Course Offerings | Anthropology/Sociology

Division of Social Studies

Endre Nyerges (chair), Charles Pace, Phyllis Passariello, William Weston; students: P.J. Creek, Carrie Leslie, Adriana Melnyk, Lidija Mustafic



The Anthropology and Sociology Program explores the common intellectual foundations of these disciplines as well as noting where their emphases diverge. Certain core questions are at the base of this interdisciplinary program: What makes us human? How are we different from other creatures? What is the range of human diversity and why is it important? Can we make value distinctions between societies, and how can we understand and assess our own? Anthropology and sociology deal with philosophical concepts as well as with particular cultural details to bridge the gap between life sciences and humanities. The diversity of courses in this interdisciplinary program provides a unifying framework for understanding the totality of the human condition and experience.


Recommended Freshman-Sophomore Preparation
ANT 110, 120;
SOC 110, 120


Requirements for the Major
ANT 110 and SOC 110;
ANT 120 or SOC 120;
ANT 301/SOC 301 or ANT 302/SOC 302;
ANT 304 or SOC 303;
ANT 500/SOC 500;
Four additional anthropology or sociology courses (at least three numbered 300 or above).


Requirements for the Anthropology Minor
ANT 110 and 120;
ANT 301 or 302;
Three additional anthropology courses numbered 300 or above.


Requirements for the Sociology Minor
SOC 110;
SOC 301 or 302;
Four additional sociology courses, at least three of which must be numbered 300 or above.
(MAT 320 may substitute for one of the sociology courses above 300.)



Anthropology Courses

ANT 105 Visual Anthropology
An exploration of how cultural information is visually "coded" in cultural images, including such questions as: How is cultural information coded (and decoded) in both mainstream and ethnographic film? How can visual anthropology be used as a tool for ethnographic research? What effect do such production values as music, camera angle, lighting, sound effects, and lens focal length have upon our understanding and perception of film cultural content? What is the relationship between media representation and cultural reality? Whose reality? What reality?

ANT 110 Introduction to Cultural Anthropology
An introduction to the perspectives and methods of cultural anthropology. Topics covered include the nature of culture; the relation of culture to language; the importance of the environment for human societies; and a cross-cultural examination of family structure, social organization, political and economic systems, religion, arts and folklore, and the impact of social and cultural change.

ANT 120 Introduction to Physical Anthropology and Archaeology
An introduction to major topics in physical anthropology and archaeology, including studies of human biological and cultural evolution, conflicting theories over the genetic and cultural bases of human behavior, history and methodology of archaeology, and on-going debates and new directions in these areas of anthropology.

ANT 130 Introduction to Archaeology
An examination of the basic theory and concepts of archaeological inquiry, including a comprehensive introduction to archaeology and the profession of the archaeologist. Field methods are considered, as case studies are thoroughly examined. The course contains a weekly technology component and students are expected to utilize a variety of resources available via the Internet, as well as multi-media CD-ROM's. (Formerly offered as ANT 13.)

ANT 301/SOC 301 Qualitative Field Methods
An introduction to the research process. Students are prepared to conduct research, including fieldwork, to evaluate and present research in a scholarly manner, and to critically evaluate the research of others. Basic techniques such as participant-observation, interviewing, and the use of documents are practiced in the field and evaluated. Prerequisite: ANT 11 or SOC 11.

ANT 302/SOC 302 Classics of Ethnography
An examination of classic anthropological field studies, focusing on the works and lives of key figures in the field. Course readings show how ethnographic data are gathered and how these findings are analyzed and interpreted. In this course, the interpretive search for meaning confronts the scientific quest for truth. Prerequisite: ANT 110 or SOC 110. (Formerly offered as ANT 15 Studies of Culture.)

ANT 304 History of Anthropological Thought
A critical analysis of the history of anthropological theory and method, tracing the development of this Western discipline through its various understandings of humankind in general, and of non-Western cultures in particular. Prerequisite: ANT 11 or SOC 11 or permission of the instructor.

ANT 310 Language and Culture
This ethnolinguistic course examines the relationship between speakers’ communicative choices (language, dialect, formality, style) and the social groups to which they claim membership (based on region, gender, age, social class). Topics include: the ethnography of communication, language and power, universals and cross-cultural differences in communicative strategies, and the nature and consequences of language variation. The linguist’s methods of studying language and working with language data are introduced, and field work among regional speakers of English as well as local non-English-speaking populations are conducted as research projects. Prerequisite: junior standing or permission of the instructor. (Formerly offered as ANT 25/45.)

ANT 320 The Anthropology of Tourism
The course includes an examination of the cultural, structural, and psychological aspects of the phenomenon of tourism, concentrating on its history, meaning, and growth cross-culturally, and its relationships to other types of recreation, pilgrimages, lifestyles, and world views. Other concerns are the social, cultural, ecological, and economic impacts of tourism on host communities and consideration in general of the relationships between tourism and acculturation. Prerequisite: ANT 110 or SOC 110 or permission of the instructor.

ANT 330 Gender in Cross-Cultural Perspective
A comparative, historical, and cross-cultural survey of the concept of gender. Biological, historical, and cultural influences as well as popular images and stereotypes affecting women’s and men’s lives are considered. Controversial issues of gender and equality and alternative gender roles are examined from several points of view. Prerequisite: ANT 110 or SOC 110 or permission of the instructor.

ANT 340 Introduction to Folklore
A cross-cultural survey of the major forms of folklore and a consideration of the methodological and theoretical approaches used by anthropologists and folklorists in the study of folklore. Major genres of folklore are identified, methods for collecting folklore are discussed and analyzed, and folklore theory of the 19th and 20th centuries is identified and assessed. The place of folklore in the study of anthropology is explored. Prerequisite: ANT 110 or SOC 110 or permission of the instructor.

ANT 350 Ecological Anthropology
A study of interrelationships between populations, organization, environment, technology, and symbols. Established materialist paradigms in anthropology are critiqued and evaluated. New approaches to understanding issues of environmental degradation, world hunger, and Third World development and change are addressed, including historical ecology, political ecology, the ecology of practice, and remote sensing analysis. Prerequisite: ANT 110 or SOC 110 or permission of the instructor.

ANT 360 GIS and the Environment
An introduction to the basic concepts and applications of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) as used in environmental studies. Students in the course receive hands-on training in the use of ArcView, the industry-standard GIS software, and the use of Global Positioning System (GPS) devices. Students also learn how to integrate data into GIS from sources such as maps, aerial photographs, and Landsat satellite images.

ANT 370/SOC 370 Ritual Theory
A cross-cultural look at ritual behavior as theory and process. The course explores the role of ritual as a form of human communication. It examines such issues as the social, cultural, political, and expressive role of ritual in human society, and the relationship between ritual action and mythic content. Finally, the course examines how one can analyze ritual process from a structural, functional, performative, and semiotic perspective. Prerequisite: Ant 110 or SOC 110.

ANT 380 Archaeology: Theory and Practice
This course integrates the concepts of both research and cultural resource management, and prehistoric and historic archaeology. Utilizing classroom and field experience, new technologies and traditional methods of archaeological site excavation and interpretation are presented. Prerequisite: ANT 120.

ANT 391 Native Peoples of North America
An introductory cultural survey of the native peoples of North America from their arrival in the New World to the present. Focus is on several selected native groups of the United States and Canada, exploring the complexity and diversity of their cultures, and their relationships with the "white" culture. Particular concerns are survival, change, identity, perceptions of self and others, and the Native American cultures of today. Prerequisite: ANT 110 or SOC 110 or permission of the instructor.

ANT 392 Peoples of South America
A cultural survey of the native peoples of South America, focusing on the ethnology and ethnohistory of specific cultural groups as well as the impact of the so-called conquest. General cultural patterns as well as specific cultural differences are explored. Theoretical, cross-cultural, and interdisciplinary issues are raised, using a variety of primary and other sources. Prerequisite: ANT 110 or SOC 110 or permission of the instructor.

ANT 393 The Maya
An ethnohistoric, archaeological, and contemporary survey of Mayan culture. Emphasis is on the prehistory and history of the Maya, the traditional culture of the Maya including intensive examination of Mayan art and architecture, and the vital Mayan culture present in Mesoamerica today. Prerequisite: ANT 110 or SOC 110.

ANT 394 Peoples of the Middle East and North Africa
A cultural survey of the native peoples of the Middle East and North Africa, focusing on the ethnology and ethnohistory of specific cultural groups as well as the important influence, sometimes unifying, sometimes divisive, of Islam on the area. General cultural patterns as well as specific cultural differences are explored. Theoretical, cross-cultural, and interdisciplinary issues are raised using a variety of sources. Prerequisite: ANT 110 or SOC 110 or permission of the instructor.

ANT 395 Peoples of Sub-Saharan Africa
An introduction to the history, ethnography, and ecology of the diverse cultures and societies of sub-Saharan Africa. The course begins with a survey of the geography, prehistory, and history of the continent, and proceeds to an examination of the social and economic organization of small-scale African societies, a discussion of African thought and religion, and a discussion of gender issues and social change. Finally, the course focuses on experiences of ethnographers as they encounter rural African society.

ANT 500/SOC 500 Advanced Seminar
A seminar study of important works in anthropology and sociology. Topics change with the instructor; this course may be repeated. Prerequisite: Major or minor in anthropology/sociology and 15 hours of anthropology/sociology courses, or permission of the program.



Sociology Courses

SOC 103 Introduction to Family Life
An introduction to marriage and family life, focusing on the contemporary United States.

SOC 104 American Denominational Religion
A study of how the nation’s religious experience, and the student’s own religious experience (or lack of experience), have been shaped by denominationalism. A review of American religious history and visits with denominational leaders are included.

SOC 110 Introduction to Sociology
A survey of sociological concerns, including explorations of social solidarity and social conflict at the macro and micro levels, through classic texts and field research.

SOC 120 Social Problems
An examination of how social problems are constructed by society, taking examples from U.S. history, including abolition, alcohol, and abortion.

SOC 301 Field Methods
(See ANT 301.)

SOC 302 Classics of Ethnography
(See ANT 302.)

SOC 303 Sociological Theory
An examination of the major theoretical traditions and some classical theoretical texts of sociology. Prerequisite: SOC 110 or ANT 110 or permission of the instructor.

SOC 310 Sociology of Family Life
A study of the structures and functions of family life as they have changed over time and varied from culture to culture. Special attention is given to the role of marriage and of gender relations in family life. Prerequisite: SOC 110 or ANT 110 or permission of the instructor.

SOC 320 Race and Ethnicity
A study of the concept of "race" and the impact of that concept on the relations of ethnic groups. Prerequisite: SOC 110 or ANT 110 or permission of the instructor.

SOC 330 African-American Society
An examination of the cultural characteristics and social structural position of the African-American ethnic group, especially as shaped by class and race. Prerequisite: SOC 110 or ANT 110 or permission of the instructor.

SOC 340 Sociology of Religion
A study of the major theoretical approaches to religion used in sociology. Prerequisite: SOC 110 or ANT 110 or REL 110 or REL 120 or permission of the instructor. (Also listed as REL 349.)

SOC 360 Social Psychology
A study of individuals in their social and cultural settings. Emphasis is placed on empirical research into the social factors involved in perceptual-cognitive processes, attitude organization and change, intergroup relations, group productivity, the socializing process, and the effects of culture on personality. Students perform laboratory and field experiments designed to investigate basic processes of social psychology. Prerequisite: PSY 110 or senior standing and permission of the instructor. PSY 210 and 220 are recommended. (Also listed as PSY 360.)

SOC 370 Ritual Theory
(See ANT 370.)

SOC 500 Advanced Seminar
(See ANT 500.)


Special Topics in Sociology Offered 1998-2001

SOC 15 Social Change
A survey of the major sociological theories on economic, political, and cultural change, with a focus on social movements. Emphasis is on contemporary, topical, and transnational social movements based on shared ideologies of social justice. Such movements include the human rights, peace, environmental, women’s, gay/lesbian, religious, "leftist," and "far-right" separatist movements. The point is to identify the social factors that motivate activists to participate in organized attempts at social transformation; and further, to identify the opportunity structures available to ordinary citizens seeking to reform the world in which they live.

SOC 25, 45 Identity, Self and Society
A study of the concepts of self and identity in relationship to society, including a survey of the social-psychological literature, focusing on the micro interactionist and symbolic interactionist tradition, such as Goffman. Also considered is the specific impact of social institutions on identity construction, both individual and collective, in the areas of family, peer group, workplace, religious institutions, and the media. Prerequisite: SOC 11 or ANT 11.

SOC 45 Comparative Political Sociology
A comparative analysis of national and international power relationships, focusing on the development of the state and how it relates to global economies, cultures, and civil societies. Neo-development and world system theories are discussed along with competing theories on the role of the nation-state in the modern and post-modern eras. Competing classical theories relating to the debate over the primary role of polity vs. economy in determining social structure are explored. Prerequisite: SOC 11 or ANT 11 or GOV 11. (Also listed as GOV 45C.)