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Anthropology: Course Descriptions

Anthro 102: Introduction to Anthropology

3 credits Basic concepts from the various areas of study within anthropology (cultural, linguistic, biological, and Archaeological) brought together to examine and explain, in an integrated fashion, aspects of the human condition.

Anthro 122: Living and Learning in a Global Community (formerly World Ethnography)

3 credits  This course engages the particular approaches and methods of Cultural Anthropology to investigate the global processes that affect the lives and experiences of people around the world.  This course also emphasizes the creative and complex ways individuals have responded to globalization that preserve, change, and hybridize their cultures to ensure their own survival.


Anthro 123: Cultural Diversity in the U.S.

3 credits An analytical and descriptive survey of selected cultures representative of major American ethnic groups.

Anthro 150: The Ancient World

3 credits A survey of important archaeological sites and data illustrating the important changes in subsistence practices, settlement patterns, and social-political organizations for humans over the past 2.5 million years. This includes the emergence of human culture, the development of the modern mind, the transition to agriculture and the development of urbanism.

Anthro 202: Introduction to Biological Anthropology

4 credits Physical anthropology is the study of the human biology and behavior in the framework of evolution. This course provides an introduction to the scientific approaches and methods used by physical anthropologists, including evolutionary theory and the mechanisms of heredity, the ecology and behavior of nonhuman primates and what they can teach us about human origins, the fossil evidence for human evolution, and modern human variation and adaptation. Students should leave this class with a broader understanding of humanity’s place in nature and a grasp of our unique evolutionary history. (3+2)

Anthro 204: Introduction to Cultural Anthropology

3 credits Focusing on the concept of ‘culture’, the course discusses the aims, methods, and achievements of anthropological research and presents a general model for comprehending human society.          

Note: This class was formerly known as Anthropology 232.

Anthro 206: Introduction to Linguistic Anthropology

3 credits A study of language as it relates to human culture and the transmission of culture. Genetic and typological variation in language; theories of linguistic universals and relativity. Consideration of social stratification, multidialectal and multilingual societies, selection of national languages.  

Note: This class was formerly known as Anthropology 274.

Anthro 208: Introduction to Archaeology

3 credits An introduction to the study of humanity’s past and how archaeologists retrieve, process, analyze and interpret surviving prehistoric materials.

Anthro 220: Culture and Health

3 credits This course is focused on anthropological approaches used to explore the dynamic relationship between culture and health.  Throughout the semester, students will also assess how certain cultural practices, economic systems, and forms of political organization either prevent or contribute to the creation of a more sustainable world.

Anthro 225: Celebrating Culture through the Arts

3 credits This course will focus on community engagement with people of diverse ethnic groups utilizing anthropological approaches to visual art, music, and dance. Students will examine how people of various cultural and ethnic backgrounds communicate through visual art, music and dance about issues such as gender, family, identity, tradition, historical consciousness, ideology, experience and more. Students will engage in diverse settings utilizing ethnographic methods and participating in the local community.

Anthro 300: Topics in Anthropology


1-6 credits A variable topics course covering a theme of current interest in anthropology. Each time the course is offered, the topic and number of credit hours will be announced in the Schedule of Classes. May be repeated with different content.

For Fall ’18:  Global Landscapes in Aging– This course will acquaint students with experiences of aging across cultures and will examine the intersection of local cultural beliefs and practices centered on aging with wider policies and global dynamics.  This cross-cultural analysis destabilizes and challenges stereotypes, helps build empathy, and critically examines our own beliefs and practices surrounding aging.  Through this course, students will develop knowledge and skills concerning the fast-growing, global elder population.

Anthro 301: Reading Theory

3 credits This is a mid-level theory course designed to prepare students to read and analyze theory in Anthropology. The topics and instructors are variable, however the goal is to understand theory, both in broad concept and in particular cases.

Anthro 308: Race and Human Variation

3 credits This course explores what studies of human biological variation can tell us about the reality of race. We first deconstruct the concept of race, examining the history of race in the United States and how biology has been used to justify racial categories and oppression. Then we examine what studies of modern human genetics and biology tell us about the biological validity of racial categories. We trace the evolutionary history of modern humans, from their origins in Africa to their spread to every corner of the globe. Topics include genetic variation, skin color, height, and adaptation to altitude and disease. We then discuss the implication of this variation for the concept of race and how racial categories impact our lives in the United States (covering issues such as genetic ancestry testing, IQ, racially-based medicine and persistent social inequalities).

Anthro 310: Anthropology and Film

3 credits A survey of anthropological films, focusing on the ways that filmmaking and ethnographic authority have developed together through time No formal prerequisites, however, students should be aware of the basic anthropological concepts presented in the department’s lower-division courses.

Anthro 312: Native North America: Contemporary Issues, Culture and History

3 credits The course is primarily a description of North American Indian culture past and present. In connection with this, diverse Indian life-ways are covered in reading, lecture and audio/visual presentations.This course deals inevitably with how these life-ways and cultures similar to and different from western life-ways and culture. It deals with Indian-white relations, genocide, culturecide, ethnocentrism, bias, pluralism, assimilation, cultural pluralism and so on.

Anthro 314: Native American Women

3 credits This class explores the diverse experiences, perspectives, histories, cultures and contemporary issues of Native North American women as well as the ethics of research and representation. Relevant topics include family and gender roles, health, alcoholism, education, language, cultural preservation and change. Examples will be drawn from ethnography, ethnohistory and autobiography. Cross-listed: Anthropology 314/Women’s Studies 314. Students may receive credit for only one of the two cross-listed courses.

Anthro 318: Peoples and Cultures of Southern Asia

3 credits A description and analysis of societies and cultures in southern Asia with special emphasis on the Indian subcontinent and insular and mainland Southeast Asia.

Anthro 322: People and Cultures of Africa

3 credits A description and analysis of societies and cultures of Sub-Saharan Africa.

Anthro 324: Latino Culture and Society

3 credits This course discusses a survey of Chicano social and cultural adaptations to present day American society. Economic, political, social, educational, religious and other factors in Chicano communities, both rural and urban. Topics as discrimination, minority group status and relations with the larger society will be considered.

Anthro 328: Peasant & Contemporary Cultures of Latin America
Anthro 332: Magic and Religion

3 credits The analysis and description of religious beliefs and practices in non-literate and literate societies.

Anthro 340: Culture and Personality

3 credits A review of cultural personality literature with special attention given to personality development within contemporary American subculture units.

Anthro 342: Expressive Culture

3 credits This course will delve into the anthropological study of a broad range of expressive practices including visual art, material culture, body decoration, display events such as pageants and folk festivals, music, dance, and verbal art such as storytelling. The course will explore how through expressive practices we communicate about identity, historical consciousness, ethnicity, gender, and much more. The course will investigate how socio-cultural factors influence our definitions, practices, and meanings or art and performance. Conversely, we will explore how culture and social relations emerge out of the artistic production and performance.

Anthro 343: Masculinity Across Cultures

3 credits By taking a cross-cultural approach with examples from all over the world, this course aims to integrate notions of masculinity that have become naturalized in wider American society. Some of the topics of the course may include issues of men and violence, emotion, invulnerability, independence, kinship, the body, transgender sexuality, masculinity and national identity and rights of passage. The course will examine the relationships between particular masculinities, femininities and gendered hierarchies, power and inequality in culture and society. Implicit in all these discussion will be the relationships between men and women, definitions of masculinity and femininity, gender, gender roles and expectations and how factors of race, class and gender shape definitions and expressions of masculinity. Cross-listed: Anthropology 343/Women’s Studies 343 Students may receive credit for only one of the two cross-listed courses.  

Anthro 344: Kinship, Gender and Sexuality

3 credits Examination of comparative gender roles and the behavior, status, and economic position of the sexes in cultural groups other than contemporary U.S. society. Cross-listed: Anthropology 344/ Women’s Studies 344. Students may receive credit for only one of the cross-listed courses.

Anthro 348: Economy, Nature and Culture

3 credits A comparative survey and analysis of differing modes of acquisition, allocation and distribution of scarce resources in primarily pre-industrial societies of differing levels of socio-cultural integration and in differing time frames.

Anthro 350: Ethnographic Methods

3 credits This course introduces students to the theory of research in cultural anthropology beginning with an examination of basic principles followed by the development of skills in ethnographic research techniques. Students will complete field projects. Prerequisites: Junior standing, Anthropology 232, Anthropology 274 or consent of instructor

Anthro 352: Old World Archaeology

3 credits A survey of human cultural and biological development in Africa, Asia and Europe as evidenced in archaeological records from the earliest beginnings to the achievement of civilizations. Prerequisite: Anthropology 250: Introduction to Archaeology or consent of instructor.

Anthro 354: Archaeology of North America

3 credits A survey of prehistory in the New World from the earliest migrations to Columbian times, with special emphasis on North America. Prerequisite: Anthropology 250: Introduction to Archaeology or consent of instructor.

Anthro 355: Wisconsin Archaeology

3 credits This course is a survey of the archaeological record of Wisconsin, starting with the earliest documented inhabitants just before the end of the Pleistocene and proceeding chronologically to recent times. While the overwhelming majority of the course will focus on the archaeological record of prehistoric and historic Native Americans, Euro-American, African-American archaeology is also included. Prerequisite: Anthropology 250: Introduction to Archaeology or consent of instructor.

Anthro 356: Preindustrial Technology

3 credits Analysis of material culture of primitive people, historical development and distribution; technique and methods of manufacture; use and function within society. Prerequisite: Anthropology 250: Introduction to Archaeology or consent of instructor.

Anthro 358: Archaeological Theory

3 credits A survey of the methodology used in developing archaeological data through excavation and analysis and an examination of the theory upon which these methods are based. Prerequisite: Anthropology 250: Introduction to Archaeology or consent of instructor.

Anthro 359: Fantastic Archaeology

3 credits Fantastic Archaeology describes those claims and interpretations about the archaeological records that are outside the orthodox mainstream of the scholarly and professional world of archaeology. This can range from the new, and as yet untested and unaccepted theories that may eventually be the orthodox interpretations in the future to the outrageous that can be easily refuted with a careful and rigorous evaluation of the data. The entire range of competing, non-orthodox interpretations of the archaeological record are considered in this course. Prerequisites: Anthropology 250:Introduction to Archaeology or consent of instructor.

Anthro 360: Mesoamerican Culture

3 credits Comparative study of cultural development in ancient Mexico and Central America from pre-Columbian to modern times.

Anthro 362/562: Field Work in Archaeology

1-8 credits Students will be allowed to repeat this course for credit (although only 8 credits can be counted toward the 34 credit minimum required for the Anthropology Major or the 24 credit minimum required for the Minor). Prerequisite: Anthropology 250 or consent of instructor.

Anthro 363: Archaeological Analysis (SS)

3 credits Fundamentals of archaeological analysis. Actual analysis of archaeological materials excavated by the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh Summer Field School and problems of description, classification, association and interpretation. Prerequisites: Introduction to Archaeology (Anthropology 250) or Theory and Method of Archaeology (Anthropology 358) or consent of instructor. (2+2)

Anthro 366: The Evolution of Human Language

3 credits This course introduces students to the interdisciplinary study of the nature and emergence of human language, “the most human thing about being human”. We will examine the cognitive, neurological and genetic underpinnings of language, and evidence for its biological innateness in human beings. We will investigate the key characteristics of human language and their possible basis in the abilities of other animals, focusing particularly on language studies with the great apes. We also will examine the fossil and archaeological record of human evolution for anatomical and cultural clues as to when and why language might have evolved. Finally, we will discuss how the first language(s) might have morphed into the over six thousand languages spoken by human beings today.

Anthro 368: Human Dimensions of Wildlife Conservation

3 credits This course focuses on the most central issue in the conservation of wildlife: people. This course will integrate perspectives from conservation biology and environmental anthropology, focusing particularly on the interaction between humans and the environment and how this influences the effectiveness and appropriateness of measure taken to preserve biodiversity. The course includes a discussion of perspectives on the value of biodiversity; a careful exploration of human-generated threats to biodiversity, including habitat destruction, over-hunting, the wildlife trade, invasive species and global warming; and an extensive overview and critique of conservation solutions, such as, the creation of protected areas, community-based conservation, eco-tourism, economic incentives programs, debt-for-nature swaps and more. The effects of globalization on international conservation will be an integral part of this discussion. Cross-listed: Anthropology 368/Environmental Studies 368 Students may receive credit for only one of the two cross-listed courses.

Anthro 372: Primate Behavior and Ecology

3 credits This course is designed to introduce students to our closest living relatives, the nonhuman primates (monkeys, apes and prosimians). This course will focus on primate diversity and characteristics, ecology, social behavior, communication, cognition and conservation. We will also discuss the relevance of primate studies to understanding human evolution.This course will involve at least one field trip to the Milwaukee Zoo. Cross-listed: Anthropology 372/Environmental Studies 372. Students may receive credit for only one of the two cross-listed courses.

Anthro 374: Human Osteology

3 credits This course focuses on the human skeleton and the data it provides forensic anthropologists, paleoanthropologists, and archaeologists. Skeletal and dental anatomy is covered in detail, with special attention given to anthropologically important aspects of specific bones and teeth. Students will also learn how to recover bone from forensic and archaeological contexts, recognize bone fragments, estimate age-at-death, sex, and biological affinity from skeletal elements, diagnose bone pathologies, collect metric data, and identify trauma.

Anthro 377: Forensic Anthropology

3 credits  In this course, students will be introduced to the methods and analytical techniques of forensic anthropology.  The topics covered will include the stages of soft tissue decomposition, estimation of the post-mortem interval, forensic entomology, using skeletal elements to estimate demographic information, forensic odontology, skeletal trauma, and determining the cause of death.  Additionally, students will analyze simulated forensic cases using real human skeletons and learn to construct case reports for law enforcement agencies.

Anthro 378: Human Evolution

3 credits Analysis of the bio-cultural developmental history of human populations in an ecological context. Human genetics and human paleontology and the biological nature and development of Homo sapiens will be explored in lecture and laboratory. Prerequisite: Anthropology 202. (2+2)

Anthro 380: Globalization

3 credits “Globalization” has become an all-encompassing term for describing a series of processes that are reshaping the society, economy, politics, culture and environment of the planet. This course will introduce some of the main, often competing perspectives on globalization. Through intensive readings and discussion, we will try to understand the ways in which the local perspectives on globalization. Through intensive readings and discussion, we will try to understand the way s in which the local and the global are increasingly intertwined and to assess both the risks and the promises of the global society that lies ahead. Cross-Listed: Environmental Studies 380/Anthropology 380 Students may receive credit for only one of the two cross-listed courses.

Anthro 381: Anthropology of Tourism
Anthro 382: Food: A Bio-cultural, Socioeconomic Examination

3 credits Why do we eat what we do? The fundamental question guides an exploration of the relation between food and people: biologically, economically, socially, and culturally. The course critically examines the “unnatural” current state of food and its impact on humans and the environment. The course also provides practical knowledge of food, food production, and nutrition with which students can make informed decisions about their food.

Anthro 384: Urban Anthropology

3 credits The development and structure of urban societies.  The course will focus mainly upon recent anthropological research concerning the problems of complex societies.

Anthro 386: Ethnography of Communication


3 credits This course emphasizes the dual functionality of the ethnography of communication, approaching EOC as both a  theory for explaining human communication as well as a method for generating and collecting situated cultural discourses.  Students will read, discuss, and critique ethnographic accounts that theorize the uses and meanings of various communicative phenomena.

Anthro 392: Museum Techniques (SS)

1-4 credits A survey of knowledge essential to the successful operation of an anthropological museum. Lectures and labs focus on acquisitions, record keeping, collection preservation, exhibition, public relations, and current policy issues. (3+2)

Anthro 394: Field Experience

1-6 credits This is a field research course. Students are given the opportunity to travel to a field site(s), collect date and consider theoretical conclusions. This course is field-based and requires travel. It may be taken or repeated for up to 6 credits. Prerequisite: consent on instructor.

Anthro 400: Senior Seminar

3 credits This course serves as the culminating capstone experience for Anthropology Majors by integrating students’ training throughout their career in the program.  Pre-requisites: ANT 202, ANT 204, ANT 206, ANT 208, ANT 301, one of the following: ANT 350, ANT 362, ANT 363, ANT 377, or ANT 394

Anthro 446: Independent Study

1-3 credits See Independent Study under Course and Academic Advisement Policies information for general course description, general prerequisites and proper contract form requirements.

Anthro 456: Related Readings

1-3 credits See Related Readings under Course and Academic Advisement Policies for general course description, general prerequisites and proper contract from requirements.

Anthro 494: History of Anthropological Thought

3 credits A survey of the history and development of theories and methods in Social and Cultural Anthropology. The intellectual contexts out of which Anthropology developed and the permanence of early theorists and methods in contemporary anthropological research. Prerequisites: Physical Anthropology 202, Cultural Anthropology 232, Intro Archaeology 250, Language and Culture 274; and junior standing or consent of instructor.