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Festival of Color

Cultural Anthropology

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Biological Anthropology

Courses: Classes



Introduction to Anthropology: A Four Field Approach, 3 Credits.

This course concentrates on the study of anthropology as defined by its four sub-fields. These fields include physical/biological anthropology, archaeology, cultural anthropology & linguistics. It emphasizes the study of people - both past and present - as well as the study of the physical world prior to and after the emergence of anatomically modern humans (AMHs).


The Nature of Culture, 3 Credits.

This course is an examination of the nature, function, and evolution of culture in Western and non-Western traditions and societies. The course examines many of the components which construct culture and includes, but is not limited to, religion, family and kinship, economic and political institutions, gender and sex and many other elements of culture.


Latino Societies and Cultures, 3 Credits

Latin America is a fascinating global region with incredibly rich historical, cultural linguistic and biological diversity. Despite this diversity, the peoples and cultures of Latinx have been shaped by the experiences of colonization, conquest and globalization. This class introduces the student to the peoples and cultures that defines the modern consensus “Latinx” This includes parts of the Caribbean, as well as Mexico, Central and South America. The course will focus on pre-Columbian life and colonization, as well as cultural aspects of post-Columbian life through modern times. This includes issues related to gender, kinship, religion, political and economic systems, language, art, indigenous peoples, immigration and migration and also cartel violence and modern social changes and challenges.


South and East Asian Societies and Cultures, 3 Credits.



African-American Societies and Cultures, 3 Credits. (Available Spring 2019)

This class introduces the student to the multi-dimensional aspects of anthropology by specifically emphasizing the unique history and patterns of culture found within the African-American community. The course looks at how African-American culture has developed, how it is maintained and how it changes through the prism of ethnicity and sub-culture and within the wider context of culture within the United States. Studying African-American culture requires us to acknowledge slavery, history, human rights and civil rights, as well as policy, politics and economics that have impacted African-Americas from prior to the founding of the nation until today. The course will also focus on what Du Bois framed as African-American “double consciousness” as it relates to identity within the context of individual and group dynamics.


African & Caribbean Societies and Cultures, 3 Credits



Anthropology of Oppressed Peoples, 3 Credits.

This course delves into the anthropological study of human oppression. Oppression, violence and injustice have been traits in human culture since the first city-states were created centuries ago, especially after we began to stratify our societies. We will explore both overt and discreet forms of this aggressive social pressure. This includes war, ethnic and religious conflict, genocide, neglect and social exposure to harm. The course will review the theoretical and ontological study of social violence. Through the use of in-class interviews and ethnography, we will explore how such violence impacts both people and culture. Finally, we will study how one can do ethnographic work in areas of the world characterized by violence and oppression.


The Anthropology of Gender, Sexuality and Culture, 3 Credits (Available Spring 2019)

This class introduces the student to gender and human sexuality studies from an anthropological cross-cultural and cross-disciplinary perspective.  The course focuses on understanding the biological basis for gender as well as the complex cultural worlds that reinforce social narratives and behaviors related to gender, gender roles and human sexuality. The course also includes a critical focus of thematic areas impacting social ideas and ideals related to how individual societies accept or reject these roles and constructs. Other areas covered include equity and equality, civil rights, demographics, kinship and the politics, culture and economic contexts that gender plays in Western and non-Western cultures.


Cultures and Societies of the Middle-East, 3 Credits



The Anthropology of Spirituality, Mythology and Religion, 3 Credits.

This course will begin your journey through the perspective of anthropology, how ancient and modern humans have viewed and continue to view the metaphysical world.  In this course we will discover the many western and non-western faith traditions, review the cultural as well as the social-economic, legal and cross-cultural impacts of various faith and non-faith traditions. We will also review how these traditions affect gender relations, interfaith relations and look for commonalities and differences both broad and subtle in the philosophies of the ideas represented.


Native Peoples of North America, 3 Credits



The Anthropology of Art and Creativity, 3 Credits.



The Anthropology of Secularism & Society

This course will review secularism and non-belief from an anthropological perspective. Not everyone is religious and nor is everyone a follower of a particular creed. In fact, polling data from both religious and non-religious sources conclude that many people are moving away from organized religion, and more people are non-believers today than at any other time in human history. In the United States, more than forty-two million claim to be secular (atheist, agnostic, humanist) and this number is growing especially amongst millennials. But this is not just a North American trend as the number of non-believers in Europe, Asia, Latin America and other parts of the globe are also growing. With few exceptions, a secular worldview is more widespread just as more people are moving away from religious congregations. Why are so many people rejecting or critiquing religion? This course will explore the issues, historical and modern demographic trends, cultures and political trends of secularism today. It will seek to understand how nonbelievers live their lives without religion or theological belief. We will also explore secular cultural life as it affects national culture and identity as well as the conflict between religious and secular beliefs and how these conflicts are observed in politics, perceptions and attitudes.


Caribbean Folklore: Reflections on Culture



The Anthropology of Death & Dying: Rites, Rituals & Perspectives

This course focuses on the historical ways humans have viewed death, as well as Western and cross-cultural aspects of death and dying. How humans look at death is diverse, and constructs may include mourning, as well as formal rites of passage and ritual practice. Students will become familiar with the complexities and varieties of how our species has confronted and responded to the ultimate  fate that we all share.


The Anthropology of Education

This course will explore the issues and approaches relevant to the study of education within the field of anthropology. We draw on the anthropological tradition of understanding "education" holistically, to explore the way people from various cultures transmit and receive information in the process of learning about their world. We will pay particular attention to various educational approaches now being employed in other nations and cultures, and how educators in the United States can better prepare their students to meet the demands of a globalized future.

Courses: Classes


Here to Educate and Challenge


Introduction to Anthropology, A Four Field Approach, 3 Credits.

This course concentrates on the study of anthropology as defined by its four sub-fields. These fields include physical/biological anthropology, archaeology, cultural anthropology & linguistics. It emphasizes the study of people - both past and present - as well as the study of the physical world prior to and after the emergence of anatomically modern humans (AMHs).

ENG 208

Applied Linguistics, 3 Credits (Cross-Listed with English Dept.)

ENG 208 is an introduction to linguistics. Its primary focus is the application of linguistic theories illustrated by the broad use and application of linguistic knowledge in a variety of fields: education, politics and diplomacy, law, business, gender issues, and culture. The course focuses primarily on readings in the following linguistic categories: the relationship between language and thought, culture and gender, oral history and literacy, form and meaning, discourse analysis, and the nature of the various linguistic semiotic systems. Students are introduced to technical vocabulary and linguistic inquiry methodology.


From Glyphs to Emojis, 3 Credits.



The Evolution of Language, 3 Credits

Many species in the animal kingdom actively use barks and call systems or have the potential ability to communicate with other members of their species. However, no species has evolved the complex communication systems that make up the depth or expressiveness of human language. Using sounds and the tools of language, humans can speak of the past, discuss the present and plan for the future in ways no other animal can communicate. This provides the human species with deep adaptive advantages and range as language is the fulcrum of culture, which thus changes and is changed by geography, the environment and technology as well as other variables and experiences that make human life possible on Earth.


Language and Gender, 3 Credits.

This course delves into the complex human construct of gender and its relation to language. This course explores the interaction between gender, language and social structure. We will conduct critical investigation in the ways the production and perception of forms of language reflects and perpetuates differences in gender identity. Both individual and social implications will be emphasized. Students will investigate how language mediates, and is mediated by social constructions of gender and sexuality.


Language and Dialect - NYC, 3 Credits.


Courses: Classes



Introduction to Anthropology: A Four-Field Approach, 3 Credits

This course concentrates on the study of anthropology as defined by its four sub-fields. These fields include physical/biological anthropology, archaeology, cultural anthropology & linguistics. It emphasizes the study of people - both past and present - as well as the study of the physical world prior to and after the emergence of anatomically modern humans (AMHs).


Introduction to Archaeology, 3 Credits.

This class introduces the study of past cultures and their environments. Course emphasis is on the scientific methods used in the social sciences, including research design, and the analytical techniques used by archaeologists to interpret chronology, taphonomy, source production areas, networks and human-environment interactions. It introduces important concepts, methods, findings and issues in the study of archaeological remains found around the globe.


Anthropology and GIS, 3 Credits. (Cross-Listed with Geography)

This course will introduce students to geographic information systems (GIS) within an anthropological context. GIS tools are used to analyze how humans move through, use and perceive our physical space, be it natural or artificial. The course will use GIS to analyze spatial patterns and processes related to past and present cultures. Students will be introduced to basic functions of industry standard GIS systems along with a sample of web-based, open source and governmental databases. Students will learn the basic tools and skills required to explore issues including cultural heritage, cultural impact and culture change over time. The class will be broken into lecture and lab sections; students will work with data, learn spatial analysis methods, and develop workflow practices in order to complete an entry-level GIS project.


The Anthropology of Technology, 3 Credits.



The African Diaspora: Lands and Artifacts, 3 Credits

This course is designed to give the student detailed insight into both the cultural and archaeological methods used within anthropology to uncover and preserve the past. We will investigate the material remains and numerous sites of the African Diaspora. This will include material culture, ethnography, the socio-historical experience, and the means used by people of African descent to adapt to geographic changes brought upon them through slavery, migration and immigration. We will critically examine current archaeological case studies related to Pan-Africanism from different regions around the globe, but will mainly focus on the African experience, the trans-Atlantic slave trade and archaeological sites found in North America.


Zooarchaeology, 3 Credits.



Death & Dying: Cross Cultural Rites & Persepctives

Anthropology looks at how humans have dealt with death stretching back many millennia. Anthropology has also studied and described near death and death, the philosophies surrounding end of life, the spiritual and religious ideas and rituals, and the coping mechanisms which western and non-western societies have used for centuries to process loss through the life and death cycles. This course will offer a cross-cultural review of the death experience. It will also offer the students an opportunity to review how their culture deals with death at the family, community and societal level, its social and economic impacts, as well as the rites and rituals which people subscribe to when dealing with death.


Archaeology Field School, 3-6 Credits (See Dept. for Details)

Part of the growing choices for students to study abroad. The archaeological field schools cover several countries outside the United States. Please see the department for details.

Courses: Classes



Introduction to Anthropology: A Four-Field Approach, 3 Credits

This course concentrates on the study of anthropology as defined by its four sub-fields. These fields include physical/biological anthropology, archaeology, cultural anthropology & linguistics. It emphasizes the study of people - both past and present - as well as the study of the physical world prior to and after the emergence of anatomically modern humans (AMHs).


Introduction to Biological Anthropology, 3 Credits

This course examines humans as biological organisms from an evolutionary perspective. It introduces important concepts, methods, finds and issues in the study of the Order of the Primates, including the relationships among fossil monkeys, apes and humans and the significance of genetic diversity of modern human populations.


Medical Anthropology, 3 Credits

The meanings of “health” and disease, and the experience of one’s body, are often taken for granted. However, our ideas about and experiences of health, disease, and medicine are profoundly shaped by culture, transnational flows of people, ideas, and resources, histories of colonialism and structural inequalities, and the development of new technologies. In the course we will focus on some of the most salient trends in current medical anthropological research related to health, wellness, and sickness.  Topics to be covered include the following, and more: cultural contexts of illness, health, and ideologies of the body; the politics and poetics of different healing practices; medical knowledge production and the advantages and drawbacks of contemporary, high-tech biomedicine; gendered aspects of health, illness, and medicine; political and moral economies of health in the global context; the deep meanings that motivate contemporary discourses on various “new disorders;” and intersections between disability and citizenship.


Primate Behavior and Ecology, 3 Credits (Available Spring 2019)

This course introduces students to the field of primatology, an essential sub-field of biological anthropology that helps further our understanding of our common humanity by researching and comparing our behaviors with our primate cousins. The course essentially reviews how primates evolved, reviews fieldwork and field ecology studies, and reviews primal and instinctual behaviors within the context of current ecology and is bounded by the mechanics of evolution.  Each is significant for developing self-knowledge of ourselves and other primate species. All primates, including humans, are social animals, so studying the Great and Lesser Apes, monkeys and pro-simians is essential to understanding our own species actions and reactions to each other and the environment.


Human Osteology, 3 Credits



Human Variation, 3 Credits

Since this movement out of Africa some 300,000 years ago, populations of humans across the globe have seen their external features adapted to the challenges around them, allowing our range and our bodies to suit numerous environments. We can see the outcome of such genetic diversity in our every day lives. Hair texture, height, skin pigmentation, body weight, and a whole host of internal and external changes have occurred to give our species competitive advantages. The purpose of this course is to show how these changes happened and continue to occur. The course also looks at the subjectivity of race, and how by looking at certain external traits, humans have hurt others, enforced slavery, committed genocide and have fostered a host of social, political and economic ills.


Museum Internship, 3 Credits (See Dept. for Details) (Available Spring 2019)

The course places the theoretical and discussed concepts from the classroom into an applied experience, fusing most aspects of the field of anthropology into participatory, non-classroom practice and learning experience. This class is intended to introduce what it is like to work in a museum or cultural center. Museums and cultural centers are central to informing the public about how life once existed as well as the history and facts of culture, people, ideas, the environment, art and artists, as well as the material objects made by humans. Taken together, they which help us understand the past, shape scholarship in the present and build museum and other collections for the future. During the course students will be supervised by both an SBS anthropology faculty member as well as have a site supervisor at the institution they are placed.

Courses: Classes
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