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Anthropology Courses

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.

ANTH 100. Society and Culture (1). 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.

ANTH 110. Archaeology: Leassons from the Past (1). All human societies face challenges, including those relating to power, identity, conflict, health, sustainability, and climate change. Using Scientific and humanistic methods and theories, archaeology provides unique lessons for addressing such issues in the present and the future. In this course, we begin with an introduction to basic archaeological methods and theories, as well as the major trends of prehistory. Throughout the remainder of the class, we analyze case studies to better understand how societies succeed or fail when faced with specific challenges within different social, political, and environmental contexts. (3B) Offered each semester. Prerequisite: preference given to first-year and sophomore students.

ANTH 120. The Human Animal (1). 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.

ANTH 160. Music Cultures of the World (1). This course will introduce students to some of the primary concerns Of the field of ethnomusicology, as well as to a sampling of musical genres from North America, South America, Africa, Asia, and Europe. Through a selection of listenings and readings from music scholarship, anthropology, and critical theory, we will consider themes including nationalism, colonialism, identity (race/ethnicity, gender/sexuality, class, etc.), sound/soundscape, and (inter)disciplinarity. (Also listed as Music 160.) (3B) Offered each spring.

ANTH 201. Research Design: Sophomore Seminar in Anthropology (1). 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.

ANTH 204. History of Anthropology (1). 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.

ANTH 206. Social and Cultural Theory (1). 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.

ANTH 208. Ethnographic Methods (1). 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.

ANTH 209. Language and Culture (1). 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. Offered occasionally. (Also listed as Critical Identity Studies 251) Prerequisite: Anthropology 100 or consent of instructor.

ANTH 210. Field Research in Cultural Anthropology Preparatory Course (.5). This course is the first in a series of three (210, 211, and 212) in which students plan ethnographic research, conduct the fieldwork, and then analyze and reflect on their results. In this preparatory course, students prepare to go to “the field”: they prepare research proposals and literature reviews of their topics and geographical area to be researched (including the social, political, and historical contexts of the field site). These proposals guide the work students do in the field. Offered occasionally, spring semester. Prerequisite: Anthropology 201 or 208 or consent of instructor.

ANTH 211. Field Research in Cultural Anthropology (1). In this class, students travel to a field site where they conduct ethnographic research for three weeks between formal semesters. Having already designed research questions in Anthropology 210, students follow their plan through this data-gathering phase. Students learn to appreciate the problems inherent in cultural research (especially ethical ones) and are expected to keep detailed notes while working closely with both Beloit College faculty as well as local interlocutors. Offered occasionally, summer. Prerequisite: Anthropology 210 or consent of instructor.

ANTH 212. Field Research in Cultural Anthropology Post Course (.5). Having conducted ethnographic field research in Anthropology 211, students in this course analyze their data and reflect on the experience and outcomes of their research. They are expected to present a written ethnographic account of their fieldwork and the processes they used to acquire their data and reach their conclusions. Students present their conclusions to a public audience (e.g. Symposium Day or International Symposium Day). May be repeated for credit if topic is different. Offered occasionally, fall semester. Prerequisite: Anthropology 211 or consent of instructor.

ANTH 214. Field Research in Archaeology (1). Provides intensive, hands-on training in the problems and techniques of archaeological research. Practical training in the recovery, recording, and analysis of field data. (May be repeated for credit if topic is different). Offered summer. Prerequisite: Anthropology 110 and 201, or consent of instructor.

ANTH 216. Principles of Archaeology (1). 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.

ANTH 217. Pots and People (1). 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.

ANTH 218. Archaeological Laboratory Techniques (1). 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.

ANTH 219. Environmental Archaeology (1). 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. (Also listed as Environmental Studies 219.) Offered odd years, spring semester. Prerequisite: Anthropology 110.

ANTH 230. Human Osteology (1). 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. Specimens from the Logan Museum collections serve as study material. Lectures and laboratory. Offered each year. Prerequisite: Anthropology 120 or Biology 110 or consent of instructor.

ANTH 240. Quantitative Theory and Technique (1). 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 consent of instructor

ANTH 247. Anthropological Research in Museums (1). 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

ANTH 254. Native North American Cultures (1). An introduction to the Native peoples and cultures of North America, emphasizing historical and ethnological perspectives and material culture studies. Readings include works by Native and non-Native anthropologists and historians as well as autobiographies. Logan Museum collections supply important learning resources. Course format combines lectures, discussions, student presentations, guest presentations, and museum object studies. Offered even years, spring semester. Prerequisite: Anthropology 100 or consent of instructor.

ANTH 255. Native North American Cultures: Field Study (.25). This courses's focus is a six-day study trip to Native American communities, cultural institutions, and heritage sites. The course includes pre-trip readings; visits to Indian reservations, museums, schools, and historical sites; and a post-trip reflection and research paper. The course is an optional supplement to Anthropology 254 and can only be taken simultaneously with Anthropology 254. Attendance is limited to seven students. Prerequisite: Anthropology 254 must be taken simultaneously.

ANTH 257. Secularism and Fundamentalism (1). This advanced-level course investigates the mutually constituting relationship between “secularism” and the diverse set of contemporary movements labeled (whether by adherents or critics) as “fundamentalist.” Media representations, polemical writings, and campus norms will be analyzed, to both better understand the centrality of these categories in the construction of political, social, and personal realities and to recognize and critique our own assumptions through comparative study. (Also listed as Religious Studies 280/Critical Identity Studies 309.) Offered occasionally. Prerequisite: Critical Identity Studies 165, Anthropology 100, or at least one course in Religious Studies.

ANTH 260. Primate Social Behavior and Ecology (1). 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.

ANTH 262. Medical Anthropology (1). 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.

ANTH 275. Intermediate Selected Topics in Anthropology (.5, 1). 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.

ANTH 302. Anthropology of Whiteness (1). 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 165 or Sociology 100 or consent of instructor.

ANTH 305. Gender and Culture (1). 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 165 or consent of instructor.

ANTH 306. Race and Culture (1). This course explores the internal logic of race and culture and how each has been shaped by and deployed in U.S. anthropology in order to understand the theoretical work each accomplishes. It considers the nature of the relationship between culture and race as well as if or how they enable each other and what this means for how anthropologists conduct research. (Also listed as Critical Identity Studies 306.) Offered occasionally. Prerequisite: junior standing and Anthropology 100 or Critical Identity Studies 165 or Sociology 100 or consent of instructor.

ANTH 309. Anthropology of Consumer Society (1). 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 165 or Sociology 100.

ANTH 314. Archaeology of North America (1). 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.

ANTH 321. Forensic Anthropology (1). 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(s): Anthropology 230 or consent of instructor.

ANTH 323. Anthropology of Sex and Reproduction (1). This course we will examine 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. Our approach will enable us to study the interrelatedness of biological, behavioral, cultural, social, and political aspects of human sex and reproduction. Through readings, lectures, films and class discussions we will examine issues such as new reproductive technologies, the biology and culture of pregnancy and childbirth, mate choice, menopause, sexual dysfunction, sex/gender anomalies, etc. (Also listed as Health and Society 323) (3B) Prerequisite: junior or senior standing, and Anthropology 100 or 120, or Biology 110.

ANTH 324. Hominid Paleoecology (1). This course examines in detail the paleoecological context in which humans evolved from the Miocene divergence of the hominoids to the emergence of modern Homo sapiens. Emphasis is placed on community structure and interspecific competition in an effort to derive the ecological selection pressures that shaped human evolution. The origins of bipedality, changing subsistence patterns and the associated dental and skeletal adaptations, social behavior, and the expansion of hominid cranial capacity will be discussed from these perspectives. Offered occasionally. Prerequisite: junior or senior standing, and Anthropology 120 or Biology 110, or consent of instructor.

ANTH 375. Advanced Selected Topics in Anthropology (.5, 1). 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 each semester. Prerequisite: consent of instructor.

ANTH 380. Senior Capstone: Anthropology in the Real World (.5). 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.

ANTH 390. Special Projects (.25 - 1). Individual study under faculty supervision and/or research on an anthropological problem selected by the student. Prerequisite: sophomore standing.

ANTH 392. Honors Thesis in Anthropology (.5, 1). 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.

ANTH 395. Teaching Assistant (.5). Work with faculty in classroom instruction. Graded credit/no credit.

ANTH 396. Teaching Assistant Research (.5). Course and curriculum development projects with faculty.