Courses in Biological Anthropology (Division 318)

297. Topics in Biological Anthropology. (3). (NS). (BS). May be repeated for a total of 12 credits.
Section 101 Neandertals: Brutish Cave People or One of Us?
Since the recognition of the Neandertals as a distinct fossil population, they have been a continuous source of intrigue and controversy. This class is an introduction to the study of Neandertals. It focuses on the fossil and archaeological records and how they are interpreted. Emphasis is placed on hands-on experience with fossil and tool casts. The main topics to be covered are: (1) the historical and social foundations of the Neandertal debate; (2) their biological and cultural adaptations (e.g., language ability, diet, adaptations to cold and aridity); (3) their evolutionary origin and fate (e.g., are Neandertals our ancestors?); and (4) how the Neandertal debate is relevant to our understanding of science and society in general. Grades will be based on two short reaction papers, laboratory worksheets, one laboratory quiz, and a final project. The three scheduled labs are intended to give students a concrete basis for understanding the readings and lectures. Cost:1 WL:3 (Ahern)

Section 102 Sex, Gender, and Human Evolution. Human evolutionary studies have traditionally focused on the role of men as targets and agents of natural selection. Models such as "Man the Hunter" center on men hunting, making tools, and provisioning females and children. But have you ever wondered what the female was doing and how she influenced the evolutionary path our species has taken? This course will examine human evolution in this way, looking at women's as well as men's roles and their contributions to our evolution. The course will focus on major anatomical and behavioral aspects of human evolution with special emphasis on subsistence strategies and division of labor, sex and reproduction, sexuality, the evolution of culture, and women's roles in human society. Evaluation based on short essays and two exams. Class will be lecture with discussion. Cost:2 WL:2 (Crummett)

Courses in Cultural Anthropology (Division 319)

Introductory Courses

101. Introduction to Anthropology. Primarily for freshmen and sophomores. No credit granted to those who have completed or are enrolled in 222 or 426. (4). (SS). (This course fulfills the Race or Ethnicity Requirement).

This course will introduce students to the four major subfields of anthropology: cultural anthropology, archaeology, linguistic anthropology, and biological anthropology. In the process, we will focus on how each of these subfields helps to explain the cultural, social, and physical aspects of human diversity. An explicit part of this process is exploring how sociocultural differences like gender, and racial and ethnic identity are constructed, and the roles these differences may play in our lives. The first part of the course is devoted to outlining some basic questions that will be addressed throughout the term: What is "culture"? Is there a distinctively human nature? What is the basis of human social groupings, such as culture, race, ethnicity, and class? What kinds of evidence are useful in addressing issues involving human diversity? The subsequent parts of the course will approach specific topics within the discipline both as subjects in their own right and as means to getting answers to these questions. (Brawn)

296. Topics in Archaeology. (3). (SS). May be repeated for a total of 12 credits.
Section 101 Food in Hunter-Gatherer Cultures.
In this course, we will explore the ways that hunting and gathering peoples (e.g., "Bushmen," Australian Aborigines, Pygmies, and Eskimos) make a living, largely or entirely, without domesticated plants and animals. After a brief introduction to basic concepts from anthropology and human nutrition, we will examine the diverse strategies used by hunter-gatherers to make a living from around the world. Particular attention will be given to the environmental contexts, nutritional implications, and social consequences of different economic strategies. We then will return "home" through an evaluation of the suggestion, the "Paleolithic Prescription," that we should base our own food choices on those made by hunter-gatherers today and in the past. The final grade is based on two short exams and two short written assignments. Required texts: Hunters and Gatherers Today and The Paleolithic Prescription; additional readings about contemporary hunter-gatherers and the development of food production provided in a course pack. Cost:2 WL:2 (Miracle)

Section 102 Archaeology of Colonial Encounters. This course examines the cultural and biological changes that resulted from contact among Europeans, Africans and Native Americans during the 16th and 17th centuries in eastern North America. Beginning with the essential point that cultural contact went in many directions, we use the unique perspective of anthropological archaeology to examine a variety of issues including politics, belief systems, demography, diet and health. There are no prerequisites for this course. Students with background or interest in anthropology, archaeology, history, Native American Studies, African Studies, African-American Studies, or American studies should find this course particularly useful and interesting. This course combines lecture and discussion. One text and one course pack are required. All reading materials will also be placed on reserve at the Undergraduate Library. Course requirements include midterm and final exams, an annotated bibliography on a subject chosen by the student, and participation in class discussion. Cost:2 WL:1 (Gold)

298. Topics in Cultural Anthropology. (3). (SS). May be repeated for a total of 12 credits.
Section 101 Novel/Ethnography: Native American Cosmographies.
Novels and ethnographies are rich sources of stories about lands and skies the cosmos and both will be drawn from to assist us in appreciating the sacred dimensions of space and the genealogies of spirits. Four research teams will study cosmographies of four tribes, mapping tribal cosmoses from creation to today, creating landscapes and skyscapes that are culturally specific, historically based and mythically charged. These ethnographic cosmographs will then be compared to cosmographs derived from our reading of contemporary novels written by authors from those tribes. Method of "instruction" is inquiry-based. Lectures are minimized. Attendance and participation is required. Research teams share, through presentation and discussions, tribal cosmographic information with the rest of the class as each novel is read. Grading is based on several short papers, in-class assignments (some of which require reading aloud in small groups), the cosmographs, and your class presentation. Cost:2 WL:1 (Howe)

Section 102 Feminist Anthropology at the Margins. This course will provide an introduction to debates in feminist anthropology. Anthropological perspectives have shifted from including women in ethnographies, to understanding how writing about women might challenge and change the nature of anthropology itself. Feminists of color have raised issues of Eurocentrism and racism in the work of Western feminist anthropologists. We will discuss these debates in the light of ethnographic material which will allow us to examine the relationship between fieldwork and the writing of feminist ethnographies. We will discuss how anthropologists understand what they do, the role of fieldwork in conducting anthropological research, and how ethnographies come to be written. We will familiarize ourselves with the concept of patriarchy, and how women in different cultural systems come to understand and experience patriarchy. We will go on to consider how we might read case studies, newspaper accounts, and debates pertaining to women ethnographically, by using such material from South Asia as "field notes." This course assumes familiarity with neither anthropology nor debates in feminist theory. The course aims to make us sensitive to the context within which fieldwork is made both possible and problematic; especially when it occurs under the sign of "feminism." By the end of the course, we will develop an understanding of feminist anthropology (especially as it has sought to talk about the lives of "Third World" women), the dynamics of fieldwork, and what it is about certain ethnographies that make them "feminist". The course will be divided into a lecture and discussion format. We will read approximately one hundred pages per week. There will also be a screening of two to four short films. Class participation is worth twenty percent of the final grade. There will be a short paper (5-7 pages) on a topic provided by the instructor, which will count for thirty percent of the final grade. Students will write a longer final paper (10-12 pages) worth fifty percent of the final grade on a topic selected in consultation with the instructor. Students may focus on conceptual issues raised in the course, write a short ethnography based on material from the course, or work on individual projects of interest. Required Books: Gail Omvedt, We Will Smash This Prison: Indian Women in Struggle; Carolyn Steedman, Landscape for a Good Woman: A Story of Two Lives; Sara Suleri, Meatless Days. Cost: 2 WL:3,4 (Rao)

Section 103 Peoples and Cultures of the Arctic. The indigenous peoples of the Arctic inhabit a vast and fascinating region of the globe, comprising significant portions of North America, Europe, and Asia. Although "Eskimos" are often referred to in the popular media, they are in reality little-known and poorly-understood by the majority of people. This course will provide an introduction to the Arctic's indigenous peoples. In addition, it will also highlight and analyze a number of issues which are of vital and ongoing concern, both to anthropology in particular and to social science in general. Through lectures, readings, films, and discussions, the following topics will be explored: (1) the social and cultural histories and present situation of the Arctic's indigenous peoples, including their relations with (mostly "White") outsiders; (2) images and representations of Arctic peoples, including the ways in which popular images of "Eskimos" have reflected and influenced our attitudes towards them; (3) other current concerns, including: legacies of the colonial past; the search for 'sustainable' development; environmental issues; questions of cultural survival, political autonomy and indigenous rights. Evaluation will consist of two short (3-5 page) papers and a final exam. For more information, contact the instructor by e-mail ( or at 1020 LS&A (764-7274). Cost:2 WL:4 (Wareham)

Section 104 Culture, Emotion, and the Child. Most cultures hold that children's emotional life is not the same as the adults around them. Rather, children need to be guided to become emotionally competent members of their culture. This course is about how cultures manage the sentimental education of children. Through readings, film, lectures, and discussions the course will explore ideas about how children's emotional lives change and how adults foster emotional competence within a cultural context. Midterm Exam and Final Paper. Cost:2 WL:1 (Heffernan)

299. Topics in Linguistic Anthropology. (3). (SS). May be repeated for a total of 12 credits.
Section 101 Language and Difference.
Using an anthropological approach, we will examine how language influences the way we see and understand cultural differences. Our discussion will focus on how and why language can be an important indicator of many kinds of difference in situations involving accent and dialect, national or ethnic boundaries, and debates over "correct speech." We will also consider how perceived language use becomes important in issues of race and gender. Throughout the course, we will examine various theoretical and practical approaches to the negotiation of linguistic and cultural differences, using a variety of cross-cultural examples, such as Australia, Zambia, South Asia, Yugoslavia, and the United States. The format for the course will involve both lecture and discussion. Students will be required to submit a short (1-2 pg.) weekly discussion paper on the readings, and will write a longer (3-5 pg.) ethnographically-based final paper. Cost:1 WL:4 (Dickinson)

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