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|This page was last updated: 07/04/01 04:00:14 AM|
Chair, Associate Professor Catherine Besteman (fall); Associate Professor Mary Beth Mills (spring)
Associate Professors David Nugent, Besteman, and Mills; Assistant Professors Jeffrey Anderson and Maritza Straughn-Williams; Visiting Assistant Professor Andrew Brown; Faculty Fellow Judith Boruchoff
Anthropology is the exploration of human diversity. Through the subdisciplines of cultural, linguistic, archaeological, and physical anthropology, it investigates the broad range of differences and similarities of humankind in both space and time. The program at Colby offers an introduction to the discipline and in-depth exposure to the variety of lifestyles in cross-cultural, comparative perspective. Students receive training in anthropological theory and field methodology; firsthand experiences and participation in field programs investigating cultural diversity are encouraged.
The department offers a major and a minor in anthropology and a minor in indigenous peoples of the Americas.
Requirements for the Major in Anthropology
The point scale for retention of the major applies to all courses offered toward the major. No courses for the major may be taken satisfactory/unsatisfactory.
Honors in Anthropology
Requirements for the Minor in Anthropology
The point scale for retention of the minor applies to all courses offered toward the minor. No courses for the minor may be taken satisfactory/unsatisfactory.
Attention is called to the minor in indigenous peoples of the Americas and to the major in classical civilization-anthropology. Requirements are listed in the "Classics" section of the catalogue.
Note: all three- or four-credit hour courses in anthropology fulfill the area requirement in social sciences (S). Those that also fulfill the diversity requirement include the D
112fs Cultural Anthropology An intensive introduction to the study of different societies and cultures in the world, using a cross-cultural perspective on human behavior. Explores the diversity of human cultures from hunter-gatherers to industrialized city dwellers. Considers the implications of economic, social, political, symbolic, and religious systems for the lives of men and women. Topics include enculturation and transmitting values; group coherence and continuity; impact of material, technological, and social change; effects and culture contact. By emphasizing non-Western cultures, the course critically explores our accepted notions about human nature, society, and ideologies. Four credit hours. S, D. FACULTY
113s Language, Culture, and Society A broad introduction to the relationship of language to cultural context and social organization, surveying basic concepts, case studies, and major theoretical perspectives in the field of anthropological linguistics. An overview of past and contemporary approaches focuses on language structure, dialectal variation, gender-based differences, linguistic relativity, language change, poetics, language universals, literacy, the evolution of human communication, language engineering, and more, to develop an appreciation for the great diversity of human languages across and within cultures, the multiple functions of language in culture and society, and the cross-disciplinary ways of understanding human communication offered by anthropological linguistics. Four credit hours. S, D. BROWN
 Philosophical Anthropology: The Philosophy of Human Nature Listed as Philosophy 174 (q.v.). Four credit hours. S, D.
211s Indigenous Peoples and Cultures of North America An ethnographic survey of the sociocultural systems developed by indigenous Americans north of Mexico. Examines relationships between ecological factors, subsistence practices, social organizations, and belief systems, along with contemporary issues of change, contact, and cultural survival. Prerequisite: Anthropology 112. Four credit hours. ANDERSON
 Human Rights and Indigenous Peoples Throughout its history, anthropology has been committed to and active in maintaining the rights of indigenous peoples against the negative global forces of nation-state power, racist ideologies, assimilative missionization, and industrial resource appropriation. An overview of the contemporary state of indigenous peoples utilizing on-line research of Internet sites established by indigenous peoples themselves, anthropological groups, international human rights organizations, world news services, national governments, and the United Nations. Prerequisite: Anthropology 112. Four credit hours.
 Religion, Magic, and Witchcraft Religion, magic, witchcraft? Science and the scientific method seem to have banished these beliefs to the domain of the irrational, the irrelevant. Is it true that these ideas and practices are no longer relevant to us, no longer influence us? A cross-cultural study of the nature and function of religious ideas, beliefs, and practices is used to explain their universal significance and persistence. Prerequisite: Anthropology 112. Four credit hours.
 Visual Anthropology The course explores the ways in which still photography, film, and museum exhibits shape our understanding of the world's people and cultures. Instruction is designed to broaden the student's visual literacy, making the student use visual imagery as a source of cultural information. Discussions concerning objectivity, ethics, and ethnographic accuracy, in addition to readings, photographs, photography, and other media. Prerequisite: Anthropology 112. Three credit hours.
 Imagining the 'Other' 19th-century anthropologists proposed theories of cultural evolution that presented peoples outside European traditions as savage, exotic, primitive, and deficient in the benefits of Western civilization. In the 20th century, anthropology rejected these reductionist images of different cultures, but their influence can still be seen in aspects of contemporary social practice and popular imagination. How the "other" was depicted in late-19th-century anthropological thought and how similar images and ideas are still perpetuated in museums, exhibitions, art collecting, films, tourism, and the popular press. Prerequisite: Anthropology 112. Three credit hours.
217s Race and Ethnicity: Cross-Cultural Perspectives An introduction to the main theories that attempt to explain race and ethnicity, including the notion that both are social and not biological entities. Case studies from around the New World that reflect the ways different socioeconomic, political, and historical structuring contexts encourage varying forms of racial and ethnic identification. Application of the principles derived from this study to understanding racial and ethnic interaction and tensions in the contemporary United States. Prerequisite: Anthropology 112. Four credit hours. STRAUGHN-WILLIAMS
 Place, Space, and Identity: The Ethnography of Travelers, Migrants, and Refugees Anthropologists have conventionally identified human cultures as located in particular places, countries, or communities. What happens to cultural beliefs and identity in an age of widespread population mobility and global travel? Exploring processes of cultural change and continuity when people are moving both within countries and across national borders. Cases examined range from forced displacement to labor migration to tourism. Prerequisite: Anthropology 112. Three credit hours.
231s Caribbean Society and Culture An examination of the historical and contemporary development of the Caribbean; careful consideration to the racial and ethnic composition of its people. Issues such as family, class, color, gender, politics, and economic underdevelopment provide an understanding of the problems presently facing the region. Also listed as African-American Studies 231. Prerequisite: Anthropology 112. Four credit hours. STRAUGHN-WILLIAMS
 Anthropology of a Region: China A sociocultural analysis of a selected geographic area (China). An investigation of the institutions and social life that were China in the past and their transformation in the present, with focus on the relation of the state to local-level society. Ethnographic works, historical documents, and literature make a picture of life in China come alive. Prerequisite: Anthropology 112. Four credit hours.
235s Latin American Culture and Society An examination of the culture and political economy of rural Latin American societies, assessing the extent to which a historical approach that focuses on systems of values and institutions promoting social integration best explains these societies. Prerequisite: Anthropology 112. Four credit hours. BORUCHOFF
237f Ethnographies of Africa An introduction to the continent of Africa, its peoples, and its many social worlds, beginning with a survey of the place (geography) and the ways in which Africa's inhabitants have been defined (classifications of language, race, and culture). Social and cultural diversity within the continent is examined through ethnographic case studies. Issues include experiences of economic change, political conflict, the creation of new identities and cultural forms in contemporary African societies, and perceptions of Africa in Western thought and history. Prerequisite: Anthropology 112. Four credit hours. BESTEMAN
 Southeast Asian Cultures and Societies Southeast Asia is a region of great diversity and has long been a focus of anthropological interest; in recent years dramatic political and economic changes have often made the region a focus of international as well as scholarly attention. An examination of the diverse social and cultural contexts that make up the region, exploring both historical roots and contemporary experiences of Southeast Asian peoples. The impact of European colonial regimes on indigenous societies, religious and ethnic diversity, peasant social organization and political resistance, and the effects of economic change and industrialization. Prerequisite: Anthropology 112. Four credit hours.
 Hunger, Poverty, and Population: The Anthropology of Development Examining theoretical approaches to problems of development in addition to anthropological studies of different forms of non-Western economies, and an attempt to understand why the majority of aid and development programs provided by industrialized nations toward solving the problems of Third World poverty have failed. A focus on evaluating the consequences of the kind of development advocated by different approaches to development and on assessing the potential contribution of anthropological knowledge to solving recurrent problems in development analysis. Prerequisite: Anthropology 112. Four credit hours.
254f Women of the African Diaspora The ways in which race, class, and gender have structured the lives of women of the African Diaspora. Case studies from Brazil, the United States, and the Caribbean are examined to learn how these factors shaped the political, economic, and social positions of the women in their respective societies. Also listed as African-American Studies 254. Prerequisite: Anthropology 112. Four credit hours. STRAUGHN-WILLIAMS
256f Land, Food, Culture, and Power An examination of cultural and political aspects of land and other resource use in contexts of culture contact and/or social change, drawing from a variety of ethnographic examples in different parts of the world. A focus on two primary subsistence systems: wet rice agriculture as practiced in South and Southeast Asia and hunting-gathering as experienced by native North Americans. How local systems of subsistence production have been incorporated into and threatened by national and global economic relations and structures through processes of colonization and the growth of transnational capitalism. Enrollment limited. Prerequisite: Anthropology 112. Four credit hours. MILLS
273f Medical Anthropology All human groups have ways of explaining illness and disease. Students gain an insider's view of how different cultures define and treat disease/illness. Emphasis on the study of cultural beliefs, rituals, population shifts, and environmental factors related to health. Prerequisite: Anthropology 112. Four credit hours. STRAUGHN-WILLIAMS
275f The Anthropology of Expressive Culture An introduction to the study of such cultural forms as art, music, dance, theater, and poetry from an anthropological viewpoint. Emphasizes discussion of ethnographic case studies and students' own experiences to gain an understanding of questions asked by anthropologists, as distinct from the approaches and concerns of historians, critics, practitioners, and fans. Examines the concepts of "creativity" and "expression" cross-culturally. Explores the role of the individual practitioner in his or her social context and considers the relationships of aesthetic production and reception to social and political structure and change. Prerequisite: Anthropology 112. Four credit hours. DENNEY
297Af Socialist and Post-Socialist Eurasia Ethnographies from the 1980s and 1990s that examine how the societies of the former Soviet Union and its Eastern European client states have actually functioned. How local, intensive, ethnographic research can contradict or complement other kinds of economic, political, and sociological analysis. Prerequisite: Anthropology 112. Four credit hours. BROWN
297Bf Utopia, Nostalgia, and Anthropology How models of peasants and "primitive peoples" have been used by "civilized" thinkers to imagine alternative or utopian visions of the past and future, and the ambivalent role that anthropology has played in this undertaking. An exploration into the nature of the violent, often genocidal relationship between the institutions of civilization and the actual people who have been so mythologized. Prerequisite: Anthropology 112. Four credit hours. BROWN
297Xf History of the Maya from 200 BC Listed as Latin American Studies 297 (q.v.). Four credit hours. H, D. FALLAW
313f Researching Cultural Diversity Anthropologists are renowned for their research with exotic peoples in their natural settings. Topics include the development of fieldwork as a means to investigate cultural diversity, both abroad and at home; the goals and ethics of anthropological research; the nature of the fieldwork experience; the interaction with informants and the production of knowledge and how we "write culture." How the search for "other" also helps us to understand "self." Students will apply fieldwork concepts and methods to their own study of American culture. Prerequisite: Anthropology 112 and one other anthropology course. Four credit hours. BORUCHOFF
 Myth and Poetics An examination of the symbolism, rhythm, structure, pattern, narrative devices, space-time and modes of performance of myth and poetic language in the oral traditions of indigenous peoples. Various interpretive approaches to myth and poesis will be reviewed, including those of Levi-Strauss, Bakhtin, Cassirer, Sapir, Propp, Jakobson, and Friedrich. The course will provide an understanding of mythopoetic language as both grounded in common human experiences and generated by particular sociocultural systems. Prerequisite: Anthropology 112 and one other anthropology course. Four credit hours.
332s Ancestors, Descendants, and Legacies--Anthropology and Its Histories Anthropology emerged as a separate discipline in the 1800s, the first systematic attempt to study human social and cultural diversity. While early anthropologists often operated under assumptions that have no place in today's discipline, many of their questions continue to fascinate their intellectual descendants. The personalities, social currents, and ideas that have shaped the development of anthropology. Diaries, films, biographies, literature, and original ethnographies link the contributions of individual anthropologists both to their particular social contexts and to their legacies for contemporary anthropological thought and practice. Prerequisite: Anthropology 112 and one other anthropology course. Four credit hours. MILLS
333f Contemporary Theory An analysis of the contemporary state of anthropology as a discipline. Special attention to political economy, symbolic anthropology, poststructuralism, reflexive anthropology, postmodernism, and feminist anthropology. Prerequisite: Anthropology 112 and one other anthropology course. Four credit hours. BESTEMAN
 Native American Religion and Empowerment Native American sacred ways of speaking, acting, knowing, and creating in diverse historical and contemporary cultural contexts. Indigenous views and practices are studied as a groundwork for interpretive and theoretical formulations about the role of religion in Native American history, culture, and language. Native American religious traditions considered as dynamic modes of survival, empowerment, and renewal in the face of Euro-American domination. Indigenous, anthropological, and Euro-American perspectives on religion are brought into balanced dialogue and exchange. Prerequisite: Anthropology 112 or 211. Four credit hours.
373f The Anthropology of Gender and Sexuality Gender and sexuality represent fundamental categories of human social and cultural experience; in every human society, understandings about gender and sexuality constitute powerful aspects of individual identity that shape and are shaped by key aspects of social relations and cultural belief. Yet specific beliefs and social structures vary tremendously across cultures. An investigation of the varied ethnography of gender and sexuality as well as important theoretical concerns: how meanings are attached to the human body, the production and reproduction of gender hierarchies, and the processes by which gender and sexual meanings (and associated social forms) may be transformed or contested in our own and other societies. Prerequisite: Anthropology 112 and one other anthropology course. Four credit hours. MILLS
398As Anthropology of Transnationalism and Globalism The historical development and implications of social, economic, political, and cultural systems that span nation-state borders. How cultural identities and communities are formed within the context of global systems. Four credit hours. S. BORUCHOFF
398Bs Anthropology in the Cities: The Theory and Practice of Urban Ethnography Local social, economic, and ecological environments are increasingly urban. However, the techniques, methodologies, and research questions of socio-cultural anthropologists were refined in the very different settings of villages, bands, and tribes. An examination of the movement of anthropological projects into the cities and the development of social scientific analysis of urban life. Four credit hours. S. BROWN
398Cs Lives and Fictions: Writing Cultural Identities from the Margins Texts which attempt to reclaim or recreate histories of marginalized peoples through the use of (auto)biography, fiction, film, poetry, visual art and music will be analyzed for the strategies employed by oppressed and exploited peoples to tell the "truth" of their own lives. Also addressed will be questions of objectivity and verifiability, and the consequences of historically specific definitions of "fact" and "fiction." Four credit hours. S. KIM
 Thesis: Indigenous Peoples of the Americas A thesis paper based on fieldwork or an approved special research project or practicum, which might include work with the Navajo, Passamaquoddy, or Penobscot nations or with indigenous peoples at approved Colby programs abroad. Students must consult with their minor advisor to plan and share work and research experiences. Prerequisite: Permission of the instructor. Four credit hours.
 Anthropology of Power Social life is about power. Everything we do is a reflection of or has implications for power dynamics in our society and world. Students will use anthropological training to explore conceptions of power, locating power in symbols, rituals, ideas, capital, and the ability to dominate. How power dynamics develop and structure social interaction, undergird ideological systems, drive the global and local distribution of wealth, and support regimes of terror. Students study instances of dissension, resistance, and rebellion fueled by power inequalities; readings lead through analysis of class, gender, and race into the terrain of cognition and the construction of knowledge. Prerequisite: Anthropology 112 and one other anthropology course. Four credit hours.
456s The Anthropology of Time The manifold types and functions of "time" in human cultures, societies, histories, and languages; how time both organizes and is shaped by human thought, action, social relations, and communication. Relationships among multiple dimensions of time, including quotidian, clock-based, seasonal, calendric, narrative, life cyclical, genealogical, historical, and cosmic levels. A critical review of the works of Marx, Weber, Durkheim, Mauss, Evans-Pritchard, Whorf, Geertz, Bourdieu, Leach, Bakhtin, Munn, Sahlins, and others. The question of the relationship between time and humanness in both its particularity and generality. Prerequisite: Senior standing as an anthropology major. Four credit hours. ANDERSON
 The Anthropology of Violence As anthropologists have become increasingly attentive to the realities of violence in the modern world, the discipline has struggled with how to approach issues of moral relativism, fieldwork methodologies, and theoretical approaches to the cross-cultural study of violence. An overview of different theoretical understandings of violence; analyses of the relationship between violence and state formation; justifications for violent political action against the state and by the state against its citizenry; the rise and significance of an international industrial-military complex; and anthropological case studies of contemporary violence. Formerly listed as Anthropology 359. Prerequisite: Anthropology 112 and one other anthropology course. Four credit hours.
483f, 484s Honors in Anthropology Prerequisite: Senior standing, admission to the honors program, and permission of the supervising faculty member. Three or four credit hours. FACULTY
491f, 492s Independent Study Individual topics in areas where the student has demonstrated the interest and competence necessary for independent work. Prerequisite: Permission of the instructor. Two to four credit hours. FACULTY
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Colby is a four-year, residential, liberal arts college in Waterville, Maine. Colby offers undergraduate courses during fall and spring semesters and grants bachelors of arts degrees.