An Anthropology Concentration
Anthropology is the study of human beings from all times and all places, offering the most holistic, comparative, international, and humanistic perspective of the social sciences. 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.
A concentration in Anthropology provides students with a broad introduction to the discipline. Anthropology at Brown includes sociocultural anthropology, archaeology, anthropological linguistics, and biological anthropology. Each is widely recognized as a major subfield of the discipline. Sociocultural anthropology emphasizes contemporary societies and cultures, and addresses issues such as gender and kinship, religion and symbolism, ethnicity and nationalism, population and health, and politics and violence. Archaeology studies the social lives and adaptations of people in the past mostly through material remains and physical changes in the landscape. Anthropological linguistics examines human communication, especially the relationship between language and culture; and biological anthropology focuses on human biological variation and its evolution. Students will learn about other ways of life and different systems of belief and knowledge; become familiar with the methods used by anthropological researchers for studying human beings in different time periods and from different vantage points; and gain a more critical understanding of the human condition and their own cultural backgrounds.
The Anthropology Department offers courses on a wide variety of topics, geographical areas, and methods reflecting the breadth of interest and fieldwork of its faculty. Courses lower than 1000 are introductory and need not be taken consecutively. Those from 1100 to 1150 focus on peoples and cultures of particular geographical areas (for example, Africa, Europe, India, Latin America, Native North America, Southeast Asia, and the United States). Those from 1210 to 1450 provide comparative perspectives on special aspects of societies and cultures (for example, education, family, international development, masculinity, medical practices, representation through film and the media, and war). Courses from 1510 to 1660 deal with archaeology; and include area surveys of particular archaeological cultures and material traditions (for example, Colonial New England, Mayan writing, North American Indians, Southeast Asian civilizations) and comparative surveys of special topics (for example, ancient bodies, death and burial, historical archaeology, hunter-gatherers, kings and royal courts). Courses from 1700 to 1720 are in biological anthropology, and those in the 1800 range, anthropological linguistics. Courses in the 1900 range are advanced seminars in methods, history and special topics. Courses 2000 and above are primarily for graduate students.