Department of Anthropology

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Department of Anthropology

B-4 Cooper
(585) 395-2682

Chairperson: Charles R. Edwards; Professors: Margaret B. Blackman, Jack R. Rollwagen; Associate Professor: Charles R. Edwards; Assistant Professor: LouAnn Wurst.

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 four 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 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 the other with 40 credits. The department also offers an 18-credit Personalized Applied Minor in Anthropology (PAMA) and a 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 such fields 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 curricula and career needs. Details of the two options are described below.

Major requirements:

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

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 the three sub-disciplines (Socio/Cultural Anthropology, Physical/Biological Anthropology and Archaeology).

Course Number Course Name Credits
Option I Major Requirements: (37 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 Literature 3
ANT 395 Anthropology and Careers 1
C. Three sub discipline upper-division courses: (9 credits)
ANT 3/400 Physical Anthropology Course 3
ANT 3/400 Archaeology Course 3
ANT 3/400 Cultural Anthropology Course 3
D. Anthropological methods: (3 credits)
ANT 394 Research Methods in Cultural Anthropology 3
E. Additional courses:
Chosen in consultation with advisor to complete total credits 9

Option II. Anthropology as a Profession/Pre-Graduate School Option (40 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 that they can translate immediately into the job or graduate school. Option II differs from Option I in requiring that students complete additional collateral courses and a senior thesis project or practicum. 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.

Course Number Course Name Credits
Option II Major Requirements: (40 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 Literature 3
ANT 395 Anthropology and Careers 1
C. Three sub-discipline upper-division courses: (9 credits)
ANT 3/400 Physical Anthropology Course 3
ANT 3/400 Archaeology Course 3
ANT 3/400 Cultural Anthropology Course 3
D. Anthropological methods: (3 credits)
ANT 394 Research Methods in Cultural Anthropology 3
E. Senior Thesis:
ANT 496 Senior Thesis Project 3
F. Required collateral course:
SOC 200 Social Statistics, PSH 202 Introduction to Statistics for Psychology, or equivalent course in computer applications 3
G. Additional courses:
Chosen in consultation with advisor to complete total credits 9

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 461 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, 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 Personalized Applied Minor in Anthropology (PAMA) is a contractual program that allows students to relate anthropology to their major or career interests outside of anthropology. PAMA students are assigned a faculty sponsor in anthropology with interests and training relevant to the concerns of the student's major field. The student and faculty member then develop a contractual minor of 18 credits which must include an integrative ANT 499 Independent Study course taken in the senior year.

The department also 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. (Up to two courses relevant to anthropology, but offered by other departments [for example, art history, biology, history, African and Afro-American Studies, etc.], may be included in the minor with approval of the anthropology departmental advisor.)

Anthropology Courses

ANT 100 Introduction to Cultural Anthropology (A,S,C).

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. Every Semester.

ANT 110 Introduction to Archeology (A,S,C).

Explores the development of cultural traditions and human cultural achievements in various world areas, with particular attention to methods and techniques used in studying the past. 3 Cr. Every Semester.

ANT 120 Introduction to Human Evolution (A,N,W).

Surveys ecological, biological and behavioral processes underlying human evolution and shaping human behavior. 3 Cr. Every Semester.

ANT 200 Ethnographic Experience (A,C).

An introduction to the study of cultures through selected case studies, or ethnographies. 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. Fall Semester.

ANT 262 Female: Myth and Reality (A).

Cross-listed as WMS 262. Explores the roles and status of females from a cross-cultural perspective; how females perceive themselves and how they are perceived by others in different societies; and biological differences between males and females as these are used to arrive at socially significant distinctions. 3 Cr.

ANT 301 Native Americans (A,I,C,D).

Explores the major issues facing Native Americans (Indians and Eskimos) in the United States today. Emphasizes understanding the varied perspectives of the major parties involved in each issue with particular attention to the Native American position. 3 Cr. Fall Semester.

ANT 312 Culture and Health (A,J,W,E).

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,J,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,J,C).

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 U.S. relevant to aging. 3 Cr.

ANT 315 The Migration Experience (A,J,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 extradomestic roles and shifting power relations. 3 Cr. Spring.

ANT 321 Culture Change (A,J,W,E).

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).

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.

BCE 322 Brockport Career Exploration Course.

Encourages sophomores, juniors, and seniors to investigate a specific career area through a placement in an area human service agency, govern mental office, or classroom. Allows students to work under the guidance of an immediate supervisor and College faculty sponsor and participate in workshops through the Career Services Office. 3 Cr. Every Semester.

ANT 330 World Poverty and Economic Underdevelopment (A,J,C).

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,J,C).

This course explores the social, cultural, political and economic changes that have taken place in China in the 20th century. It 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. Fall and Spring.

ANT 342 North American Archaeology (A,C).

Provides a culture history of the native peoples of North America from their earliest occupation through the recent historical period. Canvasses cross-cultural variables associated with culture change, adaptation, the origins of agriculture, socio-cultural complexity, and ideology. 3 Cr. Spring.

ANT 350 Primate Behavior and Adaptation (A).

An exploration of 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 356 Forensic Anthropology (A).

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. ANT 356 uses case studies, laboratory exercises and field simulations to explore the roles and techniques of forensic anthropology. This course complements interests in anthro-pology, criminal justice, pre-law, pre-medical, psychology and biology. 4 Cr.

ANT 363 Witchcraft and Magic (A).

Examines anthropological perspectives on the witchcraft phenomenon. Studies witchcraft beliefs and practices in England, Europe and Colonial America in the 16th and 17th centuries from an ethnohistorical perspective. Provides a cross-cultural comparison of witchcraft beliefs and practices in past and present societies. 3 Cr. Fall.

ANT 370 Anthropological Literature (A).

Prerequisite: ANT 100. This course is designed to give students an understanding of the major American, British, and French theoretical schools which influenced and emerged from ethnographic fieldwork over the course of the twentieth century and to discuss the intellectual traditions which have shaped the discipline of anthropology and which continue to shape the discipline as anthropology prepares to enter the 21st century. 3 Cr. Spring.

Note regarding Topics Courses ( ANT 380, 381, 382, 480, 481 and 482):

Topics courses are intended to provide breadth in the anthropology program through courses that are not offered on a regular basis but which meet certain needs and interests. These include special courses offered at the request of anthropology majors, one-time courses offered by regular or visiting faculty, etc.

Topics courses are offered in each of the three subfields of anthropology: Cultural Anthropology, Physical Anthropology and Archaeology. Students may take more than one topics course for credit. When topics courses are offered they will carry a descriptive title (Eg: ANT 482/582Controversies in Human Evolution or ANT 380The Food and Culture, etc.). Descriptions of topics courses offered in a particular semester can be obtained from the Anthropology Web page during academic advisement and registration.

ANT 380 Intermediate Topics in Cultural Anthropology.

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.

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.

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).

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. Spring.

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 permission of instructor. 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 areastheir roots, traditional expressions, changes with European contact, and contemporary expressions. 3 Cr. Spring.

ANT 405 Applied Anthropology (A).

Prerequisite: ANT 100. A subfield using anthropological perspectives to analyze and provide solutions for societal problems in the U.S. and globally. Using 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 441 Archaeological Analysis (A).

Prerequisite: ANT 110 or ANT 442 or permission of the instructor. 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).

This field-based course studies the principal methods and theories of contemporary archaeology. Students will survey and excavate an archaeological site, expose and document prehistoric artifacts, and use their distribution to interpret patterns in human behavior and cultural adaptation. 6 Cr. Summer.

ANT 461 Anthropology Practicum (B).

Prerequisite: Prior 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). 3-6 Cr. TBA.

See note on topics courses, above. ANT 480 Advanced Topics in Cultural Anthropology.

Similar to ANT 380 except usually has prerequisites or requires instructor's permission to enroll. 1-6 Cr.

ANT 481 Advanced Topics in Archaeology.

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.

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 Project (A).

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. Spring.

ANT 499 Independent Study in Anthropology (A).

Established in consultation between student and instructor/sponsor. 1-6 Cr. Every Semester.

Last Updated 7/21/22