Anthropology Course Descriptions


This page lists brief descriptions of our anthropology course offerings. Links to recent course syllabi are provided in most cases.

General Education 2 Attributes: N2=Natural Science, S2=Social Science, AH2=Humanities, HO2=Other World Civilizations, WS2=Writing Skills.

General Education 3 Attributes: NS3=Natural Science, SS3=Social Science, H3=Humanities, OW3=Other World Civilizations, BC3=Communication Skills.


Click here for current and future class schedules.



ANTH 100 Introduction to Cultural Anthropology (3 s.h.)
Using a cross-cultural approach, this course provides an understanding of human behaviors and beliefs, kinship systems, worldview, social organization, and economic and political systems. Focusing on both cultural diversity and universal values, this course provides an understanding of contemporary human problems and needs, and stimulates concern about change and continuity in the global society. No prerequisite.
(Click on names to see course syllabi for recent sections that have been offered by Haley, Han, and Klink)
General Education Attribute: S2, HO2, SS3, OW3

ANTH 130 Introduction to Biological Anthropology (3 s.h.)
An introduction to the study of the origin, evolution, and biological diversity of our species. Topics include the history of evolutionary thought; genetics and evolutionary theory; primate biology, behavior, and evolution; the fossil record of human evolution; and biological variation and recent human evolution. No prerequisite.
General Education Attributes: N2, NS3
(Click on name to see course syllabi for recent sections that have been offered by Betsinger, Relethford, Rudzik, and Weigl)

ANTH 140 Introduction to Archaeology (3 s.h.)
This class is an introduction to archaeological methods and theory. It defines the nature of archaeology as a socia Iscience inclUding major events in the history of archaeology and the different approaches to the study of archaeology. In this class we will learn about the purpose and process of archaeological research and data acquisition and the methods used to date archaeological finds. We will identify and analyze the ways archaeologists reconstruct human behavior and explain the social relevance of archaeology to today's world. We will cover certain key principles in gaining a better understanding of archaeology. No prerequisite.
General Education Attribute: S2, SS3

ANTH 145 Prehistoric World Cultures (3 s.h.)
This introduction to world prehistory traces our shared human past from the emergence of human beings to the rise of ancient states and empires, with special attention to key developments such as the emergence of art, farming, urbanism and social complexity. Select ancient cultures from around the world are examined in-depth. Emphasis is placed on archaeology as anthropology and the relevance of archaeology to modern human society and politics. No prerequisite.
General Education Attribute: HO2, OW3
(Click on name to see course syllabi for recent sections that have been offered by Walker and Weigel)

ANTH 201 North American Indians (3 s.h.)
An ethnographic and ethnohistorical survey of the diverse Native American societies and cultures north of Mesoamerica, illustrating historical and contemporary cultural transformations as political, economic, and cultural circumstances change. Prerequisite: Sophomore standing.
General Education Attribute: HO2, OW3
(Click on name to see course syllabi for recent sections that have been offered by Betsinger and Haley)

ANTH 209 Mexican Immigration (3 s.h.)
Examines immigration from Mexico to the United States over time, emphasizing anthropological perspectives on contemporary immigration. Course is designed to illustrate the value of ethnographic research to social policy questions. Prerequisite: Sophomore standing.

ANTH 210 Anthropological Folklore (3 s.h.)
A global survey of culture that is learned orally or by imitation, with emphasis on folklife (material folk culture), ritual belief, and oral tradition. Emphasizes the anthropological concepts of holism (traditions as aspects of the "way of life" of a people), functionalism (culture as a system of interrelated parts), and symbolism. Prerequisite: ANTH 100 or sophomore standing.
General Education Attribute: S2, SS3

ANTH 211 Religion, Magic, and Myth (3 s.h.)
A study of the anthropology of religion with special attention on the early roots of religion, mythology, systems of magic, and science. Anthropological theories of religion are applied to topics like shamanism, witchcraft, rites of passage, the religious use of drugs, divination, and ancestor worship. Emphasizes ethnographic studies of religion in small-scale societies. Prerequisite: Sophomore standing.
General Education Attribute: AH2, H3

ANTH 214 Psychological Anthropology (3 s.h.)
The history of the culture and personality movement will be outlined and emphasis will then be placed on cultural universals and specifics. Cross-cultural biobehavioral practices will be considered along with their varied expression in specific cultural settings. Prerequisite: Sophomore standing.
General Education Attribute: S2, SS3

ANTH 217 Visual Anthropology (3 s.h.)
Examines human creative expression from the Paleolithic Period to modern day with examples in media such as the visual arts, architecture, sculpture, personal adornment, and film.  Explores how cultural beliefs are manifested in these media and how artworks create and sustain a culture's belief systems, values and social relations.  Enables students to recognize correlations between complexity of art styles and the nature of artworks in ancient, modern, Eastern and Western societies.  Reveals that social context is an inextricable facet of creative expression which determines how artwork is circulated and received within individual cultures. Prerequisite: Sophomore standing.
General Education Attribute: AH2, H3

ANTH 219 Anthropology of Death (3 s.h.)
A cross cultural perspective on the phenomenon of death. Particular attention will be given to the role of culture in shaping the death experience. Through a comparative study of death ceremonies in various world cultures students attain insights into the phenomenon of death in their own American culture. Topics include contemporary issues associated with euthanasia, suicide, the funeral industry, and professional care of dying persons. Prerequisite: Sophomore standing.
General Education Attribute: S2, SS3

ANTH 220 Linguistic Anthropology (3 s.h.)

Surveys the anthropological study of language, including theory and methods. Topics include: language, culture, and thought; language acquisition and language socialization; language and human evolution; language change; language as social action; ethnographies of communication. Prerequisite: Sophomore standing.

ANTH 221 Anthropology of Sexes and Genders (3 s.h.)
Introduction to comparative, cross-cultural study of gender. Part One focuses on the life cycle, including evolution and biological development, sexuality and reproduction, parenting and bonding, and nutrition. Part Two views women and men cross-culturally, comparing their roles and responsibilities in diverse settings. Prerequisite: Sophomore standing.

ANTH 227 Cultural Identities (3 s.h.)
This course examines the major forms of cultural identity—ethnicity, race, nationalism—from an anthropological perspective. Explores how people create, maintain, and use cultural identities, how social context shapes their form and content, and how form and content support social relationships. Students will explore case studies and theoretical perspectives, and write a paper based on library research. Prerequisite: Sophomore standing.
General Education Attribute: S2, SS3

ANTH 229 Critique of Civilization (3 s.h.)
This course explores the concept of civilization and its opposite, the primitive or savage, from anthropology’s unique cross-cultural perspective. We will examine how these paired concepts figure prominently in the origin and development of anthropology, and how anthropology ultimately challenges the validity of both. This intellectual history touches upon the ideologies and social consequences of progressivism, romanticism, colonialism, neocolonialism, environmentalism, indigenism, the New Age, neoconservativism, and traditionalist social movements. The course is lecture based and includes several writing assignments. Prerequisites: ANTH 100, or 105, or 140
General Education Attribute: HO2, OW3

ANTH 230 Primate Behavior (3 s.h.)
An introduction to the study of nonhuman primate behavior, biology, and ecology, with broad coverage from prosimians to apes. Topics include classification, evolution, communication, social organization, and cognition. Includes laboratory and field studies of selected species. Prerequisite: ANTH 100 or ANTH 130 or PSYC 100.

ANTH 232 Human Biology and Culture Change (3 s.h.)
This course examines the biological impact of culture change in the human species over the past 12,000 years, focusing primarily on changes in health and disease and demography in foraging, agricultural, and industrial societies. Topics include: principles of epidemiology, the ecology of disease, principles of demography, health and demography of foraging societies, the transition to agriculture, the rise of civilization and urbanism, culture contact, the epidemiologic and demographic transitions of modern times, and contemporary and future issues. Prerequisite: Sophomore standing.

ANTH 233 Race, Genetics, and Variation (3 s.h.)
This course examines the ways in which genetic variation in the world today is used to explore questions of race and ancestry and the history and adaptation of human populations. Topics include the history or race and the study of human variation; race in biocultural perspective; genetics, ancestry, and population history; and human adaptation and variation. Emphasis is on the contrast between racial and evolutionary approaches to human variation. Prerequisite: ANTH 130.

ANTH 236 Medical Anthropology(3 s.h.)
An introduction to issues in medical anthropology, exploring the interaction of biology and culture in the production of health and illness. We will engage in comparative study and consider the diversity of ideas and practices that constitute health and illness across cultures and societies. The goal is to understand health and illness as products of cultural and social practice. Prerequisite: ANTH 100 or ANTH 130.

ANTH 238 Anthropology of Reproduction (3 s.h.)
This course examines women’s and men’s experiences of reproduction in anthropological perspective, including childbearing, childbirth, menarche, and menopause across cultures and societies. Emphasizes reproduction as a cultural and social experience. Prerequisite: ANTH 100.
General Education Attribute: S2, SS3

ANTH 239 History of Human Evolution (3 s.h.)
This course provides an historical review of the discovery of the fossil record for human evolution from the mid-nineteenth century to the present day. This review examines how new data have been used to develop and test hypotheses in human evolution, with particular focus on the divergence of ape and human lines, the evolution of the first hominins, the origin of bipedalism, the origin of tool use, and the origin and dispersal of different hominin species including modern humans. Prerequisite: ANTH 130.

ANTH 245 Native American Archaeology (3 s.h.)
An examination of prehistoric and historic populations in North America. Emphasizes description, analysis, and interpretation of regional cultural sequences and systems from an archaeological perspective. Prerequisite: ANTH 140.
General Education Attribute: S2, SS3

ANTH 250 Anthropology of the Southwest (3 s.h.)
A survey of sociocultural diversity and change from prehistory to the present in the greater Southwest, a region recognized as a major cultural borderlands and blending zone of Native, Latin, and Anglo-American influences. Archaeological, historical, and ethnographic examples from California to Texas, and northern Mexico to Colorado, explore the cultural outcomes of migration, trade, resistance, conquest, slavery, capitalism, activism, and ethnogenesis. Prerequisite: Sophomore standing.

ANTH 251 The Aztecs and Their Ancestors(3 s.h.)
This course is a survey of the prehistoric and early historic cultures of Mesoamerica, with particular focus on the first people in Mesoamerica, emerging agricultural traditions, and the civilizations of the Olmecs, Toltecs, Mayans, and Aztecs. Topics include the relationship between Mesoamerican past and present; cultural traditions; and the relationship of Mesoamerica to other cultures across the world. Our goal for this semester is to learn about prehistoric cultures of Mesoamerica as well as to develop an understanding of all human cultures. Prerequisites: ANTH 140. General Education Attribute: HO2

ANTH 252 The Incas and Their Ancestors (3 s.h.)
Surveys the pre-Columbian history of the Andean region of South America, and investigates archaeological approaches to understanding that history.  Outlines the development of Andean cultures from initial peopling of the continent to the fall of the Inca Empire at the time of European conquest.  The Inca and several prehistoric cultures are examined in detail, such as Chavin, Moche, and Tiwanaku.  Simultaneously explores select topical issues, such as human-environment interactions, plant and animal domestication, the emergence of inequality, gender, mummies and ancestor worship, art as communication, and the rise and collapse of states and empires. Prerequisite: ANTH 100 or ANTH 140, and sophomore standing.

ANTH 253 Women & Gender in Prehistory (3 s.h.)
Introduces students to archaeological research and perspectives on women and gender in prehistoric societies and ancient civilizations, emphasizing cross-cultural variation in the past. Outlines the historical development of gender archaeology and contemporary approaches to engendering the past. Examines facets of gender (ideology, relations, sexuality, age, class, alternative genders, etc.) in past cultures and in a range of prehistoric cultural contexts (early hunter-gathers, farmers & pastoralists, states & empires). Select ancient cultures (Andean, Mesoamerican, Egyptian, etc.) are examined in more detail. (Emphasis is on non-Western ancient cultures.) Prerequisites: SoS and any 100-level ANTH or WMST 130.

ANTH 254 Archaeology and Environmental Change (3 s.h.)
This course examines, from an anthropological perspective, the interrelationship between past peoples and the environments in which they lived, over the course of world prehistory. The focus is on issues of environmental change: understanding how various peoples in the past have responded to climate change, how human activities have impacted and altered their environments, the various social and cultural factors and conditions that influenced human decision-making and behaviors during times of environmental change, and the outcomes (positive and negative) of those actions. Prerequisite: ANTH 140 or ANTH 145.

ANTH 259 Anthropology and Dying (3 s.h.)
Why study death and dying? How do we die? What is a near-death experience? Dying is part of living, but we rarely spend time thinking of the process of dying. Additionally, death in the 21st century can be highly political and contentious. Do you know what a physician-assisted death is? What is euthanasia? These questions and more will be addressed throughout the semester. Together, we will explore the political and legal nature of death and dying. We will consider death and dying from both cultural and biological perspectives in order to have a more holistic understanding of the issues surrounding dying. Prerequisite: ANTH 100 or ANTH 130.

ANTH 294 Special Topics in Anthropology (1–6 s.h.)
Various topics in cultural anthropology, biological anthropology, or archaeology. Consult department or current schedule of classes for specific offering. May be repeated for credit if different topics are offered. Prerequisite: Varies with content of course.

ANTH 299 Independent Study in Anthropology (1–3 s.h.)
Individual study (reading and/or research related to any aspect of Anthropology) under the sponsorship of a faculty member with conferences and written report(s). Prerequisite: Sophomore standing and permission of instructor.

ANTH 312 Exhibiting Cultures in Museums (3 s.h.)
What are some of the challenges that museum professionals face when creating representations of other cultures? By studying several examples of exhibits in various institutions students will gain appreciation for these challenges. In this class, we will discuss theories, methodology and issues in representing other cultures in a museum setting. Participants will be engaged in several exercises that will prepare them for the eventual installation of their own exhibit. Readings, film, and visits to local museums will also help students organize for the culminating class project. This course will provide practical experience to students interested in pursuing post-graduate education in museum studies and/or a career in the field. Prerequisites: ANTH 100 or ANTH 130 or ANTH 140, and Sophomore standing.
General Education Attribute: WS2, BC3

ANTH 313 Ethnohistory (3 s.h.)
This course introduces students to the anthropological use of historical data in reconstructing the cultural past of a society.  The study of ethnohistory provides a link between anthropological studies of prehistoric societies based on archaeology and studies of contemporary societies based on participant-observation.  The focus of the course is the use of primary sources (including wills, probate inventories, tax records, census data, and oral histories) for investigation of social institutions and cultural relationships, including social networks, kinship, socioeconomic status, gender roles, and ethnic relations. The course includes several writing assignments. Prerequisite: ANTH 100 or ANTH 130 or ANTH 140.

ANTH 325 Applied Anthropology (3 s.h.)
Explores the use of anthropology in application to solving human problems. Traces the history of applied anthropology and teaches the process of applied research and practice through one or more team projects. Course projects are determined in advance by the instructor and are subject to change. Past projects have addressed local development options, historic textile preservation and interpretation, immigration policy debates, and cultural preservation policy cases. Prerequisite: ANTH 100 or ANTH 130 or ANTH 140 and Sophomore standing.
General Education Attribute: WS2, BC3

ANTH 330 Paleoanthropology (3 s.h.)
A detailed examination of the fossil record of human evolution and the methods of paleoanthropological research. The course covers evolutionary events from the initial divergence of ape and human lines through the origin of anatomically modern humans. Emphasis is on the analysis of morphology and phylogenetic analysis. A substantial part of the course consists of examining, describing, and analyzing fossil cast material. Prerequisite: ANTH 130.
General Education Attribute: WS2, BC3

ANTH 331 Human Skeletal Anatomy(3 s.h.)
Introduces students to the study of the human skeleton (osteology) and the physiological and cultural processes operating on it. Topics include human skeletal and dental anatomy, and skeletal growth and development. Emphasis is on the identification of individual skeletal and dental elements and features. Course serves as a foundation for other courses in biological anthropology that utilize and study the human skeleton. Prerequisite: ANTH 130 or BIOL 100, and Junior standing.

ANTH 332 Human Population Genetics (3 s.h.)
An introduction to the study of population genetics, the mathematical basis of evolutionary theory and its particular application to human populations. Topics include: Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium, mating systems, mutation, natural selection, genetic drift, and gene flow. Case studies focus on human populations. Prerequisite: ANTH 130 or BIOL 212.
General Education Attribute: WS2, BC3

ANTH 333 Human Biological Variation (3 s.h.)
A detailed examination of the data and methods used to analyze human biological variation, with an emphasis on phenotypic traits. Variation is examined in craniometrics, anthropometrics, osteometrics, skin color, dental measures, and dermatoglyphics. Variation is analyzed in relationship to sex, age, natural selection, and population history. A substantial part of the course consists of in-class lab experience in the measurement and analysis of variation. Prerequisite: ANTH 130.
General Education Attribute: WS2, BC3

ANTH 336 Forensic Anthropology (3 s.h.)
Explores the field of Forensic Anthropology through lectures and exercises that replicate the methods commonly used. Students will learn about the methods forensic anthropologists use to assess age, determine sex, identify ancestry, estimate height, and identify traumatic injuries. The course also addresses how individual identifications are made and the role of the forensic anthropologist in law enforcement and in legal settings. Offered once every two years. Prerequisites: ANTH 331 or BIOL 205.

ANTH 337 Advanced Skeletal Anatomy (3 s.h.)
This course will provide students with the opportunity to apply their knowledge of skeletal anatomy obtained during ANTH 331 and/or ANTH 336 to the identification of fragmentary remains and the remains of subadults (fetal and children). Portions of the course will be dedicated to bone histology (i.e., examining bone at the cellular level) and dental anatomy. This course will be more focused and intensive for students who have had prior exposure to human skeletal anatomy. Prerequisite: ANTH 331 or 336.

ANTH 338 Bioarchaeology (3 s.h.)
This course will provide students the opportunity to learn about the multidisciplinary field of bioarchaeology. Students will be exposed to the various areas of inquiry within bioarchaeology, such as infectious disease, activity patterns, dietary reconstruction, and stress and deprivation. Students will examine photographs and casts of various pathological conditions in order for them to learn how to differentiate between the different conditions. Students will also learn the entire scientific procedure followed in bioarchaeology, from the development of hypotheses and collection of data through data analysis and interpretation. Prerequisite: ANTH 130 or ANTH 140.

ANTH 341 Zooarchaeology(3 s.h.)
This course provides students with a background in the methods of zooarchaeology, the analysis of animal remains from archaeological sites used to reconstruct the interrelationships between people, animals, and the environment. Both theoretical and methodological issues are explored, with emphasis on the use of comparative vertebrate skeletal collections in zooarchaeological research, specifically those animal species commonly found in eastern North American prehistoric and historic archaeological sites. Laboratory experience is a central focus of the course. Prerequisite: ANTH 140

ANTH 342 Understanding Stone Tools(3 s.h.)
The analysis and interpretation of archaeological lithic (stone) artifacts. Teaches methods and techniques of analysis and identification of stone artifacts, and the use of lithics to investigate and understand the human past. Students will handle and analyze actual stone artifacts, hear lectures, and engage in reading and discussion. Prerequisite: ANTH 140.

ANTH 343 Archaeological Laboratory Methods(3 s.h.)
This course introduces students to methods archaeologists use to excavate, identify, preserve, analyze, and interpret archaeological remains. The course integrates lectures with field trips and laboratory analysis. Topics include: field survey methods; excavation methods; and laboratory analysis of lithics, pottery, flora and fauna, and other evidences of material culture. Emphasis is on using these materials to gain greater insight into past cultures based on archaeological investigation. Time outside of class will be needed for local field trips. Prerequisite: ANTH 140.

ANTH 345 Field School in Archaeology (6 s.h.)
This course is a summer field program that introduces students to methods that archaeologists use to identify, excavate, record, and interpret archaeological sites. The emphasis is on providing students first-hand experience with methods of archaeological analysis in the field and preliminary artifact processing techniques. Course readings, lectures, and discussions complement this field program. Prerequisite: ANTH 140 or permission of instructor.

ANTH 349 Cities and Architecture (3 s.h.)
This course intends to understand and analyze the relationship between the nature and development of cities and functionalities, meanings, and symbolic power of architecture from a cross-disciplinary approach. Other than general introduction to the concepts and theories in the disciplines, selected cities will be compared. A city will be chosen as a case study each term. An intensive and exciting trip to a city may be required. This course will use interdisciplinary approaches to understand the formation of a city and the functionality and symbolic meanings of the architecture that builds a city. Theories are drawn from multi-disciplines such as geography, anthropology, communication arts, history and sociology.

ANTH 355 Field Methods in Cultural Anthropology  (3 s.h.)
This course introduces students to the practical skills and field methods used by anthropologists. Included in this are: problems of participant-observation; how to conduct an interview; design of questionnaires and structured interviews; techniques of data analysis; still photography and audio/visual recording; and proposal and report writing. The skills taught in this course will be valuable not just to those planning field work, but also in many of the professions available to Social Science graduates. Students will learn through participation in ongoing faculty research. Prerequisite: ANTH 100 and permission of instructor.
General Education Attribute: WS2

ANTH 390 Issues in Anthropology (3 s.h.)
What does it mean to be human? Are there human universals? How is behavior fashioned by nature and nurture? Is a unified discipline of anthropology possible? This seminar will assist students in answering basic questions about the nature of the human experience by considering practical and theoretical issues of interest to anthropologists and others. Students will discuss general questions in cultural and biological anthropology, as well as examine anthropological perspectives on current events. Guest lectures, film, readings, and discussion will form the basis of the seminar. Prerequisite: Junior or Senior standing, and 18 s.h. of ANTH courses.
General Education Attribute: WS2, BC3
(Click on names to see course syllabi for recent sections that have been offered by Betsinger, Klink, and Walker)

ANTH 393 History of Anthropological Thought (3 s.h.)
The history and theory of anthropology from the eighteenth century to the present. Focus on key concepts and ethnological theorists within the broad framework of natural and social sciences. Prerequisite: Junior or Senior standing, and 18 s.h. of ANTH courses.
(Click on names to see course syllabi for recent sections that have been offered by Haley, Han, and Relethford.

ANTH 395 Teaching Assistantship in Anthropology (3 s.h.)
Heightens the advanced student’s awareness of anthropology through preparation of materials for teaching introductory courses. Student works directly under the instructor of a selected course and is assigned special readings related to the teaching of anthropology to undergraduates. Student required to attend all formal class sessions and weekly meetings throughout the semester with the faculty supervisor. Prerequisite: 18 s.h. of ANTH courses, and permission of instructor.

ANTH 396 Research Assistantship in Anthropology (3 s.h.)
Provides research experience to a qualified undergraduate student who will work under the supervision of a faculty member to support on-going research. Activities may include literature review, data collection and analysis, preparations of reports, papers, and presentations. Prerequisites: Junior standing, 12 s.h. of anthropology courses, and permission of instructor. Click here for application form.

ANTH 397 Internship in Anthropology (1–15 s.h.)
Internships are available in institutions, agencies, and facilities. See department Chair for details. Prerequisite: Junior standing, and 12 s.h. of ANTH courses, and permission of instructor.