The Anthropology Program encompasses the subfields of sociocultural, linguistic, historical, archaeological, and applied anthropology. It seeks to understand the cultural dynamics in the formation of the nation-state; the precolonial, colonial, and postcolonial; and the politics of identity, difference, and inequality in the contemporary world. The core of the program consists of courses that examine everyday experiences in relation to a range of societal issues, such as development and the environment, medicine and health, religion, language, kinship and reproductivity, sports, mass media, visual culture, and aesthetics. Anthropology offers a way to understand patterns and contradictions of cultural meaning within a transnational and transcultural world. Area strengths include sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America, South Asia, the Middle East, and the United States.
Anthropology majors can design a course of study in various topical, area, and theoretical orientations. Prior to Moderation, students must complete an introductory course and at least two 200-level courses in anthropology. For courses cross-listed in anthropology, and primarily listed in another program, a maximum of one course may count toward Moderation requirements. All students moderating into the Anthropology Program must have a 3.0 or above average in their anthropology courses. In consultation with their Moderation board, students shape their plan of study in the Upper College to include at least four additional courses in anthropology, including the methodology course on “doing ethnography” or archaeological methods (if doing a Senior Project in archaeology); a required seminar on contemporary cultural theory; an additional 300-level course; and the Senior Project. All moderated anthropology students submit a proposal for the Senior Project at the end of their junior year. A Senior Project may be ethnographic (based on fieldwork), historical (using archival or secondary sources), comparative/theoretical (exploring a theory or phenomenon across two or more contexts), or archaeological (involving excavations). Students intending to pursue postgraduate study or ethnographic research in a non-English-speaking area are encouraged to study a foreign language to at least the 200 level.
All moderated anthropology students submit a proposal for the Senior Project at the end of their junior year. A Senior Project may be ethnographic (based on fieldwork), historical (using archival or secondary sources), comparative/theoretical (exploring a theory or phenomenon across two or more contexts), or archaeological (involving excavations). Students intending to pursue postgraduate study or ethnographic research in a non-English-speaking area are encouraged to study a foreign language to at least the 200 level.
Recent Senior Projects in Anthropology
- “Event, Narrative, File: Ethnography of a Nonprofit Mental Health Clinic for Children”
- “Fashioning Seoul: Everyday Practices of Dress in the Korean Wave”
- “Sustainable Paths,” an ethnography of an ecovillage in the Midwestern United States
- “Ward Manor: Care for the Elderly and Digital Memory”
Anthropology courses approach seemingly “natural” ideas such as indigeneity, race, gender, sexuality, and class as cultural constructions that change over time. They critically examine, for instance, the international division of labor, growth of the media, and global commodification of culture. Many classes apply this anthropological perspective to a variety of sources, ranging from traditional ethnographies to novels, travel literature, music, films, and new forms of electronic media. The program has a film library, which includes ethnographic and experimental films, and some recording equipment for the purpose of student research. The program also administers a student research and travel fund, the Harry Turney–High Fund, to support work on Senior Projects.
Program Director: Yuka Suzuki
Faculty:Michèle D. Dominy
Gregory Duff Morton