Culminating Seminars

Ethnicity and Nationalism


Ethnic politics and nationalist movements dominated the 20th century and continue to play a major role in shaping the world today. This course explores these important subjects through an anthropological lens by examining such topics as the symbols, rituals and myths of ethnic and national identity; nationalism, ethnic minorities and the state; and homeland and diaspora nationalism. Ethnographic case studies range from indigenous nationalism to that of the newly independent states of Eastern and Central Europe.

(CULT) Dist:INT or SOC; WCult:CI

Main Currents in Anthropology


This course examines the theoretical concerns that define anthropology as a discipline. Readings by major theorists past and present address the nature and extent of human social and cultural variation, the relationship of institutional arrangements in society to systems of meaning, the material and moral determinants of human social life, the dynamics of change within and between cultures, and the place of power in maintaining and transforming meaningfully constituted human orders.

(CULT) Dist: SOC

The Human Spectrum


Contemporary foraging peoples are often viewed as ecological relicts and therefore instructive models for understanding the selective pressures that gave rise to the human condition. The objective of this course is to critically evaluate this enduring concept by examining the spectrum of human interactions with tropical habitats. We will also evaluate the basis of recent popular trends - the paleo diet, raw foodism, barefoot running, parent-child co-sleeping - that emphasize the advantages of a "natural" pre-agricultural lifestyle.

(BIOL) Dist:SOC; WCult:NW

Ecology, Culture, and Environmental Change


Anthropology's interest in the interactions of humans and their environments has been long-standing, especially in archaeology. In this seminar we will consider changing conceptual frameworks for understanding human-environmental interactions and long-standing debates about nature vs. culture, materialist vs. symbolic approaches, the development of cultural ecology, and the new "ecologies." We will draw on the research of archaeologists, biological and cultural anthropologists, geographers, and historians.

(ARCH) Dist: SOC

The Evolution of Upright Walking


This is an advanced course designed to explore in-depth both the historical and current understandings of human bipedalism. This course is reading-intensive, with an average of 5 primary journal papers assigned per meeting. We will investigate hypotheses for why bipedalism evolved, the form of locomotion bipedalism evolved from, and the fossil evidence for early hominin bipedality in the ardipithecines and australopithecines.

(BIOL) Dist: SCI