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Featured Anthropology Courses

Winter 2023

ANTHRARC 181 - Past Meets Present: Discovering Archaeology

Winter 2023, Section 001

Instructor: Robin Beck

Have you ever wondered how the past shapes the present, or why the world as we know it has come to look the way it does today? This course is designed to introduce students to the story of humanity’s deep past, as told through great discoveries in archaeology. We will explore famous and spectacular archaeological sites like Stonehenge, Tutankhamen’s tomb, Pompeii, and Machu Picchu. We will also cover less-known sites and discoveries that nevertheless offer important insights about the development of human societies and cultural histories in different parts of the world. Through course lectures, readings, and written assignments, students will gain a better understanding of what factors contributed to social change in the past, and will thus be able to better reflect on the social issues of the present and the future.


ANTHRARC 296 - Making Things: Three Million Years of Materials and Culture

Winter 2023, Section 001

Instructor: Robin Beck/Steven Yalisove

This course explores the connections between the discovery of new materials -- such as ceramics, concrete, precious stones and metals, glass, steel, plastics, and semiconductors-- and social transformations worldwide. To see these connections, the course will fuse basic concepts in materials science and engineering with perspectives and methods from anthropological archaeology. From ancient cities and Roman baths, to steel foundries and Tupperware parties, to virtual communities and nanomedicine, we will learn how the physical properties of different materials intersect with cultural variables like gender, race, power/authority, religious beliefs, values, and financial and political systems to shape human civilization. By connecting lessons from the past to the inventions of cutting-edge materials, we will also explore the future social impacts of new materials in medicine, construction, transportation, clean energy, sports, and other areas. This course will explore both how materials shape society and how society shapes material innovations.


ANTHRARC 296 - Coming soon!