The material on this page is from the 1996-97 catalog and may be out of date. Please check the current year's catalog for current information.


Professors Kemper and Danforth, Chair; Associate Professor Eames; Assistant Professor Carnegie (on leave, 1996-1997); Mr. Jenkins and Mr. Bourque

Anthropologists investigate culture and society, gender and ethnicity, evolution and the concept of "race." Anthropology is a coherent and comprehensive discipline which offers students a broad, comparative, and essentially interdisciplinary approach to the study of human life in all its diversity.

Anthropologists are concerned with understanding human universals, on the one hand, and the uniqueness of individual cultures, on the other. At Bates the program includes both biological and sociocultural perspectives.

Anthropology attempts to make sense, in a non-ethnocentric manner, of everyday life in both familiar and "exotic" settings. In this way the discipline enables students to achieve cultural competence in the broadest sense of the term--the ability to function effectively in a multicultural environment, to analyze material from their own and other cultures, and to appreciate the value of the cultural diversity that exists in our world. Some of our recent graduates have pursued careers in public health, international development, teaching, and museum work; some have gone on to graduate work in anthropology and archeology.

Anthropology 101, Social Anthropology, is designed as an introduction to the discipline of anthropology and as a preparation for more advanced courses. The 200-level courses also admit first-year students, but more closely reflect a specific field within anthropology. The 300- and 400-level courses are open to all upperclass students, but the latter are especially designed for majors.

Students majoring in anthropology study the discipline's history and methodology by taking two types of courses: those that focus on a particular cultural area (such as Africa, the Caribbean, native North America, Europe, or South Asia) and courses that focus on a specific theoretical concern. They also conduct individual ethnographic or archeological fieldwork and are encouraged to complement their work in anthropology with participation in a study-abroad program. Major requirements may include course work in other related departments (such as art, biology, geology, languages and literatures, political science, religion, and sociology) and programs (such as African American studies, American cultural studies, environmental studies, and women's studies).

Students majoring in anthropology must complete successfully Anthropology 101, 102, 333, 339, 441, and 458; a course or unit containing a fieldwork component (Anthropology 335, s25, or s32); and at least four other courses in anthropology, not including 360. Two of these elective courses in anthropology may be replaced by two related courses from other departments or programs with departmental approval.

General Education. The following sets are available: 101 and any other anthropology course; or any two anthropology courses that meet the Department's principle of coherence.

101.  Social Anthropology.  An introduction to the study of a wide variety of social and cultural phenomena. The argument that the reality we inhabit is a cultural construct is explored by examining concepts of race and gender, kinship and religion, the individual life cycle, and the nature of community. Course materials consider the poetics and politics of everyday life in cultures throughout the world, against the background of the emerging global system. L. Danforth, D. Jenkins.

102.  Archeology and Human Evolution.  Introduction to archeological method and theory, together with an introductory survey of human evolution, from the appearance of the first primates to the present day. Open to first-year students. Not open to students who have received credit for Anthropology 258. Enrollment is limited to 45. B. Bourque.

225.  Gods, Heroes, Magic, and Mysteries: Religion in Ancient Greece.  An anthropological and historical approach to ancient Greek religion in which archeological, literary, and art-historical sources are examined and compared with evidence from other cultures to gain an understanding of the role of religion in ancient Greek culture and of changing concepts of the relationship between man and the sacred. Topics to be explored include pre-Homeric and Homeric religion and religious thought, cosmology, mystery cults, civil religion, and manifestations of the irrational, such as dreams, ecstasy, shamanism, and magic. This course is the same as Religion 225. Open to first-year students. R. Allison, L. Danforth.

228.  Person and Community in Contemporary Africa.  What processes have led to the present conditions on the African continent? The course examines the changing patterns of life in rural and urban Africa. Subjects range from detailed accounts of life in particular communities to the place of Africa in the modern world system. Anthropology 228 fulfills a distribution requirement for the African American studies major. Open to first-year students. E. Eames.

234.  Myth, Folklore, and Popular Culture.  A variety of texts, including ancient Greek myths, Grimms' folktales, Apache jokes, African proverbs, and Walt Disney comics, are examined in light of important theoretical approaches employed by anthropologists interested in understanding the role of such expressive forms in cultures throughout the world. Major emphasis is placed on psychoanalytic, Marxist, and structuralist approaches. The course is the same as Religion 261. Open to first-year students. Enrollment is limited to 80. L. Danforth.

239.  Hill Farm, Paddy Field, City, World: Person and Society in Southeast Asia.  Locked between the great civilizations of India and China, Southeast Asia is a hugely diverse region, both culturally and topographically. The contrast between tribal peoples tending small gardens and the lowland rice-growing civilizations of Burma, Thailand, and Vietnam is one expression of this diversity. The course begins with this contrast and considers the influences of economy, ethnicity, and religion on contemporary Southeast Asia. Open to first-year students. S. Kemper.

240.  Peoples and Societies of South Asia.  A broad survey of the societies of South Asia, focusing especially on India and Sri Lanka. The course also presents a more intensive consideration of several representative societies as an introduction to the major cultural institutions of the subcontinent. Open to first-year students. S. Kemper.

241.  Anthropological Approaches to the Study of Religion.  As human societies change, so do the religious beliefs and practices these societies follow. The course examines the symbolic forms and acts that relate human beings to the ultimate conditions of their existence, against the background of the rise of science. Emphasis is upon both Western and non-Western religions. This course is the same as Religion 262. Open to first-year students. S. Kemper.

242.  Political Anthropology.  A survey of the anthropological study of political life in hunting bands and gathering bands, stateless societies, colonial systems, and modern nation-states. Attention is also given to the integration of tribal and ethnic groups within the emerging nations of Africa and Asia. Open to first-year students. S. Kemper.

244.  Buddhism and the Social Order.  The West looks upon Buddhism as an otherworldly religion with little interest in activity in this world. Such has not been the case historically. The Dhamma (Buddhist doctrine) has two wheels, one of righteousness and one of power, one for the other world, and one for this world. Lectures and discussions use this paradigm to consider the several accommodations Buddhism has struck with the realities of power in various Theravada Buddhist societies in ancient India, Sri Lanka, and Southeast Asia. This course is the same as Religion 263. Open to first-year students. S. Kemper.

250.  Caribbean Societies: The Emergence of Post-Nationalism.  One anthropologist writing of the Caribbean asserts: "Nowhere else in the universe can one look with such certainty into the past and discern the outlines of an undisclosed future." Sociocultural systems in the region have felt the full impact of Western imperial expansion yet have adjusted to it in resilient and creative ways. The course surveys and interprets Caribbean social formations drawing on a variety of sources--historical, ethnographic, literary, and visual--to present a "post-nationalist" reading of these societies. Open to first-year students. C. Carnegie.

252.  The Anthropology of Modernity.  Where anthropologists have traditionally focused on small-scale, self-sufficient societies, this course considers modernity a cultural system, part of present-day capitalist enterprise, and a global phenomenon. It does so by considering three practices central to modern social life: consumption, nationalism and transnationalism, and post-modernism. Open to first-year students. S. Kemper.

253.  Western North America: Native Cultures, Histories, and Environments.  This course has two objectives. The first is to acquaint students with the cultural and historical complexity of the American West. To this end, we are concerned with the West's substantive history--its exploration and exploitation, the interplay of European and Native American cultures, the impact of the frontier upon geopolitical imagination, the efflorescence of certain religions, and the rise of industrial capitalism. The second objective is to encourage a critical questioning of received methods of historical and cultural inquiry, with the intention of understanding what it means to construct a historical or cultural "fact." We examine historical, ethnohistorical, and anthropological works for their commonalities and differences, in an attempt to see beyond disciplinary boundaries. Open to first-year students. D. Jenkins.

262.  Ethnomusicology: African Diaspora.  This introductory course is a survey of key concepts, problems, and perspectives in ethnomusicological theory drawing upon the African diaspora as a cross-cultural framework. This course focuses on the social, political, and intellectual forces of African culture that contributed to the growth of ethnomusicology from the late nineteenth century to the present. Open to first-year students. Enrollment is limited to 25. This course is the same as African American Studies 262 and Music 262. L. Williams.

275.  Gender Relations in Comparative Perspective.  A comparative analysis, utilizing new feminist approaches in anthropology and psychology, of the social construction of gender in contemporary societies, with a focus on West African, East Asian, and North American notions of gender identity and gender relations. Anthropology 275 is a core course for the women's studies major and a component course for the African American studies major. Open to first-year students. E. Eames.

322.  First Encounters: European "Discovery" and North American Indians.  Columbus's "discovery" of America was a major event in human history because it put Old and New World populations in contact after millennia of isolation. This course examines factors leading up to the "discovery" and the calamitous impact of early colonization upon Native Americans. Prerequisite: Anthropology 101. B. Bourque.

325.  Ethnicity, Nation, and World Community.  The course explores the means by which social identities are constructed as ethnicity and nations. It focuses on how representations taken from categories of everyday life -- such as race, religion, gender, sexuality -- are deployed to give these group loyalties the aura of a national, timeless authority. This inquiry into ethnicity and nation as cultural fabrications allows for exploration of the possibility of global community not simply in its institutional dimensions, but as a condition of consciousness. Prerequisites: any course in Anthropology, Political Science, or Sociology. C. Carnegie.

333.  Culture and Interpretation.  Beginning with a consideration of symbolic anthropology as it developed in the 1960s and '70s, this course surveys critiques of the anthropological turn to the study of social life from the actor's point of view. Emphasis is placed on feminism, reflexive ethnography, and post-modernism. D. Jenkins.

335.  The Ethnographer's Craft.  Much of contemporary theoretical discussion in anthropology derives from self-conscious reflection on what its practitioners do--fieldwork--and how they write about it. By reading a selection of classic and contemporary ethnographies along with critical discourse on their formulation, and by conducting individual ethnographic research, participants examine questions of representation, audience, power, and ethical responsibility entailed by ethnography. The concern is with both craft and craftiness, skill and artifice. Prerequisite: Anthropology 101. C. Carnegie.

336.  Ethnohistory of the Andes.  This course is an introduction to the cultures and histories of the Central Andes and western coastal regions of South America. We study the effects of Spanish conquest on native religion, healing practices, and social and political organization in an attempt to understand indigenous responses to Spanish colonialism. Our point of view is that native peoples were active agents in the creation and recreation of their cultures in the face of Spanish domination. Recommended background: Anthropology 101. Not open to students who have received credit for Anthropology 260. D. Jenkins.

339.  Production and Reproduction.  Economic anthropology challenges the assumptions of conventional economics by analyzing economic behavior from a cross-cultural perspective. This course looks at the relation between economy and society through a critical examination of neoclassical, substantivist, Marxist, and ecological approaches in anthropology. The relative merits of these explanatory paradigms are assessed as we engage ethnographic case material. Such "economic facts" as production, exchange, land tenure, marriage transactions, state formation, and social change in the modern world-system are addressed, always in comparative perspective. Prerequisite: a course in economics or anthropology. Anthropology 339 is required for the anthropology major and is a suggested elective for the economics major. E. Eames.

340.  Visual Anthropology: Perception, Symbolism and Culture.  This course is a cross-cultural examination of perceptual experience. We explore how and why different societies emphasize different senses, and why Western society appears to privilege vision and visual representation. Cross-cultural conceptions of the body and its abilities are discussed. Prerequisite: Anthropology 101. Enrollment is limited to 20. D. Jenkins.

347.  New World Archeology.  A topical survey of New World prehistory emphasizing North America, Mesoamerica, and the Andes. Prerequisite: Anthropology 258. B. Bourque.

352.  Sociology of Colonialism.  This course analyzes the colonial experience, focusing on the African case within its historical, sociological, and ideological context. The history, theory, and practice of colonialism and neocolonialism are presented through social-science material, historical documents, literature, film, and the popular press. Anthropology 352 is a component course for both the women's studies and African American studies majors. Prerequisites: relevant life experience or a course in anthropology, sociology, political science, or history. Permission of the instructor is required. E. Eames.

360.  Independent Study.  Designed for the student who may have particular interests in areas of study that go beyond the regular course offerings. Permission of the Department is required prior to registration, and a detailed, typed prospectus must be submitted to the Chair as part of the request. Students are limited to one independent study per semester. Staff.

365.  Special Topics.  A course or seminar offered from time to time to small groups of students working on special topics. Written permission of the instructor is required. Staff.

370.  Post-Emancipation Societies: African Americans in Freedom.  For peoples of African descent throughout the Americas, the emancipation event represents, arguably, the most momentous phenomenon in their history. It revolutionized the structure of inter- ethnic social relations and offered opportunities for the flowering of ideas and social life. The seminar explores pre-emancipation conditions as well as the promise, the achievements, and the challenges of this era of renewal for both former slaves and former masters in the United States, the English-speaking Caribbean, Cuba, and Brazil. Recommended background: previous courses on slavery, African American studies, or the Caribbean. C. Carnegie.

441.  History of Anthropological Theory.  A consideration of major theories in the development of the field of anthropology, with an emphasis on the fundamental issues of orientation and definition that have shaped and continue to influence anthropological thought. Topics include cultural evolution, the relationship between the individual and culture, the nature-nurture debate, British social anthropology, and French structuralism. L. Danforth.

457, 458.  Senior Thesis.  Individual and group conferences in connection with the writing of the senior thesis. Students register for Anthropology 457 when completing thesis in the fall semester, and for Anthropology 458 when completing thesis in the winter semester. Majors writing an honors thesis register for both Anthropology 457 and 458. One course credit is given for each registration. Prerequisite: approval by the Department of a thesis prospectus prior to registration. Written permission of the Department Chair is required. Staff.

Short Term Units
s21.  Cultural Production and Social Context, Jamaica.  Although Jamaica's artistic and popular culture enjoys an internationally acclaimed reputation, it is at the same time often misunderstood. This unit affords students an opportunity to investigate a range of Jamaican cultural practices within the context of the specific social, historical, and political matrices in which they are generated and received. This unit begins with a preliminary introduction/orientation in Lewiston. In Jamaica, regular seminar meetings are supplemented by guest speakers and visits with writers and artists. In addition, each student carries out an individual research project using both textual and ethnographic methods of inquiry. This unit is the same as English s21. Recommended background: previous course on the Caribbean or in African American studies. Written permission of the instructor is required. Enrollment is limited to 18. C. Carnegie, T. Chin.

s22.  The Politics of Cultural Expression: African Films and Filmmaking.  African films as self-representation challenge stereotypical images of the continent in Hollywood movies. They are part of the creation of new images in the post-independence era which help forge national identities through reinvention of a shared past. Using feature films produced by Africans for an African audience, this unit explores that struggle and the challenges faced in contemporary society as seen through African eyes. This unit is the same as Political Science s22 and is a component of the African American studies major. Recommended background: one course in African studies and/or film studies. Enrollment is limited to 35. E. Eames, L. Hill.

s23.  Environment and Environmentalism: Native and European Land Use in the American West.  This unit introduces native American and European practices and attitudes toward the environment. The geographic focus is on the American West, with special attention paid to the Colorado plateau and the Great Basin. A five-day backpack trip down Grand Gulch, and a five-day float trip down the San Juan River (both in southern Utah), give students firsthand experience with environmental conditions, archeological sites, and land-use problems in the West. Open to first-year students. Enrollment is limited to 15. D. Jenkins.

s25.  Ethnicity, Bilingualism, Religion, and Gender: Topics in Ethnographic Fieldwork. After reading selected works on the nature of ethnographic fieldwork, on the political and ethical implications of such fieldwork, and on the different genres of ethnographic writing, students conduct individual research projects in the Lewiston-Auburn area. Possible topics include ethnic identity, bilingualism, religious conversion, and gender roles. Enrollment is limited to 12. L. Danforth.

s26.  Gandhi.  Churchill called Gandhi a "naked fakir." Much of the rest of the world called him a saint. Besides provoking strong reactions, Gandhi's life led South Asians to new ways of putting Indian tradition to use and other societies to unique and powerful ways of dealing with social problems. The unit considers Gandhi's projects and ideas and their consequences--Gandhianism, nonviolent protest, appropriate technology--in India and beyond. S. Kemper.

s27.  Religion and Society in Contemporary Bali.  This unit exposes students firsthand to a society that is the exuberant example of a Hindu-Buddhist civilization that once spread over great parts of Southeast Asia. It attempts to understand the interaction of religion and society in Bali -- from ordinary people's involvement in an elaborate ritual calendar to the way traditional practice has responded to the presence of tourists -- by way of readings, interviews, lectures, demonstrations, and fieldwork. Recommended background: course work on Hinduism, Buddhism, South Asia, Southeast Asia. Open to first-year students. Written permission of the instructor is required. Enrollment is limited to 8. S. Kemper.

s29.  Nigerian Narratives: The Construction of History in the Works of Chinua Achebe and His Contemporaries.  All five novels written by the internationally acclaimed literary figure Chinua Achebe form the centerpiece of this unit. Starting with Things Fall Apart and ending with Anthills of the Savannah, our topic is the last one hundred years of Nigerian social history. Other material rounds out this story of struggle and survival in the face of social upheaval: fiction by Soyinka, Nwapa, Aluko, and Emecheta; poetry; myth; oral history; musical performance; and films by African directors. Achebe's reworking and retelling of his people's past are juxtaposed with readings from ethnographic, historical, and press sources, in an effort to understand the power of a storyteller to shape his/her world. Anthropology s29 is a component course in the African American studies major. Enrollment is limited to 15. E. Eames.

s32.  Introduction to Archeological Fieldwork.  This field course offers basic training in archeological survey, excavation, and analysis through work on prehistoric sites in the Lewiston area. B. Bourque.

s50.  Individual Research.  Registration in this unit is granted by the Department only after the student has submitted a written proposal for a full-time research project to be completed during the Short Term and has secured the sponsorship of a member of the Department to direct the study and evaluate results. Students are limited to one individual research unit. Staff.

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