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 Fall 2023

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

ANTH 60200 Psychic Life

What is psychic life? The word psyche has encompassed a range of definitions as it has travelled through time, from notions of mind, soul, spirit, and the conscious and unconscious mind, to a mirror, an asteroid discovered in 1852, a moth or butterfly, and anima mundi, "the animating principle of the universe" itself. Today an additional constellation of concepts may also be drawn into psyche's orbit, including brain, emotion, feeling, affect, self, subjectivity, person, ego, and experience. As opposed to terms like "mental health," the concept of psychic life provides a language with which to speak about a range of phenomena across multiple traditions, epistemologies, and histories, without prioritizing any one conceptualization over another or locating the psyche within the boundaries of an individual mind, as distinct from the body and the world. Instead, in this course we will explore psychic life through the various ways in which it is known-as lived-experience; cultural, historical, and political form; object of intervention; and site of experimentation. The approaches engaged in this course draw from psychological anthropology, ethnopsychology, critical global health, history of medicine, cultural studies, affect theory, psychoanalysis, and critical phenomenology with an overarching dedication to de-stigmatizing "mental illness," and embracing neurodiversity in all its forms. Along the way we will cover topics including madness and reason, psychopolitics, global mental health, the governance of the self, the psychic life of racism, radical mental health collectives and the psychedelic renaissance, as well as a set of phenomena that lie at the limits of experience, such as psychosomatization, solitary confinement, oceanic feeling, and dreaming.

ANTH 60313 Analytical Methods in Anthropology

This course provides grounding in some of the methods of qualitative analysis present in the field of anthropology. The focus of the course is on developing skills that students can use to do systematic analysis of anthropological data. The perspective guiding the course is that anthropology is an empirical, scientific approach for describing social and cultural aspects of human life, and that qualitative data can be analyzed in systematic and rigorous ways. The course will explore a range of approaches and will cover analytic skills that cut across traditions, including theme identification, code definition, and pattern recognition. Advanced topics covered will include content analysis, text analysis, and schema analysis. Students will learn techniques and protocols in data arrangement and visualization that are appropriate for different analytical methods. It is a hands-on class where students will be able to work on data provided to them as well as on their own. Collaboration will be integral to the course success.

ANTH 60700 Preparing for Fieldwork

This course will give students the opportunity to develop a research proposal and prepare for anthropological fieldwork, regardless of subfield. The class will meet for three weeks at the beginning of the semester and two weeks following Spring Break. The first section will focus on developing a research proposal, seeking approval from the Institutional Review Board, and submitting the proposal for funding. The second part will concentrate on logistical preparation for the field and examining fieldwork ethics and expectations. Students should begin the course with a concrete idea for a research project that they develop in consultation with their advisor.

ANTH 60801 Anthropology of Obesity

Almost 40% of the world's population is overweight or has obesity. Obesity has become a central focus in biological research as well as policy. Billions of dollars have been spent on public health interventions, biological interventions, diets, and exercise regimens. However, the obesity rate among adults and children has been steadily increasing globally. Why is this happening? How do we even define obesity? Does that definition truly reflect health? Why do we even have fat to begin with...actually what even is fat?!? Why are humans prone to obesity? These are just some of the questions we will address in this class. Using non-traditional methods and assignments, we will discuss adipose tissue and digestive physiology, the role evolution has played in the human propensity to hold onto fat, diet and exercise, food insecurity, therapeutic interventions, as well as the physical and mental health consequences of having obesity. We will use this as a basis to investigate the biological and cultural factors including stigma, race, and gender that shape our perceptions of body image and health in the midst of the obesity epidemic. Finally, this course will include occasional laboratory exercises to familiarize you with the methods used to assess body mass, body composition, metabolic rate, and point of care measures of biomarkers like glucose and cholesterol.

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 63100 Human Osteology

This is a lab-intensive course that explores the methods used in physical anthropology for studying individual human skeletal remains, as well as those employed to establish biocultural connections at the population level. Forensic techniques utilized in individual identification will be developed in the first third of the course.

ANTH 63201 Nasty, Brutish, and Short

Organized violence between human communities is one of the unfortunate realities of human existence, and its causes and consequences have consequently been of great interest. Is war an inevitable outcome of human nature, or the result of specific social, historical, and environmental circumstances? Archaeology is uniquely positioned to provide concrete insights into the history of human violence through study of its direct material correlates?traumatic injuries on skeletons, fortified settlements, weaponry, and iconography. However, the archaeological record also documents the impacts of violence?reduced nutritional status and health, evidence for enslavement, cannibalism, and population decline?and can provide insights into why war occurred through examination of environment, population, and social conditions. In this course, we will explore what the archaeological record tells us about violence, human nature, and the veracity of claims for either a more violent or more peaceful past. We will examine theoretical models of war, anthropological studies of conflict, and archaeological case studies of both violent and peaceful times to understand the role that organized violence has played in human history and evolution.

ANTH 63210 Anthropology of Everyday Life

Have you ever pondered how people live(d) in a world without television, YouTube, iPhones, Lady GaGa, and cellphones? Why have bellbottoms come and gone twice in the last 50 years? Will we be forced to relive the fashion mistakes of the 1980s? What new stuff will people invent and sell next? In asking and answering these questions, we must focus on one underlying query: What does our stuff really say about who we are and who we want to be? This course combines lectures, discussions, and interactive small group activities to explore the nature and breadth of peoples' relationships with their things. We will investigate why and how people make and use different types of objects, and how the use of these material goods resonates with peoples' identities in the deep past, recent history, and today. Since everyone in the class will already be an expert user and consumer of things, we will consider how people today use material objects to assert, remake, reclaim, and create identities, and compare today's practices to those of people who lived long ago. Class members will learn about how anthropologists, including ethnographers (studying people today) and archaeologists (studying past peoples) think about and approach the material nature of our social, economic, and political lives. We will discuss why styles and technologies change through time, and why, in the end, there is very little new under the sun in terms of human behaviors and the way people produce and consume goods. The topical breadth of this workshop encompasses most social science disciplines, including history, economics, psychology, and anthropology, and resonates with classics, art history, and gender studies.

ANTH 63316 Ballads to Hip-Hop

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 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 63592 The Indigenous 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.