1. University of Virginia
  2. Arts & Sciences

Undergraduate Courses

Anthropology of Globalization (3.0 )

The Anthropology of Globalization introduces the social and cultural aspects of global integration. While human communities have always been connected to one another in important ways, recent history has seen a quickening of transportation and communication, increasing the circulation of people, objects, and ideas across significant distances. In this course, we will explore the human side of this circulation: how does it shape people's experiences, and how is it shaped in turn by people's understandings of what is possible, desirable, or inevitable. We will read ethnographic studies of people who are engaged in or responding to global forces and processes. How are global connections contributing to the complexity and interdependence of diverse human cultures? What new forms of social, political, economic, and religious networks are emerging? What kinds of disconnection, exclusion, and inequality? Topics addressed in the course will include the early history of global commodities in imperialism, the cultural specificity of economic markets and trade, the cultural roles of big business and NGOs, the experience of workers in global supply chains, the tension between the local and the cosmopolitan in emerging forms of consumer culture and middle class affluence, illegal and informal economies, neoliberalism and financialization, bor migration, totourism and voluntourism, approaches to lessening poverty and marketing to the "bottom of the pyramid," and the global circulation of music, arts, and performed cultural heritage. We will consider how ideas about globalization themselves circulate and how they are diversely framed from different political, economic, and cultural viewpoints. How are ideas of the "global" and "globalization" used to describe the world as well as to change it? How do global processes look when viewed from above and when viewed from below?

Anthropology of Globalization (3.00)

Description to be posted

Colloquia for First-Year Students (3.00)

Colloquium designed to give first-year students an opportunity to study an anthropological topic in depth in a small-scale, seminar format. Topics will vary; may be repeated for credit.

New Course in Anthropology (3.00)

New course in the subject of anthropology.


How do you study people outside researcher-created contexts like labs and surveys, in the regular activities and settings of their own lives? This course introduces students to the theory, ethics, practice, and applications of ethnographic field research, or “fieldwork,” which is valued in diverse fields like public health, development, design, planning, management, marketing, and education.

North American Indians (3.00)

Ethnological treatment of the aboriginal populations of the New World based on the findings of archaeology, ethnography, linguistics, biological anthropology, and social anthropology.

Peoples and Cultures of Africa (3.00)

Studies African modernity through a close reading of ethnographies, social histories, novels, and African feature films.

Desire and World Economics (3.00)

This course offers an insight into the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services practiced by peoples ignored or unknown to classic Western economics. Its principle focus will open upon the obvious differences between cultural concepts of the self and the very notion of its desire. Such arguments as those which theorize on the "rationality" of the market and the "naturalness" of competition will be debunked.

Marriage and the Family (3.00)

This course compares domestic groups in Western and non-Western societies. Considers the kinds of sexual unions legitimized in different cultures, patterns of childrearing, causes and effects of divorce, and the changing relations between the family and society. 

Fantasy and Social Values (3.00)

An examination of imaginary societies, in particular those in science fiction novels, to see how they reflect the problems and tensions of real social life. Attention is given to "alternate cultures" and fictional societal models. A "cultural imaginary" allows us to think carefully about implications of gender, technology, and social existence that we, for very good reasons, are not allowed to experiment upon. Three papers, mandatory attendance in lecture.

Progress (3.00)

An ideal of progress has motivated Westerners since the Enlightenment, and is confirmed by rapid technological innovation. Theories of social evolution also foresaw, however, the extinction of those left behind. This course addresses the ideological roots of our notion of progress, the relation between technological and social progress, and what currently threatens our confidence in the inevitability of progress.

Nationalism, Racism, Multiculturalism (3.00)

Introductory course in which the concepts of culture, multiculturalism, race, racism, and nationalism are critically examined in terms of how they are used and structure social relations in American society and, by comparison, how they are defined in other cultures throughout the world.

Race, Gender, and Medical Science (3.00)

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.

Medical Anthropology (3.00)

 Medical Anthropology is a growing and important new subfield within general anthropology. Medical Anthropology compares different cultures' ideas about illness and curing. Although disease is a concept referring to a pathological condition of the body in which functioning is disturbed, illness is a cultural concept: a condition marked by deviation from what is considered a normal, healthy state. Treatment of illness in Western industrial societies focuses on curing specific diseased organs or controlling a specific virus. In many so-called "traditional" societies greater emphasis is placed on the social and psychological dimensions of illness. In this course we will learn that different cultures, even in the United States have different ways to talk about illness, and that the American medical community is at times as "culture bound" as anywhere. "Science" does not stand outside culture.

The Health of Black Folks (3.00)

An interdisciplinary course analyzing the relationship between black bodies and biomedicine both historically and in the present. The course is co-taught by Norm Oliver, M.D. (UVa Department of Family Medicine), and offers political, economic, and post-structuralist lenses with which to interpret the individual and socio/cultural health and disease of African-Americans. Readings range across several disciplines including anthropology, epidemiology/public health, folklore, history, science studies, political science, sociology and literary criticism. Topics will vary and may include: HIV/AIDS; reproductive issues; prison, crime and drugs; and body size/image and obesity; the legacy of the Tuskegee Syphilis Trials. Cross listed as AAS 250.

Global Culture and Public Health (3.00)

This course considers the forces that influence the distribution of health and illness in different societies, with attention to increasing global interconnectedness. We will examine the roles of individuals, institutions, communities, corporations and states in improving public health, asking how effective public health and development efforts to improve global health have been and how they might be re-imagined.

Symbol and Ritual (3.00)

This course will introduce the student to the social meaning of rituals and symbols. We will look at symbols not only in rituals but also those embedded in "everyday life." Likewise, we will study rituals not only as recognized ceremonies but also as accepted parts of our normal routines.

Anthropology of Religion (3.00)

Ritual provides the characteristic approach of anthropology to the comparative study of religion, and the analysis of ritual is anthropology's major contribution to that project. Everywhere ritual permeates social life, yet in no other category of behavior is the exoticness of other cultures more in evidence. This course asks commonsense questions about religion and ritual, and shows how far we have come towards answering them in a century of theorizing. There are no prerequisites for this course, which is designed to be accessible to those with no background in anthropology.

Anthropology of God (3.00)

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.

Anthropology of Birth and Death (3.00)

Relevant anthropological approaches, studies and perspectives are discussed for understanding crucial human life-cycle events and related issues in today's social life. Comparative social-religious-ritual, bio-cultural, and medical anthropological approaches will be pursued to explicate (a) human reproduction issues, birthing and child-rearing practices; (b) race, caste, gender and aging inequalities; (c) food, nutrition and self-image issues; and (d) qualities of life, dying, death and afterlife issues. 

Anthropology of Reproduction: Fertility and the Future (3.00)

In this course, we will study human reproduction as a cultural process. Questions include how gender, class, race, and religion shape reproductive ideals and practices around the world. Ethnographic examples will come from around the world, but will emphasize South Asia and the United States. This course examines the perspectives of both men and women and situates local examples within national and global struggles to (re)produce the future.

Don Juan and Castaneda (3.0 )

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. 

Don Juan and Castaneda (3.00)

The six books of Carlos Castaneda represent what is perhaps an anthropological ideal--a world in which the native's concepts of power, sorcery, and transformation are "real" rather than the social systems, adaptations, and symbolic processes generally used to explain them. They are not ethnography; in his latest preface Castaneda prefers to treat them as "autobiography." Yet they can be used very effectively to illustrate a wide range of concepts in anthropology and traditional religions, which is what this course is all about. It will not teach you to fly--it may teach you to write--but it will hopefully help you to understand how anthropologists think. The course will be given in an open seminar format, with discussion encouraged. Grades will be based on 3 papers.

Anthropology of Art (3.0)

The course will emphasize art in small-scale (contemporary) societies (sometimes called ethnic art or “primitive art”). It will include a survey of aesthetic productions of major areas throughout the world (Australia, Africa, Oceania, Native America, Meso-America). We will also read about and discuss such issues as art (and architecture) and cultural identity, tourist arts, anonymity, authenticity, the question of universal aesthetic cannons, exhibiting cultures, the difference between the bellas artes and arte popular, and the impact of globalization on these arts. The class will visit the Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection, the Inuit Study Gallery, the Fralin Museum storage facility on Millmont, and the Object Study Gallery at the UVA Art Museum. (The student should also try and travel to Washington D.C. to visit the National Museum of the American Indian and the National Museum of African Art [extra credit possible].)

Art and Anthropology (3.00)

The course will emphasize art in small-scale (contemporary) societies (sometimes called ethnic art or "primitive art"). It will include a survey of aesthetic productions of major areas throughout the world (Australia, Africa, Oceania, Native America, Meso-America). We will also read about and discuss such issues as art (and architecture) and cultural identity, tourist arts, anonymity, authenticity, the question of universal aesthetic cannons, exhibiting cultures, the difference between the bellas artes and arte popular, and the impact of globalization on these arts.

Language and Culture (3.00)

A survey of topics having to do with the relationship between language, culture, and society. We will consider both how language is described and analyzed by linguists and how evidence from language can shed light on a variety of social, cultural, and cognitive phenomena. Topics include: nature of language, origins of language, how languages change, writing systems, use of linguistic evidence to make inferences about prehistory, the effects of linguistic categories on thought and behavior, regional and social variation in language, and cultural rules for communication. Course includes an plus obligatory discussion section. Satisfies the College Non-Western perspectives requirement.

Sociolinguistics (3.00)

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.

Language and Gender (3.00)

In many societies, differences in pronunciation, vocabulary choice, and/or communicative style serve as social markers of gender identity and differentiation. We will compare gender differences in our own society with those in other societies including non-Western ones. Topics to be addressed include: the relation between gender difference and gender inequality (in scholarly discussion of language as well as in language itself); intersection of gender, race, and social class in language use; gender and non-verbal communication (including representations of gender in advertising and the media); issues of nature vs. nurture in explaining these differences. Requirements will include one or two papers based on fieldwork conducted jointly with a working group, participation in the required discussion section, and a take-home essay question exam focusing on the course readings and lectures.

Languages of the World (3.00)

An introduction to the study of language relationships and linguistic structures.  Topics covered the basic elements of grammatical description; genetic, areal, and typological relationships among languages; a survey of the world's major language groupings and the notable structures and grammatical categories they exhibit; and the issue of language endangerment. Prerequisite: One year of a foreign language or permission of instructor.

Language and Cinema (3.00)

Looks historically at speech and language in Hollywood movies, including the technological challenges and artistic theories and controversies attending the transition from silent to sound films. Focuses on the ways that gender, racial, ethnic, and national identities are constructed through the representation of speech, dialect, and accent. Introduces semiotics but requires no knowledge of linguistics, or film studies.

Reflections of Exile: Jewish Languages and their Communities (3.00)

Covers Jewish languages Yiddish, Judeo-Arabic, Ladino, and Hebrew from historical, linguistic, and literary perspectives Explores the relations between communities and languages, the nature of diaspora, and the death and revival of languages. No prior knowledge of these languages is required.

Cultures, Regions, and Civilizations: Inside Iran: Everyday Life in the Islamic Republic (3.00)

This course will explore the cultural politics of kinship, Islam, and everyday life in post-revolutionary Iran. Moving beyond the sensationalist headlines, the course will use ethnographies on Iran (and elsewhere in the Middle East), films, and popular media to challenge commonly held assumptions about gender, martyrdom, and the veil the Islamic world. This course will additionally provide a very basic introduction to the anthropology of the Middle East and Islam, including concepts such as orientalism and islamaphobia.

Topics in Linguistics (3.00)

Topics to be announced prior to each semester, dealing with linguistics.

New Course in Anthropology (1.00 - 4.00)

New course in the subject of anthropology.

Internet Is Another Country (3.00)

We explore the Internet as a mode of exchange and communication that has produced a series of social institutions in the economic, political, and cultural spheres in the context of globalization. Using anthropological literature as our guide, we will describe and analyze emerging s ocial and cognitive formations associated with Facebook, Google, Wikipedia, and other Internet zones. Students will create an online ethnography of the web.

Hierarchy and Equality (3.00)

Provides an anthropological perspective on relations of inequality, subordination, and class in diverse societies, along with consideration of American ideas of egalitarianism, meritocracy, and individualism. Specific topics will be announced prior to each semester.

Society and Politics in Cross-Cultural Perspective (3.00)

Courses on the comparative anthropological study of topics announced prior to each semester.

History and Narrative (3.00)

This course examines how people make history through specific processes of remembering, commemoration, reenactment, story-telling, interpretation, and so on. How do the narrative genres of a particular culture influence the relationship people have to the past?

Migrants and Minorities (3.00)

Topics to be announced prior to each semester, dealing with migration and migrants, and the experience of ethnic and racial minorities.

Ancient African Cities (3.0)

Archaeology of Slavery (3.0)

Topics in Archaeology (3.00)

Topics to be announced prior to each semester, dealing with archaeology.

Social and Cultural Anthropology (3.00)

Topics to be announced prior to each semester, dealing with social and cultural anthropology.

How Others See Us (3.00)

Explores how America, the West, and the white racial mainstream are viewed by others in different parts of the world, and at home.

Introduction to Archaeology (3.00)

This course introduces the history and goals of archaeological research, different theoretical approaches to the study of ancient societies and culture change, and archaeological methods. Alongside this study of archaeological method and theory, we will explore major transformations in human history through archaeological case studies and discoveries from important sites worldwide. The class meets as a lecture on Monday and Wednesday and students take an additional mandatory discussion section.

Human Origins (3.00)

Studies the physical and cultural evolution of humans from the initial appearance of hominids to the development of animal and plant domestication in different areas of the world. Topics include the development of biological capabilities such as bipedal walking and speech, the evolution of characteristics of human cultural systems such as economic organization and technology, and explanations for the development of domestication.

The Emergence of States and Cities (3.00)

Surveys patterns in the development of prehistoric civilizations in different areas of the world including the Inca of Peru, the Maya, the Aztec of Mexico, and the ancient Middle East.

American Material Culture (3.00)

Analysis of patterns of change in American material culture from the seventeenth through the nineteenth centuries. Consideration of how these changes reflect shifts in perception, cognition, and worldview.

Unearthing the Past (3.00)

The study of past cultures through their material remains. Students gain an understanding of how archaeologists study ancient civilizations as well as the everyday lives of people who lived in these societies. Archaeological methods are reviewed to demystify the process of reconstructing the past. The course also covers some of the major developments in prehistory such as the origins of modern humans, the rise of the first villages and cities, and the emergence of ancient civilizations in North America.

The Cultural Politics of American Family Values (3.00)

This course provides a broad, introductory survey of the range of cultural understandings, economic structures, and political and legal constraints that shape both dominant and alternative forms of kinship and family in the United States.

Theory and History of Anthropology (3.00)

This course is designed for students who are majoring in anthropology. It presents a broad historical outline of major theoretical approaches in the field, from the late 19th century to the present. These approaches will be examined in relation to both evolving debates within the discipline, and the larger historical, cultural and intellectual contexts in which they were produced, and which they to some degree reflect; we will also discuss the enduring relevance of these theories. The course stresses close reading of primary texts and emphasizes in particular the critical analysis of these texts' arguments. The discussion section is obligatory. This is a required course for anthropology majors.

Marriage, Mortality, Fertility (3.00)

Explores the ways that culturally formed systems of values and family organization affect population processes in a variety of cultures.

Marriage, Mortality, Fertility (3.0)

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.

Disease, Epidemics and Society (3.0)

Topics covered in this course will include emerging diseases and leading killers in the twenty-first century, disease ecology, disease history and mortality transitions, the sociology of epidemics, the role of epidemiology in the mobilization of public health resources to confront epidemics, and the social processes by which the groups become stigmatized during disease outbreaks. This is a course that seeks to present a holistic view of global health by drawing on work crossing several disciplines, including anthropological demography, epidemiology, public health, disease history, genomic studies of disease pathogens, and medical anthropology.

Amazonian Peoples (3.00)

Native Lowland South American people have been portrayed as "animistic", "totemic", "shamanic", "mythologic", "Dreauduan", "slash and burn horticulturalists", "stateless", "gentle", "fierce", and much more. What do these anthropological portraits mean and what do they contribute to the collective body of Western intellectual thought? Is there any relation between such thinking and the experience of being "Indian" in Amazonian societies? Are there any other ways of understanding the Amazonian social experiences? This course addresses these questions through a reading of the ethnography of the region. This course will satisfy the non-western perspectives requirement. 

Indians of the American Southwest (3.00)

Ethnographic coverage of the Apaches, Pueblos, Pimans, and Shoshoneans of Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah, and Northwestern Mexico. Topics include prehistory, socio-cultural patterns, and historical development.

Anthropology of Everyday American Life (3.00)

Taking a production and exchange orientation to society, this course uses anthropological models to analyze aspects of the US experience in North America and its extension into the world. The models will be drawn primarily from the anthropological analysis of exchange, rites of transition, sacrifice and mythology. Although introduced by issues drawn from the immediate questions of American culture, the course has a serious historical orientation. It runs from our 19th century foundation up to contemporary crises. In addition to attending class and a Discussion section students will write several response papers (2-4 pages/) and one research project outline/paper (10+/_ pages) built out of the response papers but involving additional library or ethnographic research. There will be no tests; in-class quizzes may be given. The course should satisfy Second Writing Requirement. 

Caribbean Perspectives (3.00)

Explores the histories and politics that have shaped the nations and dependencies that are geographically and politically defined as Caribbean, including French, English, and Spanish. Takes a regional and a national perspective on the patterns of family and kinship; community and household structures; political economy, ethnicity and ethnic relations; religious and social institutions; and relations between Caribbeans abroad and at home. Prerequisite: ANTH 1010 or instructor permission.

Anthropology of Media (3.00)

Explores the cultural life of media and the mediation of cultural life through photography, radio, television, advertising, the Internet, and other technologies.

Native American Art: The Astor Collection (3.00)

This is an upper-level anthropology course which is intended to engage students in the study of Native American art as well as the history and current debate over the representation of Native American culture and history in American museums. After a thorough review of the literature on those topics, the class focuses specifically on the Astor collection owned by the University of Virginia.

Social History of Commodities (3.00)

Introduces the anthropological study of production, exchange, consumption, and globalization by exploring the cultural life-cycle of particular commodities in different places and times.

Marriage, Gender, Political Economy (3.00)

Cross-cultural comparison of marriage and domestic groups, analyzed as a point of intersection between cultural conceptions of gender and a larger political economy.

Kinship and Social Organization (3.00)

Cross-cultural analysis and comparison of systems of kinship and marriage from Australian aborigines to the citizens of Yankee city. Covers classic and contemporary theoretical and methodological approaches. Prerequisite: ANTH 1010 or instructor permission.

Economic Anthropology (3.00)

Comparative analysis of different forms of production, circulation, and consumption in primitive and modern societies. Exploration of the applicability of modern economic theory developed for modern societies to primitive societies and to those societies being forced into the modern world system.

Legal Anthropology (3.00)

Comparative survey of the philosophy and practice of law in various societies. Includes a critical analysis of principles of contemporary jurisprudence and their application. Prerequisite: ANTH 1010 or instructor permission.

The Anthropology of Food (3.00)

By exploring food and eating in relationship to such topics as taboo, sexuality, bodies, ritual, kinship, beauty, and temperance and excess, this course will help students to investigate the way the foods people eat--or don't eat--hold meaning for people within multiple cultural contexts.

Globalization and Development (3.00)

Explores how globalization and development affect the lives of people in different parts of the world. Topics include poverty, inequality, and the role of governments and international agencies.

Anthropology of Politics (3.00)

Reviews the variety of political systems found outside the Western world. Examines the major approaches and results of anthropological theory in trying to understand how radically different politics work. Prerequisite: ANTH 1010 or instructor permission.

Anthropology of Dissent (3.00)

This course will investigate various processes of opposition, resistance, and revolution. The first half of the course will survey foundational works of revolutionary theory, while the second half will examine political practice from an ethnographic perspective, with an eye towards the lived experience of political participation and the formation (and transformation) of resisting subjects.

Divine Kings: Earthly Powers and the Politics of Transcendence (3.00)

This course is designed to introduce the student to the classic anthropological topic of divine kingship. Through examining literature on kingship the course also illustrates to the students major shifts in anthropological schools of thought and introduces them to some of the central theoretical concepts of political anthropology.

Tournaments and Athletes (3.00)

A cross-cultural study of sport and competitive games. Prerequisite: ANTH 101 or instructor permission.

Shamanism, Healing, and Ritual (3.00)

The course delves into the sources of shamanism and ritual healing. It provides understanding of their different logic, and therefore why they communicate and heal. The class brings to life the reports and experiences of contemporary non-Western shamanic and healing rituals, maintaining respect for native interpretations in order to understand the effectiveness of their rituals. We will emphasize the human, personal experience of the events as living processes, and will use the in-depth studies of scholars who have become more than academics and who sometimes participate as practitioners of the crafts about which they seek knowledge. The experiencing and practicing of shamanism and healing being the actual life of these crafts, we will learn how to approximate a sense of these rituals by enacting them. A term paper is required, also a book presentation and short papers during the term.

Ecology and Society (3.0)

Forges a synthesis between culture theory and historical ecology to provide new insights on how human cultures fashion, and are fashioned by, their environment. Prerequisite: At least one Anthropology course, significant/relevant exposure to courses in EVSC, BIOL, CHEM, or HIST (which tie in to concerns of this course), or instructor permission.

Ecology and Society: An Introduction to the New Ecological Anthropology (3.00)

Forges a synthesis between culture theory and historical ecology to provide new insights on how human cultures fashion, and are fashioned by, their environment. Prerequisite: ANTH 1010 or significant/relevant exposure to courses in EVSC, BIOL, CHEM, or HIST (which tie in to concerns of this course), or instructor permission.

Fieldwork, Ethnographic Methods, and the Field Experience (3.00)

Introduction to ethnographic methods of research. This course combines practical exercises in participant observation with readings that illuminate the field experience, its politics, ethics, limitations, and possibilities.

Power and the Body (3.00)

Studying the cultural representations and interpretations of the body in society. Prerequisite: ANTH 1010 or permission of the instructor.

Structure of English (3.00)

Introduces students to the descriptive grammar of English and methods of reasoning about linguistic structure.  Covers units of sound and phonemic transcriptions, word building and inflectional forms, lexical categories, basic sentence types, common phrase and clause patterns, and syntactic transformations.

Sociolinguistics (3.00)

Reviews and findings of sociolinguists and others concerning the way language is used to express identity and relations of social superiority and inferiority. Prerequisite: ANTH 101 or instructor permission.

Language and Emotion (3.00)

This course explores emotion from the perspectives of cultural anthropology and sociolinguistics. Topics include: emotion in the natural vs. social sciences; cross-cultural conceptions of emotion; historical change in emotion discourses; emotion as a theory of the self; the grammatical encoding of emotion in language; (mis-) communication of emotion; and emotion in the construction of racialized and gendered identities.

Native American Languages (3.0)

This course in an introduction to the native languages of the Americas. It serves as a way into knowledge of languages very different from English and the frequently studied European languages. The course covers the major grammatical structures found in the different language families of the Americas, and considers the sociolinguistic situation of Native American speakers in the U.S. and elsewhere. Students will become familiar with the structure of Mopan Maya, an indigenous language of Eastern Central America which is related to the Classic Mayan languages of antiquity, and belongs to a large family of modern Mayan languages spoken today by thousands of people in Belize, Mexico, and Guatemala. The methods of analysis should enable students to make intelligent use of linguistic materials on other languages, including those found in other parts of the world as well. Pre-requisite: LGS 325, LGS 701 or ANTH 740. This course fulfills the Language Structure requirement for Linguistics majors and for Linguistics graduate students.

Native American Languages (3.00)

Introduces the native languages of North America and the methods that linguists and anthropologists use to record and analyze them. Examines the use of grammars, texts and dictionaries of individual languages and affords insight into the diversity among the languages.

African Languages (3.0)

Language and Culture in the Middle East (3.00)

Introduction to peoples, languages, cultures and histories of the Middle East. Focuses on Israel/Palestine as a microcosm of important social processes-such as colonialism, nationalism, religious fundamentalism, and modernization-that affect the region as a whole. This course is cross-listed with MEST 3470. Prerequisite: Previous course in anthropology, linguistics, Middle East Studies or permission of instructor.

Language and Prehistory (3.00)

This course covers the basic principles of diachronic linguistics - the study of how languages change over time - and discusses the uses of linguistic data in the reconstruction of prehistory. We will consider the use of linguistic evidence in tracing prehistoric population movements, in demonstrating contact among prehistoric groups, and in the reconstruction of daily life. To the extent that the literature permits, examples and case studies will be drawn from the Mayan language area of Central America, and will include discussion of the pre-Columbian Mayan writing system and its ongoing decipherment. This course fulfills the linguistics distribution requirement for Anthropology majors and for Cognitive Science majors. It also fulfills the comparative-historical requirement for Linguistics majors.

Language and Thought (3.00)

Language and Thought

Language and Thought (3.00)

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.

Topics in Linguistics (3.00)

Topics to be announced prior to each semester, dealing with linguistics.

Ethnography (3.00)

Readings in Ethnography An ethnography is the characteristic way of presenting the results of research in anthropology. They provide our claim to knowing something interesting and useful about the world. But ethnographies vary widely in their style of presentation, theoretical underpinnings, and success at convincing the reader. This course explores this variety by close readings of half a dozen texts ranging over several continents. Requirements: this course is restricted to majors in anthropology who have already taken ANTH 301. It also requires weekly readings, for which there will be quizzes in class, plus two essays.

New Course in Anthropology (1.00 - 4.00)

New course in the subject of Anthropology.

The Museum in Modern Culture (3.00)

Topics include the politics of cultural representation in history, anthropology, and fine arts museums; and the museum as a bureaucratic organization, as an educational institution, and as a nonprofit corporation.

Science and Culture (3.00)

Seminar on the the role of science in culture, and on the culture of science and scientists. Topics may include different national traditions in science, the relation between scientific authority and social hierarchy, the cultural history of science, and the relationship between scientific and popular culture ideas.

Topics in Arch Pueblo (3.0)

Topics in Archaeology (3.00)

Topics to be announced prior to each semester, dealing with archaeology.

Topics in Archaelogy: Lithic Technology (3.0)

Stone artifacts provide a principal means for inferring various aspects of human behavior in prehistory. Aside from lecture and seminar-like discussion, students will learn by making and using stone tools, collecting descriptive data from stone artifacts, and summarizing and interpreting those data in reports. This hands-on course focuses on production technology and tool use as a means for understanding these aspects with prehistoric artifacts.

Landscape Archaeology (3.00)


This course examines current archaeological approaches to the reconstruction and explanation of the ways in which humans at once shaped and adapted to past landscapes. It emphasizes current theory as well as GIS and statistical methods for the analysis of diverse data - from pollen spectra to topography. The course is structured around a series of projects in which students will have an opportunity to make sense of real archaeological data.


Transnational East Asia (3.0)

South Korea and China are countries “on the move.” By this I refer to their tumultuous histories as well as the increased circulation of people, ideas, and objects within and across their national borders. Through cross-cultural comparison of China and South Korea, this course asks in what ways have border crossing-activities and mobility within circuits of global capitalism altered the way life is lived and imagined both at home and in Korean and Chinese communities overseas? Seeking new transnational milieu, we will explore the challenges that mobility poses to concepts of ethnic/national identity, citizenship, gender and family formation. Topics include, but won’t be limited to, the new forms of marriage and romance mediated by the global economy; diasporic cultures; migrant laborers and “split transnational families;” consumer practices; overseas entrepreneurs; transnational adoptees; and return migrants and their (re)encounter with their imagined homelands.

Care in Africa (3.0)

Development and Culture in Africa (3.00)

This course draws on critical theory to examine social issues and development in Africa. It explores the general contours of European colonialism, national independence, and the position of African states in today's global economic order. The course exposes students to various theories of underdevelopment and draws on case studies (Sudan, Rwanda, South Africa) to discuss issues related to race, class, labor, gender, trade & HIV/AIDS.

Sex, Gender, and Culture (3.00)

Examines the manner in which ideas about sexuality and gender are constructed differently cross-culturally and how these ideas give shape to other social phenomena, relationships, and practices.

Archaeological Aproaches to Atlantic Slavery (3.00)

This course explores how archaeological and architectural evidence can be used to enhance our understanding of the slave societies that evolved in the early-modern Atlantic world. The primary focus is the Chesapeake and the British Caribbean, the later exemplified by Jamaica and Nevis. The course is structured around a series of data-analysis projects that draw on the Digital Archaeological Archive of Comparative Slavery (http://www.daacs.org).

Chinese Family and Religion (3.00)

Analyzes various features of traditional Chinese social organization as it existed in the late imperial period. Includes the late imperial state; Chinese family and marriage; lineages; ancestor worship; popular religion; village social structure; regional systems; and rebellion.

Chinese Family and Religion (3.0)

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.

China: Empire and Nationalities (3.00)

Explores the distant and recent history of Han and non-Han nationalities in the Chinese empire and nation-state. Examines the reaction of minority nationalities to Chinese predominance and the bases of Chinese rule and cultural hegemony. Prerequisite: ANTH 1010 or equivalent, a course in Chinese history, or instructor permission.

Trade Diasporas: Exchanges and Connections across Asia (3.00)

Trade is one of the earliest forms of cross-cultural exchanges and the most important external stimuli. Asia was a region that had highly developed trans-regional trade and commerce since before the European arrival. This course thus takes the social, political, and economic history of Asia as a field for examining various forms of trade diasporas in Asia throughout time, from Asian caravan peddling traders to European East India companies.

Tibet and the Himalayas (3.00)

Provides a broad anthropological perspective (from ethnicity and social organization to religious forms) on a complex and culturally diverse area: Tibet and the Himalayas; critiques the fantasies that the West and others have projected on this area.

Anthropology of Australian Aboriginal Art (3.00)

This class will study the intersection of anthropology, art and material culture focusing on Australian Aboriginal art. We will examine how Aboriginal art has moved from relative obscurity to global recognition over the past thirty years. Topics include the historical and cultural contexts of invention, production, marketing and appropriation of Aboriginal art. 

Austronesia: World of Islands (3.00)

Languages of the Austronesian faily are found from Madagascar through the archipelago of Southeast Asia, and across the vast Pacific. It is a world of islands. Being part of no continent, Austronesia is all but invisible. We approach this hidden world by seeing oceans instead of continents. In doing so, we learn about the migrations of its people, their diverse historical experiences, and the resulting extraordinary range of cultures.

Guiana Amerindians: Fieldwork Methods (6.00)

To develop two levels of empirical understandings about the Amerindian societies of the Guianas: from classroom lectures and "in the field" participation and to imbibe the current academic text and the "real" world of living peoples up close. Prerequisites: ANTH 3152.

Contemporary India (3.00)

 An anthropological discussion of selected changing aspects of and issues in India since independence, with a focus on interdependently transforming Indian modernity and traditions in the (a) changisng social organization; (b) leaders, caste politics and Indian democracy; (c) social inequalities, Indian modernity and the middle class; (d) religious diversity, religious rituals and politics; and (e) India in the Indian Diaspora.

Anthropology of Middle East (3.0)

This course explores the ways that Middle Eastern ethnographies have contributed to anthropological debates on, and popular understanding of, topics such tribalism, gender and religion, religion and secularism, colonialism, nationalism, nomadism and markets. We will examine the portrayals of Middle Eastern societies in the Western world and consider how this has changed through time. A series of ethnographies (and films) will highlight both the heterogeneous nature of Middle Eastern societies and the anthropological issues confronted by these works.

Field Methods in Archaeology (3.00 - 6.00)

Provides a comprehensive training in archaeological field techniques through participation in research projects currently in progress under the direction of the archaeology faculty. The emphasis is on learning, in an actual field situation, how the collection of archaeological data is carried out in both survey and excavation. Students become familiar with field recording systems, excavation techniques, survey methods, sampling theory in archaeology, and artifact processing and analysis. (Field methods courses outside anthropology or offered at other universities may be substituted for ANTH 3810 with the prior approval of the student's advisor.) Supporting Courses. The following list includes additional courses which have been approved for the major program. Other courses can be added, depending on the student's area of concentration, with the approval of an advisor.

Field Methods in Historical Archaeology (3.00)

Introduces the basic field methods used in conducting archaeological investigations of historic sites. Surveying, excavation, mapping, and recording are all treated.

North American Archaeology (3.00)

This course provides an overview of the contributions of archaeological research to our understanding of the long term history of North America, particularly the history of indigenous Native American people. Following an introductory study of the diverse history of archaeological research in North American from the 18th century to the present, the course shifts focus to specific topics of interest. Among these are the debate over the timing and process of the initial peopling of the Americas, the development of distinctive regional traditions, discussions of the origins of domestication and regional exchange systems and the rise and fall of chiefdoms in prehistory, colonial encounters between Europeans and Native Americans, and the historical archaeology of Europeans and Africans in Colonial America.

Archaeology of the Middle East (3.00)

We explore the prehistory and early history of the Middle East and Egypt, focusing mainly on the period from ca. 11,000 to 4000 BP. Through both lectures and discussion, we will examine archaeological research and findings on the origins of food production (the domestication of plants and animals), the earliest village communities, the origins of social ranking, the advent of state societies, urbanism and the origins of writing systems.

Archeaology of the Middle East (3.0)

This course is an introduction to the prehistory/early history of the Middle East (Egypt, Mesopotamia, the Levant and southeast Anatolia) from 10,000 to 4,000 BP.

Historical Archaeology (3.00)

Historical archaeology is the archaeological study of the continental and transoceanic human migrations that began in the fifteenth century, their effects on native peoples, and historical trajectories of the societies that they created. This course offers an introduction to the field. It emphasizes how theoretical models, analytical methods, and archaeological data can be combined to make and evaluate credible inferences about the past.

Archaeology of Virginia (3.00)

Reviews the current state of archaeological and ethnohistoric research in Virginia. Emphasizes the history and culture of Native Americans in Virginia from the earliest paleoindian cultures to the period of European colonization.

African Archaeology (3.00)

Surveys transformations in Africa from four million years ago to the present, known chiefly through archaeology, and focusing on Stone and Iron Age societies in the last 150,000 years. Prerequisite: ANTH 2800 or instructor permission.

Archaeology of Europe (3.00)

A survey of European archaeology beginning with the Neanderthal debate, and including interpretations of Upper Paleolithic cave painting, the spread village farming from the Near East, the role of megalithic monuments, the interaction of Rome and the `Barbarians', the growth of urban centers, the Iron Age, and the Viking expansion.

Archaeology of the American Southwest (3.00)

The northern section of the American Southwest offers one of the best contexts for examining the evolution of local and regional organization from the prehistoric to the historic period. Readings and discussion focus on both archaeological and ethnographic studies of the desert (Hohokam), mountain (Mogollon), and plateau (Anasazi/Pueblo) cultures.

Kinship and the New Reproductive Technologies (3.00)

The course explores the manner in which cultural understandings of kinship relations both give shape to and are transformed by the new reproductive technologies-including surrogacy, in vitro fertilization, pre-implantation diagnosis, cloning and amniocentesis. Prerequisite: ANTH 2900 or permission of instructor.

People, Culture and Environment of Southern Africa (3.00)

Focusing on the intersection between peoples, cultures, and environments of southern Africa, this summer study abroad course details the continuities and contrasts between life in rural, marginalized and under-served regions of South Africa and Mozambique. Emphasis will be placed on understanding the community role in education and sustainable development - both developmental and anthropogenic impacts on the environment but also environmental.

New Course in Anthropology (1.00 - 4.00)

New Course in the subject of Anthropology.

Social & Cultural Anthropology (3.00)

Topics to be announced prior to each semester, dealing with social and cultural anthropology.

Senior Seminar in Anthropology (3.00)

Integrates the major subdivisions of anthropology, emphasizing selected theoretical topics and primary sources. Primarily for majors in their final year.

Eastern European Societies (3.00)

This course explores Eastern European societies through an examination of the practices of everyday social life. Topics include the changing cultural meanings of work and consumption, the nature of property rights and relations, family and gender, ethnicity and nationalism, religion and ritual. Cross Listed with SOC 4630. Prerequisite: one course in anthropology, sociology, or permission of the instructor.

Quantitative Analysis in Anthropology I (3.00)

Examines the quantitative analytical techniques used in archaeology. Includes seriation, regression analysis, measures of diversity, and classification.

Quantitative Analysis II (3.00)

This course offers training in statistical models and methods that will be useful for students in multiple fields, including archaeology, anthropology, and environmental science. The goal is to equip students with statistical skills useful in systematically describing and analyzing empirical variation, deciphering links to the environmental and historical contexts in which that variation occurs, and using the results to advance science. Prerequisites: ANTH 4840 Quantitative Analysis I.

Anthropology, Violence, and, Human Rights (3.00)

This seminar examines how anthropology has approached human rights, what human rights can gain from anthropological insight, and the cultural meanings attached to human rights and violations thereof, such as genocide and discrimination. Among the questions we will address are: What are rights, and are they culture specific? What happens when cultural and religious norms contradict notions of universal human rights? Are some rights more important than other rights? Can, for example, political rights be ignored if it would help national security or socio-economic development or are there situations when women's rights should take a back seat to religious rights? How are violence and the absence of rights experienced and justified? And is there a culture of human rights, or do human rights activists have their own way of experiencing the world, viewing social issues, and seeking to effect legal and social changes?

Anthropology of the Middle East (3.0)

This seminar course explores the ways that Middle Eastern ethnographies have contributed to anthropological debates on topics such as history and memory, tribalism gender, religion and secularism, colonialism, nationalism, and markets. We will examine the portrayals of Middle Eastern societies in the Western world and consider how this has changed through time. Second, we will explore the relevance of archaeological and historical narratives to modern communities in the Middle East. Finally, a series of ethnographies (and films) will highlight both the heterogeneous nature of Middle Eastern societies and the anthropological issues confronted by these works.

TBA (3.0)

This seminar explores the comparative archaeology of colonialism, emphasizing European expansions post AD 1500 but contextualizing them against a backdrop of other archaeologically known examples, e.g., in the ancient Near East, the Classical Mediterranean world, and cases of internal colonialism. In addition to the archaeology itself, we will be considering the success of various perspectives in terms of translating and communicating the human experience of being colonized. The core of the class will be critical readings of case studies and attention to the changing theoretical landscape of colonialism studies. This course can fulfill the Second Writing Requirement.

Independent Study in Anthropology (1.00 - 6.00)

Independent study conducted by the student under the supervision of an instructor of his or her choice.

Distinguished Majors Thesis Research (3.00)

Independent research, under the supervision of the faculty DMP thesis readers, toward the DMP thesis. Prerequisite: Admission to the Distinguished Majors Program in Anthropology.

Distinguished Majors Thesis Writing (3.00)

Writing of a thesis of approximately 50 pages, under the supervision of the faculty DMP thesis readers. Prerequisite: ANTH 4998.