ANTH 1010 Introduction to Anthropology
This is a broad introductory course covering race, language, and culture, both as intellectual concepts and as political realities. Topics include race and culture as explanations of human affairs, the relationship of language to thought, cultural diversity and cultural relativity, and cultural approaches to current crises.
ANTH 3010 Theory and History of Anthropology
This course is designed for students who are majoring in anthropology. It presents a broad historical outline of major theoretical approaches in the field, from the late 19th century to the present. These approaches will be examined in relation to both evolving debates within the discipline, and the larger historical, cultural and intellectual contexts in which they were produced, and which they to some degree reflect; we will also discuss the enduring relevance of these theories. The course stresses close reading of primary texts and emphasizes in particular the critical analysis of these texts' arguments. The discussion section is obligatory. This is a required course for anthropology majors. (3.0 Units)
ANTH 3020 Using Anthropology
The theoretical, methodological and ethical practice of an engaged anthropology is the subject of this course, We begin with a history of applied anthropology. We then examine case studies that demonstrate the unique practices of contemporary sociocultural, linguistic, archaeological and bioanthropological anthropology in the areas of policy and civic engagement.
ANTH 2040 Tell Me Who You Are: Ethnographic Interviewing and Participatory Research
How can we deepen our understanding of other people and their experience? This course introduces the research method of ethnographic interviewing and participatory field research, which is valued in public health, development, marketing, user experience design, activism, education, and scholarship. Students gain practical experience conducting independent ethnographic research about student life and presenting the results in a public blog.
ANTH 2060 Comparing World Racisms
What can we learn about racism by comparing the forms it takes in different parts of the world? In this course we will compare anti-Black, anti-Indigenous, and other racisms in a selection of the following places and times: Brazil, Japan, Germany, South Africa, Rwanda, Israel/Palestine, China, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Canada, and the U.S.
ANTH 2120 The Concept of Culture
Culture is the central concept that anthropologists use to understand the striking differences among human societies and how people organize the meaningful parts of their lives. In this course we explore this diversity, examine its basis in neuroplasticity and human development, and consider its implications for human nature, cognition, creativity, and identity. By learning about other cultures, we gain new understanding of ourselves.
ANTH 2190 Desire and World Economics
This course offers an insight into the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services practiced by peoples ignored or unknown to classic Western economics. Its principle focus will open upon the obvious differences between cultural concepts of the self and the very notion of its desire. Such arguments as those which theorize on the "rationality" of the market and the "naturalness" of competition will be debunked. (3.0 Units)
ANTH 2210 Marriage and Family
This course compares domestic groups in Western and non-Western societies. Considers the kinds of sexual unions legitimized in different cultures, patterns of childrearing, causes and effects of divorce, and the changing relations between the family and society. (3.0 Units)
ANTH 2280 Medical Anthropology
Medical Anthropology is a growing and important new subfield within general anthropology. Medical Anthropology compares different cultures' ideas about illness and curing. Although disease is a concept referring to a pathological condition of the body in which functioning is disturbed, illness is a cultural concept: a condition marked by deviation from what is considered a normal, healthy state. Treatment of illness in Western industrial societies focuses on curing specific diseased organs or controlling a specific virus. In many so-called "traditional" societies greater emphasis is placed on the social and psychological dimensions of illness. In this course we will learn that different cultures, even in the United States have different ways to talk about illness, and that the American medical community is at times as "culture bound" as anywhere. "Science" does not stand outside culture. (3.0 Units)
ANTH 2285 Saving the World? Anthropology of Development and Humanitarianism
This course explores anthropological writings on development and humanitarianism to better understand the historical context and contemporary practice of these distinct modes of world saving. We will attend to critiques of development and humanitarianism, and will also consider writings by anthropologists who champion the humanitarian project.
ANTH 2291 Global Culture and Public Health
This course is an introduction to the rapidly expanding anthropological subfield of medical anthropology. It explores how social, cultural, economic, and political factors shape experiences of illness and health in a comparative and transnational manner. This course will show students how illness is understood and perceived in different socio-cultural contexts. It will address how notions of the body, practices of care, and socio-political conditions influence illness experiences and health outcomes. By considering biomedicine alongside other cultural medical systems, students will learn that there is more to health and illness than biology. (3.0 Units)
ANTH 2320 Anthropology of Religion
Ritual provides the characteristic approach of anthropology to the comparative study of religion, and the analysis of ritual is anthropology's major contribution to that project. Everywhere ritual permeates social life, yet in no other category of behavior is the exoticness of other cultures more in evidence. This course asks commonsense questions about religion and ritual, and shows how far we have come towards answering them in a century of theorizing. There are no prerequisites for this course, which is designed to be accessible to those with no background in anthropology. (3.0 Units)
ANTH 2325 Anthropology of God
How does the study of society and culture create an intellectual space for any explanation and experience of the Divine? How does anthropology deal specifically with explaining (rather than the explaining away) knowledge and understanding about divinity? Is God an American? If God has a gender and race, what are they? These and many other pertinent questions will be engaged and tackled in this cross-cultural study of the divine. (3.0 Units)
ANTH 2340 Anthropology of Birth and Death
Relevant anthropological approaches, studies and perspectives are discussed for understanding crucial human life-cycle events and related issues in today's social life. Comparative social-religious-ritual, bio-cultural, and medical anthropological approaches will be pursued to explicate (a) human reproduction issues, birthing and child-rearing practices; (b) race, caste, gender and aging inequalities; (c) food, nutrition and self-image issues; and (d) qualities of life, dying, death and afterlife issues. (3.0 Units)
ANTH 2365 Art and Anthropology
The course will emphasize art in small-scale (contemporary) societies (sometimes called ethnic art or “primitive art”). It will include a survey of aesthetic productions of major areas throughout the world (Australia, Africa, Oceania, Native America, Meso-America). We will also read about and discuss such issues as art (and architecture) and cultural identity, tourist arts, anonymity, authenticity, the question of universal aesthetic cannons, exhibiting cultures, the difference between the bellas artes and arte popular, and the impact of globalization on these arts. The class will visit the Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection, the Inuit Study Gallery, the Fralin Museum storage facility on Millmont, and the Object Study Gallery at the UVA Art Museum. (The student should also try and travel to Washington D.C. to visit the National Museum of the American Indian and the National Museum of African Art [extra credit possible]. (3.0 Units)
ANTH 2375 Disaster
Sociocultural perspectives on disaster, including analysis of the manufacture of disaster, debates on societal collapse, apocalyptic thought, disaster management discourse, how disasters mobilize affect, disaster movies, and disasters as political allegory. Students work through a series of case studies from different societies that cover “natural,” industrial, and chronic disasters, as well as doomsday scenarios.
ANTH 2620 Sex, Gender, and Culture
Examines the manner in which ideas about sexuality and gender are constructed differently cross-culturally and how these ideas give shape to other social phenomena, relationships, and practices.
ANTH 2625 Imagining Africa
Africa is commonly imagined in the West as an unproblematically bounded and undifferentiated entity. This course engages and moves beyond western traditions of story telling about Africa to explore diverse systems of imagining Africa’s multi-diasporic realities. Imagining Africa is never a matter of pure abstraction, but entangled in material struggles and collective memory, and taking place at diverse and interconnected scales and locales. Prerequisite: ANTH 1010
ANTH 3100 Indigenous Landscapes
This course engages with ways that historical process are inscribed in landscapes, which are the traditional territories of indigenous communities and have also been shaped by colonialism, extractive enterprise, and nature conservation. It challenges students to examine their assumptions to examine ways in which dominant values and stories are inscribed in landscapes and made to appear natural, and how indigenous people contest these processes.
ANTH 3129 Marriage, Mortality, Fertility
This course will explore the ways that culturally formed systems of values and family organization affect population processes in a variety of cultures. Topics to be discussed will include (1) marriage strategies and alternatives, the problem of unbalanced sex ratios at marriageable age, systems of polygamy and polyandry, divorce, widowhood and remarriage; (2) fertility decision making, premodern methods of birth control and spacing, infanticide; (3) disease history, the impact of epidemics and famine, the differential impact of mortality by gender, age, and class, the impact of improved nutrition and modern medicine; (4) migration, regional systems, and variation through time and space in the structure of populations. (3.0 Units)
ANTH 3152 Rainforests of Flesh, Peoples of Spirit
Native Lowland South American people have been portrayed as "animistic", "totemic", "shamanic", "mythologic", "Dreauduan", "slash and burn horticulturalists", "stateless", "gentle", "fierce", and much more. What do these anthropological portraits mean and what do they contribute to the collective body of Western intellectual thought? Is there any relation between such thinking and the experience of being "Indian" in Amazonian societies? Are there any other ways of understanding the Amazonian social experiences? This course addresses these questions through a reading of the ethnography of the region. This course will satisfy the non-western perspectives requirement. (3.0 Units)
ANTH 3320 Shamanism, Healing, and Ritual
The course delves into the sources of shamanism and ritual healing. It provides understanding of their different logic, and therefore why they communicate and heal. The class brings to life the reports and experiences of contemporary non-Western shamanic and healing rituals, maintaining respect for native interpretations in order to understand the effectiveness of their rituals. We will emphasize the human, personal experience of the events as living processes, and will use the in-depth studies of scholars who have become more than academics and who sometimes participate as practitioners of the crafts about which they seek knowledge. The experiencing and practicing of shamanism and healing being the actual life of these crafts, we will learn how to approximate a sense of these rituals by enacting them. A term paper is required, also a book presentation and short papers during the term. (3.0 Units)
ANTH 3240 The Anthropology of Food
This course approaches food from various social science perspectives, focusing on historically and culturally variable forms of food production, exchange, preparation and consumption as the means through which both individual and social bodies are constructed and reproduced. We examine food and the environment; food and colonialism; the globalization of food and food production; food and identities; and food and bodies
ANTH 3275 The Corporation: History, Culture, Capital
What is a corporation? Contrary to wide belief, the corporation is a very ancient social form that arose in diverse world regions and is the heritage of many civilizations. In this course, we explore its history and relation to culture, economics, and law. How has financialization shaped today's major business corporations and theories of corporate social responsibility? How might we improve the corporations of the future?
ANTH 3280 Introduction to Native American Studies: (Mis)Representations
An intro to the broad field of Native Studies, this class focuses on themes of representation and erasure. We read Indigenous scholars and draw from current events, pop culture, and historical narrative to explore complex relationships between historical and contemporary issues that Indigenous peoples face in the US. We examine the foundations of Native representations and their connections to critical issues in Native communities.
ANTH 3290 Biopolitics and the Contemporary Condition
Biopolitical analysis has become one of the prominent critical approaches across the social sciences and humanities. This course will consider various biopolitical theories and the ways in which they help us understand diverse phenomena of our contemporary condition, which will be examined through various case studies.
ANTH 3295 Moral Experience
This course introduces students to one of the key frameworks in anthropology's "ethical turn": moral experience. The investigation of moral experience explores questions of ethics from a phenomenological-hermeneutic perspective and attends closely to subjectivity, affect, and embodiment. We will explore moral experiences such as ethical self-cultivation, empathy, love, hope, breakdown, mood, and moral transformation.
ANTH 3300 Tournaments and Athletes
A cross-cultural study of sport and competitive games. Prerequisite: ANTH 101 or instructor permission.
ANTH 3310 Controversies of Care in Contemporary Africa
In this course we will draw on a series of classic and contemporary works in history and anthropology to come to a better understanding of current debates concerning corruption and patronage, marriage and sexuality, and medicine in Sub-Saharan Africa.
ANTH 3360 The Museum in Modern Culture
Topics include the politics of cultural representation in history, anthropology, and fine arts museums; and the museum as a bureaucratic organization, as an educational institution, and as a nonprofit corporation.
ANTH 3380 The Nature of Nature
This course explores the evolution of Nature as a concept and a human-created realm of reality, particularly in relation to colonialism and globalization. It focuses on environmental politics of diverse people who do not relate to reality as a separate object called Nature. It also addresses the idea that we are living in the Anthropocene, a moment in which humans have become a force of Nature, and Nature perhaps no longer exists.
ANTH 3390 Pregnancy, Birthing and the Post-Partum
There's no debate that human reproduction is a biological universal, but it's also an intensely cultural phenomenon with widely disparate, & often contested, specific cultural routines, symbolic systems, ideas & practices whether focused on mothers, fathers, infants or communities or who is recognized as a birthing expert. Course examines variations in physiological & cultural processes globally & explores both the individual experiences & and systemic patterns associated with the phases of reproduction from pregnancy through to post-partum.
ANTH 3590 Topic in Socio-Cultural Anthropology
Topics to be announced prior to each semester, dealing with socio-cultural anthropology
ANTH 2589 Topics in Archaeology
Topics to be announced prior to each semester, dealing with archaeology.
ANTH 2800 Introduction to Archaeology
This course introduces the history and goals of archaeological research, different theoretical approaches to the study of ancient societies and culture change, and archaeological methods. Alongside this study of archaeological method and theory, we will explore major transformations in human history through archaeological case studies and discoveries from important sites worldwide. The class meets as a lecture on Monday and Wednesday and students take an additional mandatory discussion section. (3.0 Units)
ANTH 2820 The Emergence of States and Cities
Surveys patterns in the development of prehistoric civilizations in different areas of the world including the Inca of Peru, the Maya, the Aztec of Mexico, and the ancient Middle East.
ANTH 2823 The Materiality of Death and Dying
This course will focus on the materiality of death, and the human experience of death and dying. By using archaeological, ethnographic and ethnohistoric investigations, this course will review different theoretical perspectives on the treatment of the deceased in ancient societies, the kinds of data generated from such studies, and their relationship to status, gender, agency and power.
ANTH 3840 Archaeology of the Middle East
We explore the prehistory and early history of the Middle East and Egypt, focusing mainly on the period from ca. 11,000 to 4000 BP. Through both lectures and discussion, we will examine archaeological research and findings on the origins of food production (the domestication of plants and animals), the earliest village communities, the origins of social ranking, the advent of state societies, urbanism and the origins of writing systems. (3.0 Units)
ANTH 3880 African Archaeology
This course surveys transformations in the African past, from the Middle Stone Age emergence of modern humans, to the florescence of lifeways in the Late Stone Age, to the broad mosaic of small-, medium-, and large-scale Iron Age societies, to the archaeology of colonial encounters. We also consider how archaeological methods work to produce knowledge in combination with studies of genetics, climate and environment, and historical methods.
ANTH 2400 Language and Culture
A survey of topics having to do with the relationship between language, culture, and society. We will consider both how language is described and analyzed by linguists and how evidence from language can shed light on a variety of social, cultural, and cognitive phenomena. Topics include: nature of language, origins of language, how languages change, writing systems, use of linguistic evidence to make inferences about prehistory, the effects of linguistic categories on thought and behavior, regional and social variation in language, and cultural rules for communication. Course includes an plus obligatory discussion section. Satisfies the College Non-Western perspectives requirement. (3.0 Units)
ANTH 2405 Your Heritage Language
This course explores the languages spoken with varying degrees of fluency within students' own families and home communities, either at present or in recent generations. The course prepares students to draw upon linguistic diversity as a positive resource in developing their own identities and interacting with others in our multicultural society.
ANTH 2410 Sociolinguistics
Every "single" living language is in practice an unbounded array of linguistic forms, functions, and feelings distributed unequally among speakers. Sociolinguists take such variety and inequality as starting points for investigating language as a crucially social (rather than essentially mental) phenomenon. In this introductory course, we will survey how languages vary through time, across space, and among social groups while also thinking about how times, spaces, and social groups are themselves shaped by linguistic variation. No background in linguistics or anthropology is required. (3.0 Units)
ANTH 2415 Language in Human Evolution
Examines the evolution of our capacity for language along with the development of human ways of cooperating in engaged social interaction. Course integrates cognitive, cultural, social, and biological aspects of language in comparative perspective. How is the familiar shape of language today the result of evolutionary and developmental processes involving the form, function, meaning and use of signs and symbols in social ecologies?
ANTH 2420 Language and Gender
In many societies, differences in pronunciation, vocabulary choice, and/or communicative style serve as social markers of gender identity and differentiation. We will compare gender differences in our own society with those in other societies including non-Western ones. Topics to be addressed include: the relation between gender difference and gender inequality (in scholarly discussion of language as well as in language itself); intersection of gender, race, and social class in language use; gender and non-verbal communication (including representations of gender in advertising and the media); issues of nature vs. nurture in explaining these differences. Requirements will include one or two papers based on fieldwork conducted jointly with a working group, participation in the required discussion section, and a take-home essay question exam focusing on the course readings and lectures. (3.0 Units)
ANTH 2430 Languages of the World
An introduction to the study of language relationships and linguistic structures. Topics covered the basic elements of grammatical description; genetic, areal, and typological relationships among languages; a survey of the world’s major language groupings and the notable structures and grammatical categories they exhibit; and the issue of language endangerment. Prerequisite: One year of a foreign language or permission of instructor.
ANTH 2470 Reflections of Exile: Jewish Languages and their Communities
Covers Jewish languages Yiddish, Judeo-Arabic, Ladino, and Hebrew from historical, linguistic, and literary perspectives Explores the relations between communities and languages, the nature of diaspora, and the death and revival of languages. No prior knowledge of these languages is required. (3.0 Units)
ANTH 2541 Topics in Linguistics
Topics to be announced prior to each semester, dealing with linguistics
ANTH 3440 Language and Emotion
This course explores emotion from the perspectives of cultural anthropology and sociolinguistics. Topics include: emotion in the natural vs. social sciences; cross-cultural conceptions of emotion; historical change in emotion discourses; emotion as a theory of the self; the grammatical encoding of emotion in language; (mis-) communication of emotion; and emotion in the construction of racialized and gendered identities.
ANTH 3450 Native American Languages
Introduces the native languages of North America and the methods that linguists and anthropologists use to record and analyze them. Examines the use of grammars, texts and dictionaries of individual languages and affords insight into the diversity among the languages.
ANTH 3480 Language and Prehistory
This course covers the basic principles of diachronic linguistics - the study of how languages change over time - and discusses the uses of linguistic data in the reconstruction of prehistory. We will consider the use of linguistic evidence in tracing prehistoric population movements, in demonstrating contact among prehistoric groups, and in the reconstruction of daily life. To the extent that the literature permits, examples and case studies will be drawn from the Mayan language area of Central America, and will include discussion of the pre-Columbian Mayan writing system and its ongoing decipherment. This course fulfills the linguistics distribution requirement for Anthropology majors and for Cognitive Science majors. It also fulfills the comparative-historical requirement for Linguistics majors. (3.0 Units)
ANTH 3490 Language and Thought
There is almost always more than one way to think about any problem. But could speaking a particular language make some strategies and solutions seem more natural than others to individuals? Can we learn about alternative ways of approaching the external world by studying other languages? The classic proposal of linguistic relativity as enunciated by Benjamin Lee Whorf is examined in the light of recent cross-cultural psycholinguistic research. This class fulfills the Linguistics requirement for Anthropology and for Cognitive Science majors. It fulfills the Theory requirement for Linguistics majors. (3.0 Units)
ANTH 3541 Topics in Linguistics
Topics to be announced prior to each semester, dealing with linguistics.
ANTH 4591 Majors seminar
The majors seminars in anthropology offer majors and minors an opportunity to engage deeply with a topic of anthropological concern. Through these courses anthropology students gain experience in doing an independent research project on a topic they care about and produce a significant paper or other major work. Enrollment for majors and minors is preferred.