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Students may complete a major or a minor in anthropology. Within the major, students may complete a concentration in environmental studies or geoarchaeology.


Richard S. Davis, Professor and Major Adviser
Philip L. Kilbride, Professor and Chair
Melissa Murphy, Lecturer
Melissa Pashigian, Assistant Professor (on leave 2005-06)
Ayumi Takenaka, Assistant Professor
Amanda Weidman, Assistant Professor

Anthropology is a holistic study of the human condition in both the past and the present. The anthropological lens can bring into focus the social, cultural, biological and linguistic variations that characterize the diversity of humankind throughout time and space. The frontiers of anthropology can encompass many directions: the search for early human fossils in Africa, the excavations of prehistoric societies and ancient civilizations, the analysis of language use and other expressive forms of culture, or the examination of the significance of culture in the context of social life.

Major Requirements

Requirements for the major are Anthropology 101, 102, 303, 398, 399, an ethnographic area course that focuses on the cultures of a single region, and four additional 200- or 300-level courses in anthropology. Students are encouraged to select courses from each of four subfields of anthropology: archaeology, bioanthropology, linguistics or sociocultural.

Students may elect to do part of their work away from Bryn Mawr. Courses that must be taken at Bryn Mawr include Anthropology 101, 102, 303, 398 and 399.


Qualified students may earn departmental honors in their senior year. Honors are based on the quality of the senior thesis (398, 399). Units of independent work may be taken with the approval of the instructor in the department.

Minor Requirements

Requirements for a minor in anthropology are 101, 102, 303, one ethnographic area course and two additional 200 or 300 level courses in anthropology.

Concentration in Environmental Studies

The Department of Anthropology participates with other departments in offering a concentration within the major in environmental studies.

Concentration in Geoarchaeology

The Department of Anthropology participates with other departments in offering a concentration within the major in geoarchaeology.

ANTH B101 Introduction to Anthropology: Archaeology and Human Evolution

The place of humans in nature, human evolution and the history of culture to the rise of early civilizations in the Old and New Worlds. In addition to the lecture/discussion classes, there is a one hour weekly lab. (Davis, Murphy, Division I)

ANTH B102 Introduction to Anthropology: Cultural Anthropology

An introduction to the methods and theories of cultural anthropology in order to understand and explain cultural similarities and differences among contemporary societies. (Kilbride, Weidman, Division I)

ANTH B185 Urban Culture and Society

(Arbona, McDonogh, Division I; cross-listed as CITY B185)

ANTH B190 The Form of the City: Urban Form from Antiquity to the Present

(Hein, Division I or III; cross-listed as CITY B190 and HART B190)

ANTH B203 Human Ecology

The relationship of humans with their environment; culture as an adaptive mechanism and a dynamic component in ecological systems. Human ecological perspectives are compared with other theoretical orientations in anthropology. Prerequisites: Anthropology 101, 102 or permission of instructor. (Davis, Division I) Not offered in 2005-06.

ANTH B206 Conflict and Conflict Management: A Cross-Cultural Approach

(Ross, Division I; cross-listed as POLS B206)

ANTH B208 Human Biology

A traditional focus in physical anthropology, human biology encompasses an overview of how humans, as individuals and populations, are similar and different in their biology, and how this can be studied and understood. We consider the relationships between human populations and their environment, integrating aspects of human physiology, demographic ecology and human genetics, both at the molecular and population levels. Prerequisite: Anthropology 101 or permission of instructor. (staff, Division I) Not offered in 2005-06.

ANTH B209 Human Evolution

The position of humans among the primates, processes of biocultural evolution, the fossil record and contemporary human variation. Weekly lab. Prerequisite: Anthropology 101 or permission of instructor. (Murphy, Division I) Not offered in 2005-06.

ANTH B210 Medical Anthropology

An examination of the linkages between culture, society, disease and illness. A wide range and distribution of health-related experiences, discourse, knowledge and practice among different societies and among different positionings within society are considered. Sorcery, witchcraft, herbal remedies, healing rituals, folk illnesses, modern disease, scientific medical perception, clinical technique and epidemiology are examined as diagnoses and therapies embedded within social forms and practices that are culturally informed and anchored in a particular historical moment. Prerequisite: Anthropology 102 or permission of instructor. (Pashigian, Division I; cross-listed as CITY B209) Not offered in 2005-06.

ANTH B212 Primate Evolution and Behavior

An exploration of the aspects of the biology and behavior of living primates as well as the evolutionary history of these close relatives. The major focus of this study is to provide the background upon which human evolution is best understood. (staff, Division I) Not offered in 2005-06.

ANTH B220 Methods and Theory in Archaeology

An examination of techniques and theories archaeologists use to transform archaeological data into statements about patterns of prehistoric cultural behavior, adaptation and culture change. Theory development, hypothesis formulation, gathering of archaeological data and their interpretation and evaluation are discussed and illustrated by examples; theoretical debates current in American archaeology are reviewed; and the place of archaeology in the general field of anthropology is discussed. Prerequisite: Anthropology 101 or permission of instructor. (Davis, Division I) Not offered in 2005-06.

ANTH B223 Anthropology of Dance

(Chakravorty, Division I or III; cross-listed as ARTD B223) Not offered in 2005-06.

ANTH B225 Paleolithic Archaeology

A study of the Paleolithic archaeological record from Europe, Asia and Africa, focusing on the dynamics of cultural evolution; cultural and natural transformations leading to the Neolithic Revolution are also examined. Laboratory work with prehistoric materials is included. Prerequisite: Anthropology 101 or permission of instructor. (Davis, Division I)

ANTH B229 Comparative Urbanism

(McDonogh, Division I; cross-listed as EAST B229 and CITY B229)

ANTH B231 Cultural Profiles in Modern Exile

(Seyhan, Division III; cross-listed as COML B231 and GERM B231)

ANTH B232 Nutritional Anthropology

This course will explore the complex nature of human experiences in satisfying needs for food and nourishment. The approach is biocultural, exploring both the biological basis of human food choices and the cultural context that influences food acquisition and choice. Material covered will primarily be from an evolutionary and cross-cultural perspective. Also included will be a discussion of popular culture in the United States and our current obsession with food, such as dietary fads. (Murphy, Division I)

ANTH B234 Forensic Anthropology

Introduces the forensic subfield of biological anthropology, which applies techniques of osteology and biomechanics to questions of forensic science, with practical applications for criminal justice. Examines the challenges of human skeletal identification and trauma analysis, as well as the broader ethical considerations and implications of the field. Topics will include: human osteology; crime scene investigation; search and recovery of human remains; taphonomy; postmortem interval; trauma analysis; the development and application of innovative and specialized techniques; and the analysis and review of current forensic case studies and media representations. Prerequisite: Anthropology 101 or permission of the instructor. (Murphy, Division I)

ANTH B236 Evolution

(Davis, Gardiner, Saunders, Division II; cross-listed as BIOL B236 and GEOL B236)

ANTH B240 Traditional and Pre-Industrial Technology

An examination of several traditional technologies, including chipped and ground stone, ceramics, textiles, metallurgy (bronze), simple machines and energy production; emphasizing the physical properties of various materials, production processes and cultural contexts both ancient and modern. Weekly laboratory on the production of finished artifacts in the various technologies studied. Prerequisite: permission of instructor. (Davis, Division I) Not offered in 2005-06.

ANTH B242 Urban Fieldwork

(Takenaka, Division I; cross-listed as SOCL B242)

ANTH B246 Women's Narratives on Modern Migrancy, Exile and Diasporas

(Seyhan, Division III; cross-listed as COML B245, GERM B245 and CITY B246) Not offered in 2005-06.

ANTH B249 Asian American Communities

(Takenaka, Division I; cross-listed as CITY B249 and SOCL B249)

ANTH B251 Ethnography of Southeast Asia

An introduction to the social and cultural complexity of Southeast Asia - Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar (Burma), the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam. Classic and contemporary ethnographies explore the diversity and similarities among groups living in the region. Topics include contemporary political developments, cultural practices, ethnicity, gender and nationalism. Prerequisite: introductory course in any social science or permission of instructor. (Pashigian, Division I) Not offered in 2005-06.

ANTH B253 Childhood in the African Experience

An overview of cultural contexts and indigenous literatures concerning the richly varied experience and interpretation of infancy and childhood in selected regions of Africa. Cultural practices such as pregnancy customs, naming ceremonies, puberty rituals, sibling relationships and gender identity are included. Modern concerns such as child abuse, street children and other social problems of recent origin involving children are considered in terms of theoretical approaches current in the social sciences. Prerequisites: anthropology major, any social sciences introductory course, Africana Studies concentration or permission of instructor. (Kilbride, Division I)

ANTH B254 Survey of Western Architecture

(Cast, Hein, Division III; cross-listed as CITY B253, HIST B253 and HART B253) Not offered in 2005-06.

ANTH B258 Immigrant Experiences

(Takenaka, Division I; cross-listed as SOCL B246)

ANTH B262 South Asian Ethnography

Recent anthropological work on South Asia has been motivated by a concern for issues of ethnographic representation and a heightened awareness of the relationship between power, whether colonial or state power, and the production of knowledge. This stems from historiographical discussions that call for a critical examination of categories such as "tradition," "modernity," "community" and "nation." This course will focus on the ways in which such critiques have been taken up as inspirations for ethnographic research in contemporary South Asia. Topics may include the legacy of colonialist ideas about tradition and modernity or the constructions of gender, community and nation. (Weidman, Division I)

ANTH B267 The Development of the Modern Japanese Nation

(Takenaka, Division I; cross-listed as EAST B267 and SOCL B267)

ANTH B270 Geoarchaeology

(cross-listed as ARCH B270 and GEOL B270)

ANTH B281 Language in Social Context

Studies of language in society have moved from the idea that language reflects social position/identity to the idea that language plays an active role in shaping and negotiating social position, identity and experience. This course will explore the implications of this shift by providing an introduction to the fields of sociolinguistics and linguistic anthropology. We will be particularly concerned with the ways in which language is implicated in the social construction of gender, race, class and cultural/national identity. The course will develop students' skills in the ethnographic analysis of communication through several short ethnographic projects. (Weidman, Division I)

ANTH B286 Cultural Perspectives on Ethnic Identity in the Post Famine Irish Diaspora

Theoretical perspectives on assimilation and the social construction of Irish ethnic identity in response to social exclusion in the United States will be considered. Symbolic expressions of Irish ethnicity such as St. Patrick's Day celebrations will consider race and gender. The colonial model, especially in Africa, is a contrasting case for Irish adjustment there through immigration. Methodologically, the course will highlight a cultural perspective through use of ethnographies, personal biographies and literary products such as novels and films. Prerequisite: introductory course in a social science or permission of instructor. (Kilbride, Division I) Not offered in 2005-06.

ANTH B303 History of Anthropological Theory

A consideration of the history of anthropological theories and the discipline of anthropology as an academic discipline that seeks to understand and explain society and culture as its subjects of study. Several vantage points on the history of anthropological theory are engaged to enact a historically charged anthropology of a disciplinary history. Anthropological theories are considered not only as a series of models, paradigms or orientations, but as configurations of thought, technique, knowledge and power that reflect the changing relationships among societies and cultures of the world. Prerequisite: at least one additional anthropology course at the 200 or 300 level. (Kilbride, Division I)

ANTH B312 Anthropology of Reproduction

An examination of social and cultural constructions of reproduction, and how power in everyday life shapes reproductive behavior and its meaning in Western and non-Western cultures. The influence of competing interests within households, communities, states and institutions on reproduction is considered. Prerequisite: at least one 200-level ethnographic area course or permission of instructor. (Pashigian, Division I) Not offered in 2005-06.

ANTH B327 American Colonial History: Conquest Colonization and Conversion

(Gallup-Diaz; cross-listed as HIST B327) Not offered in 2005-06.

ANTH B333 Anthropological Demography

Anthropological demography examines human population structure and dynamics through the understanding of birth, death and migration processes. It includes study of the individual's life history. Population dynamics in small- and large-scale societies, the history of human populations and policy implications of demographic processes in the developed and developing world will be discussed through a cross-cultural perspective. (Davis, Division I)

ANTH B335 Elite and Popular Culture

(McDonogh, Division I; cross-listed as CITY B335) Not offered in 2005-06.

ANTH B336 Evolutionary Biology: Advanced Topics

(Gardiner, Saunders, Murphy; cross-listed as BIOL B336 and GEOL B336) Not offered in 2005-06.

ANTH B341 Cultural Perspectives on Sexuality, Marriage and the Family

This course considers various theoretical perspectives that inform our understanding of cross-cultural constructions of sexuality, marriage and the family. Sociobiology, deviance, feminism, social constructionism and cultural evolutionary approaches will be compared using primarily anthropological-ethnographic case examples. Applications will emphasize current U.S. socially contested categories such as AIDS, plural marriage, gender diversity, divorce and rape. Prerequisites: any history, biology or social science major. (Kilbride, Division I) Not offered in 2005-06.

ANTH B359 Topics in Urban Culture and Society

(Hein, Division I or III; cross-listed as GERM B321, CITY B360 and HART B359) Not offered in 2005-06.

ANTH B397 Senior Seminar in Environmental Studies

(staff; cross-listed as BIOL B397, GEOL B397 and CITY B397)

ANTH B398, B399 Senior Conference The topic of each seminar is determined in advance in discussion with seniors. Sections normally run through the entire year and have an emphasis on empirical research techniques and analysis of original material. Class discussions of work in progress and oral and written presentations of the analysis and results of research are important. A senior's thesis is the most significant writing experience in the seminar. (Davis, Kilbride, Weidman, Division I)

ANTH B403 Supervised Work Independent work is usually open to junior and senior majors who wish to work in a special area under the supervision of a member of the faculty and is subject to faculty time and interest. (staff)  

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