Member of the Division of Social Studies
Katya Gibel Mevorach
Anthropology, the study of humankind, strives to take the broadest possible perspective on the human condition. Anthropologists explore peoples and cultures around the world, past and present, to become familiar with and understand our common humanity, cultural diversity, the organization of social life, societal change, the evolution of our species, our place in the natural world, and our affinities with other species. Anthropology approaches culture holistically, studying the interrelationships among the many facets of human life: family, kinship, language, gender, exchange, ritual, myth, technology, socialization, power, privilege, and subsistence. Archaeologists concentrate on cultures of the past, cultural anthropologists on those of the present, linguistic anthropologists on language as a rule-governed and symbolic system and biological anthropologists on the complex interrelationship between cultural and biological factors in human life, past and present. Anthropological research is often conducted outside the context of Western society, but increasingly anthropologists have applied their perspectives to the study of questions in the West.
Anthropology is conceptually rich, drawing on theories and methods from the sciences, the humanities, and other social sciences. As such, it constitutes a bridging discipline, itself interdisciplinary, and serves as an excellent basis for a liberal arts education. Anthropology is good preparation for further study in such diverse fields as law, social work, museum studies, medicine, urban and regional planning, journalism, and business. Many of the department’s graduates have gone on to further study in anthropology. They can be found working at the top graduate research universities, in museums, and for government agencies. However, today anthropologists are also active in settings such as industries, public health, education, and various kinds of social survey research and community service.
ANT 104 is the general introduction to the field and is normally a student’s first course and a prerequisite for upper-level courses. Students with special interests who wish to enroll in upper-level courses, but who have not taken ANT 104 , should consult with the relevant instructor about the preparation that will be assumed.
Anthropology, as an integrative science, has links with many other disciplines, such as biology, history, linguistics, religion, and other social-behavioral sciences. Anthropology students should select other offerings appropriate for an interdisciplinary program of study. Because of the importance of language in the study of any culture, qualified students are recommended to do work in a foreign language within designated courses in the department.
Major Requirements: A minimum of 32 credits
With permission, up to eight of the 32 credits may be taken in related studies outside the department.
Core Requirements: (12 credits)
Four Fields Coverage: (12 credits)
One 200 or 300 level class from three of the four subfields below:
- Biological Anthropology
- Cultural Anthropology
- Linguistic Anthropology
Advanced Coursework: (8 credits)
- Two 300-level courses in anthropology
- One 300-level course in anthropology and a senior thesis (this is a 499 MAP that has been specially approved as per the instructions on the department web page).
In addition, complete both of these requirements:
Field research—such as that offered in the Archaeological Field School, ACM Costa Rica: Field Research in the Environment, Social Sciences, and Humanities, and Grinnell-in-London—or an internship is strongly recommended. Because of the breadth of the discipline, majors are expected to demonstrate some familiarity with subdisciplines of anthropology and with research methods and techniques before they take a synthesizing seminar.
To be considered for honors in anthropology, graduating seniors, in addition to meeting the College’s general requirements for honors, must (1) take classes in each of the four subfields of the discipline, (2) have conducted original research judged worthy of honors by the faculty, and (3) exemplify professionalism in fulfilling commitments voluntarily undertaken within the department.
The Ralph Luebben Award in Anthropology is awarded annually to the graduating senior who best exemplifies the ideal Anthropology student including meritorious scholarly work, breadth in the discipline, contributions to the department, field experience, and an anthropological viewpoint on life.