Jun 15, 2024  
2018-2019 Catalog 
2018-2019 Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]


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Professors: H. Cho, Lozada, Ringle
Associate Professors: Bowles (Chair), Samson
Visiting Assistant Professor: J. Cho

Major (A.B. Degree)

The anthropology major provides you with a firm grounding in social theory and the comparative study of human diversity through time and in different world regions. Course offerings provide introductions to three of the four sub-disciplines of anthropology (sociocultural, biocultural, and archaeological anthropology; linguistics is not currently being offered) and a number of area surveys, supplemented by seminars on anthropological theory and more specialized topics. Elective courses allow you to tailor your major to particular intellectual or career goals, as do independent studies. Many of the upper level courses can be directed to specific regions if you are interested in a particular region of the world.

Anthropology is particularly exciting for those students who want active engagement with their studies. All majors complete a methods requirement involving independent research. Student projects may involve interviewing informants for family histories, researching archives on historical topics, studying ethnic performances or festivals, or a myriad of other possibilities.

Major Requirements

Ten courses, including:

  1. Introductory Cultural Anthropology (101),
  2. one approved course in biocultural anthropology (102, 271, 272, 273, 275, 335, 340),
  3. one approved course in archaeology (108, 207, 208, 251, 354, 356),
  4. a course in anthropological theory (370, 373),
  5. a methods course (371, 372, 374, 375, 376, 377),
  6. Senior Colloquium in Anthropology (490),
  7. four additional courses (at least two numbered 300 or above). (AFR 301 or ENV 375 can count for one of the four additional courses.)

No course can count for more than one category. Normally, seven of the ten major courses should be taken in residence at the college and be graded. A maximum of three 100-level courses and two independent studies may count toward fulfillment of major requirements. Courses taken at another institution may be applied to major requirements with prior written permission. College policy is that Pass/Fail courses taken at Davidson may not be applied toward the major without departmental approval. Note that ANT 498 is in addition to the major requirements for honors candidates, although 499 may be used to satisfy one of the required upper-level seminars.


Anthropology is an ideal complement to a number of majors. Anthropological theory has been an important influence in contemporary interpretations of religion, literature, and social history, while the cross-cultural approach of anthropology will be of particular importance to those interested in international careers.

Courses examine issues of race and ethnicity from a variety of perspectives. Offerings in archaeology provide coverage of a number of past time periods and societies as well as theoretical perspectives that usefully supplement offerings of the history department. For those interested in biology, anthropologists have been prominent in primatology (the study of primates), the study of human evolution, forensics, and studies of human ecology, including comparative medical systems, nutrition, and human adaptation. Pre-med students may wish to take advantage of courses in medical anthropology or human evolution. Those studying Africa, the African diaspora, East Asia, and Latin America will also find several courses relevant to their interests.

Minor Requirements

Six courses, including:

  • 1 introductory course (101, 102, or 108)
  • 1 methods course (371, 372, 374, 375, 376, or 377)
  • 2 200-level courses (or above)
  • 2 300-level courses (or above)

Honors Requirements

A major desiring to become a candidate for honors in anthropology must apply in writing to the department at the beginning of the fall semester of the senior year. Applicants must have an overall GPA of 3.2 and a GPA of 3.5 in all course work taken in the major at the time of application, including at least five graded anthropology courses. To receive honors, a student must, in addition to maintaining this level of performance, complete Ant. 498 (P/F) during the fall semester and receive a grade of at least A- on the honors thesis (ANT 499), as well as a departmental recommendation. Note that 498 is in addition to the other departmental requirements, though 499 may count as one of the upper-level seminars. Further explanation is posted on the departmental webpage.  In the case of an exceptional academic record, together with a thesis of the highest quality, the department may confer high honors.

Anthropology Courses

Anthropology is usually characterized as having four subfields: cultural/social anthropology, archaeology, physical/biocultural anthropology, and linguistics. (We provide courses only in the first three of these.) As these subfields are quite distinct in their subject matter and methods, each requires its own introduction. Our 100-level courses (101, 102, and 108) provide general overviews of each of the first three subfields. Because some majors may prefer to take more advanced courses, the required major course in each subfield is not restricted to the 100-level, with the exception of 101.

Intermediate courses comprise the 200-level series, more specific than the introductory courses but still accessible to those with no previous background in anthropology. Area overviews fall within this category (China, Africa, Mesoamerica). Class size is usually limited to 30, and classes are either lecture-based or a mixture of lecture and discussion.

Seminars comprise the 300-level series. These courses are more focused in their subject matter and emphasize theoretical perspectives. Small class size is intended to foster discussion. Research projects are longer and more ambitious, emphasizing independent research. Theory and methods courses fall in this grouping. Courses over 371 do not satisfy the social science requirement.

Courses at the 400 level are restricted to senior anthropology majors: the required senior colloquium and the two-course honors thesis sequence.

Anthropology courses also contribute to the following programs and interdisciplinary minors: the interdisciplinary minor in Archaeology, the Africana Studies major, the interdisciplinary minor in Chinese Studies, the interdisciplinary minor in Communication Studies, the interdisciplinary minor in Digital Studies, the Environmental Studies major, the interdisciplinary minor in Ethnic Studies, the interdisciplinary minor in Film and Media Studies, the Gender and Sexuality Studies major, the interdisciplinary minor in Medical Humanities, the interdisciplinary minor in Neuroscience, and the Latin American Studies major. Please see those departments for current lists of requirements satisfied by anthropology courses.

Cultural Diversity Requirement

Anthropology 205, 220, 222, 232, 233, 251, 253, 261, 265, 267, 323, 340, 341, 350, 354, and 356 are options for fulfilling the cultural diversity requirement.

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