Department Chair: Michelle C. Johnson
Associate Professors: Michelle C. Johnson, Edmund Searles
Assistant Professors: Clare Sammells, Allen Tran
The department encompasses two disciplines, sociology and anthropology, and offers separate majors and minors in each.
Cultural anthropology explores the basis of and implications for human diversity by posing general and specific questions about the varieties of human experience. The study of human diversity contributes essential elements to a liberal arts education.
The aim of the anthropology major is to introduce students to the theories and methods anthropologists use to study and analyze different cultures around the world. Instruction is offered on various topical issues (e.g. the anthropology of economics, religion, medicine, and emotions), and on the ways anthropologists research problems that are both practical and intellectual in nature. Students may go on to graduate work in anthropology but a major in anthropology furnishes skills and conceptual tools useful in a wide variety of paths.
We encourage anthropology majors to include original research and off-campus experiences in their program of study. We make field research a required component in several of our courses, and we encourage students to take anthropology courses in off-campus study programs in the U.S. and abroad. We encourage students interested in off-campus field research to take research methods courses beginning in their second or third year at Bucknell, although seniors with no prior experience are usually admitted to field study courses.
The anthropology major consists of eight courses. Four of the courses are core to the major, and they include an introductory course (ANTH 109 Introduction to Cultural Anthropology); a methods course (either SOCI/ANTH 201 Field Research in Local Communities or SOCI 208 Methods of Social Research); a history of anthropological theory course (ANTH 283 Anthropological Theory); and a culminating experience course in the major (ANTH 330 Advanced Seminar in Anthropology). The student chooses four other electives to complement the four core courses. Electives include all the courses offered by the department that are not core courses (see above), courses offered in other departments that are crosslisted in anthropology, a sociology course offered at Bucknell University, and no more than two off-campus courses pre-approved by the chair of the department.
The Minor in Anthropology
The minor in anthropology requires a minimum of five courses in anthropology, with no more than one course at the 100 level. No more than one off-campus course ordinarily counts toward the minor.
The department strongly encourages qualified majors to consider working for honors in anthropology. Such students should consult with one or more members of the faculty of the department to begin defining a research topic and writing a proposal in their junior year. Normally, during the senior year, an honors student will enroll in ANTH 319 and, if agreed to by the academic adviser, a second semester in ANTH 320. The honors proposal is to be approved by the department chairperson and submitted to the Honors Council by mid-October of the senior year. Further information can be obtained from the student's academic adviser, the department chairperson, and from the Honors Council.
Introduction to Cultural Anthropology (I or II; 3, 0)
Nature and scope of the field: method and theory, institutions of human beings in crosscultural perspective, case studies.
Urban Anthropology (I; 3, 0)
Anthropological perspective and the study of the city; problems of methodology, comparative urbanism, case studies, culture of poverty.
Field Research in Local Communities (I or II; 3, 0)
Participant observation, interviewing and other field research methods. Students will carry out exercises and projects in local communities. Crosslisted as SOCI 201.
An Approach to Ethnomusicology (I or II; 2, 1)
An anthropological approach to music including a study of history, objects and methods. Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.
Violence, Culture, and Human Rights (I and II; 3, 0)
Explores debates over tensions between respect for human rights and cultural differences. Anthropological case studies will consider different understandings of "violence," "culture," and "rights."
Ritual, Myth, and Meaning (II; 3, 0)
The anthropological analysis of religion and religious phenomena. Life course rituals such as birth, initiation, and death; taboo, symbolism, and the interpretation of supernatural powers.
Gender and Sexuality in South Asia (I or II; 3, 0)
Explores issues of gender and sexuality in South Asia, primarily India and Sri Lanka. Topics include marriage, family, life cycle, religion, and nationalism. Crosslisted as WMST 232.
Modern Africa (I; 3, 0)
Introduction to complexity, richness, and vitality of contemporary African cultures. Interdisciplinary perspectives on issues including economy, politics, family and community, art, literature, religion. Crosslisted as IREL 235.
Women and Development (I or II; 3, 0)
This course examines the relationship between women and development, and an ideological economic, political, and social enterprise. Crosslisted as WMST 251.
Ritual and Rebellion in South America (I and II; 3, 0)
The cultural and social groups inhabiting the South American west coast in historical context; implications for anthropological and social issues concerning Third World societies. Crosslisted as LAMS 252.
Peoples and Culture of Latin America (I or II; 3, 0)
Introduction to the diversity of cultures and social groups of Latin America. Situates changing politics, economies and cultures within the region, with focus on issues of gender, race, class and religion.
Native Americans, Past and Present (AI; 3, 0)
This course introduces students to the anthropology of contemporary Native North America. The goal is to teach students the theories, concepts, and methods used by anthropologists to investigate and explain the practices, beliefs, attitudes, and organization of Native peoples.
Environmental Anthropology (II; 3, 0)
Using anthropological methods and theories as a guide, this course considers the form and content of human interactions with the environment in various regions of the world.
Feeding Latin America (I; 3, 0)
A survey of food/cuisine and agricultural systems in Latin America. Prerequisite: ANTH 109 or SOCI 100 or permission of the instructor.
Food, Eating, and Culture (I or II; 3, 0)
Social significance of food and eating. Taboos and rituals, food and identities, eating and political hierarchy, food and gender, global culture. Materialist and symbolic interpretations.
Economies and Societies: Beyond Money (I or II; 3, 0)
This course will provide an introduction to the study of economic systems within specific cultural contexts. We will consider how economic systems interact with other aspects of daily life on the level of the individual, the family, and society.
Anthropology of Tourism (I or II; 3, 0)
Tourism is one of the largest industries in the world. The contemporary tourism industry is an outgrowth of global capitalism, and the relationships that it creates are implicated in that economic system. Tourism cannot be considered only in terms of the movement of capital however. We must also consider the specific relationships between tourists, toured, service providers, the state, and money.
Sexuality and Culture (II; 3, 0)
Explores diverse cultural constructions of sexual identity, power, transformation, and taboo, and examines gender as a primary principle of social and cosmic organization.
Dance and Culture (I or II; 3, 0)
An exploration of dance as a cultural practice. Topics include: the body and movement; gender and sexuality; race and ethnicity; colonialism and nationalism; aesthetics; ritual and healing; globalization; representation. Crosslisted as WMST 271.
Performance and Culture (I or II; 3, 0)
Interdisciplinary approaches to the study of culture and performance: dance, music, theatre, and ritual. Explores issues of embodiment, identity, gender, ethnicity, colonialism, nationalism, and globalization.
Theory in Anthropology (I or II; 3, 0)
Explores into the major theoretical trends - both historical and contemporary - in cultural anthropology; conceptualizations of culture, society, and humankind; history and current status of the concept of culture.
Anthropology of Socialism (I or II; 3, 0)
This course examines the cultures, politics, and economic systems of socialist and post-socialist societies through the investigation of a series of thematic case studies.
Medical Anthropology (I or II; 3, 0)
Health and illness are not solely determined by an individual’s biology. Their social determinants are the focus of this course. An understanding of health requires an investigation into the cultural meanings of the body, social relations, and the systems of power in which they are embedded.
Culture and Mind (I or II; 3, 0)
This course examines the relationship between cultural and mental phenomena through a historical and cross-cultural perspective. What does the study of the mind as a cultural phenomena reveal about social life, conflicts, and movements?
Womb to Tomb: Culture and the Life Course (I or II; 3, 0)
Explores how members of different cultures imagine and experience major phases of the life course: birth, childhood, adolescence, adulthood, old age and death.
Culture and Madness (I or II; 3, 0)
This seminar examines mental health and illness in cross-cultural perspective. Questioning commonly held notions about the nature of madness, the course focuses on how categories of deviance and abnormality are assigned to people.
320. Honors Course in Anthropology (I and II)
Each student selects a project to be developed individually. Prerequisite: permission of the department.
326. Advanced Reading in Anthropology (I or II; R; 0, 12) Half to two courses.
Readings developed around the interest of individual students. Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.
Religions in Africa: Spirits, Saints, and Sufis (I or II; 3, 0)
Explores the diversity of religious beliefs and practices in Africa. Religious change, syncretism, and ritual debates. Prerequisite: any anthropology course or permission of the instructor.
Advanced Seminar in Anthropology (I or II; 3, 0)
Focuses on selected topics of ethnographic and theoretical interest, varying from year to year. Prerequisite: ANTH 283 or permission of the instructor.
Field Research (AII; R; 3, 0) Half to two courses.
Independent investigation in the field; formulation of hypotheses, construction of measuring instruments, data collection, data analysis, and test of hypotheses.
Courses offered occasionally
210 Medical Anthropology, 259 Peoples and Cultures of the Caribbean, 380 Anthropology of the Body