Anthropology

Kenneth Tucker, Chair

Michelle Pietras, Academic Department Coordinator


102 Porter Hall
413-538-2283
https://www.mtholyoke.edu/acad/anthropology

Overview and Contact Information

Anthropology at Mount Holyoke College is devoted to the study of human cultural diversity through time and around the world. The approach is cross-cultural, the perspective non-ethnocentric. The analytic tools will help students make sense of the human condition no matter how familiar or foreign it may seem. Our courses are designed to expose students to a variety of cultures and introduce them to the different topics, theories, and methods of the discipline of anthropology.

Faculty

This area of study is administered by the Anthropology faculty:

Andrew Lass, Professor of Anthropology on the Ford Foundation

Lynn Morgan, Mary E. Woolley Professor of Anthropology

Joshua Roth, Professor of Anthropology

Elif Babül, Assistant Professor of Anthropology

Matthew Watson, Assistant Professor of Anthropology

Felicity Aulino, Five College Assistant Professor of Anthropology

Elizabeth Klarich, Five College Assistant Professor of Anthropology

William Girard, Visiting Lecturer in Anthropology

Requirements for the Major

A minimum of 32 credits:

ANTHR-105Introduction to Cultural Anthropology 4
ANTHR-235Development of Anthropological Thought 4
or SOCI-223 Development of Social Thought
ANTHR-275Research Methods in Cultural Anthropology 4
ANTHR-350Issues in Contemporary Anthropological Theory 4
One area course in anthropology4
Alternatively, the cultural area requirement can be fulfilled through: approved study abroad, or foreign language through two semesters at the intermediate level, or an area course in another discipline 1
4 additional credits in Anthropology 24
8 additional credits at the 300 level8
Total Credits32
1

Discuss your plan in advance with your advisor to be sure it will satisfy the cultural area requirement. These alternative methods of satisfying the cultural area requirement will not count toward the 32 credits required for the major.

2

If you have fulfilled the cultural area requirement by taking an area course in anthropology, you would only need 4 additional credits. If not, you will need 8.

Additional Specifications

  •  ANTHR-295 or ANTHR-395 do not count toward the requirements of courses in the major at the 200 and 300 level.

Requirements for the Minor

A minimum of 20 credits:

ANTHR-105Introduction to Cultural Anthropology 4
4 credits at the 300 level 14
12 additional credits above the 100 level12
Total Credits20
1

Cannot be fulfilled by ANTHR-395

Course Offerings

ANTHR-105 Introduction to Cultural Anthropology

Fall and Spring. Credits: 4

Introduces the analysis of cultural diversity, including concepts, methods, and purposes in interpreting social, economic, political, and belief systems found in human societies.

Applies to requirement(s): Social Sciences; Multicultural Perspectives
E. Babül, W. Girard, L. Morgan, J. Roth, M. Watson, The department
Restrictions: This course is limited to first years, sophomores and juniors

ANTHR-204 Anthropology of Modern Japan

Not Scheduled for This Year. Credits: 4

Since the mid-nineteenth century, Americans have viewed Japan as the Orient's most exotic and mysterious recess, alternately enticing and frightening in its difference. Intense economic relations and cultural exchange between Japan and the U.S. have not dispelled the image of Japanese society and culture as fundamentally different from our own. In this course, we will strive for greater understanding of shared experiences as well as historical particularities. Issues covered may vary from one semester to another, but frequently focus on work, women, minorities, and popular culture. Films and anthropological works provide ethnographic examples of some key concepts.

Applies to requirement(s): Social Sciences; Multicultural Perspectives
J. Roth

ANTHR-212 Shopping and Swapping: Cultures of Consumption and Exchange

Spring. Credits: 4

We shop for our food, for our clothes, for our colleges. We purchase cars, manicures, and vacations. It seems that there is little that cannot be bought or sold. But we also give and receive gifts, exchange favors, 'go dutch' in restaurants, and invite friends for potlucks. This course examines exchange systems cross-culturally, in order to understand their cultural significance and social consequences. It explores how our own commodity exchange system, which appears to be no more than an efficient means of distributing goods and services, in fact contains intriguing symbolic dimensions similar to the gift exchange systems of Native North America, Melanesia, and Africa.

Applies to requirement(s): Social Sciences; Multicultural Perspectives
J. Roth
Prereq: ANTHR-105.

ANTHR-216 Special Topics in Anthropology

ANTHR-216AF Special Topics in Anthropology: 'Archaeology of Food'

Fall. Credits: 4

This course explores the study of ancient foodways with a focus on how and why humans across the globe began to domesticate plant and animal resources approximately 10,000 years ago. The first half of the course presents the types of archaeological data and analytical methods used to study the "agricultural revolution" in a variety of regions. The second half explores a number of themes within the archaeology of food that investigate the relationship between agriculture and sedentism, food and gender, the politics of feasting, and methods for integrating archaeological and ethnographic approaches to the study of food.

Applies to requirement(s): Social Sciences
E. Klarich
Prereq: ANTHR-105.

ANTHR-216CA Special Topics in Anthropology: 'Collecting the Past: Art and Artifacts of the Ancient Americas'

Not Scheduled for This Year. Credits: 4

Early European explorers, modern travelers, collectors, curators, and archaeologists have contributed to the development of ancient Latin American collections in museums across the globe. This course traces the history of these collecting practices and uses recent case studies to demonstrate how museums negotiate--successfully and unsuccessfully--the competing interests of scholars, donors, local communities, and international law. Students will learn how archaeologists study a variety of artifact types within museum collections and will have the opportunity to conduct independent research projects using pre-Columbian pottery collections from the Mount Holyoke Art Museum.

Applies to requirement(s): Social Sciences; Multicultural Perspectives
E. Klarich
Restrictions: Course limited to sophomores, juniors and seniors
Prereq: One course in archaeology, anthropology, history of Latin America, museum studies, or art history.

ANTHR-216HP Special Topics in Anthropology: 'Feminist Health Politics'

Fall. Credits: 4

Health is about bodies, selves and politics. We will explore a series of health topics from feminist perspectives. How do gender, sexuality, class, disability, and age influence the ways in which one perceives and experiences health and the access one has to health information and health care? Are heteronormativity, cissexism, or one's place of living related to one's health status or one's health risk? By paying close attention to the relationships between community-based narratives, activities of health networks and organizations and theory, we will develop a solid understanding of the historical, political and cultural specificities of health issues, practices, services and movements.

Crosslisted as: GNDST-241HP
Applies to requirement(s): Social Sciences
J. Luce
Prereq: 4 credits in gender studies.

ANTHR-216HR Special Topics in Anthropology: 'Anthropology and Human Rights: Between Devil's Advocate and Rights Advocacy'

Fall. Credits: 4

This course explores anthropological approaches to human rights--a key theme of transnational politics and international law. Anthropologists have contributed to discussions on human rights since the UN Declaration and the field has provided a vibrant platform to analyze ideologies, politics, and practices surrounding human rights. We will survey an array of anthropological studies that approach human rights from the perspective of cultural relativism, contextualization, advocacy, and practice. Students will gain a critical perspective on the seemingly universal rhetoric of human rights by learning how it produces diverse effects in places such as Africa, Latin America, and the Middle East.

Applies to requirement(s): Social Sciences
E. Babül
Prereq: ANTHR-105.

ANTHR-216RK Special Topics in Anthropology: 'Risk'

Spring. Credits: 4

People in all societies face uncertainty. Dangers, many of our own making, confront us at every turn - in the form of global warming, market collapses, tainted food, epidemics, and accidents at work and on roads. Terrorist attacks and crime have led to the increased control of urban public spaces. Modern institutions and technologies of risk (probability, insurance, audits, sundry regulation) strive to tame chance, to make it manageable, and even potentially profitable, and have contributed to emergent cultures of risk. In this course, we examine these technologies of risk and associated cultural forms, in relation to other means by which people have dealt with uncertainty in the past.

Applies to requirement(s): Social Sciences
J. Roth
Prereq: ANTHR-105.

ANTHR-220 From Gutenberg to Google

Fall. Credits: 4

The course explores the contemporary scholarship that addresses the role of print literacy and information technology in the history of science, in the formation of identity, and in the development of the postmodern imagination. From the invention of movable print to the 'smart phone' and beyond, how we know the world and ourselves as we engage with it is mediated by technology and by society that introduces this technology and is, in turn, changed by it. What are the real differences, and where lie the continuities between our 'digital' present and the not so distant past?

Applies to requirement(s): Social Sciences
Other Attribute(s): Speaking-Intensive, Writing-Intensive
A. Lass
Restrictions: Course limited to sophomores, juniors and seniors
Prereq: 4 credits in Anthropology.

ANTHR-230 Language in Culture and Society

Fall. Credits: 4

Every society is held together by systems of interpersonal and institutional communication. This course examines the nature of communication codes, including those based on language (speaking and writing) and those based on visual images (art, advertising, television). To understand communication in its social and historical dimensions, we study the psychological and cultural impact of media revolutions and then look at ways communication systems manipulate individual consciousness. Illustrative examples are drawn from Western and non-Western societies.

Applies to requirement(s): Social Sciences; Multicultural Perspectives
M. Watson
Prereq: ANTHR-105.

ANTHR-235 Development of Anthropological Thought

Spring. Credits: 4

This course will review the key issues and paradigm shifts in the development of anthropology from its foundations in classical thought through its emergence as an independent discipline to its coming-of-age in the 1960s. The readings will include works from the American, British, and Continental traditions.

Applies to requirement(s): Social Sciences
Other Attribute(s): Speaking-Intensive, Writing-Intensive
M. Watson
Restrictions: Course limited to sophomores, juniors and seniors
Prereq: 8 credits in Anthropology.

ANTHR-240 Medical Anthropology

Fall. Credits: 4

Biocultural aspects of disease and healing are examined through case studies of nonindustrialized societies, including the relationship between malaria and sickle cell anemia in West Africa and ritual cannibalism, AIDS, and a degenerative nervous-system disorder (kuru) in highland New Guinea. This course surveys the cultural construction of suffering and healing, the medicalization of human social problems, and inequities in the distribution of disease and therapy.

Applies to requirement(s): Social Sciences; Multicultural Perspectives
L. Morgan
Prereq: ANTHR-105.

ANTHR-275 Research Methods in Cultural Anthropology

Spring. Credits: 4

This course examines anthropological fieldwork techniques, including interviewing and participant observation, as well as qualitative approaches to the analysis of cultural data. Topics include cross-cultural field techniques, research design, ethical dilemmas, and the difference between academic and applied research. Research projects are an integral part of this course.

Applies to requirement(s): Meets No Distribution Requirement
Other Attribute(s): Community-Based Learning
E. Babül
Restrictions: This course is limited to Anthropology majors.
Instructor permission required.

ANTHR-295 Independent Study

Fall and Spring. Credits: 1 - 4

The department
Instructor permission required.

ANTHR-306 Anthropology of Reproduction

Spring. Credits: 4

This course covers major issues in the anthropology of reproduction, including the relationship between production and reproduction, the gendered division of labor, the state and reproductive policy, embodied metaphors of procreation and parenthood, fertility control and abortion, crosscultural reproductive ethics, and the social implications of new reproductive technologies. We examine the social construction of reproduction in a variety of cultural contexts.

Crosslisted as: GNDST-333AR
Applies to requirement(s): Social Sciences; Multicultural Perspectives
L. Morgan
Prereq: 8 credits in Anthropology or Gender Studies.

ANTHR-316 Special Topics in Anthropology

ANTHR-316AC Special Topics in Anthropology: 'Anthropology and Social Activism'

Fall. Credits: 4

Margaret Mead once said, "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has." Anthropology has a long history of engagement in social activism and change. This course examines approaches to activist anthropology in light of the discipline's controversial past. How have anthropologists tried to overcome the legacy of involvement in racist, colonial, and imperialist projects? Is it appropriate for anthropologists to become involved in activist endeavors? This class will examine the theoretical, ethical, and political implications of engaging in social activism, with case studies from the ethnographic literature.

Applies to requirement(s): Social Sciences; Multicultural Perspectives
Other Attribute(s): Community-Based Learning
L. Morgan
Prereq: 8 credits in Anthropology department.

ANTHR-316EG Special Topics in Anthropology: 'Eggs and Embryos: Innovations in Reproductive and Genetic Technologies'

Fall. Credits: 4

This seminar will focus on emerging innovations in the development, use and governance of reproductive and genetic technologies (RGTs). How do novel developments at the interface of fertility treatment and biomedical research raise both new and enduring questions about the'naturalness' of procreation, the politics of queer families, the im/possibilities of disabilities, and transnational citizenship? Who has a say in what can be done and for which purposes? We will engage with ethnographic texts, documentaries, policy statements, citizen science activist projects, and social media in order to closely explore the diversity of perspectives in this field.

Crosslisted as: GNDST-333EG
Applies to requirement(s): Social Sciences
J. Luce
Prereq: 8 credits in gender studies or anthropology.

ANTHR-316MC Special Topics in Anthropology: 'Material Culture'

Spring. Credits: 4

This class examines the role of material culture in American life as a historical lens to interpret the values and meanings people assign to things. We will consider the world in which we live as a means to better understand how human behavior both affects and is affected by material culture. All societies articulate with and are, in part, embodied in and informed by material culture. This is especially true of modern American culture with its "embarrassment of riches" and things. In this class, which draws on historical and anthropological method and theory, we will consider various ways in which American and other cultures around the world consciously and unconsciously define themselves by the things--or artifacts--people choose to produce and consume, live in, play in, read, drive, eat, and wear.

Applies to requirement(s): Social Sciences
P. Mangan
Prereq: 8 credits in anthropology.

ANTHR-316ME Special Topics in Anthropology: 'Anthropology of the Political in the Contemporary Middle East'

Spring. Credits: 4

This seminar focuses on anthropological studies of how power - both in its open and hidden forms - manifests itself and shapes everyday life in the contemporary Middle East. It explores how authority is established and contested in various domains including bureaucracy and the state; sexuality and the family; religion and civil society; markets and the media. We will trace how experiences of colonization, imperialism, modernization, nationalism, capitalism, occupation, war and revolt mold the conditions of living for peoples of the Middle East. We will also examine how specific forms of knowledge production attribute coherence to the region, allowing its imagination as an object of intervention in the name of development and security.

Applies to requirement(s): Social Sciences; Multicultural Perspectives
E. Babül
Prereq: 8 Credits in Anthropology.

ANTHR-316PG Special Topics in Anthropology: 'Who's Involved?: Participatory Governance, Emerging Technologies and Feminism'

Not Scheduled for This Year. Credits: 4

Deep brain stimulation, genome sequencing, regenerative medicine...Exploring practices of 'participatory governance' of emerging technologies, we will examine the formal and informal involvement of citizens, patients, health professionals, scientists and policy makers. What initiatives exist at local, national and transnational levels to foster science literacy? How do lived experiences of nationality, ability, class, race, ethnicity, gender and sexuality become visible and/or disappear within constructed frameworks of participatory governance? How can feminist ethnographic research and feminist theory contribute to a larger project of democratizing knowledge production and governance?

Crosslisted as: GNDST-333PG
Applies to requirement(s): Social Sciences
J. Luce
Prereq: 8 credits in gender studies or anthropology.

ANTHR-316RN Special Topics in Anthropology: 'Race / Nation / Gender: Feminist Studies of Scientific, Medical and 'Patient' Mobility'

Not Scheduled for This Year. Credits: 4

This seminar explores the potentially novel entanglements of 'race', 'nation' and 'gender' through the increasing transnationalization of scientific and medical practices, the mobility of practitioners and consumers, and the mobilization of scientific and medical knowledge by individuals and communities, as well as governmental and civil society organizations. We will engage with the multiple tensions in feminist research on topics such as diversity, population and medical genomics, and reproductive and medical tourism as the multiple and shifting identities of experts and 'lay' individuals call attention to the power and problematics of scientific, medical and patient 'diasporas'.

Crosslisted as: GNDST-333RN
Applies to requirement(s): Social Sciences
J. Luce
Prereq: 8 credits in gender studies or anthropology.

ANTHR-316WC Special Topics in Anthropology: 'Writing Capitalism's Ruins'

Fall. Credits: 4

There's a low buzz; we feel nervous. Is this capitalism's end? Have zombie silhouettes hit the horizon yet? Keep checking. Anthropology narrates collective feelings, gives form to the ambience. But what's the ambience of late industrialism; what's it feel like to collapse? As we watch factory buildings crumble, we wonder whether the tap water's clean. The question of how to write the world (anthropologically-speaking) must also be a question of how to survive, thrive, and even flourish. Archaeologists have long explored decadence, collapse, and ruins. Cultural anthropologists now find themselves in the archaeologists' shoes. Drawing from archaeology, cultural anthropology, ecology, and literary theory, this course will be an open-ended, writing-oriented examination of contemporary experiences of ruins and ruination. One area of focus is the effects of capitalism and post-industrialism on people of color and non-English speakers in North America.

Applies to requirement(s): Social Sciences; Multicultural Perspectives
M. Watson
Prereq: ANTHR-105.

ANTHR-350 Issues in Contemporary Anthropological Theory

Fall. Credits: 4

This course offers an appraisal of the core questions and theoretical frameworks of the past two decades. It covers the relationship of fieldwork to theory building, new trends in anthropological analysis, and critical examinations of the uses and abuses of anthropological data.

Applies to requirement(s): Social Sciences; Multicultural Perspectives
Other Attribute(s): Speaking-Intensive, Writing-Intensive
A. Lass
Restrictions: This course is limited to seniors.
Prereq: 8 credits from the Anthropology department.

ANTHR-395 Independent Study

Fall and Spring. Credits: 1 - 8

The department
Instructor permission required.