Required Courses

There are five core required courses offered on a rotating basis and taken in the first and second year:

ANTH 60201 Orientations to Biological Anthropology

Course Description:
This course will review, engage and analyze major themes, perspectives, and methodologies in biological anthropology and illustrate their connectivity and integration into a broader anthropological approach. The seminar will contain a heavy reading load of historical and current theoretical and practical applications of evolutionary, ecological, physiological, endocrinological, molecular and morphological approaches in the study of humans and other primates, past and present.

ANTH 60202 Orientations to Anthropological Archaeology

Designed in coordination with the other core areas of anthropology, this course prepares you to situate works you encounter within the sweep of anthropologically-oriented archaeological theory and method in the twenty-first century. You will encounter the principal analytic paradigms of the discipline, examining both big picture questions and dominant thematic foci of the field. You are further expected to consider how you might incorporate material from the course into your own planned doctoral work, and to explore integrative bridges between anthropological subdisciplines.

ANTH 60203 Orientations to Sociocultural Anthropology

Designed in coordination with the other core areas of anthropology, this course prepares you to situate works you encounter within the sweep of sociocultural anthropological theory and method in the twenty-first century. You will encounter the principal analytic paradigms of the discipline and will become conversant with both big questions and dominant thematic foci of the field. You are further expected to consider how you might incorporate material from the course into your own planned doctoral work. Shared activities and readings across our graduate courses emphasize the integrative nature of our inquiry.

ANTH 60204 Orientations to Linguistic Anthropology

This course orients you to the theory and practice of anthropological inquiry focused on the constitution of subjects through language use. To what ends do social beings engage in communication and what are obligatory properties of its organization? The seminar examines how language and cultural structure and change afford sometimes opposing limitations and possibilities for linguistically mediated life. We explore the dialectic between creative agency and semiotic systems as material fields in the collective fashioning of meaning and difference through speech, ritual, mass media, and verbal art. You are expected to incorporate concepts from the course into your own planned doctoral work and to explore integrative bridges between anthropological subdisciplines.

ANTH 63500 Research Design in Anthropology

This course is geared towards understanding, developing, assessing, and applying the necessary skills and tools to undertake advanced research in anthropology. Core areas covered include research project development, design and implementation, connecting theory to practice, institutional review boards (human and animal subjects), ethics, grant writing and evaluating, field and lab work, qualitative vs/and quantitative approaches, and related topics. In addition to short written assignments and classroom presentations, students will be required to develop a research proposal and a companion grant proposal over the course of the term in dialogue with the topics covered.

Electives for Spring 2022

To search for a class and to view course descriptions for all anthropology courses please visit

ANTH 60121 Exercise Physiology: Celebrating What Your Body Can Do

Why do weight lifters wear lifting belts? How does athletic training and diet differ between endurance athletes and strength athletes? What are the sex-based differences in athletic performance? What impact do supplements and performance enhancing drugs have on athletic performance? Through the use of peer reviewed research, popular media articles, podcasts, and film we will answer these and many other questions within the field of exercise physiology. The course will be split into two broad units: 1) Powerlifters and 2) Marathoners. Topics covered will include cellular metabolism, muscle physiology, training programs, response to training, basic nutrition, body composition, some methodological exercise testing, supplements and performance enhancing drugs, recovery, fatigue, and activity in extreme environments. Through this use of mixed media, we will also discuss how the media misrepresents and misreports exercise physiology studies, making us all more discerning consumers of information.

ANTH 60333 Black Ethnographers

What is ethnography, broadly defined? How is a scholar's ethnographic product shaped by their racialized experience? This course will reference texts over time and across academic disciplines to consider genre, style, audience, and purpose when engaging with this research method. We will read, listen to, and watch works to think through the various ways that Black intellectuals have used ethnography to make sense of our everyday social worlds.

ANTH 60707 Lies, Damn Lies, & Statistics: Quantitative Methods of Anthropology

This course provides an intensive introduction to statistical methods of use for anthropological research. It will examine why and when to use quantitative methods, and how such methods can be incorporated into a holistic anthropological research design. Topics covered include probability theory, and parametric, non-parametric, and Bayesian principles of hypothesis testing, data ordination, and methods of analyzing non-independent data including network analysis. All course work will be undertaken using free statistical packages available through the R programing language. No prior mathematical or programming experience is needed.

ANTH 60800 Ethnographic Methods for Peace Research

In this course, students will learn to use methods, insights, and techniques of ethnographic fieldwork in order to conduct research in conflict and post-conflict settings. We will investigate topics such as researcher identity and access in the field, research design, bias and ethical considerations, interview techniques, participant observation, writing fieldnotes, coding and analysis, and writing. This class is designed to prepare students for a field experience, therefore the course requires students to formulate and carry out a project in the local setting as the primary focus of learning.

ANTH 60825 Gender and Health

This course examines the intersection of gender, health policy, and health care organization around the world. Gender is frequently a central contributing (though sometimes ignored) factor to people's health. Men and women have different biologies, and it thus stands to reason that their lives?social, economic, political, and biological?would have an effect on their health. What causes men to have different illnesses than women? What places one gender at greater risk for illness than the other? How do men and women across the world experience health policies? Are they affected and constrained by similar factors? How do their work lives affect their experiences with health? How is the body medically produced? How do poverty and development play a role in people's well-being? Through an inquiry-based approach, these and other topics will be addressed in this class.

ANTH 60890 Archaeology of Death

Our species is unique because it is the only species that deliberately buries its dead. Mortuary analysis (the study of burial patterns) is a powerful approach that archaeologists use for the study of prehistoric social organization and ideology. This course explores the significance of prehistoric human mortuary behavior, from the first evidence of deliberate burial by Neanderthals as an indicator of the evolution of symbolic thought, to the analysis of the sometimes spectacular burial patterns found in complex societies such as ancient Egypt and Megalithic Europe. We will also examine the theoretical and practical aspects of the archaeology of death, including the applications of various techniques ranging from statistics to ethnography, and the legal and ethical issues associated with the excavation and scientific study of human remains.

ANTH 60895 The World at 1200

The 12th and 13th centuries were a dynamic period in world history as civilizations across the globe experienced significant growth, reorganization, and even collapse. Trade, wars, missionary work, and exploration fostered extensive and far-reaching interactions among neighboring and more distant cultures. Genghis Khan, the Crusades, the Khmer Empire, the end of the Toltec Empire, and the peak of the ancestral Pueblo occupation of the Mesa Verde cliff dwellings are but a few of the forces and civilizations shaping the world at A.D. 1200. Traditionally, these civilizations and events are studied diachronically and in relative isolation from contemporaneous global developments. This course departs from tradition and adopts a synchronic analysis of the dramatic changes experienced across the globe during the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. By examining these cultural shifts in light of simultaneous transitions in other areas of the world, new questions and answers can be generated concerning the activities and processes that shape people's lives in past and present civilizations.

ANTH 63101 Bioarchaeology

Bioarchaeology is the study of human skeletal remains for reconstructing the biology and cultures of past peoples. We will use the three large ancient Near Eastern collections housed in the Anthropology department to explore theoretical and methodological issues related to: paleopathology (violence, infection, & nutrition indicators in particular), population mobility (migration & pilgrimage), subsistence (chemical analysis of diet & weaning), paleodemography, childhood health and adaptability, mortuary analysis, daily activities (musculo-skeletal indicators), bimolecular genetics, and ethical issues faced when working with human remains. We will explore the archaeological and/or historical records associated with each collection as well, for an holistic understanding of ancient life at these sites. This will be a very hand-on class requiring active participation.

ANTH 63202 Gender and Archaeology

In this course, students will explore the potential for studying and reconstructing a prehistory of people through archaeology. We will consider the historical and theoretical foundations of creating an engendered past, the methodological and practical aspects of "doing" engendered archaeology, and the intersection between political feminism, archaeological knowledge production, and the politics of an engendered archaeology. Topics for consideration include feminist perspectives on science, anthropology, and archaeology; concepts of gender in prehistory and the present; women's and men's relations to craft production, state formation, and space; and the complex relationship between feminism, archaeology, and the politics of women and men in archaeology and the archaeological past. Under the broad theoretical, political and historical umbrella of feminism, archaeologists today are negotiating their own paths toward an engendered past from multiple directions, and this course will explore the diversity of these approaches toward creating a prehistory of people.

ANTH 63209 Biopolitics

What is the relation between life and politics? In the late 18th century, a new technology of governance emerged. This technology, armed with a new science of statistics, focused on the management of life and death within the population–its rates of fertility, mortality, and illness. How could life expectancy be increased? How could rates of mortality be lowered? How could biological threats be eliminated? These questions of life and death were not only biological; life itself had emerged as a political problem. Michel Foucault called this new technology of power biopolitics. 

ANTH 63257 Archaeological Materials Analysis: Lithic Technology

Prehistoric stone tools represent the oldest form of human technology. Much of human prehistory worldwide and throughout ancient times is decipherable primarily through stone tools. Experimental replication of stone technologies is viewed as an essential method to understanding past technologies. Organized as a series of practical laboratory exercises, in this class we deal with a broad survey of the fundamental concepts of stone tool technology, including mechanical properties of tool stone, stone heat treatment, prehistoric quarrying and mining strategies and elementary concepts of flaking stone. Students gain familiarity with these topics in a laboratory context by participating in flint knapping practice and working intensively with several archaeological collections. In addition to the laboratory exercises, students will present the results of a team project based on hands-on manufacture of tools, or analysis of materials from archaeological collections.

ANTH 63314 Global Migrations

How do people in immigrant-receiving countries shape their attitudes toward immigrants? What are the differences between refugees and other migrants? How is immigration related to urban "immigrant riots?" And what can anthropological studies of borders and national policies tell us about the transnational world in which we live? We will examine these and related questions, and more generally the causes, lived experiences, and consequences of migration. We will acquire a sound understanding of migration in its social, political, legal, and cultural facets. Fieldwork accounts from countries of origin and from the U.S., Europe, Australia, and Japan will enable us to appreciate both global and U.S. distinctive trends. Rather than merely learning a collection of facts about immigrants, we will address how migration intersects with gender and class, the mass media, border enforcement, racism, the economy, territory and identity formation, and religion.

ANTH 63316 Ballads to Hip-Hop: Music, Migration, and American Latinos

Together with the United States, Mexico and the Caribbean have been among the most influential exporters of music globally since the early 20th century. This course traces these processes of musical production and consumption. Students will be introduced to important historical and stylistic musical developments as we survey various styles and genres with attention to their cultural significance - including the corrido (Mexican ballad), Caribbean-derived salsa, and cumbia, among others. Our approach, such that we are dealing with music-cultures, is at once anthropological and ethnomusicological. In order we achieve our aims, the course is organized along two axes: one chronological (so to speak), the other conceptual, neither complete. The chronological portion will allow us to survey various genres and ensembles of musical production. We dovetail this effort with a focus on important themes and concepts that aid in understanding the present and historical conditions of the terrain where performance, identity, race-ethnicity, gender, transnationalism, and commoditized publics intersect.

ANTH 63318 Ritual, Culture and Performance

Ritual is the most powerful medium of communication, since it can make use of language, performance, symbolism, architecture?anything humans can do. Ritual can be found everywhere in religion, politics, marketing, entertainment. In this hands-on course we will learn how to research the ways people use or avoid ritual: how and why they embrace or reject liturgical reforms, invent new rites or revive old ones, cross or respect picket lines, wear funny hats at sports events, fight over the planning of the high school prom, or go out for a smoke during the sermon, and how ritual shapes culture and is shaped by culture. Learning by doing, we will be initiated into the academic study of symbolism, narrative, myth, memory, community, and culture, using social science techniques that include participant observation, semi-structured interviewing, focus groups, writing and coding field notes, film criticism, and more.

ANTH 63404 Person, Self, Body, Mind

What makes human beings the way we are? How do our very beings-subjective, social, biological, or biopsychosocial-get created? What's universal and what varies around the world?We shake up commonsense understandings of these four primary building blocks of experience, ultimately coming up with our own theories and applying them to real-world topics of students' choice.Topics include Spirit Possession | Morality | Rights and Responsibilities | Emotion | Authenticity, Masks, Performance | Embodiment | Theory of Mind | Disabilities | Learning and Socialization | Humans-and-Others | Body Image and Beauty

ANTH 63408 Ontological Turn, Turn, Turn

The metaphysics of Others’ has arguably always been Anthropology’s pursuit. Recent writings under the broad label of the Ontological Turn have reignited debates on the place of Western metaphysics in Anthropology. From Perspectivism to Symmetrical Anthropology, analysts in the legacy of Franco-Brazilian (Post-) Structuralism such as Descola, Latour, Vilaça, and Viveiros de Castro have asked whether we analyze “culture” with our own epistemology or with theirs? How to take another's perspective, REALLY? How is ontology different from metaphysics and epistemology? Putting Native theory on equal footing makes us want to call our turn ontological, but how is it different from traditional ethnography or cultural appropriation? We review recent attempts to democratize knowledge generation while rejecting democracy on principle. We explore theoretical stakes of the literature, and focus on Amazonian cosmology and shamanism along with related empirical sites of the ontological turn.

ANTH 63592 Legacies of the Southwest

This course introduces students to the diversity of cultures living in the American Southwest from the earliest Paleoindians (11,500 years ago) to European contact, the establishment of Spanish Missions, and the Pueblo Revolt of 1680-1692. Most of the course is devoted to learning about the complex cultural developments in the Mimbres Valley, Chaco Canyon, Mesa Verde, the Rio Grande, and the Phoenix Basin. Class work and discussions will focus on important issues such as the adoption of agriculture, the development of villages, the transformation of ideological beliefs and political organization, the importance of migration, and the impact of warfare using information on environmental relationships, technology, and other aspects of material culture. Students will also learn about descendant populations living in the Southwest today including the Pueblo peoples (e.g., Hopi, Santa Clara, Acoma) and Tohono O'odham.