Sociology and Anthropology

Joining two disciplines as it does, the Sociology and Anthropology Department at Carleton seeks to present a truly unified vision of the disciplines, both in the major as a whole and in many of the individual courses. Our principal goal is to give students a comparative perspective on human societies, exploring the vast range of similarities and differences among them in space and time.

The department strongly recommends that Sociology/Anthropology 110 or 111 be taken prior to enrolling in courses numbered 200 or above.

Requirements for the Sociology/Anthropology Major

The Sociology/Anthropology major is seventy-two credits.

It is recommend but not required that majors and students considering a major take both 110 and 111, preferably by the end of their sophomore year.

Before students can enroll in the major's research methods course, Sociology/Anthropology 240, students must fulfill the statistics requirement.

Students should plan on taking the research methods course, Sociology/Anthropology 240 and the theory courses, 330 and 331, no later than their junior year

Students will work on their comprehensive exercise during their senior year, take the comps writing course, Sociology/Anthropology 396 in the fall and completing the comps independent work, Sociology/Anthropology 400 in the winter.

A maximum of 12 credits can be applied toward the major from relevant courses in off-campus programs. The following courses may also be applied toward the major:

  • ARCN 111 Archaeology of the Americas (not offered in 2022-23)
  • ARCN 211 Coercion and Exploitation: Material Histories of Labor
  • ARCN 246 Archaeological Methods & Lab
  • ARCN 395 Archaeology: Science, Ethics, Nationalism and Cultural Property (not offered in 2022-23)
  • ENTS 250 Food, Forests & Resilence
  • GWSS 200 Gender, Sexuality & the Pursuit of Knowledge
  • GWSS 398 Capstone: Transnational Feminist Activism (not offered in 2022-23)

In keeping with our philosophy of comparative studies and commitment to understanding human societies other than the one we live in, majors are strongly urged to develop an in-depth study of a culture other than their own. This may be done through regular courses, independent study, or on off-campus programs. Early in their junior year, students should discuss ways of integrating such an in-depth study into their work in the major with their advisers.

Sociology/Anthropology Courses

SOAN 100 “We’re all in this together!” Rhetorical Responses to the COVID-19 Pandemic When the COVID-19 pandemic emerged, a series of cultural messages quickly materialized in U.S. society. Statements such as, “we’re all in this together” and “the silver linings of coronavirus,” emphasized unity and gratitude while existing socio-political and generational divides were reinforced with “it’s a hoax” and “young people are spreading the virus.” What do these messages reveal about ourselves and society? This A&I seminar introduces students to the formal discipline of sociology through deconstructing rhetorical responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. We seek to understand why these cultural messages are problematic using an intellectual perspective that emphasizes “the social construction of reality.” 6 credits; AI, WR1, QRE, IDS; Fall; Annette M Nierobisz
SOAN 108 In & Out of Africa: How Transnational Black Lives Matter In our contemporary world-on-the-move, people forge ties across countries and continents. This course introduces students to an Africanist transnational anthropology, emphasizing practices of care and connection among African migrants in both the U.S. and Europe. In families, migrant organizations, and workplaces, diasporic Africans circulate stories and strategies that respond to nationalist and often racist attitudes they encounter in their places of migration. Through readings by African/diaspora scholars and creative multi-method assignments, this course engages with the back-and-forth, profoundly transnational movement of connections, people, ideas, and institutions. 6 credits; QRE, SI, IS, WR2; Not offered 2022-23
SOAN 110 Introduction to Anthropology Anthropology is the study of all human beings in all their diversity, an exploration of what it means to be human throughout the globe. This course helps us to see ourselves, and others, from a new perspective. By examining specific analytic concepts—such as culture—and research methods—such as participant observation—we learn how anthropologists seek to understand, document, and explain the stunning variety of human cultures and ways of organizing society. This course encourages you to consider how looking behind cultural assumptions helps anthropologists solve real world dilemmas. 6 credits; SI, IS; Fall, Winter, Spring; Colin McLaughlin-Alcock, Constanza C Ocampo-Raeder
SOAN 111 Introduction to Sociology Sociology is an intellectual discipline, spanning the gap between the sciences and humanities while often (though not always) involving itself in public policy debates, social reform, and political activism. Sociologists study a startling variety of topics using qualitative and quantitative methods. Still, amidst all this diversity, sociology is centered on a set of core historical theorists (Marx/Weber/Durkheim) and research topics (race/class/gender inequality). We will explore these theoretical and empirical foundations by reading and discussing influential texts and select topics in the study of social inequality while relating them to our own experiences and understanding of the social world.  6 credits; SI; Fall, Winter, Spring; Elizabeth H Trudeau, Annette M Nierobisz
SOAN 113 Sociology of Work & Organizations Most of us “go to work” at some point in our lives. Whether it's a summer job, a side hustle or a life-long career, people invest a lot of our time and energy into planning to be, preparing for, and operating as members of the “workforce.” Work shapes all aspects of people’s lives from their ability to provide for basic needs to their personal and social identities. In industrialized societies work is often characterized by membership in complex formalized organizations. However recent history and sociological theory raise a lot of questions about how work and organized labor may be changing. How do we define success? Who makes the most money and why? Have recent events like the pandemic changed the way we approach work? This course will cover classic and contemporary research into social organizations and the shifting landscape of work in post-industrial society. Topics will include the rise of complex for profit and nonprofit organizations, inequality in the workplace, sex work and illicit labor, and recent trends in the labor force.  6 credits; SI, IS; Spring; Elizabeth H Trudeau
SOAN 114 Modern Families: An Introduction to the Sociology of the Family What makes a family? How has the conception of kinship and the 'normal' family changed over the generations? In this introductory class, we examine these questions, drawing on a variety of course materials ranging from classic works in sociology to contemporary blogs on family life. The class focuses on diversity in family life, paying particular attention to the intersection between the family, race and ethnicity, and social class. We'll examine these issues at the micro and macro level, incorporating texts that focus on individuals' stories as well as demographics of the family. 6 credits; SI, QRE, IDS; Not offered 2022-23
SOAN 140 Animals and Society Other-than-human animals are an overwhelming presence in our collective and individual lives. In this course, we will explore questions regarding the intersection of the lives of human and non-human animals from a sociological perspective. Such questions include: Why do we love some animals to the point of considering them family members, but vilify and even eat others? Are “pets” monsters of dependence created by human oppression, or do pets and people coexist interdependently? Is human treatment of non-human animals related in significant ways to such enduring social problems as racism, sexism, and violence against vulnerable groups? 6 credits; SI; Not offered 2022-23
SOAN 151 Global Minnesota: An Anthropology of Our State The state of Minnesota, like the rest of the U.S., has been formed by the migration and settlement of peoples from across the world at different historical moments. Though often hidden from public view, the state is home to peoples with diverse cultural and religious practices, making Minnesota a microcosm of the global. This course will provide an anthropology of Minnesota by examining the different migration histories and experiences of Minnesota’s varied population groups. Through a study of the making of Minnesota and its population groups, the course will examine borders and movement from a global and historical perspective, as well as explore the presence of different cultural and religious groups in Minnesota and the social relations they form. This course will help students see Minnesota and the people that call it home in new ways. 6 credits; SI, WR2, IDS; Not offered 2022-23
SOAN 170 Investigating (In)Equality: Comparative Welfare States Is health care coverage a right of citizenship, or a commodity purchased in the marketplace?  Where does the responsibility of caring for children and the elderly lie?  Nations around the world answer these and similar policy questions quite differently, resulting in wide-ranging consequences. Sociologists use the phrase “welfare state” to refer to the role the government plays in protecting and promoting citizens’ well being. By comparing the U.S. welfare state with that of other countries, we will examine the socio-cultural mechanisms that shape equality/inequality and investigate the impact of the welfare state on both social institutions and people’s life chances. 6 credits; SI, IDS; Not offered 2022-23
SOAN 201 Colonialism, Oil, And The War On Terror: The Global Middle East Through processes like colonialism, oil extraction, and the war on terror, the Middle East forms an important pivot, shaping global political and economic structures. This course will examine how the Middle East has developed in dynamic interaction with the wider globe. Yet, we will resist the urge to treat the Middle East merely as an object of Western intervention. Rather, we will explore how the West and wider globe are also shaped by this interaction. In particular, we will examine how ideas about modernity, secularism, and liberalism—key elements of contemporary Western identity—are shaped through dynamic interconnection with Middle East. 6 credits; SI, WR2, IS; Spring; Colin McLaughlin-Alcock
SOAN 203 Anthropology of Good Intentions Is the environmental movement making progress? Do responsible products actually help local populations? Is international AID alleviating poverty and fostering development? Today there are thousands of programs with sustainable development goals yet their effectiveness is often contested at the local level. This course explores the impacts of sustainable development, conservation, and AID programs to look beyond the good intentions of those that implement them. In doing so we hope to uncover common pitfalls behind good intentions and the need for sound social analysis that recognizes, examines, and evaluates the role of cultural complexity found in populations targeted by these programs. Prerequisite: The department strongly recommends that Sociology/Anthropology 110 or 111 be taken prior to enrolling in courses numbered 200 or above. 6 credits; SI, IS; Not offered 2022-23
SOAN 206 Critical Perspectives on Work in the Twenty-first Century The American employment landscape continues to shift rapidly. In this course, we explore how social statuses such as gender, race, social class, age, and disability impact different types of workers who find themselves also challenged by work overload, new technologies, downsizing, and an unstable economy that mandates a reconsideration of retirement goals. Both ethnographic and statistical accounts inform our study of the academic field called, “Sociology of Work, Occupations, and Organizations.” While reviewing course material you will concurrently investigate a career of personal interest, learning what your “dream job” encompasses and how it functions in the contemporary world. 6 credits; SI, WR2, IDS; Not offered 2022-23
SOAN 207 Sociology of Gender What is gender and how do we make sense of it? Ideas about gender have a powerful influence on our lives and society but understanding this influence can be complex. From the recent women’s march and #MeToo movement to debates about transgender rights, our social landscape is full of pressing questions related to gender. Why does gender inequality persist? How is gender identification determined? Is it possible to eliminate gender categorization or is it inevitable? This course will offer students an overview of sociological theories that explain how societies think about and are built on gender and gender differences. It will cover variations in how individuals experience and identify based on embodied and lived differences as well as the social forces that shape how society defines gender categories and gendered behavior. Prerequisite: The department strongly recommends that Sociology/Anthropology 110 or 111 be taken prior to enrolling in courses numbered 200 or above. 6 credits; SI, IDS; Winter; Elizabeth H Trudeau
SOAN 208 Gentrification Gentrification, a process of neighborhood-level class displacement, whereby devalued urban areas are redeveloped into trendy hubs, is one of the predominant modes of urban change in the twenty-first century. In this class, we will first develop a general understanding of how gentrification works. Then we will direct ethnographic attention to explore how gentrification takes place in specific contexts around the globe. We will examine how social boundaries, power relationships, and identities are reorganized through gentrification; how class and racial disparity are produced and enforced; how the social meaning of place impacts neighborhood change; and how communities have resisted gentrification. Prerequisite: The department strongly recommends that Sociology/Anthropology 110 or 111 be taken prior to enrolling in courses numbered 200 or above. 6 credits; SI, IS; Spring; Colin McLaughlin-Alcock
SOAN 214 Neighborhoods and Cities: Inequalities and Identities Inequalities and identities are well understood yet too often disconnected from the context of space and place. In this class, we discuss the ways that neighborhoods and cities are sites of inequality as well as identity. Neighborhoods are linked to the amount of wealth we hold; the schools we attend; the goods, services, and resources we have access to; and who our neighbors are. Neighborhoods are also spaces where identities and community are created, claimed, and contested. They can also be sites of conflict as they change through gentrification or other processes that often reflect inequalities of power, resources, and status. In this course, special attention will be paid to how race, gender and sexuality, and immigration shape inequalities and identity in neighborhoods and cities. This course will also include an academic civic engagement component, collaborating with local communities in Minnesota. Prerequisite: The department strongly recommends that Sociology/Anthropology 110 or 111 be taken prior to enrolling in courses numbered 200 or above. 6 credits; SI, QRE, IDS, WR2; Fall; Daniel Williams
SOAN 222 Anthropology of Humor Laughter is found in all human societies, but we do not all laugh at the same things. In this course we will discuss why, cross-culturally, some things are funny and others are not, and what forms humor may take (jokes, riddles, teasing, banter, clowning). We will look at such topics as joking relationships, evolutionary aspects of laughter and smiling, sexual inequality in humor, ethnic humor, and humor in religion and language. Some prior exposure to anthropology is desirable but not required. The main prerequisite for the course is a serious sense of humor. Not open to students who have taken Sociology/Anthropology 122. Prerequisite: Previous coursework in Sociology/Anthropology. 6 credits; SI; Not offered 2022-23
SOAN 225 Social Movements How is it that in specific historical moments ordinary people come together and undertake collective struggles for justice in social movements such as Black Lives Matter, Me Too, Standing Rock, immigrant, and LGBTQ rights? How have these movements theorized oppression, and what has been their vision for liberation? What collective change strategies have they proposed and what obstacles have they faced? We will explore specific case studies and use major sociological perspectives theorizing the emergence of movements, repertoires of protest, collective identity formation, frame alignment, and resource mobilization. We will foreground the intersectionality of gender, sexuality, race, and class in these movements. 6 credits; SI, IDS; Not offered 2022-23
SOAN 226 Anthropology of Gender We all lead gendered lives, in our felt identities as well as through how we are perceived, advantaged, and disadvantaged by others. This course examines gender and gender relations from an anthropological perspective, centering and contextualizing the global human diversity of gendered experiences. Key concepts such as gender, voice/mutedness, status, public and private spheres, and the gendered division of labor—and their intellectual history—let us explore intriguing questions such as how many genders there are, and whether gender is mutable. The course focuses on two areas: 1) the role of sex, sexuality, and procreation in creating cultural notions of gender, and 2) the impacts of colonialism, globalization, and economic underdevelopment on gender relations. Prerequisite: The department strongly recommends that 110 or 111 be taken prior to enrolling in courses numbered 200 or above. 6 credits; SI, WR2, IS; Not offered 2022-23
SOAN 228 Public Sociology of Religion This course focuses on special topics in the public sociology of religion.  We will look at the intersection of race, religion, and politics in the U.S.; the intersection of science and religion in Indigenous-led environmental movements; and varieties of public religion around the world—including Islamic feminism and democracy in Egypt and Indonesia, Coptic Christianity and the Muslim Brotherhood, orthodox Jewish movements in Israel, American evangelicals in the U.S., and Black church mobilization in the U.S. civil rights movement.  As we do so, we will examine core theoretical perspectives and empirical developments in the contemporary sociology of religion.      Prerequisite: The department recommends that Sociology/Anthropology 110 or 111 be taken prior to enrolling in courses number 200 or above. 6 credits; SI, IS; Winter; Wes D Markofski
SOAN 233 Anthropology of Food Food is the way to a person's heart but perhaps even more interesting, the window into a society's soul. Simply speaking understating a society's foodways is the best way to comprehend the complexity between people, culture and nature. This course explores how anthropologists use food to understand different aspects of human behavior, from food procurement and consumption practices to the politics of nutrition and diets. In doing so we hope to elucidate how food is more than mere sustenance and that often the act of eating is a manifestation of power, resistance, identity, and community. 6 credits; SI, IS; Winter; Constanza C Ocampo-Raeder
SOAN 239 Social Statistics What does it mean for something to be statistically significant? This course will ask and answer this question by teaching social science students how to interpret data. This elementary statistics course covers descriptive and inferential statistics up to regression. Whenever possible, we will 'flip' the classroom--using class time for activities and problem sets, and using out of class time for online lectures to introduce new material. We will focus on calculating and applying social statistics, rather than statistical theory. No prior knowledge of statistics is required. 6 credits; FSR, QRE; Not offered 2022-23
SOAN 240 Methods of Social Research The course is concerned with social scientific inquiry and explanation, particularly with reference to sociology and anthropology. Topics covered include research design, data collection, and analysis of data. Both quantitative and qualitative methods are considered. Students will demonstrate their knowledge by developing a research proposal that is implementable. Prerequisite: Sociology/Anthropology 110 or 111; Sociology/Anthropology 239, Mathematics 215 or Statistics 120. 6 credits; SI, QRE, WR2; Spring; Annette M Nierobisz
SOAN 252 Growing up in an Aging Society Both the U.S. and global populations are trending toward a world with far fewer young people than ever before. So, what does it mean to grow up in a rapidly aging society? This course explores age, aging, and its various intersections with demographic characteristics including gender, sexuality, race, and social class. We situate age and aging within the context of macro-structural, institutional, and micro-everyday realms. Some topics we will examine include: media depictions and stereotypes; interpersonal relationships and caregiving; the workplace and retirement; and both the perceptions and inevitable realities of an aging population. 6 credits; NE, WR2, QRE, IDS; Fall; Annette M Nierobisz
SOAN 256 Africa: Representation and Conflict Pairing classics in Africanist anthropology with contemporary re-studies, we explore changes in African societies and in the questions anthropologists have posed about them. We address issues of representation and self-presentation in written ethnographies as well as in African portrait photography. We then turn from the visual to the invisible realm of African witchcraft. Initiation rituals, war, and migration place selfhood and belonging back in this-world contexts. In-depth case studies include, among others: the Cameroon Grassfields, the Bemba of Zambia, and the Nuer of South Sudan. Prerequisite: The department strongly recommends that Sociology/Anthropology 110 or 111 be taken prior to enrolling in courses numbered 200 or above. 6 credits; SI, IS, WR2; Winter; Pamela Feldman-Savelsberg
SOAN 257 Culture and Politics in India India is a region of immense diversity where more than one billion people live. We will explore social structures in India--through a focus on key areas of everyday life such as family, religion, economy, systems of stratification and social movements. Close attention will be given to religious nationalism, globalization and militarism as dominant trends affecting contemporary India. We will consider: How has India been represented in the Western imagination and why do such representations matter? What are the forces of modernity and tradition in India? What are the similarities and differences in systems of stratification in India and the United States? 6 credits; SI, IS; Winter; Meera Sehgal
SOAN 262 Anthropology of Health and Illness An ethnographic approach to beliefs and practices regarding health and illness in numerous societies worldwide. This course examines patients, practitioners, and the social networks and contexts through which therapies are managed to better understand medical systems as well as the significance of the anthropological study of misfortune. Specific topics include the symbolism of models of illness, the ritual management of misfortune and of life crisis events, the political economy of health, therapy management, medical pluralism, and cross-cultural medical ethics. Prerequisite: The department strongly recommends that Sociology/Anthropology 110 or 111 be taken prior to enrolling in courses numbered 200 or above. 6 credits; SI, WR2, IS; Winter; Pamela Feldman-Savelsberg
SOAN 263 Terrorism In recent years, Muslim communities in Western countries have come to be seen as national security threats. In tandem, efforts to stem the flow of Muslim migrants into the U.S. and Europe, under the logic of combating terrorism, has shaped world events, from Trump’s election to Brexit. Through a reading of works in political ethnography and the anthropology of religion, this course will examine the presuppositions that inform discourses on Muslim migration as a threat, as well as the “countering violent extremism” (CVE) programs directed at Muslim communities here in the U.S. We will look at the assumption of an affinity between religion, particularly Islam, and violence that undergird CVE programs; the tensions such programs expose between a liberal secular democracy’s commitment to religious freedom and its aspiration to govern and reform religious traditions; and the culture of surveillance and the marginalization of Muslim communities these programs spawn. Prerequisite: Previous courses in anthropology or religion would offer helpful background, but are not required. 6 credits; SI, WR2, IDS; Not offered 2022-23
SOAN 272 Sociological Perspectives on Race and Ethnicity in the United States The purpose of the course is to provide a broad overview of the scholarly literature on race and ethnicity from a sociological perspective, paying particular attention to racial inequality in the U.S. When feasible, we will include research to highlight how social class, citizenship, and to a lesser extent gender and sexuality, intersect with race and ethnicity. Drawing on population-based research and qualitative studies, we will explore several facets of racial identity and racial categorization including (but not limited to): the evolution of racial categories and the U.S. Census, the role of genetic testing and racial/ethnic identity formation, and racial disparities in housing and health, and the movement toward multiracial identification.  Prerequisite: The department strongly recommends that Sociology/Anthropology 110 or 111 be taken prior to enrolling in courses numbered 200 or above. 6 credits; SI, IDS, QRE; Not offered 2022-23
SOAN 278 Urban Ethnography and the American Experience American sociology has a rich tradition of focusing the ethnographic eye on the American experience. We will take advantage of this tradition to encounter urban America through the ethnographic lens, expanding our social vision and investigating the nature of race, place, meaning, interaction, and inequality in the U.S. While doing so, we will also explore the unique benefits, challenges, and underlying assumptions of ethnographic research as a distinctive mode of acquiring and communicating social knowledge. As such, this course offers both an immersion in the American experience and an inquiry into the craft of ethnographic writing and research. Prerequisite: The department strongly recommends that 110 or 111 be taken prior to enrolling in courses numbered 200 or above. 6 credits; SI, IDS; Winter; Wes D Markofski
SOAN 288 Diversity, Democracy, Inequality in America Does social difference always lead to conflict and inequality? Can we forge common ground with justice across deep differences? What forms of respect, recognition, reciprocity, and redistribution do democratic citizens owe one another? We will explore these and related questions through a roughly equal mix of democratic theory and empirical studies of race/class/gender/religion diverse grassroots democratic movements in the U.S. We will consider the demands and challenges of "different types of difference" (racial-ethnic, gender-sexuality, class-culture, citizenship, language, and religion) for fighting inequity and pursuing ethical democracy in the United States (and beyond).  Prerequisite: The department strongly recommends that Sociology/Anthropology 110 or 111 be taken prior to enrolling in courses number 200 or above. 6 credits; SI, IDS; Not offered 2022-23
SOAN 307 Human Trafficking The FBI receives praise and criticism for shutting down Backpage.com. A conspiracy theory about online furniture company Wayfair goes viral. Jeffrey Epstein is arrested. What do these disparate events have in common? They are all recent incidents that raise the question: when and how will the United States respond to the crime of human trafficking? In the past several decades activists and governments around the world have been increasingly focused on addressing human trafficking. However, there is often disagreement about the best way to understand and attempt to prevent a crime that is tied to a complex host of social, political, and cultural forces. This course will cover how human trafficking is defined, measured and studied as well as the cultural and political factors that affect how it occurs and how we try to respond to it. Topics will include labor, sex and organ trafficking, globalization, migration and inequality, and the criminalization/decrminalization of sex-based labor.  Prerequisite: The department strongly recommends that Sociology/Anthropology 110 or 111 be taken prior to enrolling in courses numbered 200 or above. 6 credits; SI, IDS; Spring; Elizabeth H Trudeau
SOAN 310 Sociology of Mass Incarceration Since the 1980s, the United States criminal justice system has embarked on a social experiment we now call, “mass incarceration.” The outcome – unprecedented rates of imprisonment, particularly in BIPOC communities – has had devastating consequences for individuals, families, neighborhoods, and American society. This course explores the causes and consequences of mass incarceration. Potential topics include: race, class, gender, and age in the prison system; the impacts of incarceration on children and intimate partners who get left behind; punishment strategies such as solitary confinement and the death penalty; the lucrative business of the prison industrial complex; and the promise of prison abolition. Prerequisite: Prerequisites: The department strongly recommends that Sociology/Anthropology 110 or 111 be taken prior to enrolling in courses numbered 200 or above. 6 credits; SI, WR2, QRE, IDS; Winter; Annette M Nierobisz
SOAN 313 Woke Nature: Towards an Anthropology of Non-Human Beings The core of anthropological thought has been organized around the assumption that the production of complex cultural systems is reserved to the domain of the human experience. While scholars have contested this assumption for years, there is an emerging body of scholarship that proposes expanding our understandings of culture, and the ability to produce meaning in the world, to include non-human beings (e.g. plants, wildlife, micro-organisms, mountains). This course explores ethnographic works in this field and contextualizes insights within contemporary conversations pertaining to our relationship with nature, public health, and social justice movements that emerge within decolonized frameworks. Prerequisite: The department strongly recommends that Sociology/Anthropology 110 or 111 be taken prior to enrolling in courses numbered 200 or above. 6 credits; SI, IS, WR2; Spring; Constanza C Ocampo-Raeder
SOAN 314 Contemporary Issues in Critical Criminology In this course we examine contemporary criminological issues from the critical perspectives offered by sociologists. Topics under examination include: how crime is conventionally defined, measured, and theorized; societal reactions to crime; and punishment of those who are deemed criminal. While exploring these topics, we will consider the impact of race, gender, and social class in shaping individuals’ interactions with the U.S. criminal justice system. Students will also seek a cross-national comparative understanding. Course readings primarily consist of theoretical and ethnographic accounts supplemented with statistical summaries. Prerequisite: The department strongly recommends that Sociology/Anthropology 110 or 111 be taken prior to enrolling in courses numbered 200 or above. 6 credits; SI, IDS, WR2, QRE; Not offered 2022-23
SOAN 322 Buddhist Studies India Program: Contemporary Buddhist Culture This course introduces students to the complexity and plurality of Buddhist traditions that have flourished in diverse societies and cultures in the modern era. This course enables students to sympathetically understand and critically investigate various Buddhist traditions and their historically and culturally specific configurations of philosophical beliefs, cultural values, everyday practices, social institutions, and personal experiences. Focusing on Buddhist traditions of South and Southeast Asia, Japan, and Tibet, we explore topics including syncretism and popular religion, monasticism, gender, economic development, social movements, political violence, and religious revival. Students expand their research skills in anthropology through field assignments in Bodh Gaya. Prerequisite: Acceptance into the Buddhist Studies Program required. 7-8 credits; NE, IS; Fall; Arthur P McKeown
SOAN 323 Mother Earth: Women, Development and the Environment Why are so many sustainable development projects anchored around women's cooperatives? Why is poverty depicted as having a woman's face? Is the solution to the environmental crisis in the hands of women the nurturers? From overly romantic notions of stewardship to the feminization of poverty, this course aims to evaluate women's relationships with local environments and development initiatives. The course uses anthropological frameworks to evaluate case studies from around the world. Prerequisite: The department strongly recommends that Sociology/Anthropology 110 or 111 be taken prior to enrolling in courses numbered 200 or above. 6 credits; SI, WR2, IS; Not offered 2022-23
SOAN 325 Sociology of Adoption and Assisted Reproduction Where do babies come from? Whereas once the answer was relatively straight forward, the growth of assisted reproductive technologies (ART) and adoption has changed the field of potential answers. Nowadays babies can come from birthmothers, egg donors, and surrogates. In this course we will examine the meaning and making of families across these different types of formations and contextualize the popularity of ART relative to the decrease in adoption. We will take a sociological approach to analyzing these issues, paying particular attention to questions surrounding women's rights, baby "markets," and the racialization of children placed for adoption in the U.S. Prerequisite: Prior Sociology/Anthropology course or instructor permission. 6 credits; SI, IDS; Not offered 2022-23
SOAN 326 Ecology and Anthropology Tanzania Program: Cultural Anthropology of East Africa The course introduces students to East Africa--its geography, people groups, and their cultures. The focus will be on the peoples of Tanzania and their linguistic groupings. We shall look at what scholars and the citizens themselves say about their origins, social, economic, ecological, and modern conditions. The course explores the history, social structure, politics, livelihood and ecology, gender issues, and the changes taking place among the Maasai, Arusha, Meru, Chagga, and Hadzabe cultural groups. Homestays, guest speakers, and excursions in northern Tanzania offer students and instructors enviable interactions with these groups and insights into their culture and socio-ecology. Prerequisite: One Anthropology, Biology or Environmental Studies course or instructor consent. 7-8 credits; NE, IS; Fall; Anna B Estes
SOAN 330 Sociological Thought and Theory Many thinkers have contributed to the development of sociology as an intellectual discipline and mode of social inquiry; however, few have had the influence of Emile Durkheim, Karl Marx, and Max Weber. This course focuses on influential texts and ideas generated by these and other theorists from sociology’s “classical era,” how these texts and ideas are put to use by contemporary sociologists, and on more recent theoretical developments and critical perspectives that have influenced the field.  Prerequisite: The department strongly recommends that Sociology/Anthropology 110 or 111 be taken prior to enrolling in courses numbered 200 or above. 6 credits; SI, WR2; Fall; Wes D Markofski
SOAN 331 Anthropological Thought and Theory Our ways of perceiving and acting in the world emerge simultaneously from learned and shared orientations of long duration, and from specific contexts and contingencies of the moment. This applies to the production of anthropological ideas and of anthropology as an academic discipline. This course examines anthropological theory by placing the observers and the observed in the same comparative historical framework, subject to the ethnographic process and to historical conditions in and out of academe. We seek to understand genealogies of ideas, building on and/or reacting to previous anthropological approaches. We highlight the diversity of voices who thought up these ideas, and have influenced anthropological thought through time. We attend to the intellectual and political context in which anthropologists conducted research, wrote, and published their works, as well as which voices did/did not reach academic audiences. The course thus traces the development of the core issues, central debates, internecine battles, and diversity of anthropological thought and of anthropologists that have animated anthropology since it first emerged as a distinct field of inquiry to present-day efforts at intellectual decolonization.  Prerequisite: Socilogy/Anthropology 110 or 111, and at least one 200- or 300-level SOAN course, or permission of instructor. 6 credits; SI, IS, WR2; Winter; Constanza C Ocampo-Raeder
SOAN 333 Environmental Anthropology Can we learn to use resources sustainably? Are there people in the world that know how to manage their environment appropriately? What are the causes behind environmental degradation? These questions are commonly asked in public and academic forums but what discussions often overlook is the fact that these are fundamentally social questions and thus social analysis is needed to understand them fully. This course aims at exploring key issues of human/nature interactions by using anthropological critiques and frameworks of analysis to show how culture is a critical variable to understanding these interactions in all their complexity. Prerequisite: The department strongly recommends that Sociology/Anthropology 110 or 111 be taken prior to enrolling in courses numbered 200 or above. 6 credits; SI, WR2, IS; Not offered 2022-23
SOAN 335 The Politics of Public Art In this class we will explore the politics of public art. While we will look at the political messaging of public art, we will also seek to understand how public art, through its integration into a social geography, has a political impact beyond its meaning. We will see how art claims public space and structures social action, how art shapes social groups, and how art channels economic flows or government power. By tracing the ways that art is situated in public space, we will examine how art enters into urban contest and global inequality. For the purposes of this class, we will focus primarily (but not exclusively) on public art in urban settings. Class activity will include exploration of public art and students will be introduced to key concepts of urban spatial analysis to help interrogate this art. Prerequisite: The department strongly recommends that Sociology/Anthropology 110 or 111 be taken prior to enrolling in courses numbered 200 or above. 6 credits; SI; Winter; Colin McLaughlin-Alcock
SOAN 343 Advanced Ethnographic Workshop This advanced methods course is designed to have students think about the complexities of ethnographic fieldwork by showcasing a powerful and rigorous mode of inquiry that informs societal questions in unique ways. The main goals are to explore classic ethnographies with an eye towards methods and experience ethnographic research in its entirety: from exploratory observations, into the process of defining cultural hypotheses, to the coding of various kinds of qualitative and quantitative ethnographic evidence. Ethnographic methods explored include: participant observation, semi-structured interviewing techniques, cultural mapping, pile sorting activities, photo-essays, and network analysis.  Prerequisite: The department strongly recommends that 110 or 111 be taken prior to enrolling in courses numbered 200 or above. 6 credits; SI, IS; Not offered 2022-23
SOAN 353 Ethnography of Latin America This course explores the origins and development of contemporary lived experiences in Latin America as interpreted through ethnographic works in anthropology. We will examine and analyze the structural processes that have shaped contact among indigenous, European, and non-European immigrants (e.g. African and Asian peoples) in Latin America since the Conquest and through colonial periods to understand today's Latin American societies. We will pay special attention to the impacts of global capitalist expansion and state formation, sites of resilience and resistance, as well as the movement of Latin American peoples throughout the world today. Course themes will address gender, identity, social organization, indigeneity, immigration, social inequality and environment. Prerequisite: The department strongly recommends that Sociology/Anthropology 110 or 111 be taken prior to enrolling in courses numbered 200 or above. 6 credits; SI, IS; Not offered 2022-23
SOAN 395 Ethnography of Reproduction This seminar explores the meanings of reproductive beliefs and practices in comparative perspective. Using ethnographies, it explores the relation between human and social reproduction. It focuses on (but is not limited to) ethnographic examples from the United States/Canada and from sub-Saharan Africa (societies with relatively low fertility and high utilization of technology and societies with mostly high fertility and low utilization of technology). Topics examined include fertility and birth, fertility rites, new reproductive technologies, abortion, population control, infertility, child survival and child loss. Prerequisite: Sociology/Anthropology 110 or 111 and 226 or 262; or instructor permission. 6 credits; SI, WR2, IS; Not offered 2022-23
SOAN 396 Advanced Sociological and Anthropological Writing This course explores different genres of writing and different audiences for writing in the social sciences, focusing particular attention on scholarly articles published in professional journals in sociology and anthropology. To that end, students both analyze sociological and anthropological articles regarding commonalities and differences in academic writing in our two sister disciplines. Students work on their own academic writing process (with the help of peer-review and instructor feedback). The writing itself is broken down into component elements on which students practice and revise their work. Prerequisite: Completion of Sociology/Anthropology 240 or submission of a topic statement in the preceding spring term and submission of a comps thesis proposal on the first day of fall term. Senior Sociology/Anthropology major or instructor permission. 6 credits; S/CR/NC; SI, WR2; Fall; Pamela Feldman-Savelsberg
SOAN 400 Integrative Exercise Senior sociology/anthropology majors fulfill the integrative exercise by writing a senior thesis on a topic approved by the department. Students must enroll in six credits to write the thesis, spread as the student likes over Fall, Winter, and Spring terms. The process begins with the submission of a topic statement in the preceding spring term and concludes with a public presentation in spring of the senior year. Please consult the Sociology and Anthropology website for a full description. 1-6 credit; S/NC; Fall, Winter, Spring; Wes D Markofski, Pamela Feldman-Savelsberg, Liz Y Raleigh, Constanza C Ocampo-Raeder, Annette M Nierobisz, Colin McLaughlin-Alcock

Other Courses Pertinent to Sociology/Anthropology:

  • ARCN 111 Archaeology of the Americas (not offered in 2022-23)
  • ARCN 211 Coercion and Exploitation: Material Histories of Labor
  • ARCN 246 Archaeological Methods & Lab
  • ARCN 395 Archaeology: Science, Ethics, Nationalism and Cultural Property (not offered in 2022-23)
  • ENTS 250 Food, Forests & Resilence
  • GWSS 200 Gender, Sexuality & the Pursuit of Knowledge
  • GWSS 398 Capstone: Transnational Feminist Activism (not offered in 2022-23)