Jul 14, 2024  
2013-2014 Academic Catalog 
2013-2014 Academic Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Anthropology, B.A.

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     Member of the Division of Social Studies


Montgomery Roper


Jonathan Andelson
Vicki Bentley-Condit
Brigittine French
Katya Gibel Mevorach
Cynthia Hansen
Kathryn Kamp
Maria Tapias 
John Whittaker

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, ethnologists on those of the present, 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: (8 credits)

One 200-level course from each of the following areas:

  • Archaeology and Biological Anthropology
  • Cultural and Linguistic Anthropology

Advanced Coursework: (8 credits)

  • Two 300-level courses in anthropology
  • One 300-level course in anthropology and a departmentally approved 499 MAP for which the student will write and present a thesis

Elective Courses: (4 credits)

  • Taken from the 200-level of Anthropology courses

In addition, complete both of these requirements:

  • One year of a non-native language (or demonstration of equivalent competence by examination)


Courses listed under Methods may not be used to satisfy the distribution requirement for Archaeology and Biological Anthropology or Cultural Anthropology and Linguistics.

Field research—such as that offered in the Archaeological Field School, Costa Rica: Tropical Field Research, 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 exemplify professionalism in fulfilling commitments voluntarily undertaken within the department. In addition, they must have conducted original research judged worthy of honors.

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.


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