Anthropology (Cultural)

ANTH – Anthropology courses descriptions


Lori Witt (chair), Cynthia Mahmood


Statement of philosophy

Cultural anthropology asks what it means to be human. Holistic and broad in scope, cultural anthropologists have an interest in all humans in all times and places. In a Western setting, such as Central College, there is an emphasis on learning about peoples from non-Western societies, with the goal of preparing ourselves to understand better an increasingly diverse and culturally dynamic world.

The cultural anthropology major is structured to provide students with a strong grounding in cultural anthropology within an interdisciplinary framework. The required courses offer a combination of academic anthropological knowledge and real world experiences, which gives students the foundation they will need to put their anthropological training to use after college. The major is also structured in a way that allows students to easily combine with another program of study (e.g. foreign language, English, History, Business Management major or minor, ect.), providing even more opportunities for students to turn their individual interests into meaningful life endeavors.


Study Abroad and Language

Living in another culture and learning a second language have been important aspects of anthropology from its inception, since learning about another culture means immersing oneself in the local scene and interacting with people in their native language. Also, cultural anthropology majors who have lived in another culture and have a proficiency in a second language will have a wider range of employment opportunities outside of anthropology available to them than majors who do not. Therefore, studying abroad for at least one semester and second language acquisition are strongly encouraged for all cultural anthropology majors.


Major Communication Skills

The anthropology program begins to evaluate each student’s reading, writing, and speaking skills one semester after the student declares his/her intention to major in cultural anthropology. All available evidence will be used including results of tests, grades received in courses and information supplied by department members. Students may be required to demonstrate communication proficiency either by providing a portfolio of their writing or by writing an essay on a broad topic of anthropological significance. Students will receive either a departmental endorsement or an outline of procedures that may include taking composition courses, developmental reading or speaking courses and working with the skills center.


Major and minor restrictions

Students may choose to declare a major in either cultural anthropology or sociology. Sociology majors may not declare a cultural anthropology minor. Cultural anthropology majors may not declare a sociology minor.


Admission to the Cultural Anthropology Program

Students enrolling at Central beginning in Fall 2021 may no longer apply for admission or transfer into the Cultural Anthropology major.


Cultural Anthropology Major Requirements (35 credits)

  1. Complete all of the following (14-15 credits):
    ANTH 120 Introduction to Cultural Anthropology (3)
    ANTH 366 Ethnographic Field Methods (4)
    ANTH 397 Internship (3)
    ANTH 462 Culture Theory (4)
  2. Complete 21 credits of elective courses, of which:
    * at least 15 credits. must be anthropology (ANTH) or sociology (SOC) courses
    * up to 6 credits may be taken from the following list:
    COMM 268 Intercultural Communication (3)
    ENGL 211 Literature of India and the Pacific (3)
    ENGL 212 African and Caribbean Literature (3)
    ENGL 243 Writing Oral Histories (4)
    GEOG 210 Human Geography (3)
    GEOG 225 Geography of Sub-Saharan Africa (3)
    HIST 217 Contemporary Europe (4)
    HIST 220 Middle Eastern Civilization (3)
    HIST 250 Latin American Civilization (4)
    HIST 280 Modern African Civilization (4)
    MUS 114 World Music (3)
    POLS 140 Introduction to International Politics (4)
    REL 135 Islam (3) or REL 335 Readings in Islam (4)
    REL 330 Readings in Asian Religions (4)

Note: Study Abroad and honors courses may be applied toward the major upon departmental approval.


Cultural Anthropology Minor (18 credits)

  1. Complete ANTH 120 Introduction to Cultural Anthropology (3)
  2. Complete an additional 15 credits of ANTH and/or SOC courses, with at least 9 credits being ANTH courses, and 6 credits at the 300-400 level.