Introduction to Sociocultural Anthropology
Introduction to anthropology. Exploration of hunters and gatherers and other early forms of human subsistence and social organization. Evolution of contemporary human diversity and similarity in kinship and marriage, gender relations, language, psychology, religion, witchcraft, division of labor, economic organization, political systems, law, and warfare. Contemporary tribalism and interethnic relations are examined. Not offered 2022-23.
What makes humans unique and how did we evolve? This course will review 8 million years of hominin evolutionary history, focusing on the origins of defining features of our species including bipedalism, tool use, language, and advanced cognition. We will examine evidence from primatology and the genetic, fossil, and archaeological records. Concepts from evolutionary biology and anthropology will be covered including adaptation, phylogenetics, life history theory, behavioral ecology, and gene-culture coevolution. Not offered 2022-23.
How do we know what we think we know about ancient peoples and societies? Archaeology is the study of past societies through the material traces they left behind from the great pyramids to microscopic bits of garbage. This course will review the global archaeological record from the earliest stone tools, roughly 3.3 million years ago, through the rise and fall of ancient civilizations of the Middle East, Africa, South and East Asia, and the Americas. We will examine evidence and theories pertaining to global dispersals, origins of agriculture, urbanization and societal collapse. Throughout the course we will discuss methodologies of site discovery, excavation, chronometric dating, skeletal analysis, and artifact characterization. We also discuss how the past is used for modern political and social agendas. Students will create virtual museum exhibits on archaeological topics of their choosing. Not offered 2022-23.
This course offers advanced undergraduates the opportunity to pursue research in Anthropology individually or in a small group. Graded pass/fail.
Selected Topics in Anthropology
Topics to be determined by instructor.
Corruption taxes economies and individuals in both the developing and the developed world. We will examine what corruption means in different places and contexts, from grand financial scandals to misappropriation of all manner of public resources. How do we measure corruption? What are its costs and social consequences? What have culture and psychology got to do with it? How much do governance and a free press matter? What are the potential solutions? Students will work closely with the professor to develop an independent and original research project of their choice. Limited enrollment.