those that seek to halt the burning of fossil fuels and those that deny it is taking place.

Crosslisted as: RELIG-331CA
Applies to requirement(s): Social Sciences
Other Attribute(s): Writing-Intensive
W. Girard
Prereq: 8 credits in Anthropology or Religion.

ANTHR-316DE Special Topics in Anthropology: 'Settler Colonialism: Working Towards Decolonizing Indigenous American History'

Not Scheduled for This Year. Credits: 4

What is settler colonialism? What does it mean to decolonize Indigenous history? This class offers an overview of settler colonialism and the complex ways in which colonial narratives, imperialism, and white supremacy infiltrate interpretations of the past. Exploring theoretical frameworks alongside empirical data, readings and discussions will focus on the long legacy of these colonial practices throughout North America, shedding light on the impact and legacy of colonial encounters. By recognizing the ways that settler colonialism works, we will then examine the formation of the Genízaro ethnic identity in the American Southwest to illuminate the lasting impact of colonial encounters.

Applies to requirement(s): Social Sciences; Multicultural Perspectives
Other Attribute(s): Speaking-Intensive, Writing-Intensive
P. Stone
Prereq: 8 credits in the department.
Notes: Two students in this course may be selected to join Prof. Stone for field research in New Mexico in May and June.

ANTHR-316DM Special Topics in Anthropology: 'Decolonizing Museums'

Spring. Credits: 4

Museums collect, preserve, categorize, and exhibit objects, and through these practices, produce and circulate knowledge. This course takes "the museum" as an object of ethnographic inquiry, focusing especially on Indigenous peoples and their ways of knowing, being, and doing things. How might museums acknowledge the confronting truths of colonization, and the intergenerational and ongoing trauma endured by Indigenous peoples? How might this often-intercultural work offer possibilities for healing? Teaching and learning will be guided by principles of Indigenous sovereignty, and grounded in storytelling and in making things as Indigenous ways of transmitting knowledge.

Applies to requirement(s): Social Sciences; Multicultural Perspectives
M. Auslander
Prereq: 8 credits in the department including ANTHR-105.

ANTHR-316EG Special Topics in Anthropology: 'Eggs and Embryos: Innovations in Reproductive and Genetic Technologies'

Not Scheduled for This Year. Credits: 4

This seminar will focus on emerging innovations in the development, use and governance of reproductive and genetic technologies (RGTs). How do novel developments at the interface of fertility treatment and biomedical research raise both new and enduring questions about the'naturalness' of procreation, the politics of queer families, the im/possibilities of disabilities, and transnational citizenship? Who has a say in what can be done and for which purposes? We will engage with ethnographic texts, documentaries, policy statements, citizen science activist projects, and social media in order to closely explore the diversity of perspectives in this field.

Crosslisted as: GNDST-333EG
Applies to requirement(s): Social Sciences
J. Luce
Prereq: 8 credits in gender studies or anthropology.

ANTHR-316ET Special Topics in Anthropology: 'Advanced Seminar in Ethnomusicology'

Not Scheduled for This Year. Credits: 4

Designed for music and non-music majors, this advanced seminar examines core theoretical and methodological issues in ethnomusicology and the debates that have shaped its practice since its origins in the early twentieth century as comparative musicology. Drawing on musical traditions from different parts of the world and supplemented by workshops conducted by visiting professional musicians, the course explores the interdisciplinary approaches that inform how ethnomusicologists study the significance of music "in" and "as" culture. Topics covered will include ethnographic methods, the intersection of musicological and anthropological perspectives, the political significance of musical hybridity, applied ethnomusicology, and sound studies.

Crosslisted as: MUSIC-374
Applies to requirement(s): Humanities; Multicultural Perspectives
Other Attribute(s): Speaking-Intensive, Writing-Intensive
B. Omojola
Restrictions: Course limited to sophomores, juniors and seniors

ANTHR-316LA Special Topics in Anthropology: 'Race and Religion in Latin America'

Not Scheduled for This Year. Credits: 4

The course will begin with an investigation of the proto-racial and religious categories through which Europeans in the early modern era understood human difference. From there, we will trace how these notions were re-conceptualized in the centuries following the encounter between Europeans, Africans, and the Indigenous Peoples of the Americas. As we examine this history -- including the emergence of slavery, eugenics, mestizaje, and Liberation Theology -- we will pay particular attention to how interwoven racial and religious hierarchies were both constructed and resisted. The final section of the course will concentrate on the contemporary entanglements of race and religion in the region.

Crosslisted as: RELIG-331LA
Applies to requirement(s): Social Sciences; Multicultural Perspectives
W. Girard
Prereq: 8 credits in Anthropology, Religion, or Latin American Studies.

ANTHR-316LE Special Topics in Anthropology: 'Lethal Landscapes, Toxic Worlds'

Not Scheduled for This Year. Credits: 4

Toxins today pervade our lives and bodies. Yet they remain difficult to pin down, simultaneously ubiquitous and elusive. With an eye toward these contradictions, this course begins by asking: What is toxicity? How does it enter our awareness? Who bears the burden of its designation? From here, we consider how the uncertainty of toxic exposure shapes the politics of evidence, social difference, and assumptions about the integrity of bodies and nations. Connecting ethnographies of environmental exposure and contamination with larger contexts, histories, and settler colonial logics, we investigate relations of segregation, contingency, and kinship in uneven terrains of vulnerability and risk.

Crosslisted as: CST-349LE
Applies to requirement(s): Social Sciences; Multicultural Perspectives
Other Attribute(s): Speaking-Intensive
V. Nguyen
Prereq: 8 credits in the department.

ANTHR-316LV Special Topics in Anthropology: 'Living in End Times: Religion and Climate Change'

Not Scheduled for This Year. Credits: 4

Religion and climate change might seem to be an odd combination. After all, we tend to imagine religion as the domain of faith, emotion, and the otherworldly and the climate as the realm of science, objective knowledge, and the here and now. Nevertheless, this course investigates the sometimes surprising connections between them. For example, how do religious communities work to promote or oppose political action on climate change? How do religious conceptions about God's relationship with nature or with humanity have consequences for adherents' views on climate change? How do the futures predicted by climate models and those prophesied in sacred texts affect people's actions today?

Crosslisted as: RELIG-331LV
Applies to requirement(s): Social Sciences
Other Attribute(s): Speaking-Intensive, Writing-Intensive
W. Girard
Prereq: 8 credits in anthropology or religion.

ANTHR-316LW Special Topics in Anthropology: 'Ethnographies of Law'

Spring. Credits: 4

This seminar focuses on the anthropological study of the legal field. The class will begin with a survey of some classical texts that underpin the legal thought in the modern era. We will then see how anthropologists contributed to the study of law by conceptualizing it as part of larger socio-political processes and as a field that includes social relations, processes, and practices. The students will learn how some key legal issues such as dispute management, decision making, and reconciliation are actualized in diverse cultural and social settings, to think critically and evaluate legal processes in a multicultural setting and in plural societies.

Applies to requirement(s): Social Sciences
Other Attribute(s): Writing-Intensive
E. Babül
Prereq: 8 credits in Anthropology.

ANTHR-316ME Special Topics in Anthropology: 'Political Anthropology of the Middle East'

Not Scheduled for This Year. Credits: 4

This seminar focuses on anthropological studies of how power - both in its open and hidden forms - manifests itself and shapes everyday life in the contemporary Middle East. It explores how authority is established and contested in various domains including bureaucracy and the state; sexuality and the family; religion and civil society; markets and the media. We will trace how experiences of colonization, imperialism, modernization, nationalism, capitalism, occupation, war and revolt mold the conditions of living for peoples of the Middle East. We will also examine how specific forms of knowledge production attribute coherence to the region, allowing its imagination as an object of intervention in the name of development and security.

Crosslisted as: ASIAN-362
Applies to requirement(s): Social Sciences; Multicultural Perspectives
E. Babül
Prereq: 8 Credits in Anthropology.

ANTHR-316MU Special Topics in Anthropology: 'Anthropology in/of Museums'

Not Scheduled for This Year. Credits: 4

What is a museum, and how is it relevant to all of our lives? This course considers "the museum" as an object of ethnographic inquiry, examining it as a cultural institution perpetually under negotiation and reconfiguration. We reflect on how museum principles of classification, practices of collection and exhibition, and the uptake of digital technologies are central to what and how we know. We investigate and analyze museums as social actors in anthropological debates on power, representation, materiality, value, authenticity, state-making, Indigenous sovereignty, and the preservation and activation of contemporary cultures. The museum is never simply a repository of artifacts, artworks, histories, or scientific inventions, but also a site of tremendous creativity and a field of complex social relations.

Crosslisted as: ARTH-301MU
Applies to requirement(s): Social Sciences; Multicultural Perspectives
S. Thorner
Restrictions: This course is open to juniors and seniors
Prereq: 4 credits in Anthropology or Art History.
Advisory: Students enrolled in or considering the Nexus in Museums, Archives, and Public History are encouraged to take this course

ANTHR-316NC Special Topics in Anthropology: 'Across Nature and Culture: Anthropology and the Environment'

Fall. Credits: 4

This course explores the complex, dynamic relationships between "nature" and "culture" in various systems of human thought and practice, past and present. We explore worldviews predicated on reciprocal exchanges between human and non-human entities, as well as those anchored in hierarchical relations of extraction and exploitation of natural resources. Students draw on anthropological methods to observe and interpret contested local sites of biodiversity and resource management. Special attention is given to struggles over the rights of indigenous peoples to manage local ecosystems and natural resources and to collaborative partnerships nurturing environmental sustainability and restoration.

Applies to requirement(s): Social Sciences; Multicultural Perspectives
Other Attribute(s): Speaking-Intensive
M. Auslander
Prereq: 8 credits in Anthropology.

ANTHR-316NW Special Topics in Anthropology: 'Religion: It's Not What It Used to Be'

Not Scheduled for This Year. Credits: 4

Not so long ago, anthropologists had a relatively clear understanding of what they meant by "religion" -- any and all manner of beliefs and practices related to the supernatural or the sacred. However, in recent years, religion has been rethought in light of its own specific Western history, its normative tendencies, and its place in colonialism and other projects of domination. This course will begin with a review of the conventional ways that anthropologists have conceived of religion. It will then move on to investigate the exciting new theoretical and ethnographic perspectives that have emerged to more fully take into account the diverse world-making practices that humans engage in.

Crosslisted as: RELIG-331NW
Applies to requirement(s): Social Sciences; Multicultural Perspectives
Other Attribute(s): Speaking-Intensive, Writing-Intensive
W. Girard
Prereq: 8 credits in Anthropology or Religion.

ANTHR-316PA Special Topics in Anthropology: 'Outside the Frame: The Social Lives of Photography and Archives'

Not Scheduled for This Year. Credits: 4

Archival and photographic practices emerge from shared paradigms seeking to know and classify the world. This seminar explores what archives and photographs are and what they do -- what are their conventions and cultures of use, and how are these being creatively resisted? We examine photographs as archives themselves, as well as vehicles of remembering, evidence of kin relationships, tools of national discourse, and objects of exchange. We reflect on how digital forms are changing how we know ourselves and our histories. We will learn together about how photography and archives are mobilized as people in myriad contexts strive for belonging, recognition, understanding, and change.

Applies to requirement(s): Social Sciences; Multicultural Perspectives
S. Thorner
Prereq: ANTHR-105 and 4 additional credits in Anthropology or Art History.

ANTHR-316PG Special Topics in Anthropology: 'Who's Involved?: Participatory Governance, Emerging Technologies and Feminism'

Spring. Credits: 4

Deep brain stimulation, genome sequencing, regenerative medicine...Exploring practices of 'participatory governance' of emerging technologies, we will examine the formal and informal involvement of citizens, patients, health professionals, scientists and policy makers. What initiatives exist at local, national and transnational levels to foster science literacy? How do lived experiences of nationality, ability, class, race, ethnicity, gender and sexuality become visible and/or disappear within constructed frameworks of participatory governance? How can feminist ethnographic research and feminist theory contribute to a larger project of democratizing knowledge production and governance?

Crosslisted as: GNDST-333PG
Applies to requirement(s): Social Sciences
J. Luce
Prereq: 8 credits in gender studies or anthropology.

ANTHR-316RE Special Topics in Anthropology: 'Anthropology of Reproduction'

Spring. Credits: 4

This course focuses on the biological and cultural components of reproduction. From the evolution of the pelvis, to how nutrition, growth and development, health, trauma and cultural can affect successful childbirth, we explore the birth process in the ancient world, through historical trends, as well as recent dialogues surrounding the technocratic model of birth to understand the shift of birth from a female centered experience to a medically managed condition. Indigenous birthing customs and beliefs from a number of different cultural contexts are also explored. We also consider contemporary rates of maternal mortality to understand the risks facing some today.

Applies to requirement(s): Social Sciences; Multicultural Perspectives
Other Attribute(s): Speaking-Intensive, Writing-Intensive
P. Stone
Prereq: 8 credits in anthropology.

ANTHR-316SE Special Topics in Anthropology: 'Anthropology of Secularism'

Not Scheduled for This Year. Credits: 4

What is secularism? For many of us, the answer is obvious: the world without religious belief, or the separation of church and state, or even the "really real" world. In recent years, scholars in number fields have begun to question these common sense notions about secularism. In this course, we will investigate this rapidly expanding literature and the critical lines of inquiry it has opened up: Under what specific cultural and historic conditions did secularism first emerge? Is secularism experienced today in the same way throughout the world? If not, how do they vary? What ways of being and living does secularism encourage or allow to flourish? Which does it stunt, block, or prohibit?

Crosslisted as: RELIG-331SE
Applies to requirement(s): Social Sciences; Multicultural Perspectives
W. Girard
Prereq: 8 credits in Anthropology or in Religion.

ANTHR-316TE Special Topics in Anthropology: 'Toxicity and Exposure ' History'

Not Scheduled for This Year. Credits: 4

Every day, everywhere, we are exposed to toxins in the air we breathe, the food we eat, the water we drink, the products we purchase, and the social worlds we inhabit. Yet while exposure is shared, its effects are unevenly distributed across lines of race, gender, class, and colonialism. Attending to unequal distributions and disproportionate harms, we consider how toxic exposure shapes historic and novel forms of difference, the politics of evidence, and assumptions about the integrity of bodies and nations. Analyzing ethnographies, film, art, and memoir, we investigate what toxicity is, when it comes into awareness, and how both bodies and environments are made and remade in the process.

Crosslisted as: CST-349TE
Applies to requirement(s): Social Sciences; Multicultural Perspectives
Other Attribute(s): Speaking-Intensive
The department
Prereq: 8 credits in anthropology or critical social thought.

ANTHR-342 Science as Culture

Not Scheduled for This Year. Credits: 4

What is science? The progressive discovery of Nature's laws? The process of honing claims about the universe? Is science the act of postulating and testing hypotheses? Or is it tinkering, experimentation? This course offers an advanced introduction to cultural and anthropological studies of science. Through careful readings of work in areas such as the sociology of scientific knowledge, actor-network theory, feminist science studies, and affect theory, we will explore the sciences as complex systems of cultural production. The course will culminate in a series of critical ethnographic studies of how the sciences shape concepts and experiences of race, the body, gender, and sexuality.

Crosslisted as: CST-342
Applies to requirement(s): Social Sciences; Multicultural Perspectives
Other Attribute(s): Writing-Intensive
M. Watson
Prereq: 8 credits in the department.

ANTHR-350 Issues in Contemporary Anthropological Theory

Fall. Credits: 4

This course explores the major theoretical frameworks developed and debated by anthropologists of the past two decades. It covers core issues in anthropological epistemology, the relationship of ethnography to social and cultural theory, trends in anthropological analysis, and the place of anthropological theory in broader academic and public discourses.

Applies to requirement(s): Social Sciences; Multicultural Perspectives
Other Attribute(s): Speaking-Intensive, Writing-Intensive
M. Watson
Restrictions: This course is limited to seniors.; This course is limited to Anthropology majors.
Prereq: 8 credits in anthropology including ANTHR-235.
Advisory: Anthropology majors should take ANTHR-235 before ANTHR-350.
Notes: Five College students must obtain instructor permission to register.

ANTHR-352 Digital Cultures

Spring. Credits: 4

In the last decades, digital media have become integral to our quotidian lives as well as to myriad translocal processes. "New" technologies are hailed in celebratory narratives of democratization and participation, access and innovation, enchantment and possibility; and newly-available gadgets, devices, and platforms are taken up with great speed and facility. This course is designed to ethnographically explore "the digital," as both a site and subject of scholarly inquiry, in which we think through how this form is shifting the ways in which we know ourselves, our social networks, our bodies, and the dynamic cultural and political contexts in which we live.

Applies to requirement(s): Social Sciences
S. Thorner
Prereq: 8 credits in the department.

ANTHR-395 Independent Study

Fall and Spring. Credits: 1 - 8

The department
Instructor permission required.

Contact Us

The Department of Sociology and Anthropology oversees the program in Anthropology (exploring cultural contact, diffusion, transformation and resilience) and Sociology (the systematic study of social life and social transformation).

Michelle Pietras
  • Academic Department Coordinator

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