The University of Massachusetts Amherst

Spring 2021 Course Preview


Anthro 101    Biology, Culture & the Human Experience
This course provides an introduction to Biocultural Anthropology, the integration of biology and culture in the study of humankind. There are many facets of the human experience that are at the same time biological, social, and imbued with cultural meaning.   Examples include race and racism, sex and gender, reproduction and birth, health and medicine, global nutrition, obesity, stress and mental health, violence, and trauma, and others. The course will introduce students to perspectives from social, cultural and biological anthropology and then bring these perspectives into play to investigate and illuminate these examples of the human experience.  One of the key goals in the class is to better understand how individuals' lived experience becomes embodied as human biology. (Gen.Ed. SB)  4 cr

Anthro 102    Intro to Archaeology: Humans Past & Present
Introduction to archaeological method and theory along with a survey of human world prehistory through the rise of civilizations. Topics include archaeological survey, excavation, analysis and interpretation of data, dating, research methods, and theories of cultural change.  (Gen.Ed. SB, DG)  4 cr

Anthro 102H    Intro to Archaeology: Humans Past & Present
Introduction to archaeological method and theory along with a survey of human world prehistory through the rise of civilizations. Topics include archaeological survey, excavation, analysis and interpretation of data, dating, research methods, and theories of cultural change.  (Gen.Ed. SB, DG)  4 cr  first year CHC students

Anthro 103    Human Origins and Variation
The biological aspects of being human. Evolution, how and where the human species originated, and biological similarities and dissimilarities among contemporary human groups.  (Gen.Ed. BS)  4 cr

Anthro 104    Culture, Society & People
The nature of culture and its role in creating forms of social, economic, and political life in diverse historical and geographical contexts. Readings drawn from contemporary ethnographies of various peoples, analyzing the persistence of cultural diversity in the midst of global social and socioeconomic forces.  (Gen.Ed. SB, DG)  4cr

Anthro 210    Economies and Cultures
This course offers a plurality of perspectives on a range of economic systems across the world. It emphasizes anthropological approaches to economic phenomena; offers a critique of leading theoretical perspectives in the field; examines relationships among economic, political, ritual, and social aspects of culture; and focuses on the impact of globalization, its inequalities, and possibilities. (Gen. Ed. SB, DG)  4 cr

Anthro 230/397TT    Race and the American Museum
The museum stands as an institution that holds both cultural and social aspects of our past and present lives. The museum also functions as a symbol of power and truth. However, the potential that museums can act as agents of social change for some is a radical idea. Although many museums still value the process of collection, preservation and display, the need to broaden access and diversify their appeal has become essential for the museum’s survival. Through this course, we will begin by exploring ways that “race” is represented in the context of the American museum. We will also interrogate the contentious relationship between exhibit curators, marginalized communities, historians, and archaeologists. We will then consider several specific museums and will pay close attention to how they are becoming sites of confrontation, experimentation, and debate through partnerships with descendant communities and other stakeholders. 4cr

Anthro 269    North American Archaeology
The history of Native North Americans from their arrival on this continent, sometime between 80,000 and 12,000 years ago, up until their initial contact with Europeans. Archaeology as a source for the telling of history sensitive to voices often excluded from the written record.   (Gen.Ed. HS, DU)  4 cr

Anthro 270    North American Indians (Tentative On-line)
Survey of the indigenous people of America north of Mexico; their regional variations and adaptations, their relationship to each other, and the changes taking place in their lifeways.  (Gen.Ed. SB, DU)  4 cr

Anthro 281    Statistics in anthropology using R
Construction of research designs in anthropology, data structuring and analysis using tools of descriptive and inferential statistics. Prerequisite: completion of R1 requirement. Required for anthropology majors (Gen.Ed. R2)  4 cr

Anthro 290A    Anatomy of the Human Body
This course is designed to give the student a thorough understanding of human gross anatomy from embryological, functional and evolutionary perspectives.  The course is divided into 4 Units (Thorax and Abdomen, Back and Upper Limb, Pelvis and Lower Limb, Head and Neck), each of which covers specific anatomical regions and introduces the major systems of the human body. Each unit will integrate anatomy with evolutionary and functional approaches on various aspects of anatomical complexes specific to that unit (e.g. Lower limb anatomy and bipedal locomotion, larynx and evolution of language, pelvis and evolution of rotational birth). This course is targeted at students who aim to pursue health-related professions (medical/dental graduate programs, nursing, PT/OT, PA, etc?), anthropology majors who want to build a solid background in human evolutionary anatomy into their training, as a component of the anthropology major pathways such as health & the body and Evolutionary anthropology, as well as the Culture, Health, and Science program.  4 cr

Anthro 312    Medical Anthropology
The course is designed to introduce students to the concepts, approaches, methods, and goals of medical anthropology. In doing so we will undertake an examination of the interplay between biology and culture and how health, illness, medicine and therapy exist in different cultures. Central to this concern is the idea that culture plays a central role in definitions of health and illness. After establishing a base for examining and defining medical anthropology, as well as taking a look at health, illness, and medicine within a range of different cultures, we will take a closer look at health issues in North America. There will also be particular emphasis on the diversity (plurality) of therapeutic and philosophical approaches to the body and medicine, and how these are culturally infused and reflective. This latter point will involve a critical analysis of biomedicine and various alternative therapies currently in practice in North America.  4 cr

Anthro 313    Nutritional Anthropology
This course is an introduction to nutritional anthropology, an area of anthropology concerned with human nutrition and food systems in social, cultural and historical contexts. Nutritional anthropology represents the interface between anthropology and the nutritional sciences, and as such, can provide powerful insights into the interactions of social and biological factors in the context of the nutritional health of individuals and populations. Because food and nutrition are quintessential biocultural issues, the course takes a biocultural approach drawing on perspectives from biological, socio-cultural and political-economic anthropology. Course content will include: a discussion of approaches to nutritional anthropology; nutritional basics; food behaviors and ideas; methods of dietary and nutritional assessment; and a series of case studies addressing causes and consequences to nutritional problems across the world. 3 cr

Anthro 337    Archaeology of Mesoamerica
The prehispanic Mesoamerican culture process. The origins, growth, development, and partial colonial reconstruction of these unique native American societies. The intellectual history of Mesoamerican archaeology.  3 cr

Anthro 364    Problems in Anthropology
Introduction to major issues in anthropological theory. Focus on key concepts in the discipline, important authors, and development of and debates over theoretical issues and their relationship to contemporary issues. An underlying theme of "Culture and Power" provides the intellectual thread to the course and guides our critical thinking endeavors. In the process, we take social science writing, and specifically anthropologists writing for different purposes, to be a central object of analysis and practice. Required for and limited to anthropology majors; satisfies the Junior Year Writing requirement for anthropology majors. (Gen.Ed. JYW) 4 cr

Anthro 380    Grassroots Community Organizing
This course examines how marginalized communities organize to combat racial, economic, and political injustices. Student facilitation, grassroots community partnerships, and an alternative spring break experience enable a unique learning community.  Instructor permission required via application. 4 cr

Anthro 384    African American Anthropology
his course will introduce students to both the study of African Americans by anthropologists, as well as the practice of anthropology by African American scholars. We will contextualize African American anthropologies within the historical developments, social movements, cultural and artistic production, and political philosophies that have shaped African American communities. By critically engaging with seminal texts and writings, we will consider contradictions, challenges, critiques, and contributions present within “African American Anthropology.” This course will also work to de-marginalize gender, sexuality, and class in conceptions of race and Blackness, attending to the complexity and nuance in interpretations and analyses of African American culture and communities. 4 cr

Anthro 394AI    Europe After the Wall
The fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 was a seismic event that took the world by storm.  It gave rise to dizzy optimism and hope for a new, post-ideological age and greater global unity, within and beyond Europe.  Almost thirty years later, these hopes have not been realized. Cold War hostilities are alive and well and although the EU has expanded, Europe is, arguably, more divided than ever. This undergraduate seminar explores the implications of the Wall and it's passing for Europe, focusing on anthropological accounts of the (former) East bloc.  The course is divided into three main parts:  Europe behind the Iron Curtain (the cultural logics of state socialism); What Came Next?  (the fall of the wall, the hopes and expectations as well as the discontents of "democratization" and "transition"); and a section that explores the volatile present, focusing on the renewed nationalism in the region and reinvigorated East-West tensions. During this last bloc, we will explore themes of gender and generation, nostalgia and the politics of history ("memory wars"),  political protest and the return of the state.  As we go, we'll be reading some of the most exciting new ethnographies of the region, grounded accounts that explore the transformations in social and cultural logics, power relations and practices that accompany political and economic change.
This course fulfills the requirements of an Integrative Experience for anthropology majors (IE). Course assignments will include self-reflection papers linked to topics in the class, and also connect to prior courses you have taken, both within and outside the discipline. The course is open to non-anthropology majors also and it counts towards the Russian, Eurasian and Slavic Studies major and the Modern European Studies major.  4 cr

Anthro 394RI    Ethnography in Action
Today's public institutions and community organizations operate in complex societies and serve an increasingly diverse set of constituents and stakeholders. Anthropological research provides tools for understanding diverse perceptions, practices, and social problems in cultural and historical context. The centerpiece of this course is an actual group research project here in western Mass: students will act as a team to design a research project, conduct field research with a partner organization, organize and analyze data, and present research findings. We will read anthropological and other relevant texts related to the specific topical area of the semester's research project. Students will learn key concepts of anthropological research design, methodological strategies, and think critically about the ethics of applied anthropological research. Satisfies the Integrative Meets with Anthro 635. Experience requirement for BA-Anth majors.  4 cr    

Anthro 395W    Gender, Nation and Body Politics
In this course, we will examine feminist theorizations, critiques, and accounts of gender and sexuality in the context of nation-state formations, colonization, globalization, and migration. We will interrogate how the gendered body becomes a target of violence, regulation, and objectification, but also functions as a site of resistance. We will also examine how the body serves as a marker nation and identity, and a locus generating knowledge, both scientific and experiential. Some issues we will cover include racialization, labor, citizenship, heteronormativity, reproduction, schooling, and incarceration, as well as the role of anthropology and ethnography in both understanding and enacting political engagements with these issues
Cross-listed with WGSS 395W.  3 cr

Anthro 397DC    Decolonizing Collections  
This course examines and applies decolonizing approaches to archaeological collections management. Students will learn about the history of collecting and museum collections management in the U.S. including laws and policies, such as the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) that address the control of Indigenous cultural material and human remains in US museum collections. We will learn about Indigenous approaches to decolonizing museum collections and apply these methods to the care and preparation of UMass collections in support of Tribal consultation requests. Students will have hands-on experiences with UMass archaeological collections to gain practical knowledge and skills in materials identification; cleaning and preventative conservation; curation practices; and digital knowledge production methods.  3 cr

Anthro 416    Primate Evolution
Survey of primate evolution, including the evolutionary history of the prosimians, monkeys, apes, and humans. Emphasis on the diversification of species and the origins of humans.  3 cr

Anthro 491E    Queer Ethnographies
Cross-listed with WGSS 491E.  3 cr

Anthro 494PI/397PE    Political Ecology
Political ecology has developed over the past few decades as an interdisciplinary critique of environmental devastation, scientific management, and environmental activism.  Attending to the intersections of anthropology and political ecology, this course will provide an introduction to the key debates of political ecology as well how these debates have articulated with foundational anthropological concerns. Open to students from any major.  3 cr

Graduate Courses:

Anthro 578    Theory & Method in Archaeology
Intensive examination of the scientific approach to modern archaeological research and utilization of this approach for deriving and testing theories of prehistory and behavioral patterns.  3 cr

Anthro 597CC    Community, Commons & Communism
Description: TBD  3 cr

Anthro 635    Qualitative Research Methods
Methods of studying cultures of homogeneous and heterogeneous societies among peoples of the world. Emphasis on various techniques of field work.  Meets with Anthro 394RI. 3 cr

Anthro 641    Theory & Method in Social Anthropology 1
This seminar is devoted to structional functional analysis as developed in British social anthropology. Emphasis on method in analysis of social and political theoretical issues.  3 cr