Skip to main content


Information on this website is posted for historical reference only. Please visit the Office of the Registrar for current requirements.



The subject areas within the curriculum are given in the table below.

Introductory: Anthropology 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 11, 12.1, 14, 17, 19, 20, 21, 22.

Area courses in cultural anthropology: Anthropology 4, 25, 27, 32, 35, 36, 37, 39, 47, 50.3, 52.

Topical courses in cultural: Anthropology 3, 9, 12.1, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 30, 31, 33, 34, 44, 45, 48, 49, 50.2, 50.7, 50.8, 51, 55, 56, 60, 73.

Archaeology: Anthropology 5, 8, 11, 21, 22, 75.

Biological: Anthropology 6, 20, 38, 40, 41, 42, 43, 50.9, 77.

1. Introduction to Anthropology

10F, 11F: 10

This course explores the unity and diversity of humankind by examining our evolution as a single biological species that nonetheless depends for its survival on learned—and therefore varied as well as variable-patterns of cultural adaptation. Lectures and readings address the relationship between the material conditions of our existence, our unique human capacity for creative thought and action, and changes in the size and scale of human societies. Dist: SOC or INT; WCult: CI. Watanabe, Igoe.

3. Introduction to Cultural Anthropology

11W, 11S, 12W: 10

Cultural anthropology is the study of human ways of life in the broadest possible comparative perspective. Cultural anthropologists are interested in all types of societies, from hunting and gathering bands to modern industrial states. The aim of cultural anthropology is to document the full range of human cultural adaptations and achievements and to discern in this great diversity the underlying covariations among and changes in human ecology, institutions and ideologies. (TOPICAL) Dist: SOC or INT; WCult: NW. Craig, Ball, Gutiérrez Nájera.

4. Peoples and Cultures of Native North America (Identical to, and described under, Native American Studies 10)

12W: 2

Open to all classes. (AREA) Dist: SOC; WCult: NW. Kan.

5. Reconstructing the Past: Introduction to Archaeology

12S: 10

Archaeology is the anthropology of past human societies. It has three important goals: 1. studying culture history, 2. reconstructing past life-ways, and 3. understanding culture change. This course will introduce students to the basic principles used to interpret the material remains of past human behavior. Students will do a series of small projects designed to acquaint them with archaeological methods. Case studies will be discussed to demonstrate how archaeologists reconstruct past cultures and investigate changes in them. (ARCH) Dist: SOC. The staff.

6. Introduction to Biological Anthropology

11W, 11F, 12S: 11

The major themes of biological anthropology will be introduced; these include the evolution of the primates, the evolution of the human species, and the diversification and adaptation of modern human populations. Emphasis will be given to (1) the underlying evolutionary framework, and (2) the complex interaction between human biological and cultural existences and the environment. (BIOL) Dist: SCI. Dominy, Dobson.

7. First-Year Seminars in Anthropology

Consult special listings

8. The Rise and Fall of Prehistoric Civilizations

10F: 10 11F: 10A

One of the most intriguing questions in the study of human societies is the origins of cities and states or the transformation from small kinship-based societies to large societies that are internally differentiated on the basis of wealth, political power, and economic specialization. This course examines the explanations proposed by archaeologists for the development of the first cities and state societies through a comparative study of early civilizations in the Old World and the Americas. (ARCH) Dist: SOC or INT; WCult: NW. Nichols.

9. Introduction to the Study of Language and Culture

10F, 11F: 11

This course introduces major themes and thinkers in the development of the study of language and culture in Anthropology and Linguistics. The course begins with theories of the linguistic sign and then explores how these have been applied to the study of sound and meaning. We ask questions about the connections between grammar and cognition, language diversity and cultural variation, and the role of language use in the production of social life and cultural worlds. (TOPICAL) Dist: SOC. Ball.

11. Ancient Native Americans (Identical to Native American Studies 11)

Not offered in the period from 10F to 12S

12.1 Ethnographic Film (Identical to Film Studies 41)

11X: 10A

Ethnographic film crosses the boundaries between academic anthropology and popular media. This course addresses the construction of meaning in ethnographic films in relation to written anthropology. It focuses on individual films, analyzing their significance from the perspectives of filmmakers and audiences. The class will appeal to students of anthropology and film as well as others interested in international studies and the politics of cross-cultural representation. (TOPICAL) Dist: ART or INT; WCult: NW. Ruoff.

14. Death and Dying

11S: 11 12S: 2

Using anthropological and historical works, novels and films, the course explores the meaning of death in a variety of cultures. Particular attention is paid to understanding native ideas about the person, emotions, life cycle, and the afterlife, as well as the analysis of mortuary rituals and the experience of the dying and the survivors. The course also offers an anthropological perspective on the development of the modern American ways of dealing with death and dying. (TOPICAL) Dist: SOC or INT. Kan.

15. Political Anthropology

Not offered in the period from 10F to 12S

16. Secrecy and Lying in Politics, Law and Society (Identical to Public Policy 81.7)

11X: 2A

Claims to secret knowledge—in families, organizations, and states—is a form of authority over those who do not possess it. This seminar explores how claims to secret knowledge and lying relate to the institutional and cultural frameworks in which knowledge is produced, the use of “leaks” to challenge hierarchical controls and sometimes sustain them, and the ways in which secrecy, deception, and lying form a necessary and often desirable part of social, political, and economic life. (TOPICAL) Dist: SOC. Eickelman.

17. The Anthropology of Health and Illness

11W, 12S: 2A

This introduction to medical anthropology focuses on the cross-cultural study of health and illness. Medical anthropology also speaks to issues of global health equity, human rights, and social suffering. This class examines the role of the healer/physician in a variety of societies, explors the boundaries between ‘religion’ and ‘science’ as they relate to healing, considers ‘traditional medicine’ and examines processes and practices of ‘medical pluralism’ by investigating how individuals and communities make health care-related decisions. (TOPICAL) Dist: SOC or INT. Carpenter-Song, Craig.

18. Introduction to Research Methods in Cultural Anthropology

11S, 11F: 3A

This course will introduce students to the premier method of empirical research in cultural anthropology: participant observation, and associated informal dialogue and interviewing. We will study techniques for planning and carrying out such research, and for recording, checking validity and reliability, storing, coding, analyzing and writing up of ethnographic data. Students will undertake “mini” research projects, and become familiar with basic ethical issues, informed consent, writing of research proposals, formulating research contracts, and sharing results with cooperating individuals and groups. (TOPICAL) Dist: SOC. Gutiérrez Nájera.

19. Islam: An Anthropological Approach (Identical to Asian and Middle Eastern Studies 6)

11F: 10A

This course integrates anthropological approaches to understanding Islam with textual and social historical ones. The anthropological approach values the study of sacred texts and practices as they are locally understood throughout the world and in different historical contexts. This course focuses on Islam as practiced in the Middle East, South and Southeast Asia, Africa, Central Asia, and in Europe and North America. It seeks to appreciate the contributions of religious leaders and activists as much as ordinary believers, showing the multiple ways in which Muslims throughout the world have contributed to the vitality of the Islamic tradition. Many different people and groups, including violent ones, claim to speak for Islam. This course suggests ways of re-thinking increasingly vocal debates concerning “authentic” Islam and who speaks for it. (TOPICAL) Dist: SOC; WCult: CI. Eickelman.

20. Lemurs, Monkeys and Apes

11S: 9L 12W: 11

Humans are primates. The biology of our species cannot be fully understood outside of this context. This course offers a broad survey of living nonhuman primate diversity. The physical, behavioral, and ecological attributes of each of the major groups of primates will be discussed. Emphasis will be placed on traits relating to diet, locomotion, growth, mating, and social systems. Students will gain a comparative perspective on humankind. (BIOL) Dist: SCI. Dominy, Dobson

21. The Aztecs (Identical to Latin American and Caribbean Studies 42)

11W, 12W: 10

Mexico City once the capital of New Spain overlies the remains of Tenochtitlan, capital of the Aztec empire. This course examines the development of the Aztec empire, the organization of Aztec society and religion, and the Spanish conquest of the Aztec. It ends with an introduction to Nahua society in the first century after conquest. We will also consider the varied perspectives of Aztec history offered by Nahua texts, archaeology, history, and art history. (ARCH) Dist: SOC; WCult: NW. Nichols.

22. Olmecs, Maya, and Toltecs: Ancient Civilizations of Mesoamerica (Identical to Latin American and Caribbean Studies 43)

10F, 12W: 12

The course begins by discussing how people first occupied Mesoamerica during the Ice Age and then examines the development of agriculture and early villages that laid the foundations for Mesoamerica’s earliest complex societies, including the Olmecs. We then explore the Classic period civilizations of Teotihuacan, Monte Albán, and the Maya and the Postclassic city-states of the Toltecs, Mixtecs, and Maya and the Aztec empire at the time of the Spanish Conquest. (ARCH) Dist: SOC; WCult: NW. Nichols.

25. The Land of the Totem Poles: Native Peoples of the Northwest Coast (Identical to, and described under, Native American Studies 49)

Not offered in the period from 10F through 12S

27. Thought and Change in the Middle East and Central Asia (Identical to Asian and Middle Eastern Studies 5)

Not offered in the period from 10F to 12S

30. Hunters and Gatherers

11S: 12

This course explores the hunting and gathering way of life, the sole means of human subsistence until the development of agriculture 10,000 years ago, now represented by only a few dozen groups around the world. We will examine a number of hunting and gathering peoples living in highly disparate environments— deserts, tropical forests, arctic regions—in an attempt to discover how they adapt to their natural and social environments, how they organize and perpetuate their societies, and how they bring meaning to their lives through religion. Understanding contemporary hunter-gatherers illuminates the workings of earlier human societies as well as fundamental features of human society in general, such as the sexual division of labor. Prerequisite: One introductory Anthropology course. (TOPICAL) Dist: SOC or INT; WCult: NW. Dominy.

31. Gender in Cross-Cultural Perspective (Identical to Women’s and Gender Studies 36)

11S: 11 11F: 12

Sex (biological differences between men and women) and gender (social constructions of those differences) are not straightforward or natural. Gender inequalities are also not straightforward and natural. This course thus pays close attention to issues of power and inequality, including the ways in which Western gender ideals have been imposed on people in other parts of the world. We will also engage with perceptions, images, stories, encounters, games, connections, disconnections, practice and resistance. (TOPICAL) Dist: INT; WCult: CI. Igoe.

32. Anthropology of Tibet and the Himalayas (Identical to Asian and Middle Eastern Studies 26)

Not offered in the period from 10F to 12S

33. Crossing Over: Latino Roots and Transitions (Identical to, and described under, Latino Studies 44)

11W: 2

(Identical to, and described under, LATS 44) (TOPICAL) Dist: SOC; WCult: CI. Gutiérrez Nájera

34. Comparative Perspectives on the U.S.-Mexican Borderlands (Identical to, and described under, Latino Studies 45)

11S: 12

(Identical to, and described under, LATS 45) (TOPICAL) Dist: SOC; WC: CI. Gutiérrez Nájera.

35. Maya Indians Under Mexican and Guatemalan Rule

12S: 12

This course explores the contemporary Maya cultures of Mexico and Guatemala against the backdrop of nearly five hundred years of conquest, colonialism, revolution, and nation-building. Given the contrasting, at times deeply antagonistic, cultures and identities that have resulted, this course focuses on issues of Maya ethnicity, inequality, and nationalism in these two closely related yet historically distinct countries. Prerequisite: One course in Anthropology or Latin American, Latino and Caribbean Studies. (AREA) Dist: SOC; WCult: CI. Watanabe.

36. Anthropology and Contemporary Africa: Exploring Myths, Engaging Realities (Identical to AAAS 44)

11S, 12S: 2

This course focuses on processes, relationships, and experiences that have shaped, and continue to shape, the lives of Africans in many different contexts. These include issues of ecology and food production, age, gender, ethnicity, exchange, colonialism, apartheid, and development. We will then embark on in depth readings of ethnographies that engage these issues and themes. In the processes we will move beyond prevailing stereotypes about Africa, to engage the full complexity of its contemporary realities. Prerequisite: One introductory course in anthropology or in AAAS or by permission. (AREA) Dist: SOC or INT; WCult: CI. Igoe.

37. Legacies of Conquest: Latin America

10F: 12 11F: 11

Despite nearly five hundred years of conquest, colonialism, and change, native peoples still survive in culturally distinct enclaves within the dominant Iberian traditions of Latin America. This course examines the roots as well as the endemic social inequalities and prejudices that resulted. Selected case studies will relate to such contemporary problems as international drug trafficking, deforestation of the Amazon basin, and ongoing political repression and revolution in Central America. The course draws on the insights of local ethnographic studies to shed light on global problems, while anthropologically situating native cultures of Latin America in their larger historical and geopolitical context. Prerequisite: One course in anthropology or Latin American and Caribbean Studies. (AREA). Dist: SOC. WCult: CI. Watanabe.

38. Human Adaptations

12S: 12

The human condition is characterized by immense biological and behavioral variation. The extent to which such variation is adaptive is topic a great importance and controversy. Current research in the field of human behavioral ecology reflects a growing interaction between the social and biological sciences. The objectives of this course are to critically examine the origin and development of this discipline and to survey the physiological and behavioral ways that humans interact with their environment. Pending Faculty Approval. Dominy

39. Ethnicity and Nationalism in Russia and Neighboring States (Identical to Russian 39)

Not offered in the period from 10F to 12S

40. Human Functional Anatomy

12S: 10

Anatomy is a science of nomenclature; it provides a universal language for understanding how and why form supports function. Such a biomechanical conceptual framework can inform our understanding of human biology. Yet the anatomical novelties that characterize modern humans are best appreciated when contextualized against living nonhuman primates and the hominin fossil record. Student grades will be based on a mastery of concepts from lectures and labs featuring cadavers, skeletal materials, models, and casts. Pending Faculty Approval. Dominy

41. Human Evolution

12W: 2

The fossil record demonstrates that humans evolved from an extinct ape that lived in Africa more than 5 million years ago. Paleoanthropology is the branch of biological anthropology that seeks to document and explain the evolution of our lineage using paleontological and archaeological data. This course provides a survey of human evolution in light of current scientific debates. Emphasis will be placed on reconstructing the biology and behavior of prehistoric species. Prerequisite: Anthropology 6 or permission of the instructor. (BIOL) Dist: SCI. Dobson

42. Primate Societies

12S: 2

Primates are highly-social mammals. Most primate species live in cohesive social groups. Living in a group poses unique challenges to the individual. This course explores the diversity of primate social organization, with regard to the costs and benefits of group living. Students will gain an understanding of the evolutionary pressures influencing primate social behavior in an ecological context. (BIOL) Dist: SCI. Dobson.

43. Human Osteology

11W, 12W: 12

Human osteology is an important component of biological anthropology, with applications in archaeology, paleontology, forensics, and medicine. This course is designed to acquaint students with the normal anatomy of the human skeleton. Our focus is the identification of isolated and fragmentary skeletal remains. Students are introduced to principles of bone growth and remodeling, biomechanics, morphological variation within and between populations, pathology, ancient DNA, taphonomy, and forensics. Practical techniques are developed in regular laboratory sessions.Prerequisite: Anthropology 6 or permission of the instructor. (BIOL) Dist: SLA. Muldoon.

44. Globalization from Above and Below

11W: 11

Globalization is used to describe various differing social, economic, and political processes. Most commonly, globalization is used to refer to increasing interconnections of people, ideas, and money across the world. While some scholars may praise the connections offered by globalization, others provide more critical accounts of the homogenizing impacts of globalization on culture, and the exploitative nature of transnational corporations on both people and the natural environment. In this course we examine both he ways that globalization is producing a world that while diverse, is changing through increased interconnectedness and new form of mobilization on the ground that challenge various forms of inequalities. (TOPICAL) Dist: SOC or INT. Gutiérrez Nájera.

45. Asian Medical Systems

11S: 2A

This course investigates systems of healing practiced in, and derived from, Asia. We will focus primarily on three Asian medical systems: Ayurveda, Chinese medicine, and Tibetan medicine. We will strive to understand how these medical systems are based on coherent logics that are not only biologically but also culturally determined. We will also analyze the deployment of these medical systems in non-Asian contexts, and examine the relationship between Asian systems and “western” biomedicine. (TOPICAL) Dist: SOC; WCult: NW. Craig.

47. Alaska: American Dreams and Native Realities (Identical to, and described under, Native American Studies 37)

11S: 2 12W: 10

(AREA) Dist: SOC; WC: CI. Kan.

48. The Anthropology of Religion

11W: 12 12S: 10

This course examines religions as cultural systems that give shape and meaning to people’s lives and provide them a means, in the form of rituals, to affect their worlds and themselves. The emphasis is on understanding non-Western religions, especially local traditions, through the interpretation of myth, ritual, and symbolism. The relationship of religion to political power and ideology is also explored. Prerequisite: One course in Anthropology or Religion or permission of the instructor. (TOPICAL) Dist: SOC or INT; WCult: NW. Kan, Watanabe.

49. Culture and the Environment

11W: 10 12S: 11

Environmental problems cannot be understood without reference to cultural values that shape the way people perceive and interact with their environment. In this course we will engage with cultural difference with special attention to how the American experience has shaped the ways in which Americans imagine and interact with the environment. We will pay close attention to issues of consumption and conservation and how they have impacted ecologies and human livelihoods around the world. (TOPICAL) Dist: SOC or INT; WCult: W. Igoe

50.2. Religion, Reason and Reform in Morocco

Not offered in the period from 10F through 12S

50.3. The Brazilian Amazon and Multilingualism (identical to Linguistics 50 and Latin American and Caribbean Studies 51)

10F: 2

This course examines multilingualism as an anthropological object through the comparison of two indigenous Amazonian “multilingual culture areas,” or social systems where many languages coexist in networks of alliance and shared cultural patterns. We explore mythology, kinship and marriage, and the history of contact in connection to language in these sites. We also look at the politics of language identity and indigenous rights in contemporary Brazil. (AREA) Dist: SOC; WCult: NW. Ball.

50.7. Language and Power: Institutions and Ideologies

11F: 2

The dictum that “a language is a dialect with an army and a navy” suggests that what counts as a legitimate language can be a political as much as a linguistic designation. It further suggests that the power relations between social groups can be at least in part constructed through language. This course examines how institutions and ideologies link language to structures of power and domination from daily conversation to nation building. We compare ethnographic descriptions of linguistic form in everyday interaction, colonial contact situations, and modern state formation in order to understand the cultural and historical conditions of linguistic power. Prerequisite: Anthropology 9 or Linguistics 17, or permission of the instructor. (TOPICAL) Dist: SOC or INT. Ball.

50.8. The Cross-Cultural Study of Values: Universal and Particular

10F: 3A

In this course we examine major frameworks within which anthropology’s investigation, understanding, and explanation “value(s)” have taken place - (1) the morally right or proper, (2) the desired, useful, or satisfying, (3) the “functionally” significant. Seven great natural/social philosophers: Adam Smith, Emile Durkheim, Ferdinand de Saussure, Max Weber, Karl Marx, and Charles Darwin have given modern formulation to these, which have proven germinal and durably productive in modern anthropology..(TOPICAL) Dist: TMV. Alverson.

50.9. Primate Extinctions: Past and Present

10F: 2

Extinction has played a central role in shaping long-term evolutionary patterns of primate diversity. In this course, we examine the theory and methods associated with the science of species extinction, using evidence from the primate and human fossil record. Topics covered include species vulnerability to extinction, background vs. catastrophic extinctions, and the past and future of primate diversity. Students will gain an understanding of the large-scale trends that have affected the evolution of human and non-human primates. (BIOL) Dist: SCI. Muldoon.

51. Colonialism and Its Legacies in Anthropological Perspective

11W, 12W: D.F.S.P.

Between the 16th and mid-20th centuries, European nations and Japan colonized much of the rest of the world. This course examines similarities and differences in the practices of these colonial powers in different regions at different times and the impact they had on indigenous peoples and societies. It traces the ways in which colonial processes and experiences have shaped the politics, economics, and identities of both developed and developing nations in the world today. (TOPICAL) Dist: SOC or INT. WCult: CI. Watanabe, Craig.

52. Introduction to Maori Society

11W, 12W: D.F.S.P.

This course is an introduction to the study of traditional and contemporary Maori society and culture. Topics for study include pre-European Maori history, origin and migration traditions, land ownership and use, religion, leadership, meeting ground (marae) protocols, the colonial experience, struggles of resistance and of cultural recovery. (AREA) Dist: SOC. WCult: NW. Watanabe, Craig.

54. Foreign Study in Anthropology

11W, 12W: D.F.S.P.

Credit for this course is awarded to students who have successfully completed the designated course in the department of Anthropology at the University of Auckland during the Dartmouth foreign study program in Anthropology and Linguistics and Cognitive Science. Prerequisite: Two courses in Anthropology. Dist: SOC.

55. Anthropology of International Health

11S, 12S: 10A

This course explores human responses to disease and illness from the perspective of medical anthropology, with a particular focus on international health. In this context, ‘international health’ not only refers to health care systems, medical practices, and ideas about illness and the body in cross-cultural contexts, but also encompasses issues of health development paradigms, culture and epidemiology, global health equity and human rights issues. (TOPICAL) Dist: SOC or INT. Craig.

56. Introduction to Research Methods in Medical Anthropology

Not offered in the period from 10F through 12S

60. Anthropology of Ethnicity and Nationalism

12S: 11

Ethnic politics and nationalist movements dominated the 20th century and continue to play a major role in shaping the world today. This course explores these important subjects through an anthropological lens by examining such topics as the symbols, rituals and myths of ethnic and national identity; nationalism, ethnic minorities and the state; and homeland and diaspora nationalism. Ethnographic case studies range from indigenous nationalism to that of the newly independent states of Eastern and Central Europe. (TOPICAL) Pending Faculty Approval. Kan.

Culminating Seminars

Enrollment in all culminating seminars will normally be limited to seniors, with others by permission.

73. Main Currents in Anthropology

11W: 12 11F: 2

This course examines the theoretical concerns that define anthropology as a discipline. Readings by major theorists past and present address the nature and extent of human social and cultural variation, the relationship of institutional arrangements in society to systems of meaning, the material and moral determinants of human social life, the dynamics of change within and between cultures, and the place of power in maintaining and transforming meaningfully constituted human orders. (TOPICAL) Dist: SOC. Igoe, Watanabe.

75. Ecology, Culture, and Environment

11F: 2A

Anthropology’s interest in the interactions of humans and their environments has been long-standing, especially in archaeology. In this seminar we will consider changing conceptual frameworks for understanding human-environmental interactions and long-standing debates about nature vs. culture, materialist vs. symbolic approaches, the development of cultural ecology, and the new “ecologies.” We will draw on the research of archaeologists, biological and cultural anthropologists, geographers, and historians. (ARCH) Dist: SOC. Nichols.

77. Origins of Language

10F: 10A

Language is an emergent property of multiple interacting biological processes, some of which are shared with other animals. The goal of this capstone seminar in biological anthropology is to investigate the origins of language by integrating perspectives from evolutionary linguistics, primate behavior, and paleoanthropology. Students will be required to critique recent research on the evolution of language, while developing an understanding of the history of current debates. (BIOL) Dist: SCI. Dobson.

85. Reading Course

All terms: Arrange

Students who would like to pursue intensive, supervised study in some particular aspect of anthropology may do so with the agreement of an appropriate advisor. The student and advisor will work out together a suitable topic, procedure, and product of the study. Prerequisite: written permission of the department faculty member who will be advising the student.

87. Research Course

All terms: Arrange

Students with an interest in research in anthropology and a particular problem they would like to investigate may do so with the agreement of an appropriate advisor. The student and advisor will work out together a suitable topic, procedure, and product of the study. Prerequisite: written permission of the department faculty member who will be advising the student.

88. Anthropology Honors

All terms: Arrange

Open only to honors seniors by arrangement with the Chair. Admission to the honors program shall be by formal written proposal only. Consult with Chair concerning the details. Prerequisite: written permission of the department faculty member who will be advising the student.