Anthropology is the study of human experience across space and time, and has historically been subdivided into four major sub-disciplines: archaeology, biological anthropology, cultural anthropology, and linguistics. See the American Anthropological Association site: What Is Anthropology?
At Sewanee, our department concentrates on two of these: archaeology and cultural anthropology. Our current areas of expertise include Europe, Latin America, Southeast Asia, and the Southeastern United States. Our faculty has studied agricultural development and state formation in Southeast Asia, anorexia, ecological anthropology, education, ethnicity in Europe and America, gender and development in Latin America, health and healthcare, labor migration in the Southeastern United States, religion, and sacred landscapes in Ireland, Scotland and Italy.
In today's globalizing world, understanding human diversity in the broadest sense is a valuable skill that anthropology students acquire in their course of study. Former majors report using these skills in a variety of arenas that include the medical and education fields, marketing and public relations, international business and finance, and cultural resource management and museum studies.
Learning about other societies through regular participation in their daily lives is the central method of cultural anthropology. Many of our courses provide opportunities for this kind of research on campus and in neighboring towns. Additionally, every anthropology major is required to complete a semester-long field methods project either here or abroad.
We especially encourage study abroad options for students interested in cultural anthropology as they gain invaluable experience and expertise in cross-cultural interaction and research.
Field methods credit may also be obtained through completion of an archaeological field school through the University of the South or other pre-approved program in the United States or abroad.
Community engagement is a powerful way to combine anthropological research with service to the larger community. Anthropologists increasingly look for ways to give back to the communities they seek to understand, and in the methods courses in particular, students work closely with consultants from our local communities. Additionally, several of our courses are part of the Center for Liberal Education and Community Engagement (CLECE) curriculum. These include some sections of Introductory Cultural Anthropology (ANTH 104), Medical Anthropology (ANTH 319), the Anthropology of Education (ANTH 399) and Anthropological Field Methods (ANTH 401).
Professors: Murdock, O'Connor (Chair), Ray, Wallace
Associate Professors: Sherwood, R. Summers
Assistant Professors: Carmody, Hatchett
Requirements for the Major in Anthropology
The major requires successful completion of the following:
|Course Requirements 1|
|ANTH 104||Introductory Cultural Anthropology||4|
|Select one of the following:||4|
|Introductory Physical Anthropology and Archaeology|
|Human Evolution and Variation|
|ANTH 391||Junior Tutorial 2||4|
|ANTH 401||Anthropological Field Methods 3||4|
|ANTH 403||Social Theory||4|
|Select five additional courses in anthropology (ANTH) 4||20|
|Total Semester Hours||40|
|A comprehensive examination 5|
|A department-approved area or a topical specialty 6|
Majors are strongly urged to take a course in statistics.
This course is taken in the second semester of the junior year, and majors are encouraged to study abroad in the first semester of the junior year.
Students satisfy a requirement in methods by taking 401, but may also take another pre-approved course or a pre-approved ethnographic or archaeological field school for methods credit. Students complete a paper or report on their methods field work (cultural or archaeological).
Comprehensives are given in two parts during the student’s last semester: a written exam and an oral defense of both their written answers and their field methods reports.
A major may meet this requirement by either: 1) spending a semester abroad to acquire experience in another culture, or 2) taking two upper-level courses outside of anthropology either a) in a single discipline (e.g. history, religion, economics, political science, art, theatre, music, psychology) or b) related to a single area of the world (Asia, Oceania, Africa, Europe, or Latin America).
In October of the senior year, students may apply for honors if they have a “B+” or higher grade point average in the major. To apply, students submit a project proposal to the department chair for a 40-page paper on their area of specialty. The project is to be researched and written in the second semester of the senior year. Those applicants invited to complete an honors project register for a full course (ANTH 405) and work with a departmental faculty member to submit the project in mid-April.
All courses for the minor are normally taken at the University of the South. One course taken abroad may occasionally qualify for the minor requirement, but approval must be obtained from the department before taking the course.
Requirements for the Minor in Anthropology
The minor requires successful completion of the following:
|ANTH 104||Introductory Cultural Anthropology||4|
|Select one of the following:||4|
|Introductory Physical Anthropology and Archaeology|
|Human Evolution and Variation|
|Select three additional courses in anthropology (ANTH) 1||12|
|Total Semester Hours||20|
ARCH 332 may be used as one of these electives. No more than one 444 may count towards the required three electives.
ANTH 104 Introductory Cultural Anthropology (4)
This introduction to the methods and concepts of cultural anthropology will emphasize how action, thought, and belief combine to form coherent cultural patterns. The intensive study of a few cultures will be set within the larger perspective of sociocultural evolution and the anthropological sub-fields of political, psychological and economic anthropology, kinship, religion, and linguistics.
ANTH 106 Introductory Physical Anthropology and Archaeology (4)
An introduction to the processes of human and cultural evolution. Physical anthropology will focus on hominid evolution, genetic processes, primatology, and physiological characteristics of modern human populations. Archaeology will trace cultural evolution from foraging societies to the great civilizations of ancient times. Both course segments will include a review of pertinent methods and theories. This course is not open for credit to students who have received credit for ANTH 107.
ANTH 107 Human Evolution and Variation (4)
A critical anthropological perspective on the production of evolutionary thought, human evolutionary history, and contemporary human variation. Key issues explored include the cultural context of evolutionary science, competing scientific theories of modern human emergence, the relevance of primate studies for human evolutionary history, and a comparison of cultural and biological notions of human race, sex, and intellectual capacity. The course addresses current debates surrounding the cultural and biological forces involved in human evolution and variation. This course is not open for credit to students who have received credit for ANTH 106.
ANTH 108 Introductory Anthropological Linguistics (4)
An introduction to the origin of language, principles of general linguistics, historical and comparative linguistics, pidgin and Creole languages, and sociolinguistics.
ANTH 109 World Prehistory (4)
An introduction to world prehistory, this course begins by examining human origins in Africa and the spread of hominid populations across Africa, Asia, and Europe and considers the origins and spread of agriculture and complex societies, beginning with those in Mesopotamia, Egypt, the Indus Valley, and China. Course topics also explore transitions from tribal societies to chiefdoms and proto-states in pre-Roman Europe. The course concludes by examining the varied paths to state-level societies in North America, Andean South America, and Mesoamerica. Not open for credit to students who have completed ANTH 202.
ANTH 180 Archaeology of Britain (4)
An examination of how archaeologists attempt to make sense of British prehistory. Beginning with the Mesolithic Period around 9,500 b.c., the course further considers the origins of agriculture in Britain, around 4,000 b.c., and the related ceremonial landscapes and burial and henge monuments of the Neolithic Period. The second portion of the course deals with the Bronze and Iron Ages through the types of subsistence and settlement strategies early Britons employed and archaeological evidence for social hierarchy, religious practices, warfare, and trade. The course concludes with the examination of the development of oppida, the use of coinage, the Roman invasion, and the Picts of Scotland.
ANTH 201 Global Problems: Anthropology and Contemporary Issues (2)
This course examines such global issues as overpopulation, poverty, hunger, and violence. It combines a broad, interdisciplinary approach with examination of specific anthropological case studies of NGOs (non-governmental organizations) in South Asia (Bangladesh) and Southeast Asia (Cambodia), and an analysis of the effects of international development agencies at the local level. Using culture as a unifying concept, the course addresses economic, political, ecological, and ideological issues.
ANTH 203 The Anthropology of Gender (4)
A study of the varied ways cultures define gender. Using an evolutionary perspective, the course will evaluate changing modes of subsistence, division of labor, and power structures as they pertain to cultural concepts of gender. Anthropological case studies will help foster an understanding of the complex and interrelated aspects of gender as it actually affects individual human beings.
ANTH 222 Celtic Culture and Archaeology (4)
Grounded in the anthropological perspective, this course will explore ancient Celtic society through archaeology, ethnohistory, linguistics, and a focus on myth and religion. Our study initially focuses on the people of the European Iron Age (800 B.C. to the Roman conquest). Further course components consider the continuity and influence of Celtic traditions though the Middle Ages to the present in areas least impacted by Roman rule (Ireland, Scotland, and parts of Wales), and the contemporary cultural phenomena known as Celtic Revivalism.
ANTH 290 Women in Cross-Cultural Perspective (4)
A comparison of women's experiences of family, work, religion, development and war across diverse world regions to see how these can differ widely from one society to another. Anthropological writings and films are used to learn the concepts and perspectives necessary for the exploration of women's similarities and differences. Discussion-centered learning and student research papers help involve students actively in the collective construction of knowledge about women's lives around the world. This course cannot be taken for credit by any student who has earned credit for ANTH 321. Prerequisite: ANTH 104 or WMST 100 or INGS 200.
ANTH 298 Ecological Anthropology (4)
This course will examine human-environmental relationships from the anthropological perspective. Consideration of theoretical approaches and practical applications will be supplemented by archaeological, ethnographical, and ethnohistorical case studies. We will consider various ecosystems and landscapes as palimpsests that reveal cultural footprints to the archaeologist and human choices to the ethnographer. We will explore how an understanding of both can greatly inform ecological studies and further new thinking about environmental policy.
ANTH 301 American Culture (4)
An anthropological study of the United States using community studies and topical essays to explore regional differences and national continuities. Symbols of self, home, community, and nation are used to interpret technology, the economy, leisure, popular culture, and social class, and patterns that typify America in general, and, in particular, the region of Appalachia.
ANTH 302 Southern Cultures (4)
An anthropological study of the southern United States emphasizes cultural continuity in both mountains and lowlands. The course uses community studies and literature to explore how indigenous interpretations fit within and react against national patterns and how locality, race, status, and gender act as social principles.
ANTH 303 The Anthropology of Europe (4)
This course surveys the major monuments, population migrations, and cultural patterns of continental prehistory; examines how Christianity's arrival shaped myriad chiefdoms, kingdoms, and states into the Europe we recognize today; explores ethnicity and the historical origins of ethnic conflicts; and considers the cultural impacts of European Union membership and 21st-century immigration issues.
ANTH 304 Peoples and Cultures of Africa (4)
A brief survey of geography, prehistory, and history followed by an evaluation of modern African cultural groups. Special topics considered include African women, labor migration, urbanization, associations, and elites. The overarching theme of the course is the differential effects of modernization on Africa.
ANTH 305 Cultures of Latin America (4)
An introduction to Latin American cultural traditions as they relate to social identities, religious beliefs, economic practices, political systems, and natural environments. Students examine diverse regional contexts, including the Peruvian Andes, Central American urban centers, and the Brazilian Amazon. Legacies of inequality and political violence are contrasted with powerful social movements and creative cultural productions. Prerequisite: ANTH 104 or INGS 200.
ANTH 306 American Indians (4)
A consideration of North American native peoples that involves origins and culture areas and the study of several specific groups as to history, economy, kinship, authority, and world view. Special attention will be given to problems of conquest, reservation life, and U.S. government policy.
ANTH 307 The Archaeology of Southeastern United States (4)
The course introduces students to intermediate and advanced concepts of archaeology, prehistory, and early history using the Southeastern United States region and the Moccasin Bend National Historic Landmark as primary case studies. Lecture and discussion are supplemented by archaeological field and laboratory exercises, site visits, and guest lectures on special topics. The course has a laboratory component consisting of field and laboratory training and research, but this does not satisfy a laboratory science requirement. Prerequisite: ANTH 106.
ANTH 308 Myth, Ritual, and Meaning (4)
The study of religion and meaning from the perspective of interpretive anthropology anchors the understanding of other cultural traditions in the study of Western religious and social forms. Special attention is given to magic, witchcraft, rites of passage, symbolic classification, and the evolution of religious forms.
ANTH 309 The Archaeology of Moccasin Bend National Park (4)
A case study of the interaction of archaeology, public law, and citizen advocacy in the creation of historic parklands in America. Prerequisite: ANTH 106.
ANTH 310 Topics in Archaeology and Historic Preservation (4)
The seminar format involves student research and presentations on selected topics in American and Old World archaeology, and historic preservation, instructor and guest lectures, and field trips. Topics, which vary with student experience and interest, include preservation archaeology, campus heritage preservation and management, historic preservation law, archaeological research design, archaeology of early Spanish contact and trade, the archaeology of the Domain of the University of the South and other Tennessee locales, prehistoric lithic technology, cave and rock art peopling of the New World, and Mississippian chiefdoms. Prerequisite: ANTH 307 or ANTH 313.
ANTH 311 Gender and Class in Latin America (4)
An examination of gender relations in diverse Latin American contexts. The history of anthropological scholarship on gender and class in the region, as well as contemporary theories of how gender, social class, race/ethnicity, and sexuality intertwine in human experience are key foci of the course. Detailed ethnographic case studies from Amerindian, Afro-Latino, and Mestizo cultural contexts help students apply broader theories to the analysis of gender relations as they are conceptualized by these different groups in Latin America. Prerequisite: ANTH 104 or INGS 200 or WMST 100.
ANTH 312 Place, Ritual and Belief (4)
An upper-division seminar designed to enhance students' research skills and engage students in thoughtful examination of the relationship between religious beliefs and practices, and natural environments. While including the major religious traditions, the course will focus on indigenous, historic and prehistoric traditions within band, tribe, chiefdom and state societies. The course will focus on religious syncretism due to historical conquest or latter 20th century globalization as it impacts human-historical conenvironmental relationships.
ANTH 313 Method and Theory in Archaeology (4)
This course covers the history and current practice of archaeology from the methodological and theoretical perspectives. The basic class format involves lectures and discussion, but there is a laboratory component consisting of field and laboratory training and research. This course does not meet the requirement for a natural science course, with or without a laboratory. Site visits and guest lectures will be part of the course.
ANTH 314 Gender, Colonialism, and Culture in Greater Mexico (4)
Starting from the premise that the region encompassing northern Mexico and the southwestern United States can be viewed as a single cultural region, this course examines how colonizing processes mobilized gendered and racialized identities to consolidate new social hierarchies in this part of the world. We learn about the historic interactions between Indigenous, European, and African peoples thrown together by the acts of exploration, conquest, and enslavement, and the hybridized cultural social forms which resulted. With these historical legacies in mind, we move to see how contemporary racialized and gendered identities are constructed and contested in the context of “Greater Mexico.”. Prerequisite: ANTH 104 or INGS 200 or WMST 100.
ANTH 316 Archaeology of the Cumberland Plateau (4)
This course examines the cultural history of the Cumberland Plateau through anthropological archaeology. After a brief consideration of the subject's environmental context within one of the most biologically diverse regions on earth, the class investigates the Plateau's rich prehistoric and historic archaeological record, which spans at least 12,000 years. In addition to ethnohistorical research, students actively engage in laboratory analysis of artifacts from the University Domain. Students also participate in site visits and field survey to explore both the Native American and European American record left as rock art, as well as that found in open habitation, cave, and rockshelter sites.
ANTH 317 The Anthropology of Development (4)
An examination of the basic assumptions of mainstream modernization approaches. Students explore key aspects of "modernity," as this term has been understood in Western European thought, and explore anthropologists' critiques of the exportation of these key aspects to other contexts. Detailed ethnographic case studies from diverse world regions, including Southeast Asia, Africa, and Latin America help students to understand the impact of development thinking in Third World contexts. The professor's investigation of development in the war-torn context of Medellin, Colombia, is an ongoing source of material for reflection and debate. Prerequisite: ANTH 104.
ANTH 318 North American Archaeology (4)
This course reviews Pre-Columbian and Historic Era histories and social landscapes north of Mesoamerica. The course considers the timing and process of the initial peopling of the continent, food production, regional systems of exchange, development of social hierarchies, the rise and fall of chiefdoms, and colonial encounters between Europeans and Native Americans.
ANTH 319 Medical Anthropology (4)
This anthropological investigation into medical topics with a cultural component (gerontology, substance abuse, nutrition, folk medicine, etc.) will also examine the ways in which various cultural backgrounds may impede or enhance the medical process. Issues such as disease and therapy will also be examined in cross-cultural perspective.
ANTH 320 Marriage, Family, and Kinship (4)
A brief review of cross-cultural differences in kinship and marriage exchange, together with historical analysis of family development and marriage in England and America. The course ends by considering contemporary communal and alternative family styles.
ANTH 340 Families in Asia (4)
A seminar on the continuities and changes in the role of the family in everyday life in Thailand, China, and Japan. Students will study anthropological approaches to understanding kinship and will read and view contextualized accounts of family life from several time periods. These accounts will include ethnographies, novels, children's stories, religious and philosophical texts, folktales, films, and Internet materials. To the extent possible, Chinese, Japanese, and/or Thai guests will visit and share their family stories.
ANTH 341 The Culture and History of Southeast Asia (4)
A survey of the peoples and polities of Southeast Asia from prehistory to the present, stressing the cultural and historical continuities that unite this ethnically diverse region. Special consideration is given to urban rule, peasants, popular religion, and indigenous notions of power, gender, space, and time.
ANTH 350 Environmental Archaeology (4)
The course explores past environments and the methods and evidence used to reconstruct them. Students acquire knowledge of the biological and geophysical systems in which particular cultures developed and changed. Emphasis is on the integration of geological, botanical, zoological, and archaeological data used to reconstruct Quaternary climates and environments.
ANTH 357 Field School in Archaeology (6)
Conducted on the University Domain or other pre-eminent sites in Tennessee, The Sewanee Field School in Archaeology provides, in an intensive one-month period in the summer, training and experience in the process of conducting research on highly significant archaeological resources. While the fieldwork is the primary component, guest lectures, consulting, and field trips are provided by other Southeastern archaeologists. Prerequisite: Only open to students admitted to the Field School in Archeology program.
ANTH 366 Power and Violence: The Anthropology of Political Systems (4)
Societies, whether simple or complex, must grapple with the use and abuse of power as well as with institutionalized and illegal acts of violence. This course will focus on these issues from an anthropological perspective, evaluating various theoretical models that have been developed to explore both power and violence. We will then deal with specific case studies of both simple and complex societies and their political systems, concluding with the United States.
ANTH 371 The Anthropology of Water (4)
This course considers the role of water in shaping human societies. Beginning with an examination of how the search for fresh water resources influenced the global migration of Paleolithic humans, the seminar explores theories about the relationship between the control of water through irrigation, social complexity, the emergence of state level societies, and the place of water in world cosmologies and religious ritual. The course concludes by considering contemporary water insecurity and how understanding water cultures can foster policies for socioeconomic resilience.
ANTH 379 Ethnicities (4)
This course is an examination of ethnic identities as cultural phenomena responding to social, economic, and political contexts and of identities as they articulate with subsistence, gender, religion, and caste or class. The course will include a cross-cultural survey and then a consideration of how ethnicity has been politicized and celebrated in America with the changing ideological models of assimilation, pluralism, and multiculturalism. The end of the course will involve the study of creolized ethnicities in the American South. Prerequisite: ANTH 104.
ANTH 387 Archaeology of Ireland (4)
This class offers a survey of Irish pre-history from the earliest human settlements during the Mesolithic era, through the Neolithic and the Bronze and Iron Ages. The class then considers the material remains and cultural history of the sixth and seventh century "land of saints and scholars." The course concludes with an examination of the archaeological records and cultural impacts of the Viking and Norman invasions.
ANTH 391 Junior Tutorial (4)
The course involves students intensively reading and critiquing ethnographies. The course is taken in the second semester of the junior year and prepares students for writing an ethnography in ANTH 401 (to be taken in the first semester of their senior year). Students write bi-weekly papers to enhance their critical thinking and strengthen their writing skills and normally choose a topic for ANTH 401 near the completion of Junior Tutorial. Prerequisite: ANTH 104.
ANTH 398 Special Topics (4)
A seminar on a topic related to anthropology. The course may be repeated when the topic differs.
ANTH 399 Anthropology of Education (4)
An ethnographic research course in which students study the cultural contexts of schools and classrooms, families and youth cultures, hidden curricula and diversity. Students should expect to complete a semester-long, field research project in a nearby school. Not available for credit for students who have completed EDUC/ANTH 204. Prerequisite: One course in education or anthropology.
ANTH 401 Anthropological Field Methods (4)
Designed to train upper-division anthropology students to develop and carry out field research, the course first focuses on specific field methods used by anthropologists, ethnomethodology, network analysis, and statistical analysis. The second part of the course comprises a supervised field study where such methods can be tested. The last part of the course consists of data analysis and presentation. Open only to students pursuing programs in anthropology.
ANTH 403 Social Theory (4)
The historical development of theory in American cultural anthropology beginning with positivism and classical evolutionary thinking through that of the neo-evolutionists. Consideration of different historical approaches is followed by exploration of cultural materialism, structuralism, Marxism, symbolic interpretation, and practice theory. Open only to seniors pursuing majors in anthropology.
ANTH 405 Honors Thesis (4)
Student-initiated forty-page research project in a student's area of specialty. Participation is in the Easter semester of an anthropology major's senior year and is by invitation of the anthropology department. Prerequisite: Professor consent and prerequisite override required.
ANTH 411 Research Seminar: Campus Life and Academic Culture (4)
How do social and academic life interact on our campus? Using interviews, observation, and other anthropological methods, the class explores how enduring academic traditions interact with changing collegiate experience and American culture. Specific foci include spatial culture; styles in studying, writing, class participation, and academic engagement; and various discipline/indulgence scenarios like the "work hard, party hard" attitude. Those in the course also consider how students choose and adapt to majors, and how majors differ in work culture and value orientation. Working collaboratively, students contribute to ongoing research as well as generate individual research papers.
ANTH 412 Research Seminar: Diversity in Campus Life (4)
Using ethnographic methods, this course researches how the national discourse on diversity plays out locally. Research explores personal, social, and institutional life, considers which differences matter and why, and studies how students experience diversity. Students cooperate to develop a shared database to use in writing individual papers.
ANTH 420 Sacred Landscapes and Folk Liturgies of Ireland (2)
This cultural immersion course engages students in ethno-ecological fieldwork in rural Ireland. Students collaborate with local communities in documenting holy well sites and contemporary well-side practices. Students daily interview Irish consultants about folk liturgy, ethno-botany, and localized saint cults. Students also visit holy well sites and hike ancient pagan pilgrimage trails Christianized by Celtic Christian saints in the 5th-7th centuries.
ANTH 444 Independent Study (2 or 4)
For selected students. May be repeated for course credit more than once. Prerequisite: Professor consent and prerequisite override required.