First-Year Experience 2014-2015

Teacher-Advisor Program (TAP) Seminars

Fine Arts



Social Sciences

Natural Sciences & Mathematics


ANTH 028A ~ D2: Linguistic Anthropology
CRN: 93860

Instructor: Jennifer Dickinson Associate Professor of Anthropology More . . .

This course offers students an introduction to the field of linguistic anthropology, which examines the close relationship between language and culture. Focusing on work that has been influential in anthropology, we will consider several key questions: How is language distinctly human, and how does it relate to other forms of communication? What is the relationship between the language we speak and the way we see, understand, and act in the world? Beyond communicating "facts" to one another, what role does language play in the way we live our lives as cultural beings? How do conversations, language choice, and language learning contribute to the way people recognize and act in accordance with larger cultural patterns and values in society? Throughout the course, language as people actual use it, imagine it, or talk about it, will be our primary topic for reading and discussion as we draw on examples from languages and cultures throughout the world. Among the topics we will consider from the perspective of language and culture are linguistic structure and cultural expression, language and gender, language and power, bilingualism, and language as a means of social action.

Requirements Satisfied: one Social Sciences course and a D2 non-European Cultures course
Meets: TR 10:00am-11:15am

ANTH 095B ~ Conquistadors and Cannibals
CRN: 93862

Instructor: Parker VanValkenburgh Assistant Professor of Anthropology More . . .

Few encounters have been more dramatic or more important to shaping the modern world than the meetings between Spanish and American indigenous peoples that followed Columbus' first voyage across the Atlantic in 1492. In the two hundred years that followed, Spanish conquistadors, clergy, and laypeople engaged with an astounding variety of native societies across the Americas, ranging from tropical forest hunter-gatherers to the highland urban civilizations of the Inka and Aztec. Fantastic tales were woven that still form part of modern culture stories of fallen gods, cities made of gold, and islands filled with ferocious cannibals. In turn, we have woven our own tales about the conquistadors, often depicting them as bloodthirsty conquerors with little interest in or empathy for local cultures. This course offers a deeper look at Ibero-American cultural encounters between 1492 and 1700 AD and serves as an introduction to the history, anthropology, and archaeology of Latin America during the late pre-Hispanic and early colonial eras. We will ask: What were American indigenous societies like before the Spanish invasion, and how was their world transformed in its wake? How did Spaniards attempt to make sense of the almost unimaginably different worlds that they encountered across the ocean, and how did their understandings of themselves change in the process? Topics addressed include cultural (mis)communication, disease and ecological change, the role of gender in the conquest, roles played by people of African descent, and the legacies of conquest in the present. Special emphasis will be placed on the Taino, Aztec, Inka, Maya, and Mapuche cultures, based on both archaeological and historical evidence. Each week, discussions will focus on key texts and objects produced during the Spanish invasion. During the course of the semester, students will view archaeological artifacts from UVM's Fleming Museum and other nearby institutions.

Requirements Satisfied: one Social Sciences course
Meets: MWF 1:55am-2:45pm