Anthropology (ANTH)

ANTH 101 —  Anthropological Perspective Course count: 1 

A one-semester introduction to the main modes of cultural anthropological analysis of non-Western cultures, such as those of Africa, Latin America, Southeast Asia, Melanesia, Polynesia, sub-Saharan Africa and Native America. Topics include: ethnographic methods; concepts of culture; symbolic communication; ecological processes; introduction to anthropological approaches to kinship, religion, gender, hierarchy, economics, medicine, political life, transnational processes.

Enrollment limited to 1st and 2nd year students only

GPA units: 1

Common Area: Cross-Cultural Studies, Social Science

Typically Offered: Fall, Spring

ANTH 170 —  Contemporary Asia Course count: 1 

This course examines contemporary Asia as an interconnected region that influences world events and as diverse societies, cultures, and nation states that face particular problems as they struggle with issues of globalization, modernity, and neoliberalism while trying to maintain a sense of national or cultural identity. Readings focus on India, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Japan, China, Hong Kong, Philippines, and the Asian diaspora. Topics include religion, aging, family, gender, politics, economics, class, labor migration, consumerism, ethnicity, and Orientalism.

GPA units: 1

Common Area: Cross-Cultural Studies

Typically Offered: Alternate Years

ANTH 251 —  Informal Economies Course count: 1 

The UN reports that 2/3 of the global workforce operates in the "informal economy." This course develops an anthropological approach to that fact. Our foundation is the literature on the informal economy in Africa and other parts of the global south, but we will also explore economic processes closer to home. Topics include: the origin, development, and use of the "informal economy" concept, precarious livelihoods, micro-credit and "bottom of the pyramid" ventures, informal networks, illicit trade, smuggling, black markets, and organized crime.

GPA units: 1

Common Area: Cross-Cultural Studies, Social Science

ANTH 253 —  Gender & Development Course count: 1 

Is there any validity to the claim that women in the Global South have largely been "left out", "marginalized" and even "harmed" by development programs and ideologies? And is development a new form of imperialism? The course begins with discussion of anthropological and feminist critiques of "development" and then examines successes and shortfalls of different strategies used to "bring women back" into development. We then evaluate the gendered impacts of development policies, programs promoted by international development agencies.

GPA units: 1

Common Area: Cross-Cultural Studies, Social Science

ANTH 255 —  Genders & Sexualities Course count: 1 

Over the past few years the very limit of what is male and what is female seems to have become more unstable and fluid in our society and around the world. Similarly, recent scholarship on gender has disputed conventional academic wisdom of how gender and sexuality are produced, embodied and performed by individuals. Anthropology and feminist theory have furthered these debates by offering a significant reappraisal of gender  as a concept, social relationship and category of analysis. In this course, we will develop a critical stance toward the study of gender and sexuality by taking anthropologys and feminisms insights into account as we explore the power dynamics that play into the social construction of the body. We will pay attention to how various peoples (including ourselves), living at different times, have fashioned social distinctions based on gender and sexuality, and how these distinctions have played a role in the organization of political, religious, economic and ideological practices. Among the topics we will cover are: the nature/nurture debate, kinship, psychoanalysis, transgender identity, race, gender under colonialism, and performativity.

GPA units: 1

Common Area: Cross-Cultural Studies, Social Science

Typically Offered: Alternate Years

ANTH 260 —  Medical Anthropology Course count: 1 

The course provides an overview of the ways that anthropologists have approached issues of sickness, disease, and healing, particularly in the study of the cultural construction of health and illness, the therapeutic process, social stratification, and health inequalities. Through case studies and synthesizing readings, the course will review key theoretical, conceptual, methodological and practical approaches to the study of health and illness, using a cross-cultural, global, and comparative perspective. As such, the course is designed to promote an appreciation for the variety of human suffering and responses to illness and healing, as well as to developing a crucial understanding of our own system of medicine as a cultural product. Key course objectives include: 1) to examine the historical trends of Medical Anthropology theory and practice; 2) to compare and contrast current issues and methodological approaches in the field; and 3) to examine ways that anthropological concepts and methods are used in research on national and international health issues

GPA units: 1

Common Area: Cross-Cultural Studies, Social Science

Typically Offered: Alternate Years

ANTH 266 —  Cultures and Politics of Latin America Course count: 1 

An introduction to the cultures, politics and history of Latin America. The course examines past and current issues of the region through ethnographic monographs as well as through a cross-disciplinary approach that includes historical analysis, excerpts from literature, and film. Units focus on: pre-Colombian empires and conquest; the Zapatista revolution against neoliberalism in Mexico; militarization and Maoist rebels Shining Path in Peru; transvestites and Pentecostals in Brazil; drug wars, dirty wars and debates over reconciliation and reparations in Guatemala; labor movements in Argentina; and indigenous and womens social movements that cross national boundaries.

GPA units: 1

Common Area: Cross-Cultural Studies, Social Science

Typically Offered: Alternate Years

ANTH 267 —  Political Anthropology Course count: 1 

This course takes a broadly comparative and historical perspective, using cross-cultural analysis to understand the workings of politics and power, in Western and non-Western contexts. Topics include: colonialism and its impact on colonized populations; the formation of post-colonial national states; leadership, authority, and the construction of political subjects; and the links between local processes and global political systems.

GPA units: 1

Common Area: Cross-Cultural Studies, Social Science

Typically Offered: Alternate Years

ANTH 268 —  Economic Anthropology Course count: 1 

An introduction to the issues, methods, and concepts of economic anthropology. This course places economic features such as markets, commodities, and money into a larger cross-cultural context by exploring relations of power, kinship, gender, exchange, and social transformation.

GPA units: 1

Common Area: Cross-Cultural Studies, Social Science

Typically Offered: Every Third Year

ANTH 269 —  Fashion & Consumption Course count: 1 

A comparative, cultural anthropological exploration of fashion and consumption as tools for the creation, expression, and contestation of social, cultural, economic, political and individual identities. Topics include: anthropological and semiotic theories of materialism and consumption, subcultural styles, colonialism, race, gender, religious dress, globalization and ethnic chic.

GPA units: 1

Common Area: Cross-Cultural Studies, Social Science

Typically Offered: Every Third Year

ANTH 273 —  Anthropology of Africa Course count: 1 

This course provides an introductory anthropological account of 20th- and 21st-century Africa. The central theme is the "representation" of Africa and Africans, including the manner in which outsiders have portrayed the continent and its peoples in the past, African responses and rejoinders, and current scholarship and forms of self-representation. We will cover a number of broader themes, including music, race, art, ethnicity, youth, economic activity, "tradition" and "modernity," and the politics of cultural translation.

GPA units: 1

Common Area: Cross-Cultural Studies, Social Science

Typically Offered: Annually

ANTH 274 —  Art and Power in Asia Course count: 1 

How does art interrelate to political power and to wealth? This course examines such questions in regard to the art of ancient kingdoms in Asia such as Cambodia's Angkor Wat and Indonesia's Borobudur. Also at issue are the contemporary arts of Southeast Asia, seen too through this anthropology of art lens. Additionally, this course looks at the power dynamics of international art collecting of Asian art and artifacts; the politics and aesthetics of putting Asian art into worldwide museums is also studied. Includes museum study tours.

GPA units: 1

Common Area: Cross-Cultural Studies, Social Science

ANTH 310 —  Ethnographic Field Methods Course count: 1 

An examination of cultural anthropology's main data-gathering strategy: long-term ethnographic fieldwork of small communities, often located in non-Western cultures. Topics include: review of the methodology literature, participant observation, in-depth interviews, designing field studies, oral histories, spanning deep cultural divides via fieldwork. Often involves hands-on fieldwork in Worcester.

Prerequisite: One previous ANTH course

GPA units: 1

Common Area: Cross-Cultural Studies, Social Science

Typically Offered: Spring

ANTH 320 —  Theory in Anthropology Course count: 1 

A historical examination of the development of different theoretical perspectives in cultural anthropology. This course explores, compares, and critiques different schools of thought about human society and culture, from the 19th to the 21st centuries, looking at the ways in which anthropological scholars and those from related disciplines have attempted to understand and explain the human condition.

Prerequisite: One previous course in Anthropology.

GPA units: 1

Typically Offered: Fall

ANTH 351 —  Anthropology of Biotechnology Course count: 1 

This course examines how our lives, identities and futures have been and will be transformed by new biotechnologies. From pharmaceuticals and genomics to plastic surgery and organ transplants, our subjectivities are entering a posthuman era of uncharted ethical and political implications. In this course, we will learn the analytical tools necessary to understand how medical science approaches the body in order to produce knowledge and capital. We will also examine how race, gender and sexuality are being reconfigured within this new paradigm.

Prerequisite: One previous ANTH course

GPA units: 1

Typically Offered: Alternate Years

ANTH 490 —  Honors Colloquium Course count: 0 

The Honors Colloquium will cover topics such as: strategies for thesis work, writing an intro to the thesis, IRB application and approval process, ways to write a review of the literature chapter, ethics in research, writing workshops for the students, practice sessions for the formal oral presentations for the April conferences, publication possibilities, etc. The colloquium will also feature guest speakers who will discuss aspects of graduate studies, professional issues, job market issues, and their own research. Department honors students will continue to be mentored by their individual honors thesis advisor.

GPA units: 0.5

Typically Offered: Fall, Spring

ANTH 491 —  Honors Colloquium Course count: 0 

The Honors Colloquium will cover topics such as: strategies for thesis work, writing an intro to the thesis, IRB application and approval process, ways to write a review of the literature chapter, ethics in research, writing workshops for the students, practice sessions for the formal oral presentations for the April conferences, publication possibilities, etc. The colloquium will also feature guest speakers who will discuss aspects of graduate studies, professional issues, job market issues, and their own research. Department honors students will continue to be mentored by their individual honors thesis advisor.

GPA units: 0.5

Typically Offered: Fall, Spring

ANTH 492 —  Directed Honors Research Course count: 1 

Honors students undertake a research project under the direction of a department faculty member. The results are presented in the form of a thesis and two semesters credit, granted at end of second semester. Candidates selected from invited applicants to the Department Honors Committee.

GPA units: 0

Typically Offered: Fall, Spring

ANTH 493 —  Directed Honors Research Course count: 1 

Honors students undertake a research project under the direction of a department faculty member. The results are presented in the form of a thesis and two semesters credit, granted at end of second semester. Candidates selected from invited applicants to the Department Honors Committee.

GPA units: 2

Typically Offered: Fall, Spring

ANTH 494 —  Directed Research Course count: 1 

Students may undertake independent research projects under the direct supervision of a faculty member. Individuals contemplating a research project should make inquiries during their third year, since the project is usually initiated by the beginning of the fourth year. Preference for sociology/anthropology majors.

GPA units: 1

Typically Offered: Fall, Spring

ANTH 495 —  Directed Research Course count: 1 

Students may undertake independent research projects under the direct supervision of a faculty member. Individuals contemplating a research project should make inquiries during their third year, since the project is usually initiated by the beginning of the fourth year. Preference for sociology/anthropology majors.

GPA units: 1

ANTH 496 —  Directed Readings Course count: 1 

An individualized reading program usually addressing a topic in anthropology not covered in course offerings. Reading tutorials are under the supervision of an anthropology faculty member, usually limited to the fourth year students, and arranged on an individual basis. Preference to anthropology majors.

GPA units: 1

Typically Offered: Fall, Spring

ANTH 497 —  Directed Readings Course count: 1 

An individualized reading program usually addressing a topic in anthropology not covered in course offerings. Reading tutorials are under the supervision of an anthropology faculty member, usually limited to the fourth year students, and arranged on an individual basis. Preference to anthropology majors.

GPA units: 1

ANTH 498 —  Special Projects Course count: 1 

Program for individual students who wish to pursue supervised independent study on a selected topic or an advanced research project. Ordinarily projects are approved for one semester. Open to selected third- and fourth-year students with preference to sociology/anthropology majors. Each project must be supervised by a faculty member.

GPA units: 1

Typically Offered: Fall, Spring