What does it mean to be a human being and what makes us unique? The study of the past can shed light on the adaptability and variability of the human race as we expanded throughout the globe. In this course we will use archaeological data to understand the earliest cultures and how they gave rise to the myriad of human lifeways existing in the world today.
This course focuses on sex and gender in prehistory and in archaeological theory. This course seeks to reconstruct the lives and roles of women, men, and children in a range of ancient societies, examining the ways that gendered differences have been portrayed in the past and the present and considering how we can approach the study of social identities and relations of power. We will examine how women contributed to subsistence, technological innovation, symbolic and ritual activity, and how they shared in or were denied social, political, and religious authority and power.
This is not a traditional course about Native Americans in North America. In this course, we will move beyond categorizing Native peoples, their cultural beliefs and practices, and historical experiences according to familiar anthropological categories (e.g., “prehistory” and “band, tribe, chiefdom, state”). Instead, you are encouraged to question conventional assumptions and stereotypes about and depictions of indigenous peoples and cultures of North America.
This class will examine how we use archaeological materials to learn about past societies by studying the traces that their inhabitants left behind. Students will explore the range of methods used in the field, laboratory, and museum to find, record, date, preserve, contextualize, and interpret material culture. Basic methods of investigation and research will be discussed through the examination of site survey, excavation, and the analysis of artifacts.
This course emphasizes the interconnectedness between people and nature. We will be concerned with people’s perceptions of and interactions with their physical and biological surroundings, and the various linkages between biological and cultural worlds. The goals of the class are to expose you to a broader understanding of the role of culture in sustaining the diversity of plant and animal life and also reveal the variety of choices involved in our human-environmental interactions.
This course explores how gender shapes our understanding and interactions with the environment. We will analyze how we construct and maintain particular views of gender and sexuality, and examine how our identifications produce, change, and maintain particular environments within both Western and non-Western worlds. Within this class, we will shift between 1) discussions of philosophical and theoretical debates that underlie feminist environmental thinking and practice, and 2) examinations of tangible struggles over environment and gender within historical and geographical contexts.
While we are symbol users and inhabitants of imagined worlds, we are also toolmakers whose hands are dirtied in manipulating the world. This course will focus attention on materiality and our engagement with the material world. Examples of material culture studies will be drawn from such disciplines as archaeology, anthropology, geography, history, folklore, popular culture, architecture, and museum studies.
This course draws on multiple perspectives to examine the shared practices, traditions, and worldviews that have defined Maya cultures in the past and the present. We will examine the means through which we have come to understand prehispanic Maya societies, exploring how archaeology, ethnohistory, anthropology, art history, and critical theory, as well as recent political history, activism, identity politics, and popular media have shaped our interpretations of the Maya past.
This course looks at the construction of sex and gender in Latin American societies, both past and present, exploring anthropological approaches to the study of social identities, gender relations, and the complex negotiation of power that they entail. We will examine anthropological, ethnohistoric, and archaeological evidence to understand gender roles and ideologies and con-sider how sex and gender intersect with ethnicity and social class in a range of prehispanic, colonial, and postcolonial societies.