Offices & Services

Offices: Registrar - Catalog


Division of Social Sciences


Bill Schindler, Chair

Stewart Bruce

Chuck Fithian

Aaron Lampman

Julie Markin

Ken Schweitzer

Elizabeth Seidel

John L. Seidel

Mark Wiest


The anthropology major provides students with the knowledge to understand the complexities of human behavior in the past and present and the practical skills to conduct rigorous research into the environmental and social forces that influence human cultural development across the globe.  The major provides students with multiple perspectives for solving theoretical and practical issues through courses in the subfields of sociocultural anthropology, archaeology, linguistics, and biological anthropology. Students graduate with a broad understanding of human evolution and adaptation, changes in food and technology, the rise of civilizations and urban life, how language shapes worldviews, the diversity of cultural belief systems, and the human consequences of globalization. Trained in data collection and analysis, critical thinking, persuasive writing, and professional presentation, anthropology graduates find employment opportunities in business, national and international government agencies, NGOs, museums, and academia.  Recent graduates have continued postgraduate work in anthropology and have found careers in geospatial intelligence, foreign service, sociocultural data analysis, international health and medicine, cultural tourism, grant writing, political analysis, international education, law, social justice, journalism, and environmental advocacy. We often have assistantships and internships available to students interested in geographic information systems, cultural resource management in archaeology, and historic preservation.  We offer a summer field school in archaeology and educational-experiential programs in Tanzania, Denmark, and the American Southwest, and Cuba.  We also offer an interdisciplinary minor in ethnomusicology with the Music Department.




Core Courses (take all five)

ANT 105          Introduction to Cultural Anthropology

ANT 107          Introduction to Environmental Archaeology

ANT 208          Archaeological Method

ANT 305          Ethnographic Method

ANT 405          Junior Seminar

Foundational Courses (take at least three of the following courses, one at the 200 level, two at the 300 level or above)

ANT 215          Sex, Gender, and Culture

ANT 234          Human Evolution and Biological Anthropology

ANT 300          Language & Culture

ANT 320          Race and Ethnicity

ANT 374          North American Indians

ANT 312          Contemporary Issues in Archaeology

ANT 402          Anthropology of Food

ANT 420          Media and Power


Applied Courses (take at least one)

ANT 210          Intermediate Geographic Information Systems

ANT 282          Experimental Archaeology

ANT 306          Marine Archaeology

ANT 313          Ethnomusicology of Latin America

ANT 415          Cultural Ecology

ANT 474          Historic Preservation and CRM

ANT 294 and ANT 394 Special Topics courses as approved by the Chair


Elective Courses (take at least one)

ANT 104          Introduction to World Music and Ethnomusicology

ANT 137          Cultures and Environments of the Chesapeake

ANT 280          Traditional Ecological Knowledge

ANT 235          Cultures of Latin America

ANT 354          Visual Anthropology

ANT 294 and ANT 394 Special Topics courses as approved by the Chair


Field Application or Practical Learning Courses (take at least one)

CRS 242          Society and Estuary (note CRS 242 is taken as part of the Chesapeake Semester)

ANT 394          Cultures and Environments of the Southwest

ANT 396          Archaeology Field and Laboratory Methods

ANT 321          Cuba Music and Culture

ANT 394          Interpreting the Past

ANT 394          Tanzania Seminar

Semester-long study abroad

Other courses as approved by the Chair


The Senior Capstone Experience

The Senior Capstone Experience integrates the theoretical knowledge and practical skills that students have acquired throughout their undergraduate years, not only within the major, but also across the liberal arts and sciences. The Capstone Experience is an independent research project, on an anthropological topic of the student’s choosing, undertaken with the close guidance of a faculty thesis advisor. Thesis proposals are typically developed during the spring of the third year in the Anthropology Seminar. Course credit for this senior thesis project is awarded through registration, in the fall or spring semester of the senior year, for ANT SCE.



Six courses, including Anthropology 105, 107, and either 208 or 305, plus three additional anthropology courses (CRS 242 may count as an Anthropology elective). 


The Distribution Requirement in Social Science

May be satisfied by taking ANT 105 and ANT 107.

To satisfy the requirement of a third (unpaired) course for social science distribution, students may take Anthropology 105 or Anthropology 107.



Using music as an entry into a variety of cultures, social classes, and populations, the ethnomusicology minor offers a unique opportunity for students interested in both anthropology and music. Ethnomusicologists take a global, interdisciplinary approach to the study of music and seek to understand music as a social practice, viewing music as a human activity that is shaped by its cultural context. Students who study ethnomusicology have a global outlook, are critical thinkers, and are better able to appreciate the cultural and aesthetic diversity of the world and communicate in ways that are ethically sensitive. 


The minor in ethnomusicology is 23 credits and is open to students in all subject areas, including anthropology, and there is no expectation that you have prior experience as a musician.  None of the 4-credit classroom courses in the minor presume an ability to read music notation, and the required 1-credit ensembles can be taken in subjects that do not assume prior ability to read music.  To ensure that anthropology students take this opportunity to expand their knowledge in a supplemental area, anthropology majors who minor in ethnomusicology will have to observe the following guidelines:  (1) they may only double count 2 courses between the ANT major and the Ethnomusicology minor, and (2) at least 2 of the electives must have a MUS designation.  Students will not be permitted to minor in both anthropology and ethnomusicology simultaneously.  For more information and a full list of requirements, see the catalog entry ETHNOMUSICOLOGY.


Courses In Anthropology

ANT 105. Introduction to Anthropology

The study of human diversity with emphasis on cultural anthropology. Topics include the anthropological perspective, resources of culture, organization of material life, systems of relationships and global forms of inequality. The course examines how anthropologists apply their skills to solve contemporary human social problems. Basic ethnographic interviewing skills. Introduction to ethnography.


ANT 107. Introduction to Environmental Archaeology

Exploration of the variety of past human societies and cultures through archaeology, with an emphasis upon the interplay between environment and culture. The course covers a wide time span, from the biological evolution of hominids and the origins of culture to the development of complex civilizations and the more recent historical past.


ANT 109. Introduction to Geographic Information Systems

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) can be found throughout our modern society. Programs such as MapQuest and Google Earth have brought this technology into the lives of many citizens of our world. More advanced software systems such as ArcGIS are being used in academia, business, and government to manage large datasets of spatially-linked information and provide the users with powerful analytic tools. The course lectures will review the fundamental theories of GIS and will also focus on the various organizational and ethical issues that impact the implementation and sustainability of GIS in our society. The lab portion of the course will teach the student how to operate the ArcGIS ArcView Desktop software product. Objectives for both the course lecture and lab section have been listed below. Introduction to GIS will be taught as a blended course, which means that online content will be used to supplement the course. The online content will not replace the traditional lecture and lab components of the course, but is instead meant to enhance the content, and allow for materials to be available outside of class time. Content will be reviewed prior to attending class, which will provide time for discussion, clarification, and problem solving during class time. All course materials along with lab assignments, quizzes, and exams will be managed in our innovative Moodle virtual learning environment. There will be little paper handed out or turned in during this class. You will receive a special user name and password to access Moodle.


ANT 137. Cultures and Environments of the Chesapeake

An examination of prehistoric and historic societies in the Chesapeake Region. Archaeological, historical, and environmental evidence is used to understand cultural development and the relationships between people and their environment. Topics include the arrival of humans in the region, Native American groups, colonial settlement in the Tidewater, and the 19th Century. (Also ENV 237)


ANT 194. Introductory Topics in Anthropology

Topics vary.


ANT 208. Archaeological Method

An examination of the methods of archaeology and theoretical perspectives. Course topics include research design, site surveys, remote sending technology, excavation techniques, dating methods, the analysis of material culture, and theory building. Students will be involved in exploration and research using the wide variety of resources available in the region, including local excavations, local and regional archives, and museum collections. Prerequisite: Anthropology 107.


ANT 210. Intermediate Geographic Information Systems

This second course in geographic information systems builds upon the theories discussed in Introduction to Geographic Information Systems, and focuses on the more technical aspects of GIS. Laboratory activities teach the student to use more advanced functions of GIS software, and the fundamentals of advanced GIS analysis and display programs. The student will also learn to operate a precision GPS field data collector. Prerequisite: Anthropology 109.


ANT 215. Sex, Gender, and Culture

The study of the biological differences of sex in relationship to the cultural construction of gender. The importance of modes of production and ideology in forming gender concepts for all human societies. Cross-cultural issues of gender identity, roles, relationships, and equality or inequality. Prerequisite: Anthropology 105.


ANT 234. Human Evolution and Biological Anthropology

This course will utilize a holistic approach to explore the evolution of the human species. Students will learn the basics of evolutionary theory, biology, and fossil and archaeological evidence through lectures, discussion, readings, videos and hands-on learning. This course is divided into three main sections titled: (a) how evolution works, (b) the history of the human lineage, and (c) evolution, technology, and modern humans.


ANT 235. Cultures of Latin America

Prehistory of the Americas and survey of indigenous cultures in Latin America today (Mesoamerica, the Andean countries and the Amazonian countries). Introduction to environmental anthropology and applications to environmental issues. Prerequisite: Anthropology 105 or permission of the instructor. Interested students who have a background in history, political science, Spanish or international studies are encouraged to seek the instructors permission.


ANT 280. Traditional Ecological Knowledge

This course introduces students to the anthropological study of indigenous peoples and how they respond to the forces of globalization.  Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) refers to the knowledge base acquired by indigenous and local peoples over many hundreds of years through direct contact with the environment. It includes nomenclature, classification, beliefs, rituals, technology, environmental management strategies and worldviews—all of which have helped shape environments for millennia. This course explores these different forms of knowledge and poses a series of questions about their importance and use, such as: How is globalization affecting TEK?  Who possesses TEK? Who “owns” TEK? Should the owners of TEK be compensated for their knowledge? Does TEK promote sustainability? Can nation-states utilize TEK? What are the impacts on indigenous groups when TEK is “promoted”? How can traditional knowledge of the natural world be responsibly and ethically collected, studied and applied in modern medicine and global commerce?  


ANT 282.  Primitive Technology and Experimental Archaeology

Students in this course are exposed to the field of experimental archaeology and gain an appreciation for the valuable contribution it can make to our understanding of the past.  Students will explore various primitive technologies utilized throughout prehistory.  These technologies were not only crucial to the survival of our ancestors but also played an important role in the development of culture.  A holistic, project based learning approach will be utilized during the semester, which includes lectures, discussions, reading, hands-on learning, self-reflection, and group work. Prerequisite or Corequisite: Anthropology 107, or permission of instructor.


ANT 294. Special Topics in Anthropology

Contents vary. Prerequisite: Anthropology 105 or 107, or permission of instructor.


ANT 296. Archaeological Field School

An introduction to archaeological fieldwork methods and to the theoretical concerns of anthropological archaeology. includes participation in archaeological survey and excavation as well as lectures, readings, and writing assignments. It typically is a six-week summer program, with a minimum obligation of 20 hours per week. Prerequisites: Anthropology 105, Anthropology 107 or History 201; or permission of instructor. May be repeated once for credit.


ANT 300. Language and Culture

This course will introduce the student to the study of linguistics. Concepts of both historical and descriptive linguistics are included. Some of the areas of study are: linguistic history and methodology, language origin, language and society, language structure, dialects and language families. The course is open to all students.


ANT 305. Ethnographic Method

Introduction to cultural anthropological field methods and the writing of ethnographies. Students practice skills of observation, participation, reflection, mapping, selection of informants, ethnographic interviewing, analysis, proposal writing, and ethnographic writing. Each student researches a cultural scene in the Chesapeake region and writes an ethnography. Prerequisite: Anthropology 105.


ANT 306. Marine Archaeology

Introduction to underwater archaeology. Gives students an overview of the history and methods of the field. In addition to class activities, students will be involved in practical exercises such as mapping and data analysis; field trips, including remote sensing work on the College’s workboat and visits to historic vessels; and outside lectures on marine history and archaeology. A basic understanding of archaeological method and theory is useful for the course. Prerequisite: previous archaeological coursework or permission of instructor.


ANT 312.  Contemporary Issues in Archaeology

In the absence of written records, archaeology plays a critical role in answering questions about how past peoples interacted (trade, warfare) and were organized socially and politically (gender, elites, priests).  However, reconstructing past lifeways based on material remains poses unique problems.  Through class discussions and independent research, students will explore current technical and ethical issues.  Topics include the assessment of gender and children; the utility of remote sensing techniques; collaboration between archaeologists and indigenous groups; the ethics of museum display; and the illicit antiquities trade.  Prerequisite: Anthropology 107.


ANT 320. Race and Ethnicity

The dangers of using the concept “race.” Focus on the cultural construction of ethnic, racial, and national identities in the contexts of immigration, colonialism, nationalism, and globalization. Symbols of ethnic identity, stereotyping, style, tactics of choice, situational ethnicity. Prerequisite: Anthropology 105.


ANT 354. Visual Anthropology

The goal of visual anthropology is to immerse students in the study and production of ethnographic media and documentary film. We will begin by exploring the varied genres of historical anthropological documentary which range from salvage ethnography to ethnofiction and include more recent attempts to empower cultures by encouraging them to visually capture their own unique social, political and expressive worldviews. We will also examine and critique other cultural forms of visual media ranging from film and photography to petroglyphs and tattoos. Once we have an understanding of the varied approaches to media production, students will engage in the creative process of developing an idea for an ethnographic film, storyboarding, shooting film, and editing complete ethnographic documentaries. Prerequisite: Anthropology 105


ANT 374. North American Indians

Although pre-Columbian North America did not see the rising and falling of states that unified people through a single language or economy, it is extraordinarily rich in histories. The archaeology of North America aims to understand the diversity of histories lived by peoples from the Atlantic to Alaska, from the Plains to the Bayou, from nomadic hunting and gathering groups to large-scale horticulturalists. We will explore the human experience on the continent north of Mexico from the first footsteps on the continent to the impact of European contact to the relationship between archaeologists and American Indians today. By the end of this course, you will have an understanding of the history of archaeology in North America and the diverse prehistoric Native American cultures. You will have a good handle on the issues faced by and methods utilized in reconstructing past settlement patterns, subsistence strategies, religious practices and social and political organization.


ANT 394, 494. Special Topics in Anthropology

Contents vary. Prerequisite: two prior anthropology courses.


ANT 402. Anthropology of Food

The manner in which we select, prepare, and consume food is based upon culturally transmitted notions of taste, nutrition, social regulations, and religious meaning. The meaning of food is closely aligned with all aspects of our culture and the food choices we make are linked to our identity. This course will use food, and the many ways in which people utilize food for nutritional and cultural purposes, to better understand different societies throughout time and place. Armed with a grounding in anthropological theory and informed through an understanding of the prehistory and history of foodways, students will learn to contextualize modern food systems throughout the world. Then, through hands-on, project-based learning students will build upon what they learned from other cultures through time to explore many of the healthy and sustainable alternatives to the modern western diet. Prerequisite: Anthropology 107


ANT 405. Seminar in Anthropology

Discussion of significant contemporary issues in anthropology. Application of anthropology to ethical issues and careers. Familiarity with professional literature and professional style guides. Research design and location and assessment of source materials. Grant writing and research. Exploration of careers and higher studies in anthropology. Required course for anthropology majors and minors. Should be taken in the spring semester of junior year.


ANT 415. Cultural Ecology

This course focuses on the human-environment relationship and the state of world ecosystems resulting from this interaction across space and time. The course is focused on four paradigms central to the anthropological understanding of the human-environment relation. The first focuses on fundamental human-ecological principles; the second on the ecological dynamics of foraging and domestication; the third on indigenous ecological knowledge and community-based conservation, and the fourth on new approaches in human ecology. Prerequisite: Anthropology 105


ANT 420. Media and Power

By investigating the idea that what we view and express regarding cultural identity and cultural difference is artificial, we can see that popular entertainment, global news broadcasts, monuments and museums, and the internet might be doing more than merely “capturing,” “reporting,” or “exhibiting.” Understanding this, we can uncover something more about how representations are created, how they have been manipulated historically to oppress or devalue certain groups, and how they can be contested.  Knowing that images are constructed and not real, we can turn our focus to how people can reclaim their identities and thus their own power through revising or even appropriating the representations that have been made of them. Prerequisite: Anthropology 105


ANT 474. Historic Preservation and Cultural Resource Management

Provides a comprehensive overview of historic preservation and cultural resource management as practiced in the United States. Examines the history of the preservation movement, the role of preservation in American culture, and the legislative framework for historic preservation. Reviews the growing field of cultural resource management, looking at issues in architectural design, contract or “salvage” archaeology, and heritage tourism. Prerequisite: 200-level coursework in archaeology or American history, or permission of instructor.


ANT 290, ANT 390, ANT 490. Anthropology Internship

The department encourages students with prior courses in anthropology to develop, with a member of the department, internship opportunities. Students interested in pursuing internships should read “Internships And Other Opportunities” in this Catalog. In addition to the requirements listed there, interns should expect to write a paper describing their experiences, as relevant to anthropology, and connected to a reading list to be developed and agreed upon by the intern and the supervising faculty member.


ANT 297, ANT 397, ANT 497. Independent Study

Junior and senior students with a strong interest and background in anthropology may, working with a faculty member in the department, develop either a research project or a course of study in order to pursue a subject or topic within the discipline not a covered by the department’s regular offerings. The student and faculty member will agree upon a reading list, and either a formal research project or a substantial paper. The student should expect to meet regularly with his or her instructor to demonstrate progress in, and knowledge of, the readings; and to discuss, and to receive guidance on the project or paper. (Note that students may not use independent study courses to gain academic credit for work on their Senior Theses).


ANT 295, ANT 395, ANT 495. On-campus Research


ANT 396, ANT 496. Off-campus Research


ANT SCE. Anthropology Senior Capstone Experience

The anthropology senior capstone experience is a significant piece of independent research experience in the form of a thesis or project undertaken by each senior with the guidance and mentorship of a department faculty member. All senior capstone experiences must include anthropological methods and theory. A student who successfully completes the SCE will receive a grade of Pass or Honors, and will be awarded 4 credits. A more extensive description of the SCE is available from the department chair. Discussion of a joint thesis, undertaken by a student with two majors, can be found in the Academic Program section of the catalog.