Anthropology



ANTH 021B ~ Human Cultures
CRN: 91703

In this course we explore human cultural behavior and social life. What forces are at work in our lives that we are not even aware of? Are the things we think of as natural and true actually just one cultural version of things? Are there any universals that are shared by all cultures, or can a person from one culture never truly know the experience of someone from another culture? This class serves as an introduction for students wishing to consider a major in anthropology. Over the course of the semester we will examine all aspects of human interaction, belief, and behavior, from power and exclusion to gender and sexuality, from religion to family life and rites of passage. The material for this course is drawn from as far as living cultures all around the world and as close as your own life. Students will also be introduced to the signature practice of ethnography and will construct their own research project.

Requirements Satisfied: one Social Science course and non-European Cultures
Meets: Tuesday, Thursday 1:00pm-2:15pm
Contact: 802-656-2973, Elizabeth.A.Smith@uvm.edu

Elizabeth A. Smith: Assistant Professor of Anthropology, is writing a book about how an ethnic minority in Egypt--the Nubians--are portrayed in movies, TV commercials, tourists sites, and other forms of popular culture, and the role of anthropology itself in creating these images and stereotypes. Originally from the Midwest, since college she has made Cairo, New York, and now Vermont her home. Smith speaks Arabic and French; volunteers with Iraqi refugees in Burlington; teaches classes about the Middle East, tourism, and gender; and sponsors a Middle East film series every spring. When not working, she's likely to be outdoors with her yellow lab Bella.


ANTH 024B ~ Prehistoric Archaeology
CRN: 91707

Do we have a clue about what happened in the past or are archaeologists just telling good stories? Is fieldwork all about finding treasure? Does the field of archaeology matter or is it an irrelevant discipline? Is Indiana Jones really an archaeologist? Our survey will address these questions and others as we travel the ancient world through photographs, moving images, and artifacts. The course begins with an overview of the discipline, its origins, historical figures, and theoretical frameworks. We will then explore the vast record of prehistory and address contemporary topics from the impact of looting to the increasing role of indigenous groups in archaeological practice.

Requirements Satisfied: one Social Science course and Non-European Cultures
Meets: Monday, Wednesday, Friday 8:30am-9:20am
Contact: 802-656-8546, scott.vankeuren@uvm.edu

Scott Van Keuren: Assistant Professor of Anthropology, enjoyed digging in the sandbox and exploring abandoned places as a child, and has now built a career around these pursuits as an archaeologist. His current fieldwork examines the reorganization of ancient Pueblo societies (aka "Anasazi") in the American Southwest just before European contact, a time of conflict and collapse. In addition to uncovering the lives of individuals who lived thousands of years ago, his real passion is working against looters and their efforts to steal our shared heritage.


ANTH 026A ~ Biological Anthropology
CRN: 91708

How do we explain the human diversity in this world? How did we get all the different sizes, colors, and textures that we see today, and are we really all that different under our skins? Why can the Aymara people move around energetically at 12,000 feet above sea level in the Bolivian highlands while it takes the professor of this course days there to even walk comfortably up a small hill? How can the way we raise our children permanently affect their biology? How does our biology affect how we raise our children? Biological Anthropology, one of the core courses in Anthropology, will introduce students to the subfield and provide the basics of evolutionary theory, genetics and inheritance, nonhuman primates (monkeys and apes), and the fossil hominid record, so that students can better understand the ways that human individuals and populations adapt to physical and cultural environments. We will explore the concept of "race" biologically and culturally and study the effects of human genetics and the many aspects of our physical bodies that are products of our environments rather than our genes. Throughout the semester, we will develop the necessary skills to fully consider humans as biocultural beings, neither solely products of our biology nor our culture, but a dynamic combination of the two.

Requirements Satisfied: one Social Science course, Anthropology major required course
Meets: Tuesday, Thursday 10:00am-11:15am
Contact: 802-656-2932, deborah.blom@uvm.edu

Deborah Blom: Associate Professor of Anthropology, is a bioarchaeologist who studies ancient societies living in the Andean mountains of South America. Through the analysis of human bone in archaeological contexts, she has gained insight into health status, colonization and migration, social complexity, sacrifice, funeral rituals, and human body modification as a means of expressing identity in Tiwanaku society. When she isn't teaching or working on her research, she spends time chasing and laughing at her toddler son.


ANTH 095A ~ Going Abroad
CRN: 93688

How does one travel and study abroad? Anthropologists have made a profession out of going abroad. This course challenges the conventional wisdom that "travel broadens the mind." On the contrary, travel can frequently narrow and reinforce negative stereotypes. We look, but don't see. What anthropological tools and strategies can one use to indeed make travel a respectful and deeper learning experience? This course will focus on why, when, and how one travels. Some philosophy, mode, and tricks of travel are discussed and practiced.

Requirements Satisfied: one Social Science course and non-European Cultures
Meets: Monday, Wednesday, Friday 10:40am-11:30am
Contact: 802-656-2107, robert.gordon@uvm.edu

Robert Gordon: Professor of Anthropology, is an inveterate traveler, having spent much time in Africa, South America, Papua New Guinea, and currently Europe doing fieldwork and research. He has also traveled extensively in other parts of the world and feels so strongly that student travel abroad should be an important growth experience that he is currently writing a book on the topic. Even while at home he travels: he is an avid hiker and kayaker.