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Anthropology

Anthropology is the study of human beings from all times and all places, offering a holistic, comparative, international, and humanistic perspective. In studying and interpreting the vast range of similarities and differences in human societies and cultures, anthropologists also seek to understand how people themselves make sense of the world in which they live. The Department of Anthropology at Brown is a vibrant, award-winning group of scholars working primarily in the subfields of cultural anthropology, archaeology, and anthropological linguistics.  Anthropology is a varied discipline and the Concentration at Brown University reflects that diversity. Students concentrating in Anthropology must declare one of six possible concentration tracks: sociocultural anthropology, archaeology, anthropological linguistics, biological anthropology, medical anthropology, or general anthropology.

The department also supports students involved in Engaged Scholarship through the Swearer Center. (Until Summer 2020 students pursued the Engaged Scholars Program, and all students already participating in ESP will be supported through to graduation. Beginning Spring 2021, students enrolled in an undergraduate certificate in engaged scholarship or ESC.) Study abroad is also supported and encouraged. Interested students may contact the director of undergraduate studies.

Students who declared a concentration prior to fall 2019 can refer to concentration requirements here: https://bulletin.brown.edu/archive/2018-19/the-college/concentrations/anth/

General Anthropology Track

Choose one foundational course in sociocultural, linguistic anthropology, or medical anthropology:1
Introduction to Cultural Anthropology
Culture and Health
Sound and Symbols: Introduction to Linguistic Anthropology
Choose one foundational course in archaeology or biological anthropology:1
Human Evolution
Past Forward: Discovering Anthropological Archaeology
Choose one of the following courses in anthropological methodology, to prepare students for further research: 1
Introduction to Geographic Information Systems and Spatial Analysis
Material Culture Practicum
The Human Skeleton
The Archaeology of College Hill
Ethnographic Research Methods
Five additional courses in anthropology of the student's choosing. At least three of these electives will need to be at the 1000-level to meet the requirements of the concentration. 5
Senior Seminar 1
Senior Seminar: (Re)Making Anthropology (Senior Seminar)
Total Credits9

Medical Anthropology Track

Foundation course1
Culture and Health
Two courses in at least two of the four major subfields of anthropology:2
Choose one:
Human Evolution
Past Forward: Discovering Anthropological Archaeology
Choose any one 0000 or 1000-level course in socio-cultural anthropology or linguistic anthropology such as:
Introduction to Cultural Anthropology
Sound and Symbols: Introduction to Linguistic Anthropology
Anthropology of China
Middle East in Anthropological Perspective
Anthropology of Disasters
Anthropology and International Development: Ethnographic Perspectives on Poverty and Progress
Ethnography + Social Critique
Methods Course1
Ethnographic Research Methods
At least one 1000-level course in medical anthropology such as: 11
Bioethics and Culture
Anthropology of Addictions and Recovery
Anthropology of Homelessness
Global Health: Anthropological Perspectives
An additional three anthropology courses of the student's choosing. At least two of the electives must be at the 1000-level to meet the general requirements of the concentration. 3
At least one non-anthropology course in the natural sciences, public health, or psychology that focuses on human health to give students basic exposure to the science of human physical and/or mental health. This course is in addition to the nine courses required in ANTH. 21
Senior Seminar1
Senior Seminar: (Re)Making Anthropology
Total Credits10

Socio-Cultural Anthropology Track

Foundation course1
Introduction to Cultural Anthropology
One course in archaeology or biological anthropology:1
Human Evolution
Past Forward: Discovering Anthropological Archaeology
Research methods1
Ethnographic Research Methods
At least two 1000-level courses that focus on specific aspects of sociocultural methods or theories, or in a particular region, such as:2
Anthropology of China
Middle East in Anthropological Perspective
Religion and Culture
Bioethics and Culture
Anthropology of Disasters
Anthropology of Addictions and Recovery
Anthropology of Homelessness
Global Health: Anthropological Perspectives
Anthropology and International Development: Ethnographic Perspectives on Poverty and Progress
Anthropology of Mental Health
Ethnography + Social Critique
Gender and Sexuality in the Middle East
An additional three anthropology courses of the student's choosing. At least one of the electives must be at the 1000-level to meet the general requirements of the concentration. 3
Senior Seminar1
Senior Seminar: (Re)Making Anthropology
Total Credits9

Linguistic Anthropology Track

Foundation course1
Sound and Symbols: Introduction to Linguistic Anthropology
One additional course in linguistic anthropology from the following: 1
Language and Migration
Language and Medicine in Practice
Language and Power
Two other foundational courses in anthropology: 2
Choose one:
Introduction to Cultural Anthropology
Culture and Health
Choose one:
Human Evolution
Past Forward: Discovering Anthropological Archaeology
Research methods1
Ethnographic Research Methods
Senior Seminar 1
Senior Seminar: (Re)Making Anthropology
An additional three anthropology courses of the student's choosing. At least two of the electives must be at the 1000-level to meet the requirements of the concentration. 3
At least one general course focusing on aspects of linguistic structure. 11
At least one language course (one semester) in any language other than English 21
Total Credits11

Anthropological Archaeology Track

Foundation course in anthropological archaeology1
Past Forward: Discovering Anthropological Archaeology
Foundation course in socio-cultural anthropology1
Introduction to Cultural Anthropology
Choose one course in anthropological archaeology methodology: 11
Introduction to Geographic Information Systems and Spatial Analysis
Material Culture Practicum
The Archaeology of College Hill
Choose one course that involves detailed archaeological investigation of a geographic region: 21
Classic Mayan Civilization
Ethnographies of Heritage: Community and Landscape of the Mediterranean and Beyond
Vertical Civilization: South American Archaeology from Monte Verde to the Inkas
Indians, Colonists, and Africans in New England
Maize Gods and Feathered Serpents: Mexico and Central America in Antiquity
Ancient Maya Writing
Southwestern Archaeology
One 1000-level course in anthropology with significant archaeological, material culture, and/or museum studies component. A second geographic area course from the list above may be used to meet this requirement. Other regularly offered courses that meet this requirement include: 31
Indigenous Archaeologies
Global Historical Archaeology
Archaeology of Death
Lost Languages: The Decipherment and Study of Ancient Writing Systems
Three anthropology courses of the student's choosing. At least one of the electives must be at the 1000-level to meet the general requirements of the concentration. 3
Senior Seminar 1
Senior Seminar: (Re)Making Anthropology
Total Credits9

Biological Anthropology Track

Foundation course in biological anthropology 1
Human Evolution
Choose one foundational course in cultural anthropology, medical anthropology, or linguistic anthropology:1
Introduction to Cultural Anthropology
Culture and Health
Sound and Symbols: Introduction to Linguistic Anthropology
Biological anthropology methodology1
The Human Skeleton
Five anthropology courses of the student's choosing. At least three of the electives must be at the 1000-level to meet the requirements of the concentration. 5
At least one non-anthropology course with a biological focus. Any course with a BIOL subject code can be used to fulfill this requirement. Students are especially encouraged to consider a course with a significant content devoted to genetics and/or evolutionary theory. This course is in addition to the nine courses required in ANTH. 1
Choose at least one course in statistics. This course is in addition to the nine courses required in ANTH. Possible courses include: 11
Essential Statistics
Statistical Analysis of Biological Data
Statistical Methods
Introductory Statistics for Social Research
Essentials of Data Analysis
Senior Seminar 1
Senior Seminar: (Re)Making Anthropology
Total Credits11

Engaged Scholarship

Anthropology concentrators who are especially interested in making deeper connections between their concentration curriculum and long-term engagement with local communities in Providence and beyond may choose to pursue an Engaged Scholarship designation through the Swearer Center. Engaged scholars combine hands-on experiences such as internships, public service, humanitarian and development work with their academic learning in order to develop a deeper understanding of, and appreciation for, social engagement. While most anthropology courses have some sort of ‘engaged’ element, being an Engaged Scholar in Anthropology means making a commitment to engaging more actively and intensively with the communities in which a student is living.

Until Summer 2020 Anthropology students pursued the Engaged Scholars Program, and all students already participating in ESP will be supported through to graduation. Beginning Spring 2021, students enrolled in an undergraduate certificate in engaged scholarship or ESC.

Requirements for Engaged Scholars in Anthropology 

Information can be found at the Anthropology website: https://www.brown.edu/academics/anthropology/undergraduate-program/engaged-scholars-program

Honors

Candidates for honors should apply to the concentration advisor by the end of his or her 6th semester, but no later than the 4th week of the 7th semester. An application consists of a thesis proposal of 2-3 pages, describing the major research questions and methods to be used. Candidates will prepare their proposals in close consultation with their primary advisor. Candidates for honors are required to:

  1. Fulfill the standard concentration requirements. 
  2. Have completed at least two thirds of the concentration requirements by the end of the sixth semester.
  3. Be in good standing
  4. Have earned a majority of “A” grades in the concentration. Classes taken S/NC will count as qualifying towards that majority if they are marked “S* with distinction” indicating that had the student taken the course for a grade, the grade would have been an “A.”

Honors candidates will:

  1. Take two additional independent study courses (1970), usually, which may be used for thesis preparation with the advisor.
  2. In consultation with the primary thesis advisor, identify a second reader by the start of the seventh semester.
  3. Submit an approved honors thesis by the deadline stipulated each year.
  4. Present the thesis in the Honors Theses Symposium in the Anthropology department.

More information on honors is available here: https://www.brown.edu/academics/anthropology/honors