Anthropology is the study of human societies in all their diversity through time and around the world. It is a way to explore the richness and variety of humankind and the human condition, a means to look at what people and groups share in common and at what sets them apart.
The anthropology curriculum at Gettysburg encompasses the four major branches of the discipline, with particular emphasis on cultural anthropology (contemporary human culture and society), and archaeology (reconstruction of past human life through material remains). Study of the fourth branch, linguistic anthropology, is also an option. Classes are discussion-based, lively, and interactive, with strong emphasis on critical thinking and on the development of written and oral communication skills.
Anthropology majors have opportunities for study abroad and fieldwork on five continents. Students have studied saffron growers in Morocco and cultural tourism in Vietnam. Those interested in archaeology have attended archaeological field schools or volunteered with projects in the United States, Italy, Honduras, England, Macedonia, and South Africa. Many students choose to focus their study on a particular world area, such as Latin America, the Asia-Pacific region, Africa, or the Middle East. Many also choose to do anthropological research on a topic of interest to them. Recent honors research projects have been far ranging, exploring everything from the stigmatization of practitioners of the Caribbean Santeria religion to the subculture of ghost hunters searching for the spirits of Civil War-era Gettysburg.
Anthropology is an ideal field for those who are curious about the world and how people make their way in it. Students gain insight into how cultural frameworks shape our understanding of the world, which has implications for such current challenges as inequality, religious conflict, and globalization. The cultural awareness and sensitivity developed through the study of anthropology are assets in a wide range of workplace environments. Gettysburg graduates have gone on to work for service programs such as City Year, Teach for America, and the Peace Corps. They succeed in careers as professional anthropologists and in many other fields, including law, medicine, education, government, and the nonprofit sector.
The Anthropology major consists of 5 required and 5 elective courses.
Core Courses - All students are required to take the following courses:
ANTH 103: Introduction to Cultural Anthropology
ANTH 106: Introduction to Archaeology and Physical Anthropology
ANTH 300: History of Anthropological Theory
ANTH 323: Field Methods in Cultural Anthropology
ANTH 400: Capstone Experience in Anthropology
Students must earn a minimum of a C-minus in ANTH 103 and 106. No course may be taken Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory (S/U).
Electives - The five electives may be chosen from 200- and 300-level Anthropology courses.
At least one elective must be a 300-level course. Up to two courses taken while studying abroad may count as 200-level electives subject to departmental approval. 400-level courses (Individualized Study, including internships and tutorials) do not generally count as electives. No course may be taken Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory (S/U). An archaeological field school may count as an elective or may even substitute for Anth 323 (but not both), subject to departmental approval.
The Anthropology minor consists of six courses:
Anth 103: Introduction to Cultural Anthropology
Anth 106: Introduction to Archaeology and Physical Anthropology
Anth 300: History of Anthropological Theory
3 electives which may include 200- and 300-level Anthropology courses.
One course taken while studying abroad may count as a 200-level elective for the minor subject to departmental approval.
Students must earn a minimum of a C-minus in ANTH 103 and 106. No course may be taken Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory (S/U).
Introduction to Cultural Anthropology
Comparative study of social practices and cultural systems, using a series of case studies of non-Western and Western cultures, including our own. Course gives overview of history of cultural anthropology, major questions and theoretical debates, fieldwork and research methods, and the relevance of anthropology to the modern world. No prerequisites.
Introduction to Archaeology and Physical Anthropology
Study of how archaeologists and physical anthropologists reconstruct what people's lives were like in the past. Course uses case studies drawn from historical and ancient societies to examine how archaeology and physical anthropology contribute to anthropology's goal of understanding and comparing human behavior, religious beliefs, political structure, social organization, and economy. Students are introduced to the range of materials that archaeologists and physical anthropologists study, including burials, buildings, monumental art, trash, and texts; and to important theoretical concepts and methods. No prerequisites.
Primate Behavior & Human Origins
Introduction to the anthropological study of human origins. Course focuses on primatology (the study of monkeys and apes) and human paleontology (the study of the human and pre-human fossil record.) Topics include different explanations for the evolution of humans from prehuman ancestors; current debates, such as the relationship between humans and Neanderthals; and the role of culture in human evolution. Prerequisites: Anthropology 103 or 106.
Civilizing the Barbarians?
Investigation of the impact that the Roman Empire had on the indigenous Celts and other peoples of Western Europe. The course takes a critical look at the idea that the spread of Roman "civilization" was ultimately beneficial to the supposed "barbarians" brought under imperial rule. The course also compares Roman colonialism with modern empires and imperial projects, and analyzes how examples of modern colonialism used the Roman Empire as a model and ideological justification for European colonial expansion and domination. ANTH 210 and CLA 210 are cross-listed.
Archaeology of Pennsylvania: From the First Nations to Modern Times
Survey of the major archaeological sites and time periods of Pennsylvania from the earliest peoples to the twentieth century. The class focuses in particular on archaeological practice, including participation in excavations and working with artifacts. Other important themes include the use of both archaeology and historical texts to understand the past, and the ethics of archaeological practice and interpretation, especially in regard to the material record of the state's original peoples. Prerequisite: ANTH 103 or ANTH 106
Celts: Ancient and Modern
Survey of the ancient peoples of Europe during the first millennium B.C. and their relation to the seven modern Celtic nations of the Atlantic fringe. Through an examination of archaeology, ancient history, mythology, and anthropology, this course investigates the relation between ancient and modern Celtic cultures, and the ways in which the archaeology of the ancient Celts has been used to construct modern Celtic identities. Prerequisite: ANTH 103 or ANTH 106
Ethnographic Film: Theory and Practice
Survey and overview of the use of film in anthropological analysis and documentation. Course includes viewing and analysis of films, digital video production, and the making of short ethnographic films. Explores historical and contemporary trends in ethnographic filmmaking as these relate to the concerns of anthropology, including technical limitations and ethical issues encountered by ethnographic filmmakers. This course involves reflexive writing and hands-on film production work. Prerequisites: Anthropology 103 or 106, or Film Studies 101.
Exploring French Foodways
Study of the relationship between food and national identity in the French context. Through close readings of historical, sociological, and anthropological texts, as well as analysis of debates surrounding recent food controversies (rising obesity rates, genetically modified foods, regionally certified “authentic” foods), this course aims to develop students’ understanding of important anthropological theory in the study of food (taste, consumption, gifts), while building their awareness of the role food plays in the construction and expression of individual and group identity. Prerequisite: FREN 310. FREN 315 and ANTH 217 are cross-listed.
Islam and Women
Ethnographic look at the lived experiences of Muslim women. The course explores how these experiences are informed or mediated by religious texts and practices, as well as by political systems, ethnicity, sectarianism, class, family, migration, and other factors. A major focus is women’s rights and how activists are shaping their discourses of rights through reinterpretation of Islamic texts and critiques of state governments and legal institutions. Prerequisite: Anthropology 103 or 106.
Language and Culture
Introduction to the anthropological study of language and communicative behavior. The course compares human language with non-human primate communication; examines language acquisition among children; looks at ethnographies of communication from around the world; and explores linguistic relativity. In addition, the course touches on sociolinguistics to elucidate how communicative behavior varies within communities and nations according to age, gender, race, ethnicity, caste, and class. Students explore how languages change over time, and ask how people cope with linguistic difference during the contemporary era of globalization. Prerequisites: Anthropology 103 or 106.
Indigenous Peoples, the Environment, and the Global Economy
Examination of the ways that indigenous peoples are integrated into the global economy and international environmental movements. Will focus on such topics as informal economies, transnational migration, off-shore factory production, eco-tourism, toxic dumping, interactions between Western environmentalists and indigenous peoples, and the effects of environmental degradation on non-Western societies. Will examine how global inequalities are solidified or destabilized by contemporary economic and environmental practices. Will also review the emerging activism of indigenous peoples. Prerequisites: Anthropology 103 or 106.
Food, Culture, and Globalization
Study of food as a lens for understanding culture and globalization. The course considers religion, gender, ethnic identity, socioeconomic inequality, exchange, and nationalism through the study of the production and consumption of food in local and global settings. The course examines debates on the impact of globalization on local cultures through case studies of colonial food trades and contemporary global food industries. Prerequisites: Anthropology 103 or 106.
Archaeology of the Body
Examination of archaeological and physical anthropological research on the human body. Course considers how such research is carried out, what it contributes to our understanding of prehistoric and ancient societies, and what are the ethical issues unique to the analysis of human remains. Prerequisites: Anthropology 103 or 106.
Anthropology of Religion
Study of theories of religion and aspects of religious systems in cross-cultural perspective. Through ethnographic case studies of religious practices among indigenous peoples, the course explores debates in anthropology regarding the definition of religion. Other central themes include: the role of religious leaders and ritual practitioners, myth and ritual, politics and religion, gender and religion, religious movements, and the role of religion in sociocultural change. Prerequisites: Anthropology 103 or 106.
Cross-Cultural Perspectives on Gender and Sex Roles
Examination of the social roles of women and men, the dynamics of sexual identity, and the ideologies of gender in various societies. Course explores broad theoretical issues (such as biological vs. cultural determinants; gender stratification and inequality; the effects of social, cultural, and economic variables), as well as a range of specific societal studies. Prerequisites: Anthropology 103 or 106.
Tourism and Culture in China
Study of the literary and bodily encounters between places, people, capital, and cultures in the context of China’s modernization and globalization. Students read historical and contemporary travel writings, view documentary films, and analyze ethnographically-based research to explore what happens on the meeting grounds between "hosts" and "guests" and how these encounters shape landscapes, nation building, ethnic identities, traditions, and gender and class boundaries. All readings are in English. Prerequisites: One of the following courses: ANTH103, ANTH 106, HIST 103, HIST 106, HIST 110, HIST 301, REL 101, or ARTH 131. Cross-listed with Asian Studies.
Gender and Change in Africa and Afro-Latin America
An exploration of the diversity of women's familial, political, economic and social realities and experiences in West Africa and the African Diaspora in South America and the Caribbean. Particular attention is given to the processes by which indigenous West African gender and cultural patterns and their inherent power relations have shifted since pre-colonial times and across the Atlantic into the New World. Finally, the course examines the concept of Diaspora and theories relative to processes of cultural change, resistance, and retentions, as well as the role gender plays in these processes. No prerequisites. ANTH 231, WGS 231 and LAS 231 are cross-listed.
Precolumbian Civilizations of Mesoamerica
Introduction to the organization and development of Native American civilizations in Mexico and Central America. Evidence from archaeological and ethnographic research, Native texts and art, and Spanish Colonial writings is used to study religious beliefs, sociopolitical organization, economic relationships, and intellectual achievements of such groups as the Olmec, Maya, and Aztecs. Period prior to the sixteenth-century Spanish conquest is emphasized, but modern indigenous cultures are also studied. Prerequisites: Anthropology 103 or 106; or Latin American Studies 140 or 147. Anth 232 and LAS 232 are cross-listed.
Study of how social and cultural differences are understood, used, and managed in contemporary France. Through close readings of historical, anthropological, and sociological works, as well as analysis of literary, philosophical, and political texts, this course aims to shed light on recent polemics concerning headscarves, the banlieue, gay marriage, affirmative action, and the new Paris museums of immigration and “primitive” art. In the process, it invites reflection on the relativity of such notions as race, ethnicity, gender, and national identity. Prerequisite: French 310. Cross-listed with ANTH 233.
Precolumbian Civilizations of South America
Introduction to the organization and development of Native American civilizations in South America. Evidence from archaeological and ethnographic research, Native texts and art, and Spanish Colonial writings is used to study religious beliefs, sociopolitical organization, economic relationships, and intellectual achievements of such groups as the Inka, Moche, and Chavin. Period prior to the sixteenth-century Spanish conquest is emphasized, but modern indigenous cultures are also studied. Prerequisites: Anthropology 103 or 106; or Latin American Studies 140 or 147. Anth 236 and LAS 236 are cross-listed.
Study of contemporary African peoples and cultures based on anthropological readings, films, and novels. Course explores how global processes of colonialism, trade, and international development have influenced the lifestyles and social structures of different culture groups throughout the continent. Course examines, from an anthropological perspective, such contemporary topics as family life, gender and patriarchy, religion and the occult, ethnicity, migration, violence and war, child soldiers, youth crisis, environmental degradation, popular culture, informal economies, and emerging diseases. Prerequisites: Anthropology 103 or 106.
Modernity and Change in Asia/Pacific
Examination of contemporary societies in Southeast Asia and the Pacific from an anthropological perspective. Focus is on current ethnographic writings about modernity and change among indigenous peoples. Major themes include migration and urbanization, transformations of gender and religion, ethnic conflict and violence, environmental change and environmental movements, and the effects of globalization at the local level. Prerequisites: Anthropology 103 or 106.
The Anthropology of Contemporary Scandinavia
Exploration of work in anthropology on Scandinavian cultural values, with particular emphasis on contemporary Denmark, Sweden and Norway. Examines egalitarianism in Scandinavian societies, national identities, and social welfare policies. Key topics include ethnographic work on childhood and youth socialization, immigration and the incorporation of immigrants, and the role of religion and secularism in contemporary Scandinavia, including Norse neo-pagan religious movements and reenactment relating to the Viking age.
Conflict and Crisis in Contemporary France
Study of political and social unrest in France. By examining such issues as anti-immigrant sentiment, fear of homegrown Islamic fundamentalism, youth uprisings, and panic over food safety, this course aims to shed light on shifting conceptions of French national identity. More broadly, it invites reflection on what it means to belong to any society in the context of an increasingly globalized, pluralistic world where the risks we face are ever more complex and diffuse. Prerequisite: ANTH 103 or 106; or permission of the instructor.
Language, Culture, and Identity in the Middle East
Study of cultural variety in Middle East/North Africa region. The course introduces various ethnic and language groups as well as religious sects across national borders in the region. An understanding of the lived experiences of individuals and groups is encouraged through ethnographic readings. A major focus is how stereotypical notions of culture are deployed in political claims both within and concerning the region, including claims about group origins and homelands, women’s rights, and political Islam. Prerequisites: Anthropology 103 or 106.
Topics in Anthropology
Exploration of a particular topic, chosen by a faculty member
Archeology of the Ancient Mediterranean World
Survey of various sites and material cultures of the Mediterranean world, from c. 1500 BCE through 500 CE, including some discussion of the goals, methods, and cultural/ legal issues involved in archaeological research. Normally offered every other year.
History of Anthropological Theory
Analysis of the rise of anthropology and development of its major theoretical models. Course traces the precursors of anthropology, the emergence of the field of "anthropology" and its subdisciplines in the nineteenth century, the elaboration of the culture concept and fieldwork methods in the twentieth, and recent trends in post-colonial anthropology. Prerequisites: Anthropology 103 and 106.
Social Life of Things
A cross-cultural exploration of how members of various societies, past and present, invest objects with symbolic meanings as they produce, utilize, and exchange them in everyday life. Drawing primarily on non-Western case studies, the course will integrate perspectives from studies of material culture in fields such as economic anthropology, archaeology, and the anthropology of art. These resources will illuminate the many ways that things acquire a kind of metaphorical life in association with the lives of people who use them. Prerequisites: Anthropology 103 or 106, and one 200-level Anthropology course.
Human Rights through an Anthropological Lens
A study of human rights examined cross-culturally. The course focuses on gendered violence, violation of children's rights, genocide and ethnic persecution, refugees and exile, and disease and healthcare. Students explore linkages between non-Western peoples and transnational advocacy networks; media representation of indigenous peoples and human rights victims; processes of truth and reconciliation; and the fragility of domestic and national bonds in the face of human rights abuses. Students view these topics primarily through the lens of cultural anthropology, but include works by medical and forensic anthropologists. Prerequisites: Anthropology 103 or 106, and one 200-level Anthropology course.
Anthropology of Violence and Conflict
Exploration of anthropological approaches to the study of war, violence, conflict, and conflict resolution. The course considers anthropological theorizing on the causes and effects of diverse forms of violence and conflict, including state and ethnic violence. Ethnographic examples provide insight into how ethnicity, sectarianism, class, kinship, poverty, nationalism, religion and other factors cause and mediate conflict. The course serves as an introduction to political and legal anthropology and examines ethical issues surrounding anthropologists’ study of and involvement in conflict situations. Prerequisites: Anthropology 103 or 106, and one 200-level Anthropology course.
Advanced Topics in Anthropology
Intensive exploration of an advanced anthropology topic, chosen by a faculty member.
Field Methods in Cultural Anthropology
Seminar on how anthropologists conduct ethnographic fieldwork. The course covers participant observation, semi-structured interviews, and other ethnographic methods. Students examine the ethics of these methods along with strategies for organizing and analyzing fieldnotes. Assignments include writing a research proposal, carrying out original fieldwork, and writing a final research paper. In addition, students read about and discuss the subjective challenges of working with communities different from their own, confronting such issues as cultural relativism, poverty, political activism, and gender bias. Prerequisite: Anth 103 and one additional course in anthropology.
Technology in Ancient Societies
Study of technology as a social process and as part of a cultural system in prehistoric and ancient societies. The course considers how and why archaeologists try to reconstruct technologies from earlier eras through analysis of material culture, experimentation, and comparative research in cultural anthropology and related disciplines. The relationship between technology and social roles, economic organization, the development and transmission of skills and knowledge, and the reproduction of cultural values is central to the course. Prerequisites: Anthropology 103 or 106, and one 200-level Anthropology course.
Capstone Experience in Anthropology
Intensive culminating research experience for anthropology majors. Seminar is designed around particular topics or debates, which provide unifying themes for students' research projects. Course guides students as they consolidate their understanding of the anthropological perspective. Prerequisites: Anthropology 103, 106, and 300, or consent of instructor.
Individualized Study Independent study in fields of special interest outside the scope of regular course offerings. Prerequisite: Consent of department.
Individualized tutorial counting toward the minimum requirements in a major or minor, graded S/U
Individualized tutorial not counting toward minimum requirements in a major or minor, graded A-F
Individualized tutorial not counting in the minimum requirements in a major or minor, graded S/U
Individual investigation of a research topic in anthropology under the guidance of a faculty member. Topic must be approved by department. Project culminates in written and oral presentations of a formal paper to the faculty. Required for departmental honors. Students must submit a proposal a minimum of two weeks before the end of the semester preceding the proposed study. Prerequisite: Consent of department. Open to juniors and seniors only.
Individualized research counting toward the minimum requirements in a major or minor, graded S/U
Individualized research not counting toward minimum requirements in a major or minor, graded A-F
Individualized research not counting in the minimum requirements in a major or minor graded S/U
Field Research in Archaeology
Internship counting toward the minimum requirements in a major or minor, graded A-F
Internship counting toward the minimum requirements in a major or minor, graded S/U
Internship not counting toward the minimum requirements in a major or minor, graded A-F
Internship not counting toward the minimum requirements in a major or minor, graded S/U
Summer Internship graded A-F, counts for minimum requirements for a major or minor only with written permission filed in the Registrar's Office.
Summer Internship graded S/U, counts for minimum requirements for a major or minor only with written permission filed in the Registrar's Office