1. University of Virginia
  2. Arts & Sciences

Courses Spring 2018


Undergraduate Courses
(meet major area requirements)


See Major Area Requirements

Full Course Descriptions:

ANTH 1010     INTRO. TO ANTHROPOLOGY     3.0     HANTMAN
MW 1100-1150 AM

This course introduces students to the methods, perspectives, and motivations used by anthropologists to study the range and significance of human existence. Students are challenged to follow the way anthropologists approach a research topic, design a question, collect data, and ultimately discuss results via publication. The course surveys the four sub-fields of anthropology (linguistic anthropology, socio-cultural anthropology, biological anthropology, and archaeology) through a combination of texts, multimedia, and guest lectures. The goal of this course is to equip students with an analytical framework which allows the objective appreciation of non-Western languages, social structures, histories and belief systems.

ANTH 2270   RACE, GENDER, AND MEDICAL SCIENCE   3.0   FRASER
TR 12:00-12:50 PM

Explores the social and cultural dimensions of biomedical practice and experience in the United States. Focuses on practitioner and patient, asking about the ways in which race, gender, and socio-economic status contour professional identity and socialization, how such factors influence the experience, and course of, illness, and how they have shaped the structures and institutions of biomedicine over time.

ANTH 2280     MEDICAL ANTHROPOLOGY     3.0    TIDEY
TR 2:00-2:50 PM

This course is an introduction to the rapidly expanding anthropological subfield of medical anthropology. It explores how social, cultural, economic, and political factors shape experiences of illness and health in a comparative and transnational manner. This course will show students how illness is understood and perceived in different socio-cultural contexts. It will address how notions of the body, practices of care, and socio-political conditions influence illness experiences and health outcomes. By considering biomedicine alongside other cultural medical systems, students will learn that there is more to health and illness than biology.  
 
The course is organized around four units, guided by a set of questions that have been central to the field of medical anthropology. Exploring these questions will provide cross-cultural comparative insights into problems that patients, medical practitioners, and other people face when confronting illness, disease, and suffering.
 
1. Health and illness: How do patients and practitioners experience and understand states of health and illness? How are these experiences and understandings shaped by social and cultural contexts across space and time? How does biomedicine as a cultural artifact compare to other medical systems?

2. The body in the world: How do people use the body and its afflictions as symbols to speak about and respond to the social worlds in which they find themselves? How do the social, cultural, political, and economic factors of those worlds in turn shape the body and its afflictions?

3. Violence and inequality: How does the political and economic organization of our social world injure some bodies more than others? How does social suffering from violence and inequality become experienced and embodied?

4. Personhood, belonging, and care: How do ideas, practices, and material artifacts of medicine shape our understandings of ourselves and each other as particular kinds of persons? How do medical experiences influence various forms of belonging? How do they facilitate or restrict possibilities for care?

ANTH 2325  ANTHROPOLOGY OF GOD   3.0   MENTORE
TR 2:00-2:50 PM

How does the study of society and culture create an intellectual space for any explanation and experience of the Divine? How does anthropology deal specifically with explaining (rather than the explaining away) knowledge and understanding about divinity? Is God an American? If God has a gender and race, what are they? These and many other pertinent questions will be engaged and tackled in this cross-cultural study of the divine.

ANTH 2360     DON JUAN AND CASTANEDA    3.0    WAGNER
TR 9:30-10:45 AM

Castaneda and Don Juan: “Cracking the Castaneda Code,” a hard “second look” at the supposedly “subjective” vistas of the Meso-American power-quest. Objectivity comes to the rescue of what was once thought to be America’s worse drug scandal. Nine books; three papers, no final exam. Class attendance mandatory.

ANTH 2410    SOCIOLINGUISTICS    3.0    CONTINI-MORVA
MW 2:00-2:50 PM

Every "single" living language is in practice an unbounded array of linguistic forms, functions, and feelings distributed unequally among speakers. Sociolinguists take such variety and inequality as starting points for investigating language as a crucially social (rather than essentially mental) phenomenon. In this introductory course, we will survey how languages vary through time, across space, and among social groups while also thinking about how times, spaces, and social groups are themselves shaped by linguistic variation. No background in linguistics or anthropology is required.

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Major Area Requirements

ANTH 2430    LANGUAGE OF THE WORLD   3.0   BEER
TR 10:00-10:50 AM

This course introduces students to the diversity of human language and the principles of linguistic classification. How many languages are spoken in the world, and how are they related? What features do all languages share, and in what ways may they differ? In surveying the world's languages, we will focus on the structure and social situation of a set of representative languages for each geographic region covered. We will also discuss the global trend of shift from the use of minority languages to large languages of wider communication, and what this means for the future of human diversity. Course work includes problem sets, essays, and a final paper on the linguistic features and social situation of a minor language. Prerequisites: one year of a foreign language or permission of instructor.

ANTH 2589 THINGS MATTER    3.0   BALTALI
MW 9:00-9:50 AM

We live among things through which we survive, communicate, negotiate meaning, perform identity and social status, imagine, understand, remember and shape ourselves and the world. This course will be an introduction to material culture studies.  In addition to reading diverse theoretical approaches to material culture in anthropology, we will analyze the relationship between things, humans, society and culture through case studies.

ANTH 2590-01    MAKING HUMANS: ANTHROPOLOGY OF PERSONHOOD   3.0    BETANCOURT
MWF 10:00-10:50 AM

What do we refer to when we talk about persons in the social sciences? Are they the same everywhere? How do different societies produce persons? In order to answer these questions, the course will introduce students to both theoretical and ethnographic literature on the subject. The reading and discussion of the different texts assigned for this class will introduce the student to a wide range of ethnographic settings across the globe.

ANTH 2590-02   WILD THINGS   3.0    SINGH   
MWF 11:00-11:50 AM

TBA

ANTH 2590-03   POLITICS OF HEALING    3.0    RASCHIG
MW 12:00-12:50 PM

At the intersection of health and politics, we see how some bodies are structurally more susceptible to disease and death, and some lives are treated as mattering less. As we examine conflicts around health and healing, social injury, and life and death, we can trace new practices and relationships of care and activism, addressing contemporary social justice struggles in novel and even radical ways. We will address these topics from a critical medical anthropological lens.

ANTH 2625  IMAGINING AFRICA    3.0    IGOE
TR 2:00-3:15 PM

TBA

ANTH 2820    EMERGENCE OF STATES AND CITIES   3.0   WATTENMAKER
TR 3:30-4:20 PM

This course explores the archaeology of early states and cities in both the Old (Mesopotamia and Egypt) and New (Teotihuacan, the Aztecs and the Maya) Worlds. We will discuss the ways that archaeologists learn about complex societies through fieldwork, laboratory research (including artifact analyses), texts, and ethnographic studies. Topics discussed include 1) the problematic concept of "civilization", 2) the origins of agriculture and its effects on society, 3) the shift from egalitarian societies to those with social ranking, 4) theories and evidence for the rise of state societies, 5) urbanism, 6) social, religious, political and economic life in early cities, 7) the beginnings of writing and 8) the collapse of complex societies. By highlighting the wide range of variability in pre-industrial societies, the course emphasizes the role of cultural values in shaping the organization of early societies. This course fulfills the Historical Studies requirement. It has been used in the past to satisfy requirements for Midde Eastern Studies and Latin American Studies (please check with the Program Director for approval).

ANTH 3020   USING ANTHROPOLOGY   3.0   HANTMAN
TR 3:30-4:45 PM

The theoretical, methodological and ethical practice of an engaged anthropology is the subject of this course. We begin with a history of applied anthropology. We then examine case studies that demonstrate the unique practices and challenges of sociocultural, linguistic, archaeological and bioanthropological anthropology in the areas of contemporary policy and community and civic engagement.

ANTH 3129    MARRIAGE, MORTALITY, FERTILITY   3.0   SHEPHERD
MW  2:00-3:15 PM

This course will explore the ways that culturally formed systems of values and family organization affect population processes in a variety of cultures. Topics to be discussed will include (1) marriage strategies and alternatives, the problem of unbalanced sex ratios at marriageable age, systems of polygamy and polyandry, divorce, widowhood and remarriage; (2) fertility decision making, premodern methods of birth control and spacing, infanticide; (3) disease history, the impact of epidemics and famine, the differential impact of mortality by gender, age, and class, the impact of improved nutrition and modern medicine; (4) migration, regional systems, and variation through time and space in the structure of populations.

ANTH 3340    ECOLOGY AND SOCIETY    3.0    DAMON
MWF 10:00-10:50 AM 

This course attempts to 1) mediate the divide between the Arts and the Sciences; 2) introduce students new to anthropology aspects of culture theory and contemporary ecological/environmental anthropology; 3) forge a synthesis between culture theory and historical ecology; 4) provide new insights on how humans both fashion and are fashioned by their environments; 5) create a seminar-like context in which we can evaluate, as anthropologists and citizens of our world, aspects of the current environmental debate in our culture; and 6) facilitate independent study on environmental issues by each student. Although case studies will be drawn from throughout the world, there will be a stress on the social systems and environments from the Asias (S., SE., & E.), Australia, and the Americas. A dominant theme will be the relationships between climate and human culture (across the Holocene). Lectures based on readings will occupy Monday and Wednesdays. Through 30 March Fridays will focus on what I call Public Discussion books one of which each student is to read; some time in these sections will also be devoted to lecture and course material in preparation for the Midterm and Final Exams. From April 6 Fridays will be devoted to public presentation of each student’s final projects.

ANTH 3370    POWER AND THE BODY    3.0    MENTORE
MW 11:00-11:50 AM 

"This course is designed for those students interested in how and why anthropology arrives at its own peculiar paradigms of identity about the Other from its own deeply embedded western cultural understandings of body and Self."

 

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Major Area Requirements

 

ANTH 3395    MYTHODOLOGY      3.0      WAGNER
TR 12:30-1:45 PM 

Mythodology: A participatory crash-course in the obviation skill set: how to “solve” a myth or story as if it were a topological mind-puzzle. All the student is required to do is furnish a myth or story of their own choosing, analyze it in class presentation, and prepare a final paper on the subject. Class attendance mandatory.

 

ANTH 3490  LANGUAGE AND THOUGHT    3.0   DANZIGER
WF 10:00-10:50 AM

There is almost always more than one way to think about any problem. But could speaking a particular language make some strategies and solutions seem more natural than others to individuals? Can we learn about alternative ways of approaching the external world by studying other languages? The classic proposal of linguistic relativity as enunciated by Benjamin Lee Whorf is examined in the light of recent cross-cultural psycholinguistic research. This class fulfills the Linguistics requirement for Anthropology and for Cognitive Science majors. It fulfills the Theory requirement for Linguistics majors.

ANTH 3585  ARCHEOLOGY OF EUROPE    3.0    LAVIOLETTE
TR 10:00-10:50 AM

This course surveys topics in European archaeology that cross-cut eras, regions, and major transformations.  These include the peopling of Europe and relationship of Neanderthals to modern humans; interpretations of cave art; transition from hunting and gathering in small groups to settled village life, farming, and pastoralism; megalithic monument-building (Stonehenge was one of thousands built) and the motivations and technologies involved; metals and the effects of their technologies and use on society; the development of inequality; Bronze Age trade networks, palace societies, and cities; Iron Age societies such as the Celts; Roman impact on Barbarian Europe; and the Vikings.  We cover the Classical Mediterranean only fleetingly, concentrating instead on their interactions with Iron Age neighbors.  We will place emphasis on cultural and social transformations, and the archaeological debates surrounding the construction of narratives about the deep past.  This class will combine lecture and discussion sections.

ANTH 3630  CHINESE FAMILY AND RELIGION   3.0  SHEPHERD
MW 3:30-4:45 PM

Prerequisite: Anthro 101 or equivalent social science or China-related course.  This course will introduce students to anthropological analysis of the traditional forms of the Chinese family and popular religion, and their modern transformations. Heavy emphasis is on the ethnography from Taiwan where traditional forms have endured and been studied intensively. Topics to be covered include the dynamics of traditional Chinese marriage and domestic life, gender roles, the religious underpinnings of Chinese family life in ancestor worship and the Chinese cult of the dead, marriage rituals, and the cult of filial piety.  The forms of temple worship, the interaction of the Buddhist, Taoist, and Confucian traditions, and the shamanic tradition will also be covered.  Finally, attention will be paid to the changing role of the family and religion in twentieth century Chinese life.

ANTH 3885 ARCHAEOLOGY OF EUROPE   3.0   LAVIOLETTE
TR 9:30-10:45 AM

This course surveys topics in the archaeology of Europe that cross-cut time periods, regions, and major transformations. We begin with the peopling of Europe and the ‘Neanderthal debate’; then move through interpretations of cave art and other early modern cultural achievements; emergence of settled village life and food production; megalithic monuments and motivations and technologies for building them; development of metal technology and the impact of metals on society; emergence of Bronze Age societies and urban centers; societies of Iron Age Europe; Roman relations with Barbarian Europe; and the Vikings. Emphasis will be on cultural and social transformations, and archaeological debates surrounding the construction of narratives about the deep past. This is a lecture class in which I encourage discussion throughout.

ANTH 4591-01  INDO-PACIFIC ANTHROPOLOGY   3.0    DAMON
TR 3:30-4:45 PM 

This course marshals Anthropology’s subdiscipline, Archaeology, Linguistic (anthropology), Social Anthropology and some Physical Anthropology to forge an understanding of Australia and the Pacific Islands, Southeast Asia and South and East Asia. It may be argued that this region has the oldest human adaptation to a landscape outside of Africa, i.e. Australia, and that it has been the heart of the global system from the time humans crossed from Asia into North America. Its palpations animate the world. And for most of the last two millennia it was the world’s richest human creation, as such becoming an attractor for Western Europe from before the 16th century. If it was eclipsed by the West beginning in that 16th century, it is now reclaiming a position it once held. This course poses the question of how anthropology marshals social and natural sciences to help understand this region and our place in the world’s totality. The course will be organized around readings shared by the whole class and individual students’ specialized research projects. Examples of such research projects include these: “The State Of The Art In Genetic Studies Across The Indo-Pacific;” “The Pacific Warm Pool in Indo-Pacific and Global Culture;” “Monsoons and El Niños: Organizing PulsationS in Indo-Pacific Cultures;” “Comparing Austronesian and Sinitic (Chinese) Languages;” “Analyzing the ‘Empty-Center’ Across the East Asian Austronesian Divide;” “Marco Polo and the West’s Fascination with the East;” “The Pacific War in the Development of Contemporary Culture;” “KINSHIP AND CULTURE: ‘Australia,’ ‘India’ and ‘China,’ a Classic Triangle;” “The Socio-Ecology of ‘Australia’(fire) Compared to ‘India’ or ‘China’ (Water);’” “Literature and Art in the Making of Modern Consciousness: the Cases of Melville and Gaugin;”

ANTH 4591-02     ANTHROPOLOGY IN VIRGINIA    3.0    WATTENMAKER
MW 5:00-6:15 PM 

TBA

 

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Major Area Requirements

 

ANTH 5360     WORLD MENTAL HEALTH     3.0     MERKEL
W 6:30-9:00 PM

This course will examine mental health issues from the perspectives of biomedicine and anthropology, emphasizing local traditions of illness and healing as well as evidence from epidemiology and neurobiology. Included topics will be psychosis, depression, PTSD, Culture Bound Syndromes, and suicide. We will also examine the role of pharmaceutical companies in the spread of western based mental health care and culturally sensitive treatment.

ANTH 5401   LINGUISTIC FIELD METHODS   3.0   CONTINI-MORAVA
M 5:00-7:30 PM

In this course we will work with a native speaker of an "exotic" language (i.e., a language that is not commonly taught in the U.S., hence likely not to be familiar to any of the students in the class). We try to figure out the phonological and grammatical structure of the language based on data collected from the native speaker consultant in class. Attendance is therefore mandatory. Assignments include one paper on phonology, one on morphology, and one on syntax (the nature of the assignment may vary depending on the particular language being studied).

ANTH 5490   SPEECH PLAY AND VERBAL ART   3.0   LEFKOWITZ
M 4:00-6:30 PM

This graduate-level seminar seeks to understand variation in language (and its significance for social relations and social hierarchies) by focusing on forms of language that are aesthetically valued (whether as powerful or as poetic) in particular communities. The course assumes some familiarity both with technical analysis of language and anthropological perspectives on social formations.

ANTH 5541  TOPICS IN LINGUISTICS    3.0    BEER
TR 3:30-4:45 PM

Nouns as a grammatical category are often described as a linguistic universal, but what does it mean to claim this?   Of course it is possible to name things and to describe who is doing what in any language, but is that the same thing as having “noun” as a grammatical category?  This seminar will explore the criteria for answering this question, and for languages that appear to have the category “noun”, we will also look at other categories often associated with nouns, like number, gender/noun class, case, determiners, and relative clauses, and at the grammatical phenomenon of nominalization.  Each student will choose a particular language to focus on for the course, reporting on that language for a series of assignments. Prerequisite:  a course in linguistics.  This course will count toward the Theory requirement for the linguistics major and MA program.

ANTH 5549   TOPICS IN THEORETICAL LINGUISTICS AND LINGUISTIC ANTHROPOLOGY   3.0  BEER
W 5:00-7:30 PM

Seminars in topics of specific interest to faculty and advanced students will be announced prior to each semester.

ANTH 5589   ARCHAEOLOGY OF IDENTITY   3.0   LAVIOLETTE
M 5:00-7:30 PM

This seminar explores the ways in which individual and collective identities are studied archaeologically.  We will use multiple theoretical essays and case studies to examine archaeological (material) approaches to the study of such fields of inquiry as gender, kinship, sexuality, class, race, and ethnicity.  Anthropological understandings of the multiple, fluid, and contingent definitions of identity offer both a challenge and an opportunity for archaeologists to interrogate essentialist notions of this concept for individuals and the collective over time and space.  This is a seminar requiring weekly reading precis, engaged discussion, and a major research paper.

ANTH 5590  BIOSOCIALITIES & BEYOND   3.0   RASCHIG
W 2:00-4:30 PM

Biosociality, a term that links the works of Paul Rabinow and Donna Haraway, helps us to explore and interrogate technoscientific and post-humanist efforts to sustain human and planetary life in the contemporary environmental catastrophe of the Anthropocene. Across a range of cultural, political, epidemiological and environmental contexts, we will reckon with challenges to the anthropological foundations of nature/culture and human/nonhuman, and rethink relationships between people, animals, plants, bacteria, rocks and rivers.


Back to courses offered

Course Number Index

Courses that meet Major Area Requirements:


Prin. of Social Analysis Archaeology Linguistics

2280,2325,2360,2590-01,2590-02,2590-03,2625,3129,3340,3370,3395,5360,5590

2589,2820,3885,5589

2410,2430,3490,5401,5485,5541,5549

Major Requirements
101010,3020,4591-01,4591-02

Beyond the West
(for the major: note that some of these courses do not meet the College's Nonwestern requirement)

2360,2430,2625,2820,3129,3340,5360

Senior Seminars

4591-01, 4591-02


       


Graduate Courses



Full Course Descriptions:

ANTH 5360     WORLD MENTAL HEALTH     3.0     MERKEL
W 6:30-9:00 PM

This course will examine mental health issues from the perspectives of biomedicine and anthropology, emphasizing local traditions of illness and healing as well as evidence from epidemiology and neurobiology. Included topics will be psychosis, depression, PTSD, Culture Bound Syndromes, and suicide. We will also examine the role of pharmaceutical companies in the spread of western based mental health care and culturally sensitive treatment.

ANTH 5401   LINGUISTIC FIELD METHODS   3.0   CONTINI-MORAVA
M 5:00-7:30 PM

In this course we will work with a native speaker of an "exotic" language (i.e., a language that is not commonly taught in the U.S., hence likely not to be familiar to any of the students in the class). We try to figure out the phonological and grammatical structure of the language based on data collected from the native speaker consultant in class. Attendance is therefore mandatory. Assignments include one paper on phonology, one on morphology, and one on syntax (the nature of the assignment may vary depending on the particular language being studied).

ANTH 5490   SPEECH PLAY AND VERBAL ART   3.0   LEFKOWITZ
M 4:00-6:30 PM

hierarchies) by focusing on forms of language that are aesthetically valued (whether as powerful or as poetic) in particular communities. The course assumes some familiarity both with technical analysis of language and anthropological perspectives on social formations.

 

ANTH 5541  TOPICS IN LINGUISTICS    3.0    TBA
TR 3:30-4:45 PM

Nouns as a grammatical category are often described as a linguistic universal, but what does it mean to claim this?   Of course it is possible to name things and to describe who is doing what in any language, but is that the same thing as having “noun” as a grammatical category?  This seminar will explore the criteria for answering this question, and for languages that appear to have the category “noun”, we will also look at other categories often associated with nouns, like number, gender/noun class, case, determiners, and relative clauses, and at the grammatical phenomenon of nominalization.  Each student will choose a particular language to focus on for the course, reporting on that language for a series of assignments. Prerequisite:  a course in linguistics.  This course will count toward the Theory requirement for the linguistics major and MA program.

ANTH 5549   TOPICS IN THEORETICAL LINGUISTICS AND LINGUISTIC ANTHROPOLOGY   3.0  TBA
W 5:00-7:30 PM

Seminars in topics of specific interest to faculty and advanced students will be announced prior to each semester.

ANTH 5589   ARCHAEOLOGY OF IDENTITY   3.0   LAVIOLETTE
M 5:00-7:30 PM

This seminar explores the ways in which individual and collective identities are studied archaeologically.  We will use multiple theoretical essays and case studies to examine archaeological (material) approaches to the study of such fields of inquiry as gender, kinship, sexuality, class, race, and ethnicity.  Anthropological understandings of the multiple, fluid, and contingent definitions of identity offer both a challenge and an opportunity for archaeologists to interrogate essentialist notions of this concept for individuals and the collective over time and space.  This is a seminar requiring weekly reading precis, engaged discussion, and a major research paper.

ANTH 5590  BIOSOCIALITIES & BEYOND   3.0   RASCHIG
W 2:00-4:30 PM

Biosociality, a term that links the works of Paul Rabinow and Donna Haraway, helps us to explore and interrogate technoscientific and post-humanist efforts to sustain human and planetary life in the contemporary environmental catastrophe of the Anthropocene. Across a range of cultural, political, epidemiological and environmental contexts, we will reckon with challenges to the anthropological foundations of nature/culture and human/nonhuman, and rethink relationships between people, animals, plants, bacteria, rocks and rivers.

ANTH 7020      HISTORY OF ANTHROPOLOGICAL THEORY II   3.0   IGOE
W 5:00-7:30 PM

Analyzes the main schools of anthropological thought since World War II, a half century during which separate English, French, and American traditions have influenced each other to produce a broad and subtle international discipline.

ANTH 7129   MARRIAGE, MORTALITY, FERTILITY   3.0   SHEPHERD
WM 2:00-3:15 PM

Explores the ways that culturally formed systems of values and family organization affect population processes in a variety of cultures. Readings are drawn from comparative anthropology and historical demography.

ANTH 7370  POWER AND THE BODY  3.0   MENTORE
TR 11:00-11:50 AM

"This course is designed for those students interested in how and why anthropology arrives at its own peculiar paradigms of identity about the Other from its own deeply embedded western cultural understandings of body and Self."

ANTH 7590   RETHINKING THE POLITICAL  3.0   ZIGON
W 5:00-7:30 PM

Recently anthropologists, philosophers and political theorists have called for a rethinking (or a re-imagining) of the political.  This project has sought to go beyond critique, and to begin to offer alternative visions of how to think and enact the political.  This course will consider some of the most important interventions thus far made.