Courses taken outside of the anthropology department, such as courses taken while studying off-campus, may sometimes substitute for courses taken on campus. Students may petition the department for exceptions to specific departmental requirements. Learn more about petition requirements.
Course information found here includes all permanent offerings and is updated regularly whenever Academic Senate approves changes. For historical information, see the Course Catalogs. For actual course availability in any given term, use Course Search in the Portal.
An introduction to cultural anthropology, which is the study of human cultures, both historical and contemporary. Students analyze the ways in which social categories are imagined, reproduced, and grounded within particular historical and geographical contexts around the world, in order to understand how humans create meaning through everyday practices. (3B) Offered each semester. Prerequisite: preference given to first-year and sophomore students.
All human societies face challenges, including those relating to power, identity, conflict, health, sustainability, and climate change. Yet our understandings of these challenges are not neutral, and archaeology often has been complicit in constructing and perpetuating misrepresentations. In this course, we begin with an introduction to basic archaeological methods, as well as the major trends of the past. We then consider how different theoretical approaches are produced within particular historical and social contexts that affect the ways we understand the past, often to the detriment of descendant communities. Throughout the remainder of the class, we examine case studies to better understand how societies responded to specific challenges, but also how a more inclusive archaeology can provide unique lessons for addressing such issues in the present and future. (3B) (Also listed as Critical Identity Studies 141.) Offered each semester. Prerequisite: preference given to first-year and sophomore students.
An introduction to physical anthropology, which surveys the major components of the field: primatology, fossil evidence and evolution, osteology, and contemporary human diversity and genetics. Lectures and laboratory. (4U) Offered each semester. Prerequisite: preference given to first-year and sophomore students.
An examination of how research is designed, conducted, and evaluated in archaeology, biological anthropology, and cultural anthropology. Topics addressed include how anthropological research questions are developed, challenges and impediments to field work, ethical issues that arise, approaches to and methods of data collection, and ways in which different information is used to assess research questions. Offered each fall and occasionally spring semester. Prerequisite: two 100-level foundational courses chosen from Anthropology 100, 110, 120.
This course examines the development of anthropology as a distinct field, focusing on historical contexts and institutional settings. The course highlights intellectual contributions of founding figures and associated theories and schools of thought. Students gain critical perspectives on the processes of methodological innovation and theory building within anthropology. Offered odd years, spring semester. Prerequisite: two 100-level anthropology courses chosen from Anthropology 100, 110, 120.
An examination of the various ways in which the concept of culture has been defined in, and defines, anthropology. Special emphasis on the relationship between culture and evolution, American cultural anthropology, British social anthropology, and postmodernism. Offered each year. Prerequisite: Anthropology 100.
This course introduces students to the basics of ethnographic research methods and the epistemological, political, and ethical debates around them. Throughout the semester, students engage in exercises that are essential to participant-observation and data collection: reading about and experimenting with particular methods, as well as reflecting on their experiences. Offered even years, spring semester. Prerequisite: Anthropology 100.
This course is an introduction to the subdiscipline of linguistic anthropology: the study of language as a cultural resource and speaking as a cultural practice. Linguistic anthropology is concerned with the study of speech communities: groups of individuals who share a way of speaking. Throughout the semester, we read and discuss various topics related to the study of language and culture: language change; bilingualism; literacy and citizenship; the use of language in describing illness and speech as performance (poetry, hip-hop, dirty jokes). We also examine how ethnographic methods can be used alongside linguistic methods to better understand the connections between culture and communication. (Also listed as Critical Identity Studies 251.) Offered occasionally. Prerequisite: Anthropology 100 or consent of instructor.
Consideration of the different approaches used to recover, describe, analyze, and interpret archaeological materials. The primary objectives of the course are to provide an overview of the major theoretical and methodological issues that characterize the continuing development of modern archaeology; to critically examine how theory, method, and data are integrated in archaeological research; and to consider archaeologists’ responsibilities to the public, as well as to descendant communities. Offered alternate years, fall semester. Prerequisite: Anthropology 110.
An examination of the many ways in which ceramics inform our understanding of human behavior, such as changing foodways, group affiliations, craft specialization, and trade. Students learn the basic methods used to document, analyze, and transform ceramic data into meaningful statements about the present and past. Offered occasionally. Prerequisite: Anthropology 110 and 201, or consent of instructor.
A selected series of analytical problems, including ceramic and lithic technology, provides experience with the basic methods used in the processing and analysis of archaeological materials. Offered occasionally. Prerequisite: Anthropology 110 and 201, or consent of instructor.
Environmental archaeology attempts to understand the interrelationships between cultures and environments of the past. This course examines how archaeologists study the environmental contexts of past societies, and it engages students in the practice of environmental archaeology. Students review the theoretical bases of cultural ecology and paleoecology and learn the principal methods of paleoenvironmental reconstruction from archaeological and non-archaeological data. Major topics covered are climate, landscape and geoarchaeology, vegetation, fauna, and human impacts on environments. Students visit nearby archaeological sites and laboratories, process soil samples from archaeological sites, conduct team research on plant and animal remains recovered from these samples, and present oral and written research reports. Offered occasionally. Prerequisite: Anthropology 110.
Mortuary archaeology is the study of human funerary practices across space and time. This course will investigate the theoretical foundations of archaeology, as well as the methods archaeologists use to understand how people treat their dead. In particular, we will focus on the different ways in which the dead influence the living in both prehistoric and historic contexts. Topics to be covered include memorials and memorialization, political (mis)use of graves, mass graves, and bioarchaeology. Readings, lectures, discussions, presentations, projects, and papers will allow students to examine mortuary archaeology from multiple perspectives. Offered occasionally. Prerequisite: Anthropology 110.
A detailed examination of human skeletal anatomy, variation, growth, and development stressing characteristics diagnostic of sex, age, and ethnic origin. Emphasis is given to techniques useful in demographic reconstruction of past populations. Identification of paleopathological conditions is included. Lectures and laboratory. Offered occasionally. Prerequisite: Anthropology 120 or consent of instructor.
An introduction to quantitative and material considerations in anthropological theory. Quantitative analysis of data is stressed, including elementary parametric and nonparametric statistics and elementary data processing. Offered odd years, spring semester. Prerequisite: Anthropology 201; or two 100-level anthropology courses and CSCI 111; or consent of instructor.
Museums are valuable research resources in all subfields of anthropology. In this course students learn how anthropologists conduct research in (and on) museums. Readings, written and oral assignments, field trips, and guest presentations supply a broad overview of museum anthropology. Students conduct individual and group research projects using Logan Museum resources as well as material at other museums. (Also listed as Museum Studies 247.) Offered even years, fall semester. Prerequisite: Anthropology 201.
This seminar investigates the mutually constituting relationship between “secularism” and the very diverse set of contemporary movements that have come to be labeled (whether by adherents or critics) as “fundamentalist.” Recent scholarship on secularism reveals its foundations in the construction of religiosity—especially apparently “extreme” forms of religiosity—as inferior to and opposed to modernity, rationality, progress, freedom, and a whole host of other “secular” values. Students analyze media representations, polemical writings, and campus norms in light of recent theoretical work on the relationship between secularity and religiosity, in order not only to better understand the centrality of these categories in the construction of political, social, and personal realities, but also to recognize and critique our own assumptions through comparative study. In the process, students examine the relationship between secularity and religiosity on the Beloit campus. (Also listed as Critical Identity Studies 309.) Prerequisite: Critical Identity Studies 101.
The natural history of nonhuman primates from an evolutionary, ecological, and social perspective. The course includes a survey of the primate order, including an assessment of the behavioral characteristics of each group in light of modern evolutionary theory. Topic issues and competing paradigms in the field, methodological issues, and conservation programs will be explored. Offered occasionally. Prerequisite: Anthropology 120 or Biology 111 or consent of instructor.
This course explores the biocultural basis of health and disease in a cross-cultural perspective. We use the concept of adaptation as a means to evaluate the biological and cultural components of health and disease. We will focus on both applied and basic research interests in medical anthropology. Topics to be covered include: the relationship between diet and health, the biology of poverty, gene-infectious disease-environment interactions, the epidemiological transition, the relationship between health beliefs and health behaviors, indigenous vs. Western medical practices, and the role of medical practitioners and their patients in various medical systems. (3B) Offered each fall. Prerequisite: Anthropology 100 or 120, plus 1 course from biology, psychology, or an additional anthropology course; or consent of instructor.
Special aspects or areas of anthropology based on the particular interests and experience of the instructor. Course content and title will vary with the instructor. May be repeated for credit if topic is different. Offered occasionally. Prerequisite: varies with topic. At least one 100-level anthropology course will be required. The 3B domained version of this course is ANTH 276.
This course explores the construction and operation of whitenesses primarily in the United States, though it also looks at non-Eurocentric notions of whiteness by examining whiteness both as a category of analysis as well as a social category. It considers how whiteness came to be understood as an unmarked category, by whom, and how it operates in conjunction with gender, sexuality, and/or class in lived experiences. (Also listed as Critical Identity Studies 302.) Offered occasionally. Prerequisite: junior or senior standing and Anthropology 100 or Critical Identity Studies 101 or Sociology 100 or consent of instructor.
This course offers cross-cultural perspectives on the construction of gender and its social roles. It considers the usefulness of gender as a category of analysis, its relation to sex and sexuality. Throughout the semester we consider the differing ways in which gender is understood and what this means for the theoretical purchase of the term within anthropology. (Also listed as Critical Identity Studies 305.) Offered occasionally. Prerequisite: junior or senior standing and Anthropology 100 or Sociology 100 or Critical Identity Studies 101 or consent of instructor.
This advanced-level course explores the internal logic of race and culture and how each has been shaped by and deployed in various disciplines in order to understand the theoretical work each accomplishes. It considers the nature of the relationship between culture and race as well as whether and/or how they enable each other in various contexts. (Also listed as Critical Identity Studies 306.) Offered every third year. Prerequisite: junior standing and Anthropology 100, Critical Identity Studies 101 or Sociology 100.
In this course, we critically examine consumerism around the world and its impact on culture, politics, identity, and place. We explore how even the most mundane activities (shopping, eating, driving, reading, etc.) have increasingly become reorganized through capitalist-style consumption. Utilizing materials from anthropology as well as other disciplines (e.g. sociology, gender studies, cultural studies), we examine how consumption has had a dramatic effect on society and culture over the last century. Some of the topics we explore are: bottled water, romance novels, gated communities, second-hand clothing markets, national cuisine in Belize, children’s consumer choices, shopping malls, and post-industrial flanerie. (3B) (Also listed as Critical Identity Studies 209.) Prerequisite: Anthropology 100 or Critical Identity Studies 101 or Sociology 100.
Material culture studies focus on the forms, uses, and meaning of objects, images, and environments in everyday life. Once primarily the domain of archaeology, material culture is now central in many fields of study. This course examines how the intersections of different interests and approaches influence the ways anthropologists understand the tangible products of human behavior, including how objects went from being passive residues of economic behavior to dynamic social actors. Through readings, discussions, hands-on engagements, and individual research, students will appreciate the major theoretical and methodological shifts surrounding such topics as object production, consumption, identity, social agency, and technological choice. (Also listed as Museum Studies 310.) Offered occasionally. Prerequisites, junior or senior standing; and either Anthropology 201 or Museum Studies 275.
Examination of the major culture areas, time periods, and archaeological sites of North America. Attention focuses on changing subsistence and settlement strategies, cultural interaction, and the emergences of social complexity. Offered occasionally. Prerequisite: Anthropology 110 and either 201 or 216, or consent of instructor.
Forensic anthropology is an applied subfield within the discipline of anthropology and is most reliant on the knowledge, theories, methods, and techniques of the subdisciplines of biological anthropology and archaeology. Osteological and archaeological techniques aid in the location of human remains and associated evidence, recovery of all remains and physical evidence from a scene, and the analysis and interpretation of the scene context and recovered remains in order to reconstruct the events that occurred on-scene, and contribute information that may lead to personal identification and determination of cause and manner of death. Once identified as human, the determination of age-at-death, sex, stature, ancestry, and any other characteristics that may lead to a positive identification. Determination of cause and manner of death is based upon the interpretation of skeletal trauma and/or disease processes. This course explores the role and contribution of forensic anthropologists in death investigation. Prerequisite: Anthropology 230 or consent of instructor.
This course examines current issues in human sexual behavior and reproduction (both biologically and culturally) utilizing an anthropological perspective. Most broadly defined, anthropology is the study of humans, and anthropological investigations strive to know who we are, how we came to be, and where we are headed. In an evolutionary sense, sex and reproduction are intimately tied to our Darwinian fitness. The course’s approach enables the study the interrelatedness of biological, behavioral, cultural, social, and political aspects of human sex and reproduction. Students examine issues such as new reproductive technologies, the biology and culture of pregnancy and childbirth, mate choice, menopause, sexual dysfunction, and sex/gender anomalies through readings, lectures, films, and class discussions. (Also listed as Health and Society 323.) (3B) Prerequisite: junior or senior standing, and Anthropology 100 or 120.
Paleopathology is the study of disease in the past, combining method and theory from archaeology, medicine, and bioanthropology to enhance understanding of human health and well-being. In this course, disease will be discussed in its many facets, with particular emphasis on how pathological conditions manifest in skeletal tissue and a central focus on the cultural, biological, and evolutionary characteristics of past and present human health. We will discuss a range of topics, from congenital and infectious diseases to degenerative conditions and traumatic injury, to comprehend the major debates, key knowledge, and theoretical perspectives of paleopathology as an anthropological discipline. Readings, lectures, discussions, presentations, activities, and papers will allow students to examine multiple aspects of human disease and integrate their own interest into a final research project. (Also listed as Health and Society 330.) Prerequisites: Anthropology 120; Anthropology 230 or Biology 256.
Special aspects or areas of anthropology based on the particular interests and experience of the instructor. Course content and title will vary with the instructor. On occasion the course may be interdisciplinary and partially staffed by a department other than anthropology. Recent examples include the following: the Emergence of Social Complexity, Chinese History and Culture, the Culture of Management in East Asia, Hunters and Gatherers, Pacific Genders, and Japanese History and Culture. May be repeated for credit if topic is different. Offered occasionally. Prerequisite: consent of instructor.
Anthropological methods and perspectives have significant relevance to the world in which we live. As the culmination of the Beloit anthropology experience, this class engages students in synthesizing their anthropological knowledge and experiences and in applying them to critically address a “real world” issue or problem. (CP) Offered every semester. Prerequisite: Anthropology 201, senior standing, and a declared anthropology major or minor.
Individual study under faculty supervision and/or research on an anthropological problem selected by the student. Prerequisite: sophomore standing.
The writing of a substantial paper based on an independent project. Qualified students may apply; department faculty will select a limited number of honors candidates each year. Prerequisite: Anthropology 201, senior standing, and a declared anthropology major or minor.
Work with faculty in classroom instruction. Graded credit/no credit.
Course and curriculum development projects with faculty.