Anthropology

Director of undergraduate studies: William Honeychurch, Rm. 305, 51 Hillhouse Ave., 432-3676; anthropology.yale.edu

The major in Anthropology gives a firm grounding in this comparative discipline concerned with human cultural, social, and biological diversity. Anthropology deals not only with that small proportion of humankind in Europe and North America but with societies of the entire world from the remotest past to the present day. It is thus an essential part of a sound liberal education, helping us to see our world from a perspective that challenges ethnocentric assumptions. The major in Anthropology covers the evolution of human and nonhuman primates and the evolutionary biology of living people; world prehistory and the emergence of civilization; diversity and commonality in social organization and culture; the importance of culture for understanding such topics as sickness and health, gender and sexuality, environment and development, media and visual culture, urban life and sport, economic organization and politics, law and society, migration, and religion; and language use as cultural behavior.

The subfields of anthropological inquiry—archaeology, biological anthropology, sociocultural anthropology, and linguistic anthropology—together offer a holistic perspective on humankind and its development.

Requirements of the Major 

Students are required to present twelve course credits toward their major. At least eight term courses must be taught in the Department of Anthropology. These eight must include an introductory or intermediate course (numbered ANTH 001–299) in each of at least three subfields of anthropology; three advanced courses (numbered ANTH 300–470 or 473–490, not including a senior essay seminar); and two electives. Additionally, all students must prepare a senior essay in ANTH 491 or another Anthropology seminar. Majors may take up to three cognate courses in departments other than Anthropology. 

Three term courses related to anthropology may be selected from other departments, with approval by the director of undergraduate studies (DUS). Majors are not required to present such cognate courses, but those who do should choose courses that expand their knowledge in one of the subfields of anthropology or in an area of cross-disciplinary concentration. For example, cognate courses for biological anthropology can be found in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Earth and Planetary Sciences, Psychology, and Forestry & Environmental Studies; cognates for sociocultural anthropology can be found in Sociology, American Studies, History, Environmental Studies, Religious Studies, Global Affairs, and international and area studies. Appropriate areas of cross-disciplinary concentrations include such topics as area studies (e.g., Africa); anthropological approaches to law, environment, business, the built environment, and health; gender and sexuality studies; evolutionary biology; and geology.

Areas of concentration The major does not have formal tracks, but majors may choose to concentrate in one of the subfields of anthropology. They may also draw on courses in sociocultural and biological anthropology to pursue a concentration in medical anthropology. Those who concentrate in sociocultural anthropology are strongly encouraged to take a course in ethnographic methods and one in anthropological theory (e.g., ANTH 303 or 311). Those who concentrate in biological anthropology are strongly encouraged to take courses that give them hands-on experience working with material used in the study of human and nonhuman primate anatomy and evolution and that introduce them to laboratory methods.

Credit/D/Fail A maximum of one course taken Credit/D/Fail may be applied toward the Anthropology major.

Senior Requirement

All majors are required to complete a substantial paper during the senior year, either in a seminar or in ANTH 491. There are three options for completing the senior essay. First, students can write a paper for an advanced seminar. A seminar senior essay must be more substantial than a typical term paper and is expected to be 20–25 pages long. It is evaluated by the seminar instructor and a second reader drawn from the Yale faculty. Students must obtain written approval for this option from the seminar instructor no later than the third week of the term. Students fulfilling the requirements of two majors may not apply a single seminar essay toward the senior requirement for both majors. The deadline for a seminar senior essay is the senior essay deadline, not the term paper deadline. Students choosing this option must take the seminar for which they write their essay in addition to the three advanced courses required for the major.

The second option for the senior essay is an independent essay on a subject of the student's choice, completed in ANTH 491. A student pursuing this option must choose a topic and identify a faculty adviser by the end of the third week of the term in which the essay is to be written. By the same date, the adviser must approve a prospectus that outlines the topic, objectives, and methods of the essay, as well as a preliminary bibliography. The student should also inform the DUS of a preferred second reader by this time. The adviser must have a faculty appointment in Anthropology, and the second reader must have a faculty appointment at Yale.

The third option for the senior essay is a yearlong paper, begun in ANTH 471 or 472 and completed in ANTH 491. The yearlong essay is designed for students who wish to pursue more extensive independent projects than can be completed in a single term. Students must have their project approved by a faculty adviser who establishes the requirements for ANTH 471 or 472. Approval is required before the student registers for ANTH 471 or 472, typically in the fall term of the senior year.

Advising

With permission of the DUS, students may apply up to two courses taken outside Yale as electives or cognates toward the Anthropology major. Such courses must have been approved for Yale College credit and may include courses taken on a Year or Term Abroad or through summer study at another college or university.

Graduate courses Most graduate seminars in anthropology are open to qualified undergraduates. Descriptions are available in the departmental office, 10 Sachem St. Permission of the instructor and of the director of graduate studies is required.

Study Abroad

Study abroad courses that are approved for Yale College and Anthropology credit may be used to replace one elective. If more than one such study abroad course credit is to be used for the major, it will come at the expense of one or more of the three cognate courses which may be taken in any Yale department or program with the approval of the DUS in Anthropology.

REQUIREMENTS OF THE MAJOR

Prerequisites None

Number of courses 12 course credits (incl senior req)

Distribution of courses At least 1 intro survey or intermediate course in each of 3 subfields; 3 advanced courses (not incl senior essay sem; 2 electives; up to 3 cognate courses in other depts or programs with DUS approval

Substitution permitted 1 study abroad course for 1 ANTH elective

Senior requirement Senior essay in advanced sem; ANTH 491; or a yearlong essay to include ANTH 471 or 472 in addition to ANTH 491

The major in Anthropology gives a firm grounding in this comparative discipline concerned with human cultural, social, and biological diversity. Anthropology deals not only with that small proportion of humankind in Europe and North America but with societies of the entire world, from the remotest past to the present day. It is thus an essential part of a sound liberal education, helping us to see our world from a perspective that challenges ethnocentric assumptions. The major in Anthropology covers the evolution of human and nonhuman primates and the evolutionary biology of living people; world prehistory and the emergence of civilization; diversity and commonality in social organization and culture; the importance of culture for understanding topics such as sickness and health, gender and sexuality, environment and development, media and visual culture, urban life and sport, economic organization and politics, law and society, migration, and religion; and language use as cultural behavior.
 
The subfields of anthropological inquiry—archaeology, biological anthropology, sociocultural anthropology, and linguistic anthropology—together offer a holistic perspective on humankind and its development.

The following courses introduce the student to the four subfields of anthropology.

Archaeology ANTH 172 Great Hoaxes and Fantasies in Archaeology

Biological anthropology  ANTH 116 Introduction to Biological Anthropology

Sociocultural anthropology  ANTH 110 An Introduction to Cultural Anthropology

Linguistic anthropology  ANTH 231 Introduction to Linguistic Anthropology

The following courses are among those appropriate for first-year students, whether or not they intend to major in Anthropology.

Students are invited to contact the director of undergraduate studies (DUS) in the fall to begin planning a program of study.

FACULTY OF THE DEPARTMENT OF ANTHROPOLOGY

Professors †Claire Bowern, Richard Bribiescas, Richard Burger, †Michael Dove (Forestry & Environmental Studies), Kathryn Dudley (American Studies), J. Joseph Errington, Eduardo Fernandez-Duque, †Inderpal Grewal (Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies), Marcia Inhorn (Modern Middle East Studies), William Kelly, Paul Kockelman, Roderick McIntosh, Catherine Panter-Brick, Eric Sargis, James Scott (Political Science), Helen Siu, Kalyanakrishnan Sivaramakrishnan, Anne Underhill (Chair), Claudia Valeggia, David Watts

Associate Professors Aimee Cox, Erik Harms, William Honeychurch, Yukiko Koga, Douglas Rogers

Assistant Professors Oswaldo Chinchilla, Louisa Lombard, Lisa Messeri, Jessica Thompson, Serena Tucci

Senior Lecturer †Carol Carpenter

†A joint appointment with primary affiliation in another department or school.