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Anthropology



Chair of the Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Social Work: David Karp

Associate Chair: Crystal D. Moore

Professors: Gerald M. Erchak, Jill D. Sweet, Susan Bender

Associate Professor: *Michael C. Ennis-McMillan

Assistant Professor: Eileen Rose Walsh, Luce Assistant Professor of Asian Studies

Visiting Assistant Professor: Christina Grassi

Research Associate: Richard Wilkinson

The primary purpose of the anthropology program is to facilitate the cross-cultural study of human groups and social behavior. The program's curriculum includes archaeological explorations of past cultures, human biocultural development, and studies of diverse lifeways of the world's populations. Anthropology courses, designed to serve students with a general interest in the discipline as well as those who plan to pursue graduate training, provide a background for professional training in international affairs, medicine and public health, environmental protection, social service, education, museums, and historic preservation.

THE ANTHROPOLOGY MAJOR: The anthropology major must successfully complete at least thirty-two credits in anthropology. As a foundation for the major, students must take AN101 and 102. Courses of exploration must include AN270 and at least one geographic-area course (AN205, 206, 227, 229, 242, 244, 245, 260, or 268). Students must also take one methods course (AN326, 327, SO226, or 227) as well as AN366 as courses of application and synthesis. Courses listed under sociology-anthropology may be taken for either sociology or anthropology credit, but not both.

THE SOCIOLOGY-ANTHROPOLOGY MAJOR: The sociology-anthropology major must successfully complete SO101; either AN101 or 102; either SO324, 325, or AN270; either AN326 or 327 or SO226 or 227; either AN366 or SO375; and twelve credit hours of electives in sociology and twelve credit hours of electives in anthropology. Courses designated sociology-anthropology may be taken for credit in either sociology or anthropology, but not both.

HONORS: Students desiring departmental honors in anthropology must:
  1. achieve a GPA of 3.5 or higher for all work in the major and a GPA of 3.0 or higher on all work taken at Skidmore;

  2. obtain senior project approval from an anthropology faculty member willing to serve as their project advisor; and

  3. earn a grade of at least A- on a completed senior project, whether it be for AN 369 (senior research paper) or AN 373 (senior thesis).
Students interested in pursuing a senior honors project should obtain further information from the department. Students desiring departmental honors in sociology-anthropology must meet the requisite grade-point average and must earn a grade of at least A- on a senior honors project in either sociology or anthropology.

THE ANTHROPOLOGY MINOR: Students who minor in anthropology must successfully complete eighteen credits in anthropology including foundational AN101 and 102. Students must also complete ten credits of anthropology electives including at least one course at the 300 level. The student should select a minor advisor who will assist the student in constructing a program of study. Students are encouraged to declare the anthropology minor by the end of the junior year.


AN 101.    INTRODUCTION TO CULTURAL ANTHROPOLOGY    4
An introduction to the basic concepts and problems of sociocultural anthropology. The culture concept is explored as a central theoretical and empirical concern. Students learn about cultural diversity as well as recurrent patterns of cultural adaptation. (Fulfills social sciences requirement.)    The Department

AN 101W.    HONORS: INTRODUCTION TO CULTURAL ANTHROPOLOGY    4
An opportunity for highly motivated students with strong verbal skills to learn the basic concepts and problems of sociocultural anthropology as well as the opportunity to develop and improve writing skills. The culture concept is explored as a central theoretical and empirical concern. Students learn about cultural diversity as well as recurrent patterns of cultural adaptation. The honors section of AN101 provides a smaller class size, a discussion-based format, and explicit attention to social science writing. Students write and revise essays and respond to one another's work in workshops and peer review sessions. Students take a general writing placement exam the first day of class to assist the instructor in assessing whether they have been placed at the proper expository writing level. The course fulfills part of the foundation requirement for anthropology majors and minors and is most appropriate for first-year students and sophomores. (Meets expository writing requirement for students who placed at EN105 level or who have completed EN103; fulfills social sciences requirement.)    M. Ennis-McMillan

AN 102.    ANTHROPOLOGY OF THE HUMAN PAST    4
An introduction to the biological and cultural evolution of humans. In learning about evolutionary theory and process, students come to understand concepts of time and space as critical factors in our ability to reconstruct the human past. Students engage a variety of biological and archaeological data in laboratory sessions to clarify how this reconstruction occurs. (Fulfills social sciences requirement.)    S. Bender

AN 201.    INTRODUCTION TO ARCHAEOLOGICAL RESEARCH    2
An introduction to the basic lab methods and theory involved in organizing, describing, and analyzing archaeological data. Course work is project based, involves analysis of primary data, and results in generating answers to central research questions about these data. Prerequisite: AN102.    S. Bender

AN 202.    INTRODUCTION TO ARCHAEOLOGICAL FIELD INVESTIGATIONS    4
An introduction to the process of locating, identifying, and excavating archaeological sites. The focus of class activity is actual participation in an archaeological excavation and related activities. Prerequisite: AN102. Summer only.    S. Bender

AN 205.    MESOAMERICAN ARCHAEOLOGY    3
A survey of the culture history of Mesoamerica, including primarily the states of Mexico and Guatemala. Inquiry focuses on the origin of New World agriculture as well as the development of highland Mexican and Aztec and lowland Mayan civilizations. The course considers the interpretation of the archaeological remains at major Mesoamerican site complexes. (Designated a non-Western culture course; fulfills social sciences requirement.)     S. Bender

AN 206.    ARCHAEOLOGY OF EASTERN NORTH AMERICA    3
Archaeological sites located throughout the eastern United States are analyzed to reveal the history of human-land and human-human interactions over a 15,000-year period. Special attention is given to changes in aboriginal culture effected by the establishment of gatherer-hunter lifeways in the East and the later transition to village horticulture. (Designated a non-Western culture course.)    S. Bender

AN 227.    SUB-SAHARAN AFRICAN CULTURES    3
A survey of the peoples and cultures of Africa south of the Sahara in tradition and change. Special attention is given to key social organizing principles and institutions such as secret societies, lineage systems, age set organizations, and despotic political structures. Prerequisite: AN101. (Designated a non-Western culture course.)    G. Erchak

AN 229.    MEXICAN CULTURES    3
A survey of the peoples and cultures of Mexico. The course examines the changes in Mexican cultures in relation to European conquest and colonization, national independence, the Revolution, and relations with the United States. Topics include social movements of principal indigenous groups (such as Nahuatl, Maya, and Zapotecs), contemporary regional politics, environmental change, and the ongoing construction of Mexican identities. Prerequisite: AN101 or 205 or 244, or permission of instructor. (Designated a Cultural Diversity course.)    M. Ennis-McMillan

AN 242.    NORTH AMERICAN INDIANS    3
A survey of indigenous peoples and cultures of North America. The course examines the history of contact between Indian and non-Indian populations; the development of United States federal Indian policies; and the contemporary social problems related to the reservation system and urban migration. (Designated a non-Western culture course.)    J. Sweet

AN 244.   INDIGENOUS CULTURES OF LATIN AMERICA    3
A survey of indigenous peoples and cultures in Mexico, Central America, and South America. The course examines the persistence and change of indigenous cultures as they have intersected with broader social forces since European conquest and colonization. Topics include contemporary indigenous movements as they influence regional politics, economic development, environmental change, nationalism, and the construction of racial, ethnic, and gender identities. (Designated a Cultural Diversity course)         M. Ennis-McMillan

AN 245.   THE MAO YEARS: GENDER AND REVOLUTION IN CHINA    3
Using gender as a lens, students explore modern China from the turn of the century to the 1980s, considering some of the main aspects of family, social and political life in China. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) claimed that only through radical social change could there be true revolution, and publicly espoused gender equality, which led to attempts to change women’s status in both the public and private sphere and to construct new Chinese families while deconstructing lineages. Students will evaluate the Maoist projects—how successful were they in achieving gender and social reform, where did they fall short, and why? We will also ask other questions: How did Chinese communists come to see the family as an important unit of revolution? What is the relationship among culture, politics and gender? Is it possible to use politics to change culture and gender? How much change is possible? The course assumes no prior knowledge, but discussions will move quickly through historical and political changes in China. (Designated a non-Western culture course.)    E. Walsh

AN 246.   HIV/AIDS: A GLOBAL PERSPECTIVE    3
A study of HIV/AIDS as a true global pandemic. The course examines the disease from an international affairs and cultural perspective and explores the origin and spread of AIDS, along with the particular shape it takes in differing cultural and political settings. We examine cultural practices, sexual practices, treatments, stigma, poverty, and the pharmaceutical industry, among other topics. The focus is on the United States, sub-Saharan Africa, east and south Asia, and South America, although other geographic locales may be examined as well. Each student is responsible for the analysis of HIV/AIDS in one country of his or her choosing. (Designated a Cultural Diversity course.)    G. Erchak

AN 251.    THEMES IN ANTHROPOLOGY    1-4
Examination of a geographic or subject area not available in existing course offerings. For example, the course may focus on post-colonial Australia, contemporary Ireland, or studies in primate behavior. The course in a different subject area may be repeated for credit. Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.    The Department

AN 252.    NON-WESTERN THEMES IN ANTHROPOLOGY    1-4
Examination of a non-Western geographic or subject area not available in existing course offerings. For example, the course may focus on aboriginal Australia or the music of New Guinea tribal groups. The course in a different subject area may be repeated for credit. Prerequisite: permission of the instructor. (Designated a non-Western culture course.)    The Department

AN 260.    SOUTHWEST INDIANS    3
An examination of the cultures, histories, and current socioeconomic situation of Native Americans in the Southwest region of the United States. Groups such as the Navajo, Pueblo, and Apache will be studied within the context of Spanish and Anglo contact to better understand issues of diversity, resistance to domination, and cultural change. Prerequisite: AN101 or 242, or permission of instructor. (Designated a non-Western culture course.)    J. Sweet

AN 268.    PEOPLE AND THE ENVIRONMENT IN CHINA    3
An examination of human-environment interactions in China. The emphasis is on sociocultural practices bearing upon the environment. Topics include historical and cultural ecology, demography, agriculture and land tenure systems, the role of the state, and Chinese environmentalism. Students will gain a foundation in the concepts and approaches used in situating human-environment interactions in their historical and cultural contexts. They will also learn about the variety of human-environment interactions in China, both historicaly and in modern times, and understand the complexities of human-ecological dilemmas in the Chinese context. Prerequisite: AN101 or ES100, or permission of instructor. (Designated a non-Western culture course; fulfills social sciences requirement.)    The Department

AN 270.    HISTORY OF ANTHROPOLOGICAL THOUGHT    4
Examination of major debates in the history of anthropology and a look at central figures whose work helped to fuel these debates. The careers of people like Boas, Mead, or Malinowski are studied within the context of the developing discipline of anthropology. The relationship between past and current anthropological ideas, fieldwork practices, and anthropological writing are considered. Prerequisite: AN101 or permission of instructor.    J. Sweet

AN 303.    ANALYSIS OF THE HUMAN SKELETON    4
Analysis of the human skeletal system as a record of individual life history. Major topics include identification of skeletal anatomy and manifestations of age, sex, health, and nutrition. Modes of analysis of the information and meaning embedded in prehistoric burial contexts are also considered. Prerequisite: AN102 or permission of instructor.    S. Bender

AN 325.    APPLIED ANTHROPOLOGY    4
Applying the anthropological perspectives to the analysis of national and international sociocultural issues. Topics include cultural brokerage, advocacy, community development, evaluation, ethics, and the difficulties facing indigenous peoples and ethnic minorities within nation-states today. Prerequisite: AN101.    J. Sweet

AN 326.    FIELD METHODS IN CULTURAL ANTHROPOLOGY    4
An introduction to field methods employed by cultural anthropologists in their collection of primary data. Students will conduct field projects in local community settings. These projects call for pure observation, mapping, formal and informal interviewing, participant observation, and photo elicitation. Students will gain experience in formulating research problems, developing a protocol, as well as organizing and communicating findings. Central concerns include the establishment of rapport and research ethics. Prerequisite: AN101 and permission of instructor.    J. Sweet, M. Ennis-McMillan

AN 327.    ARCHAEOLOGICAL FIELD AND LABORATORY TECHNIQUES    4
An introduction to the processes of archaeological excavation and primary data analysis. Course requirements include active participation in a local excavation and the description and interpretation of excavated materials. Prerequisite: AN102 or permission of instructor.    S. Bender

AN 339.    PSYCHOLOGICAL ANTHROPOLOGY    4
An exploration of the relationships among the concepts of culture, the self, personality, and behavior, examining crosscultural evidence and major theoretical models. Brain and mind evolution is investigated. Descriptive case studies are supplemented by recent theoretical and empirical work. Both non-Western and Western (including United States) cultures are discussed. Prerequisite: Two courses from among cultural anthropology, sociology, or psychology, or permission of instructor.    G. Erchak

AN 344.    ANTHROPOLOGY AND ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH    4
An examination of health issues related to global environmental change. The course employs perspectives and theories of critical medical anthropology to explore the connections among broad patterns of environmental change, local responses to those changes, and relevant health concerns. Topics include the effects of population growth, urbanization, water pollution and water scarcity, epidemics, deforestation, and species extinction in diverse geographic settings. Special attention is given to how poor and powerless social groups bear a disproportionate burden of environmental health problems. Prerequisite: AN101 or ES100 and at least junior standing, or permission of instructor.    M. Ennis-McMillan

AN 345.    ECOLOGICAL ANTHROPOLOGY    3
Exploration of the principles by which the environment shapes human culture and human culture shapes the environment. Topics include the process of human adaptation, the analysis of human ecosystems, and the explanation of cultural diversity and change from an ecological perspective. Prerequisite: AN101 or ES100 and at least junior standing, or permission of instructor.     M. Ennis-McMillan

AN 346.    SYMBOLIC THEORY AND PERFORMANCE    4
An examination of symbolic theory as a vehicle for analyzing expressive forms found in ritual, festival, myth, and theater. The human need to seek, construct, and communicate meaning particularly regarding space, time, the supernatural, the self, and the cultural other will be explored. Attention will be given to dance, drama, and music as complex symbolic systems employed by groups in their search for meaning. Prerequisite: AN101.    J. Sweet

AN 347.    WOMEN AND GENDER IN EVOLUTIONARY PERSPECTIVE    3
A critical examination of the evolutionary reconstruction of human behavior from feminist perspectives. Using information from primate studies and anthropological ethnography, students investigate how assumptions about gender have shaped traditional observations and interpretations of archaeological remains. Feminist reconstructions of human prehistory are given close attention in an attempt to uncover a human past that incorporates women as active historical agents. Prerequisites: AN101 and 102 or permission of instructor.    S. Bender

AN 349.    MEDICAL ANTHROPOLOGY    4
A survey of the field of medical anthropology that introduces students to the crosscultural study of the body, health, disease, illness, suffering, and healing. The course examines several theoretical perspectives (ethnomedical, biocultural, interpretive, and political economic). Topics include birthing, maternal and child health, infectious diseases, death and dying, and other issues across the life cycle in diverse geographic settings. Prerequisite: AN101 and 270 or permission of instructor.    M. Ennis-McMillan

AN 351.    TOPICS IN CULTURAL OR BIOLOGICAL ANTHROPOLOGY    1-4
Examination of a theoretical or subject specialization (with a strong theoretical component) not available in existing course offerings. For example, the course may focus on the behavior of macaques or the anthropology of tourism. The course, in a different subject area, may be repeated for credit. Prerequisite: Permission of instructor.    The Department

AN 352.    TOPICS IN ARCHAEOLOGY    1-4
Examination of a theoretical or area specialization not available in existing course offerings. For example, the course may focus on zooarchaeology or lithic technology. The course, in a different subject area, may be repeated for credit. Prerequisite: Permission of instructor.    The Department

SA 355.    LANGUAGE IN SOCIETY    4
Examination of the varied aspects of the social organization of language using techniques from sociological, anthropological, psychological, and linguistic theory. Special attention is given to regional, social, and individual variation; nonstandard dialects and their social impact; the relationship of language, thought, and culture; the role of language in socialization and in the maintenance of social structures; and the type and extent of cultural variation in language use. Prerequisite: SO101 or AN101 or permission of instructor. (May be taken for either sociology or anthropology credit.)    J. Devine

AN 366.    SENIOR SEMINAR IN ANTHROPOLOGY    3
Advanced readings in theoretical or applied anthropology, with special focus on current developments in the discipline. The course is designed as a capstone experience for senior anthropology majors. Prerequisite: AN270 or permission of instructor.     The Department

AN 369.    SENIOR RESEARCH PAPER    1-2
Individual project supervised by an appropriate faculty member. The experience is designed for highly motivated students who want the challenge of writing and revising a research paper on an advanced topic in anthropology. The course must be taken in conjunction with one of the project advisor's 300-level courses. In addition to completing all regular requirements for the 300-level course, students in AN369 will complete an analytical paper of greater depth and length than is typically required by the course. Permission to enroll must be obtained from an anthropology faculty member willing to serve as their project advisor. Students who wish to take this option for honors must submit a written proposal to the project advisor during the first weeks of class. Prerequisite: AN270 and permission of instructor. Open to senior majors only.    The Department

AN 370.    PREPARATION FOR SENIOR THESIS IN ANTHROPOLOGY    1
Required for students who intend to write a formal thesis on a particular anthropological question. During this preparation period, students must develop a thesis statement, construct an outline, and document a literature search. Students must take AN370 the semester before enrolling in AN373. Prerequisite: AN270 and permission of instructor. Open to senior majors only.    The Department

AN 371, 372.    INDEPENDENT STUDY OR FIELD RESEARCH    3, 3
Individual reading and/or field research in anthropology under the guidance of a member of the department. Students must be self-motivated and have a written proposal in hand. They must seek approval from a member of the anthropology faculty to act as advisor and instructor of record. Prerequisite: Permission of the instructor.     The Department

AN 373.    SENIOR THESIS IN ANTHROPOLOGY    3
Designed for highly motivated students who want the challenge of writing and revising a formal thesis on a particular anthropological question. Students work with the guidance of a project advisor and are expected to produce a major critical paper. As preparation for AN373, students should successfully complete AN370 during the fall semester of the senior year. With approval by the project advisor, students may replace AN370 with AN371. Prerequisite: AN370 or permission of the instructor. Open to senior majors only.    The Department

AN 399.    PROFESSIONAL INTERNSHIPS IN ANTHROPOLOGY    3, 6, or 9
Professional experience at an advanced level for juniors and seniors with substantial academic and cocurricular experience in anthropology. With faculty sponsorship and department approval, students may extend their educational experience into such areas as museum studies or work within appropriate state, federal, or human service agencies. Prerequisite: at least three courses in anthropology. Non-liberal arts.    





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