Courses

ShareThis
Translate

Descriptions of course offerings are included below. For advice on course selection be sure to speak with a faculty adviser.

Course Offerings

103. Introductory Anthropology.

Fall or Spring. Credits: 4.

Degree Requirements: F9.

Anthropology, in the largest sense of the discipline, is the study of what it is to be human. In attempting to understand the diversity of thought and behavior that is characteristic of humans, we better understand ourselves, our potentials and our limitations. Further, the process of listening to and learning from others allows us to grant dignity and respect to those that we might otherwise naively dismiss as “primitives”. This course covers the basic data, concepts, and theories of cultural anthropology placing emphasis on the foundations of human society, social organization, culture, and symbol systems. Not open to seniors.

Prerequisites: None.

105. Introductory Sociology.

Fall or Spring. Credits: 4.

Degree Requirements: F8.

Sociology emerged in the late nineteenth century as an attempt to understand and explain the unprecedented changes in social organization and human relations resulting from modernization. This course provides a general overview of the sociological concepts, theories, and empirical research that concern the problems of modernity and contemporary American society. The naive, popular view of individuals as “free-standing, autonomous subjects” is critically assessed and a more comprehensive understanding of individuals as “social” selves that are both products and producers of institutions and social relationships is examined. In addition to introducing students to the field of sociology, the course aims to cultivate self-understanding and critical insight into the conditions of contemporary existence, including social stratification by race, social class, and gender. Not open to seniors.

Prerequisites: None.

201. Human Evolution: The Intersections of Biology, Environment and Culture

Spring. Credits: 4.

To understand our present physical and social condition, we must understand our evolutionary past. This course is an introduction the fundamentals that contribute to our understanding of human evolution--evolutionary biology, genetics, primatology, paleaontology, physical anthropology, geology and archaeology. You will learn about the methods involved in reconstructing ancient human anatomy, behavior, and use of their environments, which have situated our own evolutionary history (both biological and cultural) within the current world. Through class lectures and discussions, we will address topics such as what makes us human, the validity of the concept of race, our relations to Neanderthals and the beginning of the human manipulations of plants.

Prerequisites: None.

202. Understanding the Past: Archaeological Perspectives on Culture.

Fall or Spring. Credits: 4.

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.

Prerequisites: None.

207. Archaeology of Sex and Gender.

Fall. Credits: 4.

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. We will also explore the contributions of women archaeologists and the intellectual history of gender and sexuality studies in anthropological archaeology.

Prerequisites: None.

211. Peoples of Sub-Saharan Africa and Madagascar.

Fall. Credits: 4.

Degree Requirements: F9.

This course provides an introduction to the prehistory, culture history and contemporary cultures of sub-Saharan Africa and Madagascar. It also includes the study of various cultural practices and theoretical issues that have continued to fascinate anthropologists and animate ethnological discussions including state formation, witchcraft beliefs, oral traditions, and indigenous philosophy. (Course offered in alternate years; scheduled for 2012-2013.)

Prerequisites: None.

215. The Final Frontier: Peopling and Peoples of the Pacific.

Fall. Credits 4

Degree Requirements: F9

The course will begin by examining why the Pacific Islands were the “final frontier” of the human occupation of the globe. The focus will then shift to the vast array of normal cultural strategies employed among Pacific Islanders regarding subsistence activities, social, political and economic organization, cosmological beliefs and celebratory practices. Anthropologists also use the information they acquire to reflect upon theoretical arguments concerning cultural organization and human practices. Ethnographic studies in the Pacific have contributed to ongoing discussions concerning non-market based economies, “primitive” warfare, varieties of celebration and decoration (e.g., the hula and tattooing), and marketing the “exotic” to the West. This course will also examine the contribution of Pacific ethnography to such larger discussions in the field of anthropology. (Course offered in alternate years; scheduled for 2013-2014.)

Prerequisites: None.

221. North of the Rio Grande: Indigenous People of North America.

Fall or Spring. Credits: 4.

Degree Requirements: F9.

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. We will discuss the social, economic, and political facets of what make these communities complex whether they are hunter-gatherers, horticulturalists and/or capitalists. Key topics, such as the historical development of the field of archaeology and anthropology, environmental interactions of Native communities, cultural change and continuity, colonialism and power will be explored.

Prerequisites: None.

231. Gender and Society.

Fall. Credits: 4.

This course examines how and why society prescribes different gender expectations to men and women. In turn, we will discuss how those expectations affect the experiences, attitudes, and opportunities of men and women in society. Students will gain the conceptual and theoretical tools to analyze the personal, interactional, and institutional consequences of different social constructions of gender.

Prerequisites: None.

233. Gender Politics and Protest.

Spring. Credits: 4.

In this course we will employ the sociological perspective to make sense of both formal politics and social movements as gendered institutions. We will illuminate the process by which U.S. politics came to be defined as a masculine sphere. We will examine the gender gap in political representation and the impact that this gender gap has on both public policy and the political process. We will discuss the strategies, successes, and shortcomings of U.S. feminist movements and examine how gender has shaped the narratives and strategies of other social movements. Throughout our explorations, we will illuminate how women have challenged gender inequality in both protest and politics.

Prerequisites: None.

235. The Sociology of Martin Luther King, Jr. in Practice: A Place-Based Study of King and the St. Augustine Civil Rights Movement

Summer. Credits: 4.

Degree Requirements: F9, F11.

It is an important but little known fact that Martin Luther King, Jr. earned his bachelor’s degree in sociology before turning his postgraduate and professional attention to theology and religion. This course introduces students to the sociological nature of King’s work through a three-week intensive place-based study of his role in the St. Augustine, FL civil rights movement. Taught on the campus of Flagler College in downtown St. Augustine, the course explores the intellectual and sociological roots of King’s thought and his understanding of cultural difference, nonviolence, and social change. Morning lectures and discussions of assigned readings will be followed by afternoon activities in the community that will include walking tours of civil rights historic sites and meetings with community residents and leaders.

Prerequisites: None.

241. Urban Social Problems.

Spring. Credits: 4.

This course provides an overview of the history of cities and urban development, urban strengths and challenges and the future of cities. Students will examine urban processes in an effort to better understand how social contexts affect people’s lives and how inequality is reproduced and challenged. This course will pair the survey of a broad range of urban issues in the United States with hands-on experience in Memphis communities. Students will develop their skills to critically assess the causes, consequences and solutions to urban social problems.

Prerequisites: None.

243. Social Movements.

Fall or Spring. Credits: 4.

Social movements are central forces shaping modern U.S. society and others around the world. In this course we will examine how social movements alter our political landscapes, transform cultural discourses, bring about sweeping cultural and policy changes, and transform those who participate. We will examine case studies of social movements and reflect on sociological theories explaining the trajectories of social movements. We will also examine how movement participants contend with raced, classed, and gendered dynamics as they work for change.

Prerequisites: None.

245. The Sociology of Community-Integrative Education

Fall or Spring. Credits: 4.

Degree Requirements: F11, F2i.

Community-integrative education occupies a central place in American higher education. Courses containing community-based learning can be found in virtually all disciplines and all types of colleges and universities. This course examines the historical emergence of community-integrative education, its institutional practice, variations and issues. Intensive writing assignments and reflexive classroom discussions will guide student reflection on their community experience, classroom learning and personal development.

Prerequisites: None.

254. Archaeological Methods.

Credits: 4.

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. Students will be introduced to various systems of archaeological classification and analytical techniques for understanding objects such as lithic artifacts, pottery, human skeletal remains, and other historic and prehistoric artifacts. Artifact illustration, photography, cataloguing, and curating will also be discussed. Crosslisted as Archaeology 220.

Prerequisites: None.

255. Field Anthropology.

Fall or Spring. Credits: 1-4.

This course allows students to gain credit for participation in off-campus field projects under professional supervision in the fields of archaeological, social anthropological, and physical anthropological research. Students will be required to integrate academic and fieldwork experiences in an oral and/or written report at the end of the fieldwork experience. Maximum of 4 hours credit is possible.

Prerequisites: Permission of the instructor.

265. Selected Introductory Topics in Anthropology and Sociology.

Fall or Spring. Credits: 4.

Introduction to selected themes and topics in anthropology and sociology. Students may enroll and receive credit for this course more than once as the course themes and topics change.

Prerequisites: Anthropology/Sociology 103 or 105, or permission of instructor.

271. Ecological Anthropology.

Fall. Credits: 4.

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. Topics to be explored include human alteration of the environment, the processes of domestication, the ecology of indigenous and Western foodways, traditional ecological knowledge of plants, natural resource sustainability, and conservation policies and politics through time and space.

Prerequisites: None.

273. Gender and Environment.

Fall or Spring. Credits: 4.

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. Topics to be examined in this course include: feminist readings of “nature”; gender and the history of science; intersections between gender and sexuality in relations to global and local ecological issues, feminist political ecology; traditional ecological knowledge; environment and globalization; and environmental justice.

Prerequisites: None.

275. Food and Culture.

Fall. Credits: 4

Food is not only important as nutrition, but as a symbol of identity, a marker of status, a sealer of alliances and an item of social and economic currency. This course examines the myriad uses, meanings and impacts of food cross-culturally. This contributes to the mission of the department, giving students an in-depth view of one of the basic aspects of human cultures. Students will come away with a more thoughtful and nuanced view of their own societal practices, as well as those of many others. We will take a critical view of human relationships with their environments, vis-à-vis food production in past and present communities. This class will serve not only for anthropology/sociology majors and minors, but also for students with an interest in archaeology and environmental studies and those in other disciplines who wish to broaden their understanding of one of the most important and basic aspects of our lives and societies.

Prerequisites: None.

290. Learning from Things: Material Culture Studies.

Fall. Credits: 4

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. We will also use our everyday environments – from Rhodes dorm rooms to greater Memphis – as our laboratory, as we explore how our own material culture defines, enables, and circumscribes our cultural worlds. Material culture studies, while a rich source of information, is also a challenging arena for the study of individuals, societies, and cultures, because objects speak neither unambiguously nor directly to us. Students will come to appreciate how astute observation underpinned by theoretical acumen and the clever framing of questions can allow us to “learn from things.” (This course is cross-listed as Archaeology 210.)

Prerequisites: None.

325. The Maya and Their World.

Fall or Spring. Credits: 4.

Degree Requirements: F3 and F9.

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. Through the lens of 3000 years of continuities and transformations, we will consider the formation of ancient and modern Maya identities in the face of collapse, migration, conquest, political upheaval, and violence.

Prerequisites: Anthropology/Sociology 103, Latin American Studies 200, or permission of the instructor.

327. Gender and Power in Latin America.

Fall or Spring. Credits: 4.

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.

Prerequisites: Any one of the following: Anthropology/Sociology 103, Latin American Studies 200, Gender and Sexuality Studies 200, Anthropology/Sociology 231, or permission of the instructor.

331. Race and Ethnicity in American Society.

Fall. Credits: 4.

In this seminar course, students will explore how the socially-constructed catego-ries of race and ethnicity shape the lived experiences of people in the United States. We will address the roots and current expressions of racial prejudice and discrimination, examining how everyday racism and institutional racism produce and maintain inequality. Together, we will work to understand how race and ethnicity influence our identities and opportunities. Along the way, we will also critically assess how our actions can reproduce or work against racial inequality and injustice. By the end of the course, students will have the conceptual and theoretical tools to think sociologically about race relations in the United States.

Prerequisites: Anthropology/Sociology 103 or 105, or permission of the instructor.

347. Medical Sociology.

Fall. Credits: 4.

Medical sociology is the study of the socio-cultural factors that affect health, illness, disease, and medical care. Topics include epidemiology, social demography of health, the relationship between social stress and health, health and illness behavior, the physician-patient relationship, and the organization of health care and medical practice. These topics will be studied by combining classroom lectures, discussion and experiential learning. This course is recommended for pre-med, health science majors, and social science majors.

Prerequisites: Anthropology/Sociology 105, or permission of the instructor.

351. Introduction to Social Research.

Fall. Credits: 4.

This course provides a general introduction to the sociological research process by addressing issues on research design, literature reviews, data collection, basic analysis and interpretation of data, and research reports. A range of quantitative and qualitative research methodologies, such as surveys, content analysis, and in-depth interviews are covered. Students will read materials describing and employing these methods; practice conducting social research; and do presentations and write papers on consuming, conducting, and critiquing social research.

Prerequisites: Anthropology/Sociology 105, or permission of the instructor. Majors and Minors only.

352. Ethnography at Home: Engaging in Another World.

Spring. Credits: 4.

Degree Requirements: F11, F2i.

Participant-observation is the methodological core of anthropology. Yet, participant-observation is a critical qualitative method that should be exercised across all disciplines and professions that address the human condition. We will explore this assertion in practice and in discussion around the seminar table. This course will focus on the “doing” of ethnography by asking you to respectfully, socially, meaningfully, and sensuously engage with a moment in another’s world in the larger Memphis community. One way to describe ethnography is as a compelling descriptive pause to appreciate another way of being in and giving meaning to the world before one begins sustained and systematic social analysis and theorizing. Students will write a series of short papers that contribute toward the writing of a descriptive ethnography and the presentation of their findings to a campus audience.

Prerequisites: Anthropology/Sociology 103, or permission of the instructor. Majors and Minors only.

361-362. Special Problems.

Fall or Spring. Credits: 1- 4.

Designed to encourage senior or advanced junior majors to study intensively in an area of their special interest.

Prerequisites: Permission of the instructor.

365. Cultural Motifs.

Fall or Spring. Credits: 4.

This course emphasizes contemporary and emergent themes in the respective disciplines as a means of keeping students abreast of substantial developments in these dynamic fields of social inquiry. Students may enroll and receive credit for this course more than once as the course theme changes.

Prerequisites: Anthropology/Sociology 103 or 105, or permission of the instructor.

371. Psychological Anthropology.

Spring Credits: 4.

Degree Requirements: F9.

Anthropologists argue that rather than seeing the mind of “the other” as an imperfect or incomplete version of our own, we must approach it as an “alternative form.” In this course we will be investigating questions such as: Do members of non-Western cultures “sense and think” like members of Western cultures? Do individuals from a non-literate culture actually reason differently from members of a literate culture? Is one culture’s schizophrenic another culture’s saint? Are some psychological disorders specific to certain cultures? Why is it that close to 90% of the world’s cultures sanction some form of an altered state of consciousness? This course is recommended for students of both anthropology and psychology. (Course offered every third year; scheduled for 2012-2013.)

Prerequisites: Anthropology/Sociology 103, or permission of the instructor.

372. Alternative Realities: Symbols, Rituals, World Views.

Spring. Credits: 4.

Degree Requirements: F9.

Humans are always searching for meaning and order beyond the limits of the activities that are needed to guarantee their immediate survival. This course will consider the role of symbolic activity in the construction and maintenance of coherent and comprehensive systems of meaning that integrate human experience with the workings of the larger world or cosmos. (Course offered every third year; scheduled for 2013-2014.)

Prerequisites: Anthropology/Sociology 103, or permission of the instructor.

375. Anthropology and the Written Word.

Spring. Credits: 4.

This course examines various issues involving orality and literacy and their consequences for ourselves and others whose lives we wish to understand. The cultural contexts surrounding the invention and use of writing systems as well as the effects of literacy on mind and society will also be studied. Anthropologists use writing to record some of their knowledge about other peoples and cultures. While anthropologists have produced numerous “scholarly” texts, they have also pursued other writing projects: autobiographies of individuals from non-Western societies, poetry, novels, science fiction and literary texts, which may or may not conform to Western literary traditions. This course will not only explore some of these genres of writing but will involve a component of creative writing as well. (Course offered every third year; scheduled for 2014-2015.)

Prerequisites: Anthropology/Sociology 103, or permission of the instructor.

379. From the Global to the Local: Anthropology of Social Change.

Spring. Credits: 4.

This course offers a critical examination of the interaction between industrial nations of the developed world and indigenous and tribal societies of the Third and Fourth Worlds. Geographical focus will vary according to the instructor’s area of expertise. Topics covered will include most or all of the following: a concept of “progress,” human rights, environmental ethics, indigenous movements, the politics of development, and cultural tourism.

Prerequisites: Anthropology/Sociology 103, or permission of the instructor.

380. Explorations in Social Theory.

Fall. Credits: 4.

The major goal of this course is to help students identify and understand explanations of the social world and social actors that have become elevated to the status of social theory. Lectures will present certain “classical” directions of thought in social analysis. Students will undertake “critical” analyses of primary sources and write a series of reflective essays on their intellectual engagement with theoretical schools. These essays will serve as foci for seminar format sessions during the semester.

Prerequisites: Anthropology/Sociology 103 and 105. Majors and Minors only.

391. Prejudice and the Human Condition.

Fall. Credits: 4.

It is a condition of being human to understand in terms of projected assumptions of meaning based on one’s historical, social, cultural and linguistic position. This course examines the phenomenon of the projective or “prejudiced” nature of human understanding and explores its implications for the self and the structure of interpersonal, institutional and cross-cultural experience. Students are assigned a question each week that must be answered in the form of an essay based on the student’s interpretation of assigned readings. Student essays provide a context for seminar discussions of lectures and readings in social epistemology, phenomenology, and philosophical hermeneutics.

Prerequisite: Anthropology/Sociology 105, or permission of the instructor.

392. The Sociology of Violence and Peacemaking.

Spring. Credits: 4.

This seminar examines violence and peacemaking from a constructionist sociological framework. Interpretive, interpersonal, institutional and structural forms of violence are examined by reading personal narratives, testimonials and sociological studies. Following the insights of a wide range of thinkers, the seminar also explores the sense in which the violence implicit in knowledge and language may be understood as a core form of violence. Shifting focus to the study of nonviolence, the relation between dialogic understanding and peacemaking is then explored in reference to the work of Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. The seminar concludes with a case study of the civil rights movement in St. Augustine, Florida.

Prerequisite: Anthropology/Sociology 105, or permission of the instructor.

451-452. Research.

Fall or Spring. Credits: 1-4.

This course allows senior and advanced junior majors to become active participants in ongoing departmental research projects.

Prerequisites: Permission of the instructor.

460. Internship in Anthropology or Sociology.

Fall or Spring. Credits: 1-4.

Supervised experience for Junior and Senior anthropology/sociology majors in applying anthropological and/or sociological knowledge and principles in a field or real-world setting which might include non-profit community agencies, museums, and cultural resource management firms. A journal and/or final paper on the experience will be required. Prerequisites beyond Anthropology/Sociology 103 and 105 will depend on the individual project.

Prerequisites: Permission of the instructor and the department chair is required.

485. Introduction to Senior Seminar.

Fall. Credits: 1.

In consultation with the Anthropology-Sociology faculty, senior majors will prepare for their spring capstone experience by developing a research question and project proposal that they will implement in the spring semester.

Prerequisites: Anthropology/Sociology 103, 105, 250, 350, and 380.

486. Senior Seminar.

Spring. Credits: 4.

This capstone course requires students to integrate knowledge and skills that have been acquired throughout their studies as majors in the department. Students will engage in an ongoing critical analysis of contemporary contributions to theory and research in anthropology and sociology. Students will design and conduct a research project that culminates in a research paper and formal presentation.

Prerequisites: Anthropology/Sociology 103, 105, 351, 352, 380 and 485.

495-496. Honors Tutorial.

Fall or Spring. Credits: 4-8.

Open to candidates for honors in the department. A tutorial consisting of advanced original research.

Prerequisites: Permission of the instructor.