Anthropology and Sociology provide a comparative framework for interpreting and explaining human social behavior. Although each discipline arose in response to different historical circumstances which have resulted in somewhat different traditions of emphasis and approach, the two fields draw from a common body of theory and, increasingly, a common toolkit of research methods. For these reasons, the department presents the two disciplines as interdependent. Students majoring in Anthropology/Sociology will become familiar with a wide range of human societies in all regions of the world. They will gain an appreciation for the cultural complexity, historical context, and global connections that link societies and social institutions to one another. They will also learn about key social structures and dynamics embedded in contemporary societies, including the forms of social power and privilege that exist in any society, and how these often unequal power relations are organized, sustained, reproduced, and transformed. Students contemplating the major are urged to consult with department faculty in order to design a personalized program of study, making use of relevant courses in allied disciplines and/or off-campus study when appropriate.

       Through the use of fossil and bone casts, ancient artifacts, in-class demonstrations, visual aids and day-to-day science updates, this course introduces students to the rapidly growing body of data and theory on our evolution from the earliest proto-humans to the origin, global spread and genetic diversification of Homo sapiens.  Drawing on fields as diverse as evolutionary theory, paleoanthropology, functional anatomy, energetics, neuroscience, genetics, paleontology, psychology, ethnology and primatology, we will examine evidence pertaining to the evolution of uniquely human behavioral patterns including hypersociality, socially organized aggression, music, dance, art, religion, language and symbolic thought. 

       The course for winter term 2020 will feature expanded coverage of the Upper Paleolithic origins of art, music, ritual and symbolic thought, based in part on recent visits to art caves and archeological sites in France and Spain and conversations with researchers there.