Gateway/Entry-Point Courses into Anthropology Major/Minor
There are several anthropology courses with no or limited prerequisites that can provide students with a good sense of the contours of a major in this field:
ANTH 021 Cultural Anthropology
Socio-cultural anthropologists are interested in how people around the world deal with common human problems, like how we communicate with each other, organize ourselves to get things done, make our lives predictable and meaningful, and deal with conflict and change. What makes it such an enriching and engrossing subject is that there is tremendous global diversity in how people solve these problems. A central goal of this course is to help you understand the similarities and variations in how distinct cultures shape human thought, beliefs, and activities. This course also introduces you to the discipline of socio-cultural anthropology, and given the dynamic nature of its subject--after all, cultures are not static--its relevance for understanding contemporary global changes and social problems. This course is required for the major in Anthropology and the minor in socio-cultural anthropology. Offered fall and spring semesters.
ANTH 024 Prehistoric Archaeology
This course offers an examination of the origins and development of culture from the earliest human fossils through the appearance of civilization, and an overview of the nature of archaeological data and interpretations. It provides an introduction to prehistoric archaeology as a sub-field of anthropology, or the "study of human behavior." It is divided roughly between the methods and theory of anthropological archaeology, and worldwide culture history, with emphasis given to cultural developments prior to the advent of writing and history. This course is required for the major in Anthropology, and is offered fall and spring semesters.
ANTH 026 Biological Anthropology
This course focuses on what it means to be human from a biocultural evolutionary perspective. The importance of such topics as evolution, adaptation, and culture in the development of our species can provide useful information about why humans behave the way they do. In addition to studying hominid evolution, this course also probes the basics in genetics, heredity, and human variation. We also take a good look at our nonhuman primate relatives to both study them in their own right and to shed some light on how our early ancestors may have coped with some of their environmental and predatorial challenges. This course is meant to give students a sampling of some of the key topics within biological anthropology and provide an arena within which students can explore their own place in the animal kingdom as well as sharpen their critical thinking skills so necessary in the world we live in. This course is required for the major in Anthropology. Offered spring semesters.
ANTH 028 Linguistic Anthropology
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 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, language learning, and so forth, contribute to the way people recognize and act in accordance with larger cultural patterns and values in society? Throughout the course, language as people actually 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 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. This course is required for the major in Anthropology and the minor in Linguistic Anthropology. Offered fall and spring semesters.