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Department of Anthropology

C12 Cooper
(585) 395-2682

Chair and Associate Professor: LouAnn Wurst, PhD, SUNY Binghamton; 2007-2008 Presidential Fellow: Dr. Carl Davila, PhD, Yale University; Professor: Douglas A. Feldman, PhD, SUNY Stony Brook; Associate Professor: Charles R. Edwards, PhD, SUNY Buff alo; Assistant Professor: Pilapa Esara, PhD, Brown University.

What is Anthropology?

Anthropology is the systematic study of humans. Its primary concerns are to:

  • understand the origins of human behavior and culture over 60 million years of primate evolution and six million years of human evolution;
  • explain the diversity of adaptive strategies, ways of life and value systems developed by humans as they confront the world’s diverse natural, social and artificial environments; and
  • put this understanding to practical use in analyzing and solving modern societal problems.

Career Options

The anthropology major and minor provide excellent preparation for postgraduate training and/or careers in applied anthropology, museum work, public and contractual archaeology, education, forensic science, law, health/medicine, international business, marketing, human services, tourism and other fields that require an understanding of human diversity and human adaptability.

Programs and Courses

The program in anthropology at SUNY Brockport is geared toward a core of motivated majors and minors. It stresses interaction between students and faculty; hands-on laboratory, field and career experience; training in research methodology; and mastery of analytical and communication skills. The anthropology major offers two options, one with 37 credits and one with 43 credits. The department also offers an 18-credit general minor. Courses cover four areas:

  1. Physical (biological) anthropology: reconstructing human and primate evolution, and understanding contemporary human adaptation;
  2. Archaeology: studying culture through material remains with the aim of ordering and describing the events of the past and explaining the meaning of those events;
  3. Cultural anthropology: understanding cultural diversity and contemporary sociocultural processes; and
  4. Applied anthropology: putting these perspectives to work in identifying, analyzing and solving contemporary human societal problems in fields such as medicine, international development, preservation of cultural and environmental resources, and human services.

Major in Anthropology

The Department of Anthropology offers a major that gives students an opportunity to choose between two options depending on their curricular and career needs. Details of the two options are described below.

Major Requirements

Option I. Liberal Arts Anthropology Option (37 credits):

The Liberal Arts Anthropology Option is a traditional stand-alone major for students who are interested in anthropology but who will probably not enter anthropology as a career, per se. Such students might include those with another major outside of anthropology or students in pre-professional programs such as pre-law, pre-medical, elementary and secondary education certification.Option I provides students with a broad perspective on anthropology by including within it courses in each of three sub-disciplines (socio/cultural anthropology, physical/biological anthropology and archaeology).

Option I Major Requirements:(37 credits) Credits
A. Introductory courses:
  ANT 100 Introduction to Cultural Anthropology 3
  ANT 110 Introduction to Archaeology 3
  ANT 120 Introduction to Human Evolution 3
B. Intermediate core courses:
  ANT 200 Ethnographic Experience 3
  ANT 370 Anthropological Theory 3
  ANT 395 Anthropology and Careers 3
C. Three sub-discipline upper-division courses:
  400 level Physical Anthropology Course 3
  400 level Archaeology Course 3
  400 level Cultural Anthropology Course 3
D. Anthropological methods:
  ANT 394 Research and Methods in Cultural Anthropology 3
E. Additional courses:
  Chosen in consultation with advisor to complete total credits 9
    Total: 37

Option II. Anthropology as a Profession/Pre-graduate School Option
(43 credits)

An expanded major for students who will probably (1) enter the work force directly as practitioner/ applied anthropologists, Cultural Resources Management (CRM) staff, CRM archaeologists, museum staff, Peace Corps volunteers, etc. and/or (2) attend graduate programs in anthropology. This option is founded on the assumption that potential employers and graduate schools seek superior students with a work ethic, research and communication skills, and practical experience they can translate immediately into the job or graduate school. Option II differs from Option I in requiring that students complete an additional collateral course and a senior thesis project. In addition, this option requires that students have a cumulative GPA of 3.25 in anthropology courses in order to register for the Senior Thesis.

Option II Major Requirements:(43 credits) Credits
A. Introductory courses:
  ANT 100 Introduction to Cultural Anthropology 3
  ANT 110 Introduction to Archaeology 3
  ANT 120 Introduction to Human Evolution 3
B. Intermediate core courses:
  ANT 200 Ethnographic Experience 3
  ANT 370 Anthropological Theory 3
  ANT 395 Anthropology and Careers 3
C. Three sub-discipline upper-division courses:
  400 level Physical Anthropology Course 3
  400 level Archaeology Course 3
  400 level Cultural Anthropology Course 3
D. Anthropological methods:
  ANT 394 Research and Methods in Cultural Anthropology 3
E. Senior Thesis:
  ANT 496 Senior Thesis 3
F. Required collateral courses:  
  SOC 200 Social Statistics, PSH 202 Introduction to Statistics for Psychology, or equivalent statistics course 3
G. Additional courses:
  Chosen in consultation with advisor to complete total credits 9
    Total: 43

Strongly recommended for Options I and II:

Courses in foreign language (four semesters), statistics, computer applications, advanced writing, semester-abroad program, internship or co-op (ANT 462 or BCE 322). For students in Option II, courses ancillary to anthropology may be suggested by advisor if these are relevant to career or graduate school goals. For example, anthropology majors intending to pursue careers and/or graduate work in areas such as museum work, physical anthropology, paleontology, archaeology, conservancy/conservation, medicine, and law will be advised to take additional courses in disciplinary areas relevant to their career goals. Majors may increase chances for a successful career by:

  • combining anthropology with a professional or pre-professional program such as teacher certification, pre-law, or pre-medical;
  • minoring in a field that complements anthropology (art, communications, psychology, etc.);
  • developing skills in areas outside of, but relevant to, anthropology, such as computer science, foreign languages, technical writing or advanced composition;
  • completing an internship, field project or service in an area relevant to anthropology; and/ or
  • experiencing another culture through a credit-bearing semester abroad.

Minor Programs in Anthropology

The department offers a general minor for students who have not chosen a career concentration or major, or who simply want a broad exposure to anthropology. The general minor consists of 18 credits in anthropology distributed as follows:

  1. ANT 100;
  2. One of the following: ANT 110 or 120; and
  3. Four electives selected in consultation with the departmental advisor.

Anthropology Courses

ANT 100 Introduction to Cultural Anthropology (A,O,S). Introduces basic concepts of cultural anthropology by relating them to pressing local and worldwide problems. Includes topics such as the relationships between people and their environments; the impact of technological modernization on traditional cultures; and the practical applications of anthropology in cross-cultural communication, health, economic development and ecology. 3 Cr.

ANT 110 Introduction to Archaeology (A,O,S). Provides an overview of the field of anthropological archaeology while emphasizing the relationship between the past and the present. Topics include the history of archaeology, methods and techniques used to recover archaeological data, and an examination of how data are used to understand and interpret human existence in the past, and exploration of particular case studies and important issues in contemporary archaeology. 3 Cr.

ANT 120 Introduction to Human Evolution (A,D,N). Surveys ecological, biological and behavioral processes underlying human evolution and shaping human behavior. Topics include human’s place in the natural world, genetic mechanisms, reconstructing the fossil record, human adaptation and the origins of human culture. 3 Cr.

ANT 200 The Ethnographic Experience (A,S). Prerequisite: ANT 100. Provides an introduction to the study of cultures through selected case studies, or ethnographies. Also provides an in-depth view of specific cultures and the anthropological analysis of them; introduces students to theories and methodologies that frame ethnographic studies, and present a sample of the best in contemporary ethnographic writing. 3 Cr.

ANT 256 Introduction to Forensic Anthropology (A,N). When skeletalized victims of crime, human rights abuses or mass disasters are found, forensic anthropologists help identify victims, reconstruct events surrounding death, and provide legal evidence. Uses case studies from a variety of sources – from the Battle of the Little Big Horn and the Kennedy assassination to the fate of MIAs and the World Trade Center disaster – to examine the biological principles behind forensic anthropology. 3 Cr.

ANT 261 Cross-Cultural Sexuality (A,D,O). Examines human sexuality from a cross-cultural perspective. Reviews the evolution of sex, history of sex research, marriage, incest, sexual practices, gender issues, gender diversity, homosexuality, sexually transmitted diseases, sex industry work, and concepts of physical attractiveness and modesty for Africa, the Middle East, South Asia, East Asia, Oceania, Latin America, the Caribbean, North America and Europe. 3 Cr. ANT 301 Native Americans: Contem

ANT 303 Native American Women (A,I,W). Cross listed as WMS 303. Representations of Native American women generally conform to two stereotypes; the submissive drudge or the Indian princess. Both ignore the complexity and diversity of Native women’s roles in their respective societies. Taught primarily from a Native women’s perspective, this course moves beyond the two-dimensional portrait to engage life experience and social institutions, emphasizing strength and endurance, the complementary nature of traditional gender roles and contemporary strategies for cultural survival. 3 Cr. ANT 307 Gendering the Past (A,I,

ANT 312 Culture and Health (A,I,W). Explores the implications of cultural and ethnic diversity for understanding and dealing with health problems in America and around the globe. Emphasizes the importance of cross-cultural understanding and communication for health care, nutrition, education and cultural change. 3 Cr. Spring

ANT 313 Culture and Disability (A,I,W). Examines “disability” as a cultural construct whose meaning is changing in light of greater public awareness of disability, activism on the part of people labeled as “disabled,” and technological changes. Looks at disability as a reflection of cultural diversity in America, and assesses ways to understand how this diversity can help us maximize all our potentials in a multicultural society. 3 Cr. Fall

ANT 314 Cross Cultural Perspectives on Aging (A,I). Examines cultural factors underlying diverse ways of growing old and living as an aged person; myths and stereotypes about the elderly; theories relevant to age and aging; the impact of gender, class and ethnicity on aging; and issues in the US relevant to aging. 3 Cr.

ANT 315 The Migration Experience: Cultural Perspective (A,I,W). Economic change, war and political upheaval have created an increasing number of voluntary and involuntary migrants in the contemporary world. Using the holistic approach and cultural insight of anthropology, looks at the migration experience and the role of gender within it, from the decision to leave through adaptation and the resettlement. Considers reproductive, household and extra domestic roles and shifting power relations. 3 Cr. Spring

ANT 316 Food and Culture (A,I,W). Because the consumption of food serves our most basic need, explores how food is one of the most culturally elaborated areas of human experience. Also explores the production, preparation and consumption of food as guided by cultural rules and taboos that define social relations, ethnic identity, gender, and class. Examines contemporary issues that center on food, among them food policy, hunger, obesity, sustainable agriculture and the genetic modification of foodstuffs. 3 Cr. ANT 317 Culture and Aids (A,D,I)

ANT 321 Culture Change (A,I,W). Studies modern world cultures and societies in conflict. Gives particular attention to how the economic, political and social interests of major international powers produce conflict and change throughout the developing world. 3 Cr. Spring

ANT 322 Culture and Power (A,I). Explores how powerlessness is experienced by many people in society today. Requires students to study cases from different cultures, develop conceptual frameworks for analyzing them, and then apply principles derived from the case studies to situations where the exercise of power becomes a problem for them as individuals or as members of groups to which they belong. 3 Cr.

ANT 323 Anthropological Perspectives on Global Issues (A,I). Global warming, habitat destruction and species extinction, bioterrorism, nuclear war, nanotechnology, space exploration, Neoconservatives, the religious right, Islamic fundamentalism, Israel and the Palestinians, American hegemony, the rise of China, immigration policy, income inequality, foreign policy, globalization, health disparity, HIV/AIDS, bird flu, and culture change. This course will examine these and other global issues from an anthropological perspective, primarily using the New York Times. 3 Cr.

ANT 330 World Poverty and Underdevelopment (A,I). Investigates the systemic nature of underdevelopment as a process; and its causes and its implications for people in all of the world’s sociocultural systems. Uses a number of issues to examine the systemic nature of underdevelopment. 3 Cr. Fall

ANT 332 China in Transition (A,I). Explores the social, cultural, political and economic changes that have taken place in China in the 20th century. Examines how these changes have affected traditional Chinese society and discusses their continuing impact on social life, cultural values and social behavior in contemporary China. 3 Cr. Every Semester

ANT 335 The Anthropology of Islam: A Dialogue (A). Views of “Islamic society” presented by Western anthropologists often contrast with Islamic social and religious thought. Thematic units contrast western ethnographic works to classical and modern Arabic sources. The main objectives are to familiarize students with the main issues in the study of “Islamic society,” and to help them acquire a broad perspective on the encounter between Islam and the West. 3 Cr.

ANT 363 Witchcraft and Magic (A,D,I,W). Examines anthropological perspectives on the witchcraft phenomenon. Studies witchcraft beliefs and practices in the 16th and 17th centuries from an ethnohistorical perspective and magic practices among non-Western cultures in Asia, Africa, Oceania and Latin America. Provides a cross-cultural comparison of witchcraft beliefs and practices in past and present societies. 3 Cr.

ANT 365 Contemporary Lesbian and Gay Cultures in America (A,D,I,W). Explores the history and emergence of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender cultures in the U.S. from the 1940s to present. Topics include the history of the movement before and after Stonewall; the intersections between sexuality and ethnicity, gender, and social status; and urban/rural/suburban differences in attitudes and approaches within the homosexual rights movement. 3 Cr.

ANT 366 Gender in the Islamic World (A,D,I,W). Covers gender in the Islamic world, and goes “beyond the Veil” and women’s “oppression” to deal with the array of culturally-specific discourses that shape men’s and women’s lives in Islamic cultures. Presents a detailed look at Islamic history to make sense out of gender in the contemporary world. 3 Cr.

ANT 370 Anthropological Theory (A). Prerequisite: ANT 100. Gives students a broad understanding of the major American, British and French theoretical schools and anthropology theorists, including cultural materialism, structural-functionalism, structuralism, postmodernism, gender theory, personality and cultural evaluationary theory, diffusionism, cultural ecology, cultural relativism, and globalization. 3 Cr.

ANT 380 Intermediate Topics in Cultural Anthropology (A). Prerequisite: May or may not have prerequisites. Topic will vary from semester to semester and cover such areas as nutrition, art, religion, the ethnography of specific regions or ethnic groups, etc. 1-6 Cr.

ANT 381 Intermediate Topics in Archaeology (A). Prerequisite: May or may not have prerequisites. Topic will very from semester to semester and may cover such areas as museum studies, the archaeology of specific geographical regions, etc. 1-6 Cr.

ANT 382 Intermediate Topics in Physical Anthropology (A). Prerequisite: May or may not have prerequisites. Topic will very from semester to semester and might include such areas as the human adaptation, primatology, the paleontology of specific geographic regions, etc. 1-6 Cr.

ANT 394 Research Methods in Cultural Anthropology (A). Prerequisite: ANT 100. Provides an introduction to the art and science of field research in cultural anthropology. Provides hands-on experience with selected research techniques and analysis of data. 3 Cr.

ANT 395 Anthropology and Careers (A). Explores career selection directly relevant to the major as well as the application of anthropological training to a broad range of careers. Students explore career possibilities through use of the Career Services Center and other local resources, personal contacts with alumni and others, and guest lectures by practicing anthropologists. Develops skills in curriculum planning, resume writing, job searching. 1 Cr. Fall

ANT 401 Native American Art and Culture (A). Prerequisite: ANT 100 or ARH 201, or instructor’s permission. Native-American visual arts (North of Mexico) viewed within the context of Native American cultures and the frame work of anthropology. Explores Native-American arts by culture areas and their roots, traditional expressions, changes with European contact, and contemporary expressions. 3 Cr. Spring

ANT 405 Applied Anthropology (A). Prerequisite: ANT 100. As a subfield using anthropological perspectives to analyze and provide solutions for societal problems in the US and globally, uses case studies and hands-on projects. Explores the theoretical, practical and ethical implications of applied anthropology. Intended primarily for students who will ultimately address a variety of applied problems in multicultural or non-Western settings. 3 Cr.

ANT 412 Medical Anthropology (A,I,W). Prerequisite: ANT 100. Explores the implications of cultural and ethnic diversity for understanding and dealing with health problems in America and around the globe. Emphasizes the importance of cross-cultural understanding and communication for health care, nutrition, education and cultural change. 3 Cr.

ANT 440 Historical Archaeology (A). Surveys the field of American historical archaeology. Examines the methods and theories for the archaeological investigation of the recent past. Explores the insights gained on particular social issues, such as class, gender, ethnicity, and slavery, where archaeology has played a role. 3 Cr.

ANT 441 Archaeological Analysis (A). Prerequisite: ANT 100 or 442, or instructor’s permission. Presents contemporary laboratory methods used to identify patterns in artifacts and field data recovered from archaeological site surveys and excavations. Students learn to analyze, interpret, manage, and conserve artifacts and field data. 3 Cr. Spring

ANT 442 Field Methods in Archaeology (A). As a field-based course, introduces students to the methods used by archaeologists to collect data in the field. Allows students to participate in an archaeological dig at an actual site off-campus, and perform all the duties involved in that work, with activities including survey mapping, testing, excavation, documenting and recording finds, and processing artifacts in the lab. 1-6 Cr.

ANT 445 Teaching Archaeology in Elementary Schools (A). Explores strategies archaeologists use to collect, process and interpret data. Provides the framework to explore strategies for integrating archaeology as a way of knowing across the elementary curriculum. 3 Cr.

ANT 447 North American Archaeology (A,C). Provides an overview of the history of humans in North America focusing on the United States, from earliest settlement to the recent historical period. Explores recent research on issues such as peopling of the New World, variation in gatherer - hunter adaptation, the development of agriculture, the nature of Chiefdoms, the rise of the state, and modern political aspects of the archaeology of indigenous peoples. 3 Cr.

ANT 450 Primate Behavior and Adaptation (A). Explores the evolution, behavior, and adaptations of living non-human primates, with particular emphasis on (1) field studies of free ranging primates; (2) social and protocultural behavior in primates; and (3) relevance of primates for understanding the roots of animal behavior in general and human behavior in specific. 3 Cr.

ANT 456 Forensic Anthropology (A). Explores how forensic anthropology applies skeletal analysis in a variety of settings from criminal investigation to reconstructing what really happened at the Battle of the Little Bighorn. Uses case studies, laboratory exercises and field simulations to explore the roles and techniques of forensic anthropology. Complements interests in anthropology, criminal justice, pre-law, pre-medical, psychology and biology. 4 Cr.

ANT 461 Anthropology Practicum (B). Prerequisite: departmental approval. Allows qualified anthropology majors or minors to earn credit through internships, cooperative education programs, etc. that involve applying anthropological perspectives in work settings (see also BCE 322 listed above). 1-6 Cr.

ANT 462 Anthropology Internship (A). Prerequisite: departmental approval. Allows students to conduct an internship in an off-campus work setting, nonprofit organization, health or social services setting, museum or zoo. Includes the department’s Cultural Anthropology Intern Program in which students maintain a field journal, meet periodically with a faculty advisor, and write a final report. 3-6 Cr.

ANT 470 Anthropology as a Profession (B). There is a growing demand in the public and private sectors for people with college or postgraduate anthropological training. ANT 470 examines and provides hands on experience in the specific skills and issues related to applying anthropology in the workplace. Topics and course exercises include: Anthropological and workplace ethics, research and institutional project design, grand development and writing, anthropological and institutional writing, selecting and obtaining funding for relevant postgraduate training within and outside of Anthropology. 3 Cr. Fall

ANT 480 Advanced Topics in Cultural Anthropology (A). Similar to ANT 380, except usually has prerequisites or requires instructor’s permission to enroll. 1-6 Cr.

ANT 481 Advanced Topics in Archaeology (A). Similar to ANT 381 except usually has prerequisites or requires instructor’s permission to enroll. 1-6 Cr.

ANT 482 Advanced Topics in Physical Anthropology (A). Similar to ANT 382 except that ANT 482/582 usually has prerequisites or requires instructor’s permission to enroll. 1-6 Cr.

ANT 496 Senior Thesis (A). Prerequisite: departmental approval. Requires students to design, carry out, write and defend a field, laboratory or library research project in collaboration with or under the supervision of an anthropology faculty member. 3 Cr.

ANT 499 Independent Study in Anthropology (A). Established in consultation between student and instructor-sponsor. 1-6 Cr. Every Semester

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Last Updated 10/27/20

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