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Fall, 2013 | Anthropology
The past history of humanity is littered with the stories of societies whose peoples experienced prosperity and fluorescence followed by decline and catastrophe. In the present, an age of information and rapid change, public intellectuals offer broad and detailed visions of what took place in the past, what is happening now, and what the trends suggest for the future. This course looks at the efforts of two prominent public intellectuals, economist Lester Brown and geographer Jared Diamond. In this course we look at Brown's work in its latest incarnation, Plan B 4.0. We discuss this in light of current events. We then look at Jared Diamond's book "Collapse, How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed" and critical response to that book by experts. I include a personal perspective as an archaeologist working with the ancient Maya civilization. The Maya are famous for the ninth century AD collapse of their Classic civilization. The readings provide the basis for discussion of the challenges we face in understanding the life histories of societies and discerning what we can conclude about the future from their experiences.
This course provides the basic foundation in medical anthropology and cultural anthropology for students enrolled in the Medicine and Society Program. The purpose of the course is to introduce students to the central themes and theoretical approaches employed by medical anthropologists to study health and illness in cross-cultural perspective. Topical areas include analyses of disease, illness and sickness at micro and macro levels; impact of personal and interpersonal factors on health; health effects of social, political, and economic factors; relationship of anthropology to biological and social science approaches; ecology of health and development; and cross-cultural health studies of language, gender, and race/ethnicity. Note: Content for this course overlaps with and replaces Anth 160 for students enrolled in the Medicine and Society Program. Open only to students enrolled in the Medicine and Society Program.
A survey of the fossil evidence for human evolution. The course includes discussion of the genetics of human variation and evolution, the study of living non-human primates, and the fossil record and its interpretation. An evolutionary perspective is used in an attempt to understand modern humans from the naturalistic point of view.
Archaeology plays a critical and unique role in understanding the human past. Through study of the methods and theories of archaeology, and a survey of important firsts in the human past, this course introduces students to the way archaeologists use material culture to reconstruct and understand human behavior. Chronologically ordered case studies from around the globe are used to look at social, ecological, and cultural issues facing humans from the earliest times to the present. Students gain practice reconstructing the past through hands-on participation in two 1-hour labs focusing on lithics and animal bones. By the end of the course, students are expected to be able to think critically about how the past is presented, and why, and the importance of the past as it relates to the present and future.
American popular culture is saturated with pseudoscientific and fictionalized accounts of archaeological discoveries and interpretations. How can students of the past distinguish between fraud, fantasy, hype, and valid archaeological research? What potential merit do films, TV-oriented documentaries, and historical fiction offer? What role has racism played in attempts to deny indigenous peoples credit for their past achievements? This course looks at the popular culture of archaeology, providing tools for critical evaluation as well as lifetime enjoyment of the field as it is frequently sold to both the informed and the unwary public. Anthropology majors and non-majors are all welcome as are sophomores and motivated first-year students who have not yet declared majors.
Designed to give undergraduates research experience in the various subdisciplines of Anthropology. May be taken more than once for credit. Prerequisite: consent of the faculty member under whom the research will be done.
Anthropology majors may acquire professional experience outside the classroom by participating in a faculty-sponsored internship. Before work begins, the student and faculty sponsor must agree on a final written project, which is then approved by the Anthropology Academic Coordinator. Students will be evaluated by the faculty sponsor on the basis of the written project and input from the internship supervisor. Course may be taken only one time. Prerequisite: 9 hours of anthropology and permission of department.
This course introduces students to the major myths of ancient Greek culture and the functions that those myths served in both Greek and Roman society. The readings in the course come almost entirely from actual ancient texts (in translation) but students are encouraged to think beyond those texts to consider the broad and dynamic living mythological tradition in which the stories developed. The course also introduces students to the varied approaches through which such mythology has been studied, from ancient society's own reflections on Greek mythology to recent academic theories.
This course will explore the archaeology and anthropology of nomadic pastoral societies in light of their ecological, political, and cultural strategies and adaptation to extreme environments (deserts, mountains, the arctic). The aim of the course is to understand both the early development of pastoral ways of life, and how nomads have had an essential role in the formation and transfer of culture, language, and power from prehistoric time to the current era.
Drawing upon an interdisciplinary approach, this course addresses several major themes with a focus on the dynamics of China's unprecedented healthcare transformations. Topical issues covered will include: Biocultural Contexts of Disease; the Challenge of Aging in a Gray China; Health Inequalities and Social Stratification; and Values and the Medical Humanities in Public Health.**Students are encouraged to conduct ethnographic field research in a variety of settings including: community health centers, drug stores, city and district hospitals, clinics, public parks, clubs, temples and shrines, tea houses, cafes, restaurants, and school playgrounds and other places of interest. MUST BE ENROLLED IN THE STUDY ABROAD PROGRAM AT FUDAN UNIVERSITY IN SHANGHAI, CHINA.
A survey of human biological diversity, considering its adaptive and taxonomic significance from the perspective of origins and distribution of traits and adaptation. Prerequisite: Anthro 150A or introductory biology.
Demographic transition in China is featured with dramatic fertility and mortality decline, and prolonging life expectancy. In addition to the shift in demographic rates, China has also seen accelerating rural-urban migration, increasing divorce rate, shrinking family size, emerging empty-nest elderly, and other population redistributions in the post-reform era. These demographic transitions are influenced by economic reform and social changes to a large extent; they also exert profound and lasting consequences on socio-economic development. The strong ties between population and development raise a series of questions: how does China transit from a country of tremendous population to a country of profound human capital? Will China experience labor shortage in the near future due to low fertility rates? What's the impact of population aging on social security reform? Do the elderly suffer from insufficient care in the context of shrinking family size and widespread migration? Exploring these questions may provide students with a deeper understanding on China's demographic transition and its connection to social and economic development. Must be enrolled in the study abroad program at Fudan University in Shanghai, China
This course provides a general introduction to the multidisciplinary field of global health. We look at the roles that cultural anthropology, clinical medicine, and public health play in efforts to understand and ameliorate health problems around the world and in diverse settings. We explore the global burden and distribution of disease and mortality, the underlying determinants of health disparities and inequalities, the international development and role of policies and institutions, and the complex impacts and outcomes of medical and public health interventions. This course introduces students to important social theories in global health, delves into close-up case studies, and stresses the importance of how society and culture influence health and illness. This course is equivalent to L48 3283: Introduction to Public Health. Course may not be taken twice for credit.
A cross-cultural exploration of cultures and social organizations of medical systems, the global exportation of biomedicine, and ethical dilemmas associated with medical technologies and global disparities in health.
This course takes clothing as a starting point for examining broad themes in anthropology, including gender and sexuality, race and the body, history and colonialism. We look at the ritual significance of clothing and other practices of bodily adornment in traditional societies and the role of style in constituting contemporary social movements and identity categories. We investigate the globalization of the apparel industry, from production and circulation to marketing and branding, in order to understand the relationship between citizenship and consumption, labor and power in the global economy. The course encourages students to reflect on their relationship to the wider society and economy as producers and consumers of material culture through the lens of clothing and fashion.
This course focuses on the ancient Maya civilization because there are many exciting new breakthroughs in the study of the Maya. The Olmec civilization and the civilization of Teotihuacan in the Valley of Mexico will be considered as they related to the rise and development of the Maya civilization. The ancient Maya were the only Pre-Columbian civilization to leave us a written record that we can use to understand their politics, religion, and history. This course is about Maya ancient history and Maya glyphic texts, combined with the images of Maya life from their many forms of art. The combination of glyphic texts, art, and archaeology now can provide a uniquely detailed reconstruction of ancient history in a New World civilization.
We live in an age when social policy is increasingly displaced into the realm of law, when justice and equality are matters of courtroom debate rather than public discussion. Legal language has become a key resource in all kinds of struggles over livelihood and ways of life. In this course, we study the cultural dimensions of law and law's changing relationship to state power, the global economy, social movements, and everyday life. We approach law as a system of rules, obligations, and procedures, but also a cultural practice, moral regime, and disciplinary technique. How are relationships between legal, political, and economic realms structured and with what consequences? How does law provide tools for both social struggle and social control? What does anthropology contribute to research on these issues? In exploring these questions, we combine readings from classical legal anthropology with recent ethnographic work from around the globe.
Many contemporary approaches to economics downplay or bracket the importance of culture in the workings of economic systems. In this class we will focus on approaches to distribution and exchange in which culture and social institutions figure prominently, if not pre-eminently. We will sample a diverse array of economies, from gift exchange to the ceremonial destruction of wealth, from Melanesia to Wall Street, in order to evaluate some of the assumptions that undergird market capitalism. What are market institutions and what forms do they take? What is the relationship between economy and society? How does culture shape distribution and consumption?
This course provides an introduction to research methods and focuses particularly on the application of social research, developing fundamental conceptual and empirical research skills in both quantitative and qualitative research methods. The course will provide students with tools to be able to apply in their own research and to understand scholarly work produced by others. Must be enrolled in the study abroad program at Fudan University in Shanghai, China.
This lecture course explores the historical, cultural, and political relationship between America and global energy, focusing on oil, coal, natural gas, biofuels, and alternatives. Through case studies at home and abroad, we examine how cultural, environmental, economic, and geopolitical processes are entangled with changing patterns of energy-related resource extraction, production, distribution, and use. America's changing position as global consumer and dreamer is linked to increasingly violent contests over energy abroad while our fuel-dependent dreams of boundless (oil) power give way to uncertainties and new possibilities of nation, nature, and the future. Assuming that technology and markets alone will not save us, what might a culturally, politically, and socially-minded inquiry contribute to understanding the past and future of global energy and the American dream?
An introduction to the ecology of human culture, especially how "traditional" cultural ecosystems are organized and how they change with population density. Topics include foragers, extensive and intensive farming, industrial agriculture, the ecology of conflict, and problems in sustainability.
This course will examine the biology of the female reproductive cycle -- menarche, menstruation, and the menopause -- and its cultural interpretation around the world. Topics covered will include the embryology of human sexual differentiation, the biology of the menstrual cycle and how it influences or is influenced by various disease states, contraception, infertility, cultural taboos and beliefs about menstruation and menopause, etc. The course will utilize materials drawn from human biology, clinical gynecology, ethnography, social anthropology, and the history of medicine and will examine the interplay between female reproductive biology and culture around the world.
What is a "disease" and how do you diagnose one? What are "medicines" and how, when, and for what purpose should they be used? These questions reflect universal human concerns, but the answers given to these questions have varied enormously in different times and places. The course will consider the nature of health, illness, disease and its treatment, beginning with a detailed examination of the traditional ethnomedical system of the Hausa people of northern Nigeria. Using this West African medical system as a baseline for comparison, the course will then explore the nature of "nosology" (the classification of diseases) and the underlying logic of different therapeutic systems in different times and cultures, including our own. The course will draw on ethnography, the history of medicine, bioethics, and human biology to understand how these questions are asked and answered in different societies, times and places.
This course offers anthropological analysis of death, mourning and burial. It draws on data and theoretical explanations from different sub-disciplines of anthropology (archaeology, cultural anthropology, and physical anthropology). In addition to theoretical conceptualization of mortuary practices, specific case studies will be used to address a wide range of topics. The course covers cross-cultural comparison of burial among hunter-gatherers, pastoralists and complex societies. Mortuary practices will also be conceptualized based on religion and secularity, social organization and biological approaches (eg. paleodiet, paleodemography, disease). Ethical and legal issues of using human remains worldwide will also be addressed. This course will help train and stimulate academic enquiry into ancient and modern societal treatment of death around the globe. The time covered in this course ranges from the Lower Palaeolithic to the contemporary world.
From the beginning of the human campaign, societies have socialized the spaces and places where they live. This socialization comes in many forms, including the generation of sacred natural places (e.g., Mt. Fuji) to the construction of planned urban settings where culture is writ large in overt and subtle contexts. Over the past two decades or so, anthropologists, archaeologists, and geographers have developed a wide body of research concerning these socially constructed and perceived settings -- commonly known as "landscapes". This course takes a tour through time and across the globe to trace the formation of diverse social landscapes, starting in prehistoric times and ending in modern times. We will cover various urban landscapes, rural landscapes, nomadic landscapes (and others) and the intersection of the natural environment, the built environments, and the symbolism that weaves them together. Chronologically, we will range from 3000 BCE to 2009 CE and we will cover all the continents. This course will also trace the intellectual history of the study of landscape as a social phenomenon, and will investigate the current methods used to recover and describe social landscapes around the world and through time. Join in situating your own social map alongside the most famous and the most obscure landscapes of the world and trace the global currents of your social landscape!
This course examines the temporal, geographical, and environmental aspects of past climate changes, and by using specific examples, explores how climate changes may have affected the evolution of human culture and the course of human history. Archaeological and documentary examples from the Americas, Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Near East will be used to explore if or how significant events in human history have been influenced by changes in climate.
This introductory course in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) is designed to provide basic knowledge of GIS theory and applications using the existing state-of-the-art GIS software. The course is taught using a combination of lectures, demonstrations, and hands-on, interactive tutorials in the classroom. The first weeks of the course will provide a broad view of how you can display and query spatial data and produce map products. The remainder of the course will focus on applying spatial analytical tools to address questions and solve problems. As the semester develops, more tools will be added to your GIS toolbox so that you can complete a final independent project that integrates material learned during the course. Students will be encouraged to design individualized final projects using their own or other available data; however, some already prepared final projects also will be available.
In this course, we will broadly consider issues of music and healing, drawing from the fields of medical ethnomusicology, medical anthropology, music therapy, and psychology. Our case studies will be multi-sited, as we interrogate musical healings and healing music from diverse global and historical perspectives. We approach our study of musical practices with the understanding that the social, cultural, and political contexts where "music" and "healing" are themselves created inform the sounds of the music and its various, and often conflicting, interpretations and meanings. We will read a variety of academic literature and use media texts and listening examples to develop interdisciplinary and cross-cultural analyses of music and healing. Issues of national consciousness, post/colonialism, gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity, class, religion, dis/ability and the role of history/memory will remain central to our explorations of music and healing.
Back pain, diabetes, obesity, colds, even morning sickness. These are all common human health problems. But have you ever wondered why we have these and other health conditions? In this class, we will investigate this question - and others - specifically using evolutionary theory to inform current understandings of contemporary health problems.
Open to advanced undergraduates only. Usual duties of teaching assistant in laboratory or other selected courses. Prerequisite: Permission of instructor.
Classroom instructional assistance through mentoring activities assigned by instructor. Limited to advanced undergraduates only. Permission of instructor required.
Discussion and analysis of primate evolution with emphasis on comparative and functional anatomy and primate paleontology. Prerequisite: permission of instructor.
This course covers recent scholarship on gender and reproductive health, including such issues as reproduction and the disciplinary power of the state, contested reproductive relations within families and communities, and the implications of global flows of biotechnology, population, and information for reproductive strategies at the local level. We will also explore how transnational migration and globalization have shaped reproductive health, the diverse meanings associated with reproductive processes, and decisions concerning reproduction. Reproduction will serve as a focus to illuminate the cultural politics of gender, power, and sexuality.
This course integrates archaeological, historical, and early ethnographic dimensions of American Indian societies in the southwestern United States and northwest Mexico, a region famous for its challenging environment, cultural diversity, and the contributions made by its Native inhabitants. Emphasis is placed on the development of sophisticated desert agriculture and on the rise of regionally integrated cultures including Chaco Canyon and Mesa Verde. The impact of Spanish, Mexican, and American colonization are explored. Ethnographies of Tohono O'odham (Papago), Hopi, Zuni, Rio Grande Pueblo, and Navajo societies will be discussed.
Blending history and ethnography, this course covers politics in the Islamic world in historical and contemporary times. Topics include history of Islam, uniformity and diversity in belief and practice (global patterns, local realities), revolution and social change, women and veiling, and the international dimensions of resurgent Islam. Geographical focus extends from Morocco to Indonesia; discussion of other Muslim communities is included (Bosnia, Chechnya, sub-Saharan Africa, U.S.)
Survey of the ecology, individual and social behavior, adaptations, and interactions of the major groups of primates. Emphasis on studies designed to examine the relationships among ecology, morphophysiology, and behavior. Methods used in collecting data on primates in the field. Prerequisite: Anth 150A or one 100-level biology course.
The rise of the global south - and the reordering of global geopolitics, economics and cultural imaginaries - is characterized by progressive change and intense conflict. Economic growth coincides with the impacts of global warming, the assault on natural resources, the rise of new consumers and the entrenchment of deep inequalities. We also see the emergence of cultural and political formations that range from the horrific to the inspiring. Latin America is a central node of the new global south. Here history takes unpredictable turns in the face of declining U.S. hegemony, the economic growth of Brazil, legacies of militarism and political violence, a feverish attack on nature, resurgent economic nationalism, and defiant "anti-globalization" movements. Through close reading of contemporary ethnographies of Latin America we explore emergent cultural and political-economic processes in the region, we consider south-south articulations (theoretical, cultural, political-economic) between Latin America, China, Africa, and India, and we reflect on the changing role, meaning, and relationships of the United States in the region.
In the year 2000, HIV became the world's leading infectious cause of adult death, and in the next ten years, AIDS will kill more people than all wars of the twentieth century combined. As the global epidemic rages on, our greatest enemy in combating HIV/AIDS is not knowledge or resources, but global inequalities and the conceptual frameworks with which we understand health, human interaction, and sexuality. This course emphasizes the ethnographic approach for cultural analysis of responses to HIV/AIDS. Students will explore the relationship between local communities and wider historical and economic processes, and theoretical approaches to disease, the body, ethnicity/race, gender, sexuality, risk, addiction, power, and culture. Other topics covered include the cultural construction of AIDS and risk, government responses to HIV/AIDS, origin and transmission debates, ethics and responsibilities, drug testing and marketing, the making of the AIDS industry and "risk" categories, prevention and education strategies, interaction between bio-medicine and alternative healing systems, and medical advances and hopes.
The rising interest in food research crosscuts various academic disciplines. This seminar focuses on aspects of food of particular interest in anthropology. The first 2/3 of the course is reading intensive and discussion-intensive. Each student will write short review/response papers for major readings. For the final third, we will still be reading and discussing, but the reading load will be lighter (and we will have a field trip) as students devote more time to their research paper. The research paper will be a major effort on a topic discussed with and approved by the professor. In most cases it will have to deal with cultural and historical aspects of a food, set of foods, form of consumption or aspect of food production. Papers will be critiqued, assigned a provisional grade, revised and resubmitted.
Different ways of writing about people, culture, and society in past and present times. Readings include anthropological works as well as works of fiction that represent people and the times, places, and circumstances in which they live. Students conduct and write about their own ethnographical observations.
The purpose of this course is to provide students with an introductory, hands-on experience of the methods employed in the analysis of archaeological materials common to the Mississippian culture. Students will conduct class projects based on collections from Cahokia Mounds and the St. Louis region. Prerequisite: Anthro 314 or equivalent, or graduate standing, or permission of instructor.
A look at how early life - gestation plus infancy and childhood - contributes to the establishment of long-term physiology, variation, and individual health from an anthropological perspective. The course will include current disease models of developmental origins, combined with evolutionary and adaptive perspectives on developmental plasticity and the construction of human health.
This course examines the historical roots, the scholarly development, and the current applications of inferential statistics in a research context. The emphasis is on how social and natural variables are distributed, framing testable research questions, and choosing appropriate statistical tests. This course will cover the testing of univariate, bivariate and multivariate hypotheses using parametric, non-parametric, and re-sampling methods. Requires students to undertake statistical analyses of their own on real data sets. Familiarity with descriptive statistics is assumed. Designed for graduate students and advanced undergraduates. Permission of instructor is required for undergraduate enrollment.
A seminar on social theory and its ethnographic implications. Course combines major works of modern social theory, including Marx, Weber, and Durkheim, with current work by contemporary anthropologists, such as Clifford Geertz, Eric Wolf, Marshall Sahlins, and Fredrik Barth, and ethnographers from related disciplines, such as Pierre Bourdieu and Paul Willis. Prerequisite: Previous anthropology coursework or permission of instructor.
The paleolithic archaeology, human paleobiology, and paleoecology of the geographical expansions and adaptations of Eurasian humans through the Pleistocene. Prerequisite: Anthro 150A or 190B.
This seminar course surveys theoretical approaches to inequality and power relations through archaeological research and practice. The subject of individual and group differentiation, its origins, development, rationalization, and institutionalization comprise one of the core questions investigated by archaeologists. An examination of differing theories of the rise of complexity, social and political hierarchy, and identity will be complimented by examining structuring institutions involved at multiple scales of analysis, from the political economy and regions to religion to households and everyday life. The examination of power relations through the subjects in which they are discussed, such as state and non-state societies, colonialism, and historical archaeology, frame these topics. By grouping discussions topically, the course encourages a comparative dialogue among the students regardless of region or time period. The course concludes by reflecting on inequality's role in the conduct of archaeology and the ethical politics of access to knowledge and cultural heritage.
Methods and techniques of analysis of faunal remains recovered in archaeological context, including aging, sexing, and the study of cultural modification of archaeological faunas. Prerequisite: Any advanced course in archaeology and permission of instructor.
Designed to give undergraduates research experience in various of the subdisciplines of Anthropology. May be taken more than once for credit. Students must enroll in a specific section with a faculty member. Section numbers are given at the front of the Anthropology course listings. Students wishing to enroll in a special research discussion group with Prof. Cavalcanti should enroll in Section 8. Prerequisite: permission of faculty member under whom the research will be done.
Limited to those students who have successfully completed L48-490, and have a qualifying continuing research project. Students must enroll in a specific section with a faculty member. Section numbers are given at the front of the Anthropology course listings. Prerequisite: Anthro 490 and permission of the faculty member who will supervise the continuing research project.
Limited to students who have qualified for the Anthropology honors program, and who are conducting research for an honors thesis. Prerequisite: permission of the Anthropology faculty member supervising the honors research, and concurrent filing of notification with the Anthropology senior honors coordinator.
Limited to students who have qualified for the Anthropology honors program, and who are actively engaged in writing a senior honors thesis. Prerequisite: permission of the Anthropology senior honors coordinator.
The Department of Anthropology offers serveral options for completing a capstone experience, which is recommended by the College of Arts and Sciences. One option is for students in any 400-level course in the department, to secure permission of the instructor to simultaneously enroll in Anthropology 4999. The instructor and student will develop an individualized plan for expanding the normal content of the selected 400-level course into a capstone experience. Prerequisite: junior or senior standing. Enrollment requires permission of the department and the instructor.