Anthropology Department


Key to the Courses of Study >

Courses of Study

AY112fs    Cultural Anthropology Introduction to the study of human societies and cultures through the concepts and methods of anthropology. Course material will (a) explore the great diversity of human social and cultural arrangements through the investigation of cultural communities around the world and the distinct ways their members experience and understand their lives and (b) investigate the larger historical, political, economic, and symbolic frameworks that shape contemporary human societies and cross-cultural interactions worldwide. Assignments emphasize clarity, concision, and coherence of written and oral arguments, as well as control over and understanding of course content. Four credit hours. S, I. Faculty
AY119j    The Anthropology of Utopias Examines classic utopic and dystopic literature, philosophy, anthropology, art, and film from Plato to the present. Utopian literature involves anthropological reflection about the range of possibilities for human community and related anthropological themes of human social and cultural variability, conflict, and cooperation. Critically explores different utopian and dystopian discourses as vehicles for thinking about a world in crisis and its possible futures, as well as the effects these have on contemporary debates about politics and governance, citizenship, new technologies, media, family, and more. Three credit hours. S. Hriskos
AY211j    Human Rights and Social Justice in Global Perspective Listed as Global Studies 211. Three credit hours. W2. Razsa
[AY222]    Maine's Musical Soundscapes: Ethnography of Maine Listed as Music 222. Four credit hours. A.
[AY224]    Border Crossers and New Neighbors: Immigrants in Maine This ethnographic humanities lab introduces students to immigrant experiences through readings and engagement with immigrant communities in Maine. We begin with intensive readings to gain expertise about different aspects of immigrant experiences, including the reasons for mobility, employment, family, religion, and identity. Background preparation enables students to work with preselected immigrant and immigrant support organizations to learn about their experiences and to collaborate in documentary production. Requires significant travel and student initiative. Part of the two-course cluster, Integrated Studies 224, "Global Maine." Four credit hours. S, U.
[AY231]    Caribbean Cultures Considers Caribbean people, places, products, and the webs of domination and resistance that formed and transformed the region and its diasporas. Ethnographies, films, food, music, memoir, and other texts tackle topics like empire building and dismantling; colonialism and postcolonialism; decolonization and displacement; development and underdevelopment; commodification and consumption; labor, revolution, and liberation. Cross-cultural and cross-temporal navigations develop an anthro-historical sensibility about the Caribbean's pivotal place in the world. Also listed as African-American Studies 231. Fulfills anthropology's culture area requirement. Prerequisite: Anthropology 112 or American Studies 276. Four credit hours. I.
AY236s    Illegal Drugs, Law, and the State Drawing on legal and political anthropology, we will examine the legal regimes and cultures of control that target the commerce and consumption of illegal drugs. We will consider the evolution of these policies, their role in the construction of the state, and their impact in a variety of historical moments and social worlds. Case studies will include Prohibition, cocaine, medical and recreational use of marijuana, and alternative forms of political power facilitated by the drug trade, with a special focus on Latin America. Students will gain critical reading and presentation skills and will refine their writing and research skills through the production of an original case-study research project. Fulfills anthropology's culture area requirement. Prerequisite: Anthropology 112. Four credit hours. Tate
[AY242]    Anthropology of Latin America: City Life An introduction to anthropological research on Latin America, with a particular focus on contemporary urban life. Cities attract migrants seeking new forms of communal life, educational and economic opportunities, and escape from war. We will examine the transformation of gender roles, political participation, and cultural production. Goals include learning to apply an anthropological lens to discussions of and gaining a basic knowledge of issues facing contemporary Latin America. Students will gain critical reading and discussion-facilitation skills and will refine writing skills through the production of review essays. Fulfills anthropology's culture area requirement. Prerequisite: Anthropology 112. Four credit hours.
[AY243]    Globalization, Democracy, and Political Transformation in Bolivia Students will learn a range of perspectives on recent Bolivian history; gain the ability to analyze Bolivian politics, economy, and social relations; and identify and trace critical forms of interconnection between Bolivia and contemporary global systems. Based in Cochabamba, students will live with host families, hear from analysts and activists, gain an understanding of anthropological vocabulary and concepts, conduct original research, and reflect critically on international fieldwork. Scholarships are available through the Latin American Studies Program. Prerequisite: One year of college Spanish or equivalent, demonstrated interested in Latin America, and instructor permission. Three credit hours. S, I.
[AY244]    Anthropology of Religion Introduces students to the anthropological study of religion, focusing on the lived experience of religion in a variety of historical, social, and cultural contexts. Examines religious symbols, ritual, possession, magic, and the relationship between religion and modernity. Cross-cultural investigation of diverse religious phenomena through ethnographic case studies, such as witchcraft in Sudan, voodoo in Brooklyn, and women's participation in the mosque movement in Egypt. Students will use concepts learned in class to design and carry out an independent research project on a relevant topic of their choosing. Prerequisite: Anthropology 112. Four credit hours. I.
AY246s    Religion and Everyday Life in Muslim Societies Introduces students to the anthropology of religious practice in Muslim societies. We will examine the roles of a diverse set of religious values, beliefs, and rituals in the daily lives of Muslim men and women around the world. We will also investigate how social processes like the Islamic revival, the war on terror, migration, and globalization shape, and are shaped by, ordinary Muslims' religiosity. Students will read work by ethnographers, journalists, novelists, and activists to examine these issues in places like Lebanon, Pakistan, Indonesia, France, and the United States. Fulfills anthropology's culture area requirement. Prerequisite: Anthropology 112. Four credit hours. I. Strohl
AY247j    Colombian Politics through Film Examines contemporary Colombian political culture through readings and contemporary Colombian feature films. Themes include political identity and belonging, insurgencies and guerrilla warfare, rural economies and urban development, drug trafficking and illegal economies, discrimination, memory, and social conflict. Students will learn a range of perspectives on recent Colombian history, politics, economy, and social relations. Through readings, films, and discussion, students will develop their anthropological thinking and critical analysis skills, and enhance their abilities to express complex ideas and to support their arguments using concrete evidence in both written and oral modes of communication. Prerequisite: Anthropology 112. Three credit hours. Tate
[AY248]    Anthropological Perspective on Science and Religion Cross-cultural research ranging from ethnographies of in vitro fertilization in Ecuador to religious healing in Madagascar to fetal personhood in the United States introduces students to new cultural perspectives on the relationship of science and religion. Ongoing written and oral discussion of case studies will enable students to gain facility with key theoretical models used to study the cultural politics of science and technology as well as the moral dilemmas of scientific applications. Students will apply these analytical concepts in a final research project on a topic of their own selection. Previously listed as AY298B (Spring 2013). Prerequisite: Anthropology 112. Four credit hours.
AY252f    Language in Culture and Society Students will gain facility with key theoretical models and anthropological concepts used in linguistic anthropology, including discourse analysis, markedness theory, and language ideologies. Written and oral discussion of critical case studies will enable students to engage relevant conceptual tools and apply these to specific ethnographic materials. Students will learn to apply such insights to the study of the interrelationship of language and the social difference of race, gender, and class; linguistic nationalism and standardization; religious language; speech communities; and cross-cultural differences in language socialization. Prerequisite: Anthropology 112. Four credit hours. Halvorson
AY253s    Goods, Gifts, and Globalizing Consumers Explores the global cultural diversity and social embeddedness of economic practice. Students gain analytical tools to critically examine global capitalism, consumption/consumerism, markets and their myriad social dimensions through a focus on transactions, exchange, social obligation, class distinction, and labor activities. In-depth case studies apply these insights to debates on topics such as debt, economic inequality, class, and the limits of commodification. Readings, films, and other materials highlight the rich diversity of anthropological perspectives on economic practice, from ethnographies of Wall Street to Malaysian factory work to middle-class formation in Nepal. Previously listed as Anthropology 298A (Spring 2016). Prerequisite: Anthropology 112. Four credit hours. W2. Halvorson
AY255fs    Global Health: Critical Perspectives on Health, Care, and Policy Listed as Global Studies 255. Four credit hours. S, W2. El-Shaarawi
AY256f    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 varied subsistence and resource management systems explores how local forms of livelihood have been incorporated into and challenged by national and global economic relations and structures through processes of colonization and the growth of transnational capitalism. Prerequisite: Anthropology 112. Four credit hours. Mills
AY258s    Anthropology, History, Memory Anthropologists have depicted cultural systems as timeless, paying limited attention to how historical experiences produce, and how they are shaped by, everyday beliefs and actions. Examines the significance of history for anthropological understanding and vice versa. Investigates how different cultures construct the past and how the past shapes everyday lives, our own and others. Explores sites such as myths, monuments, bodies, and archives. Questions what is the past? How is it present? How do societies remember? How do they forget? Topics include technology, time, travel, commemoration, war. Formerly offered as Anthropology 298B. Prerequisite: Anthropology 112 or American Studies 276 or a 100-level history course. Four credit hours. Bhimull
AY259fs    Reading Ethnography The ethnographic genre is unique to anthropology. Through focused reading and discussion of four to five ethnographies grouped around a particular theme, students will develop analytic and critical reading skills. Each semester will offer a different theme, such as biotechnology, mobility, and auto-ethnography. We will focus on the form and genre of the assigned ethnographies, engage in close textual analysis, and read comparatively. Prerequisite: Anthropology 112. Two credit hours. Besteman
[AY261]    Japanese Language and Culture Listed as East Asian Studies 261. Fulfills anthropology's culture area requirement. Four credit hours. S.
AY262s    Music in Life, Music as Culture: Introduction to Ethnomusicology Listed as Music 262. Four credit hours. A, I. Zelensky
[AY268]    Politics of Satire and Humor in Modern China Listed as East Asian Studies 268. Fulfills anthropology's culture area requirement. Four credit hours. S, I.
[AY274]    Africans in America: The New Diaspora African immigration to the United States, while still small, has grown dramatically during the past few decades. The new African diaspora is characterized by family networks that span the Atlantic, by struggles within these networks about cultural heritage, authenticity, language politics, and intergenerational relations, by questions about responsibility and obligation across borders, and by complicated identity issues of race and belonging. We will examine these questions through reading novels, essays, and ethnography and by engaging the ways in which these issues are represented in film, music, and art produced by Africans in the new diaspora, and with guest speakers. Three credit hours. S, U.
[AY276]    African-American Culture in the United States Listed as American Studies 276. Fulfills anthropology's culture area requirement. Four credit hours. S, U.
[AY277]    Culture of Cuteness: Japanese Women (in English) Listed as East Asian Studies 277. Fulfills anthropology's culture area requirement. Four credit hours. S, D, I.
[AY278]    Language and Gender Listed as East Asian Studies 277. Four credit hours. S, I.
AY297f    Global Displacement: Understanding Refugees and Refugee Policy Listed as Global Studies 297. Four credit hours. El-Shaarawi
AY297Bf    The Art and Politics of Revolution in Latin America Considers the role of revolution in Latin American political life and its impact in artistic production in the societies where revolutions, or revolutionary movements, have taken hold. Students will identify and analyze the interconnection between revolutionary thought throughout Latin America, as well as the forms and practices of artistic production that accompany it. Through assignments and class discussions, students will develop their skills of anthropological thinking and critical analysis and will enhance their ability to express complex ideas and to support their arguments using concrete evidence in both written and oral modes of communication. Revolutions humanities lab. Prerequisite: Anthropology 112. Four credit hours. Tate
AY297Cf    The World at Play Explores imaginative play by people around the world and considers its social and cultural uses. Ranging from Balinese cockfights to Charlie Chaplin films, we investigate the relevance of joking, parody, and other acts of creative improvisation to people's lives and worldviews. Students will analyze a form of play of their choice, employing discourse analysis and selected theories in sociocultural anthropology. Far from being inconsequential, acts of play are revealed as patterned interactions that index and refract cultural values. Prerequisite: Anthropology 112. Four credit hours. S. Menair
AY313fs    Researching Cultural Diversity Focus on ethnography as both the central research strategy of anthropologists and the written text produced by such research. Examines anthropological methods of data collection and ethnographic writing as these encompass not only the discipline's historical focus on localized communities but also contemporary understandings of connections to global processes, the analysis of complex inequalities, and a reflexive and engaged relationship with the human world. Explores practical strategies for conducting ethnographic research, including interviewing, observation, and other modes of qualitative data collection; the ethical issues presented by such research; and the application of analytical and theoretical models. Prerequisite: Anthropology 112, a 200-level anthropology course, a W1 course, and sophomore standing. Four credit hours. Strohl, Tate
AY316s    Religion and Social Change in Contemporary Africa Participants will build awareness of the religious diversity of contemporary African societies using selected studies from Madagascar, Tanzania, Mali, Mozambique, and other sites. Students will learn to identify the relationship of African religions with diverse, transforming views on biomedicine and healing, urbanization, gender relations, modern subjectivities, development and humanitarianism, and the colonial legacy. Ongoing written and oral discussion will enable students to gain facility with key theoretical models to analyze the role of African religions in dynamic processes of political, economic, and cultural transformation.Previously listed as Anthropology 398 (Spring 2013). Prerequisite: Anthropology 112 and junior or senior standing. Four credit hours. Halvorson
AY333fs    Contemporary Theory An analysis of the contemporary state of cultural anthropology through the investigation of contemporary theoretical approaches of central importance to the discipline. Examination of key theoretical concepts and their relevance for designing research questions, generating ethnographic perspectives, and building anthropological knowledge. Special attention to political economy, symbolic anthropology, poststructuralism, reflexive anthropology, postmodernism, and feminist and postcolonial anthropology. Assignments include both written and oral modes of analysis; strong emphasis on discussion and collaborative debate. Prerequisite: Anthropology 112, a 200- or 300-level anthropology course, a W1 course, and junior or senior standing. Four credit hours. Besteman, Bhimull
AY339s    Asian Pacific Modernities Dramatic changes, particularly in the latter half of the 20th century, have transformed social and cultural expectations throughout the Asia Pacific region. Across Asia, everyday life is profoundly shaped by processes of globalization and powerful discourses of modernity. What does it require to make oneself a modern citizen in Thailand, Japan, China, or the Philippines? How do people live, shop, and entertain themselves on a daily basis? Through case studies and independent research, students explore the region's dynamic social and cultural transformations, with particular emphasis on East and Southeast Asia. Fulfills anthropology's culture area requirement. Prerequisite: Anthropology 112. Four credit hours. Mills
AY341f    Culture, Mobility, Identity: Encounters in the African Diaspora Use of text, film, food, and music to examine how African and African-descended people made and remade the modern world. Surveys how past and present cultural practices dialogically shaped the formation, transformation, and flows of the diaspora. Attention to the dynamics of circulation, contact, exchange, and estrangement facilitates travels through the Afro-Atlantic world. Inquiry into archives and other sites of memory enables consideration of the scale, scope, and impact of black action and imagination. Fulfills anthropology's culture area requirement. Prerequisite: Anthropology 112 or American Studies 276. Four credit hours. S, I. Bhimull
AY344f    Black Radical Imaginations A seminar about the complex history of black radical imagination. Explores how black people have long used imagination as a strategy for survival, resistance, emancipation, liberation, and to create worlds of joy and love. It is concerned with black intellectual activism in the African diaspora and examines a range of cultural movements against racialized forms of oppression, including black surrealism and Afrofuturism. Prerequisite: American Studies 276 or Anthropology 112. Four credit hours. Bhimull
[AY352]    Global Activism: From Socialist Internationalism to Occupy Listed as Global Studies 352. Four credit hours. S.
[AY353]    Globalization and Human Rights in China Listed as East Asian Studies 353. Fulfills anthropology's culture area requirement. Four credit hours. S.
[AY355]    Aging and Public Policy in East Asia Listed as East Asian Studies 355. Four credit hours. S, I.
[AY361]    Militaries, Militarization, and War Examines the ways in which military conflict and institutions shape and are shaped by cultural, economic, and political forces in contemporary societies, especially in the Americas. Topics include the role of military service in creating and reinforcing gender norms, citizenship, and national identities; the ways in which war and militarized violence are experienced and commemorated; and ongoing controversy over counterinsurgency, internal defense, and modern forms of warfare. Students will develop their ethnographic skills through research and presentations. Formerly offered as Anthropology 398B. Prerequisite: Anthropology 112. Four credit hours. S.
[AY363]    Secrecy and Power This seminar examines the use of secrecy in political, religious, and social contexts. Students will engage with theoretical, ethnographic, and historical texts to trace the development of key analytical, methodological, and ethical issues concerning the anthropological study of concealment. Topics will vary according to student interest but may include transparency, surveillance, publicity, privacy, passing, argots, codes and ciphers, dissimulation, esotericism, and epistemology. Students will complete an independent research project on the use of secrecy in a historical or social context of their choosing. Prerequisite: Anthropology 112. Four credit hours. I.
AY373f    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, production and reproduction of gender hierarchies, and processes by which gender and sexual meanings (and associated social forms) may be transformed or contested in societies. Prerequisite: Anthropology 112 and a 200-level or higher anthropology course. Four credit hours. U. Mills
AY374s    Public Anthropology An exploration of innovative ways in which anthropology is used for proactive, public engagement in policy implementation and transformative social action. We review the history of disciplinary efforts at public engagement and experiment with our own approaches to engagement using ethnography, cultural critique, and collaborative methodologies. Students will develop oral and written communication skills through individual and collaborative projects, experiment with different ethnographic genres, and assess the effectiveness of different approaches to public engagement. Previously offered as Anthropology 397A (Fall 2013). Prerequisite: Anthropology 112. Four credit hours. Besteman
AY421s    Anthropology of Creativity Creativity is a vital part of cultural life and social transformation. Anthropologists have long traced its meanings and manifestations across different historical and cultural contexts, from ethnographies of the extraordinary and collective to the study of the ordinary and individual. We will explore a range of topics relevant to the critical investigation of human capacities for and responses to possibility, destruction, spontaneity, empathy, radical imagination, structural oppression, and social emancipation. Creative expressions considered include poetry, dance, music, social media, experimental ethnography, Afrofuturism, and other aesthetic realms. Prerequisite: Anthropology 112, and 313 or 333 (either may be taken concurrently). Four credit hours. Bhimull
[AY437]    Media, Culture, and the Political Imagination Listed as Global Studies 437. Four credit hours.
[AY451]    Justice and Injustice in Global Europe Listed as Global Studies 451. Four credit hours.
AY455s    Intervention: The Ethics and Politics of Humanitarianism Listed as Global Studies 455. Four credit hours. S. El-Shaarawi
[AY462]    Global Mobilities: Movements, Modernities, Citizenships In today's world, dramatic flows of people, goods, and ideas enable claims to new (and newly imaginable) identities while at the same time challenging familiar norms and social structures. Ethnographic case studies from Asia, the United States, and elsewhere explore the diverse ways in which contemporary modernities, citizenships, and mobilities constitute dynamic fields of social meaning as well as critical arenas of cultural, political, and social struggle. Students will design and carry out a significant independent research project exploring course themes resulting in a substantive analytical paper and an oral presentation. Prerequisite: Anthropology 112, one 300-level or two 200-level anthropology courses, a W1 course, and senior standing. Four credit hours.
AY464s    Anthropology of Food Food is essential to human life. Yet the significance of food for human being extends far beyond calories and nutrition. What counts as food is deeply shaped by cultural meanings and associations. Food can signify distinctive cultural identities; it can mark proud or shameful histories and global connections; it can point to (or obscure) deeply embedded structures of power and relations of inequality and privilege, both within and across diverse societies. Food offers rich fields for anthropological theorizing and fruitful avenues for extending critical research skills. Course work culminates in an independent, original research project and oral presentation. Prerequisite: Anthropology 112, and 313 or 333 (either may be taken concurrently), and junior or higher standing. Four credit hours. Mills
AY483fj    Honors in Anthropology Prerequisite: Senior standing, admission to the honors program, and permission of the supervising faculty member. Three or four credit hours. Faculty
[AY483J]    Honors in Anthropology Noncredit.
AY491f, 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