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School of Natural and Social Sciences

The Anthropology BA Program | Academic Requirements & Concentrations | Student Learning Outcomes | Minor in Anthropology | Courses | Faculty

The Anthropology Program: Courses

1000–1999 (lower level, freshman)
2000–2999 (lower level, sophomore)
3000–3999 (upper level, junior)
4000–4999 (upper level, senior)


Nigerian/Hausa Language and Culture
ANT 1010
/ 4 credits / Alternate years (Fall)
Hausa is one of the most important African languages, spoken by more than 50 million people in Nigeria and numerous other countries. This course offers intensive first-year instruction in the Hausa language while introducing students to the customs, beliefs, and concerns of Nigerian Hausa speakers as expressed through various media.
Formerly also offered as HAU 1010.

Introduction to Social and Cultural Anthropology
ANT 1500
/ 3 credits / Fall
The major fields of interest and contributions of social and cultural anthropologists. Accounts of life in different societies are read to illustrate how institutions vary in different cultural settings and to explore what it means to be a member of a culture different from one’s own.


Discontinued—replaced by ANT 3255 Spring 2015 (5/24/14):
Urban Life in Africa
ANT 2055
/ 3 credits / Special topic (offered irregularly)
Introduces students to the everyday lives of people in African cities. Topics include urbanization in Africa from ancient times to the present; migration to and from African cities; wealth and poverty; work and leisure; gender and sexuality; and responses to African city life as expressed in art, religion, and politics.

Language, Culture, and Society
ANT 2175
/ 3 credits / Special topic (offered irregularly)
Explores the different roles that language plays in the lives of people, communities, and nations. Topics include language and thought, language and power, poetics and verbal art, bilingualism, African-American English (“Ebonics”), pidgin and creole languages, Native American language revitalization, “politically correct”; language, and the rise of English as a global language.
Formerly also offered as MSA 2175.

Discontinued Fall 2014 (4/22/14):
The Origins of Society
ANT 2210
/ 3 credits / Special topic (offered irregularly)
The processes and events of social change, with emphasis on three basic transitions in human history: the emergence of village society; the origins of food production; and the growth of social and economic stratification, urbanism, and the state. Theoretical approaches to social change are studied.

Sociology of Gender
SOC 2210
Refer to Sociology Courses for description. Formerly also offered as ANT 2211.

Discontinued Fall 2015 (8/28/15):
Islam in the American Imagination
ANT 2235
/ 3 credits / Alternate years (Spring)
An introduction to the representations of Muslims in the U.S. and abroad during the 20th and the 21st centuries. Topics include the place of Islam in the American imagination; the relationships among race, gender, religion, and citizenship in the U.S.; public and popular discourse on Muslim immigrants; U.S. foreign policy and the Muslim world.

Film and Anthropology
ANT 2250
/ 3 credits / Alternate years (Spring)
How useful a tool is film for the study of peoples who come from cultures entirely different from one’s own? Appropriate readings accompany the visual material, in addition to ethnographic accounts of the societies viewed in class and discussions of the problems encountered in filming non-Western peoples.

Performing Arts in Cross-Cultural Perspective
ANT 2320
/ 3 credits / Alternate years
An introductory survey of music, theatre, and dance in Western and non-Western cultures, including the relationships between music and religion, dance and weddings, theatre and curing. The course also explores the performing arts as aesthetic phenomena in their own right. Live performances by non-Western performers and optional field trips are planned.
Formerly also offered as MSA 2320 and NME 2320.

Added Fall 2015 (3/06/15):
First Peoples to European Contact: New World Archaeology
HIS 2320
Refer to History Courses (School of Humanities) for description.

Discontinued Fall 2015 (8/28/15):
New Immigrants in the U.S.
ANT 2330
/ 3 credits / Alternate years
Drawing on anthropological studies, students examine how refugees, immigrants, guest workers, and undocumented workers have shaped U.S. society through their interaction with the U.S. government, with communities already in the U.S., with each other, and with communities and ideologies originating beyond the borders of the U.S. The focus is on the contemporary Muslim, Asian, and Latino immigrant experience.
Formerly also offered as LST 2330.
Prerequisite: ANT 1500 or permission of instructor

Drugs, Bodies, Design
ANT 2340
/ 3 credits / Special topic (offered irregularly)
Using texts and films, students analyze how street drugs and legitimated pharmaceuticals become entangled with the economic and aesthetic practices of marginal and mainstream social worlds. Topics include rural Midwestern methamphetamine production as a cottage industry; the ways that steroids and methamphetamine refashion the HIV+ body and identity; and the designs of “performance enhancers” like Adderall that make machines out of bodies.
Formerly also offered as MSA 2340.

Frequency revised Fall 2015 (8/28/15):
Anthropology of South Asia
ANT 2400
/ 3 credits / Special topic (offered irregularly)
Using ethnographic case studies, this course introduces students to a broad range of anthropological research on South Asia. Topics include colonial forms of knowledge and early descriptive accounts of the region; the caste system; constructions of transgender, feminine, and masculine identities and communities; postcolonial and diasporic identities and communities; and globalization and ethnoreligious conflict in India and Pakistan.

Discontinued Fall 2015 (8/28/15):
Environment and Sustainable Development in South Asia
ANT 2410
/ 3 credits / Alternate years (Fall)
An introduction to environmental issues and sustainable development in South Asia. Topics include relationships among geography, natural environment, and cultural life and traditions; “Mother Earth”; and human ecology in India; sacred cow complex; ecofeminism and the Chipko Movement; ecotourism in the Himalayas; environmental security, impact assessments, and large-scale industrial projects; and international development agencies and sustainable development projects in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Nepal.
Formerly also offered as ENV 2410.
Prerequisite: ANT 1500 or an introductory-level course in environmental studies

Added Spring 2016 (8/19/15):
Anthropology for the Public: Social Justice and Advocacy
ANT 2460
/ 3 credits / Spring
Anthropological research, theory, and practice have a great deal to contribute to the central issues of our time. Students explore the relationship between anthropology as an academic field of study that builds on rigorous grounded research and broader, global questions of social justice and transformative action. This course also examines how the discipline’s holistic approach and global reach can be used to engage public debate, shape social policy, and advocate for social change.

Prerequisite revised 8/28/15:
Museum Anthropology
ANT 2470
/ 3 credits / Alternate years (Fall)
An introduction to the poetics of representation, display, and performance in museums. Students critically analyze museums as spaces of encounter and culture contact; consider the political economy of museums and their links to the education, tourism, and entertainment industries; and participate in and report on curatorial projects at the Neuberger Museum of Art.
Formerly also offered as MSA 2470 and ARH 2470.
Prerequisite: A minimum grade of C in ANT 1500 or MSA 1050

Urban Sociology
SOC 2500
Refer to SOC 2500 in Sociology Courses for description. Formerly also offered as ANT 2500.

Replaced by two courses: ANT 2555, Spring 2015 (6/24/14) and ANT 3215, Fall 2015 (8/21/14):
Magic, Witchcraft, and Religion
ANT 2550
/ 3 credits / Special topic (offered irregularly)
Magic, witchcraft, and religion from an anthropological perspective, including theories about the origins and functions of religious beliefs and practices in different cultures. Readings include theoretical writings and ethnographic studies.

Added Spring 2015 (6/24/14); prerequisite added 8/28/15:
Magic, Witchcraft, and Modernity
ANT 2555
/ 3 credits / Alternate years
Investigates magic and witchcraft in the shadow of technology, industrialization, and capitalism. Readings range from athletes who employ superstition to cope with uncertainty, to more challenging case studies on witchcraft, spirit possession, shamanism, and other forms of magic as healing. Alongside classical anthropological texts, concepts such as fetishism, fantasy, and enchantment are explored in contemporary contexts, including film, art, and literature.
Prerequisite: A minimum grade of C in ANT 1500 

Frequency and prerequisite revised 8/28/15:
Introduction to Ethnomusicology
ANT 2610
/ 3 credits / Alternate years (Spring)
A survey of theoretical orientations and methodologies for the study of musical production, performance, and consumption in particular cultural contexts and within global flows of materials, ideas, cultural forms, and people. Focuses on music as a communication medium and collective poetic process. Students attend and critically engage musical performances and/or engage directly in musical production and performances.
Formerly also offered as MSA 2610 and MUS 2610.
Prerequisite: A minimum grade of C in ANT 1500 or MSA 1050

Global Sexualities
ANT 2755
/ 3 credits / Alternate years
Explores and compares the diverse ways in which sexuality and gender are practiced, experienced, and regulated in different communities around the world. Particular attention is paid to how sexual identities and practices have influenced, and been influenced by, global political, economic, and cultural movements, including colonialism, capitalism, feminism, queer activism, and the spread of world religions.
Formerly also offered as GND 2755.

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Prerequisite added Fall 2014 (5/06/14); frequency revised 3/26/14:
Myth and Ritual
ANT 3070
/ 4 credits / Alternate years
The social anthropology of myths and rituals in both simple and complex societies. Some attention is given to the approaches of Durkheim, Lévi-Strauss, Edmund Leach, Victor Turner, and Clifford Geertz, who have made contributions within the theoretical schools of structuralism and symbolic anthropology.
Prerequisite: ANT 1500

Prerequisite added (9/30/14) and revised, with limitation added to description Spring 2015 (10/23/14):
Classics in Anthropological Literature
ANT 3150
/ 4 credits / Spring
Theoretical concepts and their use in analyzing empirical data. Students read and critically analyze the work of some of the major thinkers in anthropology, including Benedict, Mead, Malinowski, Radcliffe-Brown, Geertz, Turner, and Lévi-Strauss. Limited to students majoring in anthropology.
Prerequisite: A minimum grade of C in ANT 1500 and (a) in one of the following courses—ANT 1010, 2175, 2235, 2250, 2320, 2330, 2340, 2400, 2410, 2470, 2555, 2610, 2755; and (b) in one of the following courses—ANT 3070, 3175, 3185, 3190, 3215, 3255, 3275, 3345, 3350, 3380, 3390, 3410, 3415, 3540, 3600, 3610; ENV 3800; JST 3455, 3456, 3457

Discontinued Fall 2015 (8/28/15):
Media Representations and Identity
ANT 3175
/ 4 credits / Special topic (offered irregularly)
Many ideas that people develop about others and self come from the media; think for a moment about one’s source of information on Native Americans or one’s own ethnic group. This class takes a cross-cultural look at the role of media in shaping identity. Different sources of representation, including museums, film, literature, and performance media, are examined.
Formerly also offered as MSA 3175.
Prerequisite: MSA 1050

Prerequisite revised 8/28/15:
Global Media, Local Cultures
ANT 3185
/ 4 credits / Spring
Explores how media technologies and genres are produced, used, and interpreted in different cultural contexts around the world. Emphasis is placed on the effect of different media on people’s social identities and communities, including families, nations, and religions. Anthropological theories of media and performance are applied to ethnographic research projects in and around the Purchase College community.
Formerly also offered as MSA 3185.
Prerequisite: A minimum grade of C in ANT 1500 or MSA 1050, or permission of instructor

Prerequisite revised 8/28/15:
Urban Anthropology
ANT 3190
/ 4 credits / Fall
The experiences and problems of city dwellers in the Third World and migrants from Third World countries to Western cities, including New York. Topics include urbanization and family life, adaptation of migrants, ethnicity and class, the culture of poverty, and methods of urban anthropologists.
Prerequisite: A minimum grade of C in ANT 1500 or 2055

Added Fall 2015 (8/21/14); prerequisite revised 8/28/15:
Anthropology of Religion
ANT 3215
/ 4 credits / Alternate years
Examines both foundational and newer critical approaches to understanding religion from an anthropological perspective. Texts cover a diversity of topics from a variety of cultures, including the construction of religion as an analytical category; religion’s relation to secularism, law, and political ideology; religion and gender; and embodied religious experience. Not intended as a general survey of religious traditions.
Prerequisite: A minimum grade of C in ANT 1500, and permission of instructor

Added Spring 2015, replacing ANT 2055 (5/24/14), prerequisite revised (10/23/14):
Urban Life in Africa
ANT 3255
/ 4 credits / Alternate years
Africa is home to some of the oldest and fastest-growing cities in the world. Rapid urbanization brings challenges, opportunities, and expectations. Topics include colonial and postcolonial urban planning; corruption and informal economies; violence and security; ethnicity, nationalism, and pan-Africanism; modernism and traditionalism; youth styles and subcultures; charismatic Christianity and Islamic reformism.
Prerequisite: A minimum grade of C in ANT 1500

Discontinued Fall 2015 (8/28/15):
Los Angeles/Mumbai: Cinematic City Cross-Culturally
ANT 3275
/ 4 credits / Alternate years (Fall)
Examines the relationship between the city and cinema through case studies of Los Angeles and Mumbai, global cities that are home to two of the largest film industries in the world. Students explore the interconnections between the city and cinematic representations of Los Angeles and Mumbai, and the relationship between cinema and urban life, cultural forms and traditions.
Formerly also offered as MSA 3275.
Prerequisite: ANT 1500 or MSA 1050, or permission of instructor

Title and description revised Fall 2015 (3/06/15):
Media and Performance in Africa
ANT 3345
/ 4 credits / Alternate years
Explores how African performing artists and audiences have responded to the cultural, political, and economic circumstances of the times and places in which they live. Performance media include music, song, dance, film/video, and the spoken word, with a special focus on western and southern Africa. Students draw on anthropological theories to produce, perform, and critique their own versions of African performance texts.
Prerequisite: ANT 1500 or MSA 1050, or permission of instructor

Added Fall 2015 (8/21/14):
Myth, Ritual, and Performance
ANT 3350
/ 4 credits / Alternate years
How have myth, ritual, and performance functioned as ways to comprehend, organize, and even generate the world around us? What are the values and constraints of symbolic structures as they shape and influence bodies and environments? Students consider both structural and poststructural approaches to performance as a medium for exploring, but also transgressing, structures of everyday life.
Prerequisite: ANT 1500 or THP 2020, or permission of instructor

Avant-Garde Cultures and Everyday Life
ANT 3380
/ 4 credits / Special topic (offered irregularly)
Examines the avant-garde from historical and cultural perspectives, as both a lens and object of social critique. How the avant-garde engages with everyday life through various forms of artistic and technological mediation is also explored. Covers such topics as shock and aesthetics, collage, manifestos, found objects, and commodification, and examines various types of experimental music and performance.
Formerly also offered as MSA 3380.
Prerequisite: ANT 1500 or MSA 1050, and permission of instructor

Critical Perspectives on Language and Culture
ANT 3390
/ 4 credits / Alternate years (Spring)
Students perform close readings and engage in in-depth discussions of theoretical texts, illustrative ethnographic works, and audio/video recordings on the relationships between language and culture. Questions explored include: What assumptions about culture are implicit in any given method of analyzing language practices? What lies beyond the reach of language? Topics covered include affect, gesture, semiotics, and symbolic violence.
Formerly also offered as MSA 3390.
Prerequisite: ANT 1500

Discontinued Fall 2014 (4/22/14):
Culture and Values
ANT 3405
/ 4 credits / Alternate years (Spring)
Examines how culture is represented and sustained. Through this examination, the meaning given to some sociocultural systems is identified, including the role of race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and class. Students also study how values are transformed by contestation and resistance.
Formerly also offered as GND 3405.
Prerequisite: ANT 1500

Anthropology of Art and Aesthetics
ANT 3410
/ 4 credits / Special topic (offered irregularly)
An exploration of the arts of a variety of cultures, both Western and non-Western. Topics include the relationship of art to other social institutions; the role of the artist in society; the ways that people make aesthetic judgments; and the evolutionary significance of art.

Title and description modified Fall 2014 (1/08/14, 4/22/14); prerequisite revised 8/28/15:
Anthropology of Sound and Listening
ANT 3415
/ 4 credits / Special topic (offered irregularly)
An anthropological and ethnomusicological approach to sound, listening, and modernity, with emphasis on recent scholarship concerning aural/audio cultures. Topics include avant-garde sound poetry, noise and war, soundscapes and urban noise, silence and deafness, listening practices and mobility in urban space, background music (Muzak), and sound art and installations.
Formerly also offered as MSA 3415.
Prerequisite: A minimum grade of C in ANT 1500, and permission of instructor

Discontinued Fall 2014 (4/22/14):
Peoples of the Southwest
ANT 3450
/ 4 credits / Special topic (offered irregularly)
An overview of the prehistory and history of the region sets the stage for a comprehensive analysis of three distinct cultures (Native American, Hispanic, and Anglo) and their interrelationships, using annual ceremonies and rituals as a focus for analysis.

Changed from JST to HIS prefix Spring 2016 (10/26/15):
Archaeological Issues in the Southern Levant
HIS 3455
Refer to History Courses for description. Formerly also offered as ANT 3455.

Changed from JST to HIS prefix Spring 2016 (10/26/15):
Methods and Techniques in Field Archaeology
HIS 3456
Refer to History Courses for description. Formerly also offered as ANT 3456.

Discontinued 10/26/15:
Archaeological Field Survey and Study
JST 3457
Refer to Jewish Studies Courses (School of Humanities) for description. Formerly also offered as ANT 3457.

Discontinued Fall 2014 (4/22/14):
Performing Arts and Social Analysis
ANT 3510
/ 4 credits / Special topic (offered irregularly)
A practicum course, comparable to MSA 3410. Students design and execute projects reflecting their own interests by combining the tools of social science inquiry with the problems of a particular performing arts field. Analysis of general topics in this area directs the formulation and completion of individual projects.

Sensing and Knowing in Anthropology, Psychology, and the Arts
ANT 3540
/ 4 credits / Special topic (offered irregularly)
What theories of embodiment, mind, and matter must be adopted to adequately grasp experiences of time, space, color, emotion, and attention? How can people conceptualize forms of experience without purging them of poetic resonance? Students explore this interdisciplinary field in connection with the arts. Includes readings in cognitive science, anthropology, and poetry, plus collaborative art projects, sensory experiments, and excursions.
Formerly also offered as PSY 3540 and MSA 3540.
Prerequisite: ANT 1500 and PSY 1530

Permission of instructor added Fall 2014 (4/22/14); prerequisite revised 4/07/15 and 8/28/15; limited to anthropology majors 8/28/15:
Fieldwork: Qualitative Methods
ANT 3560
/ 4 credits / Fall
The methodological, political, and ethical issues of participant observation. Students read and discuss classical examples of participant-observation research. Each student conducts a participant-observation field research study and presents a preliminary version of the results to the seminar before submitting the written report. Limited to anthropology majors.
Prerequisite: A minimum grade of C in ANT 1500, and permission of instructor

Added Spring 2016 (9/22/16):
Archaeology of Empires: The Ancient World
HIS 3585
Refer to History Courses (School of Humanities) for description.

Course title revised Fall 2014 (11/08/13); prerequisite revised 8/28/15:
Japan: Aesthetics, Politics, Modernity
ANT 3600
/ 4 credits / Alternate years (Fall)
Drawing on scholarly texts, novels, films, and music, this course critically examines the aesthetics and politics of modernity in Japan. Topics include fascism and aesthetics in interwar Japan; folk art and Japanese imperialism; criminality and the everyday in postwar Japan; public spectacles (Tokyo Olympics, Osaka Expo); postwar avant-garde movements; consumer culture and department stores.
Prerequisite: A minimum grade of C+ in ANT 1500 and one anthropology elective (2000 or 3000 level)

Discontinued 10/02/15:
Gender and Popular Culture in South Asia
ANT 3610
/ 4 credits / Fall
Drawing on anthropology, sociology, history, and cultural studies, students examine the relationship between constructions of gender identities and popular culture in two major South Asian nations, India and Pakistan. “South Asian popular culture” is broadly and inclusively conceptualized to incorporate lived and textual cultures, the mass and new media, different ways of life, and discursive modes of representation.
Formerly also offered as GND 3610.

Human Ecology
ENV 3800
Refer to Environmental Studies Courses for description. Formerly also offered as ANT 3801.

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Permission of instructor added Fall 2014 (4/22/14); prerequisite revised 4/07/15; prerequisite and description revised 8/28/15:
Current Anthropological Literature
ANT 4070
/ 4 credits / Fall
Students focus on recent theoretical texts in cultural anthropology and are expected to present short oral reports on these texts and to lead class discussion. Limited to anthropology majors in their senior year.
Prerequisite: Permission of instructor

Title modified Fall 2014 (1/08/14):
Alternative Economies
MSA 4100
Refer to Media, Society, and the Arts Courses (School of Film and Media Studies) for description. Formerly also offered as ANT 4100.

Added Spring 2015 (6/24/14):
Lively Geographies
MSA 4110
Refer to Media, Society, and the Arts Courses (School of Film and Media Studies) for description.

Title modified Fall 2014 (1/08/14):
Material Cultures
MSA 4160
Refer to Media, Society, and the Arts Courses (School of Film and Media Studies) for description. Formerly also offered as ANT 4160.

Special Topic: Geographic Area
ANT 4860
/ 4 credits / Special topic (offered irregularly)
Special anthropological topics by geographic area.
Topic: Culture and Media in Italy
Focuses on cultural forms drawn from literature, film, music, and the visual arts across two centuries of Italian history to the present. Students examine, in Italy and elsewhere, various representations and performances of gender, race and ethnicity, region, and diaspora that produce “Italians.”

Senior projects changed to I and II, 4 credits each, and prefix changed from ANT to SPJ, Fall 2014:
Senior Project I and II
SPJ 4990
and 4991 / 4 credits (per semester) / Every year
Students are required to submit a senior project in order to complete the major in anthropology. Students work with individual faculty members to develop a project design that focuses on some substantive problem in anthropology. The project may be based on fieldwork or library research. Must be taken for two semesters (8 credits total).

Updated Oct. 26, 2015

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