2013-14 General Catalog

361 Social Sciences 1 Building
(831) 459- 3320

Faculty | Course Descriptions

Program Description

Anthropology studies people throughout the world and through time. Because it covers a wide range of topics physical evolution, material remains of the past, and the world that humans create through their ideas and practices in present-day societies, anthropology is an especially integrative discipline. The anthropology program at UCSC offers courses that reflect the diversity of the field.

  • Cultural anthropology explores the movements of people, objects, and ideas in diverse societies, including our own. Cultural anthropology courses examine such topics as race and ethnicity, medicine, science, gender, sexuality, the environment, religion, law, popular culture, and politics.

  • Archaeology uses the material evidence of human activities to understand past human lives. Archaeology at UCSC focuses on past people’s interactions with one another at the local level and within their wider social and ecological contexts. Faculty research areas include the pre-colonial and early post-colonial history of East Africa and the American Southwest.

  • Physical anthropology traces the human journey from its beginnings in Africa over five million years ago. Physical anthropology courses look at fossil evidence, evolutionary theory, human variation, and the behavior of primate relatives in order to analyze biological, social, and cultural changes over time.

UCSC students have the opportunity to do independent library and field research in cultural anthropology, archaeology, and physical anthropology. Laboratory courses in archaeology and physical anthropology offer practical experience in the analysis of biological and cultural materials. In cultural anthropology courses, students learn to carry out anthropological research through interviews, participant observation, surveys, the collection of oral histories, and the interpretation of archives.

Because anthropology is concerned with understanding human interaction, it is a useful major for anyone planning a career that involves working with people, especially those from diverse cultures. Some UCSC anthropology graduates are in social work, many are in teaching, and others pursue careers in law, city planning, politics, medicine, public health, cultural resource management, and journalism. Students intending to specialize in anthropology usually go on to graduate school because professional employment in the field almost always demands an advanced degree.

Most anthropology faculty have their offices in Social Sciences 1 Building. Social Sciences 1 also houses the Visual Culture Research Laboratory and laboratories for archaeology and physical anthropology where space is provided for laboratory and individual studies courses and for collections of mammalian skeletal material, casts of fossil hominids, ceramics, stone tools, and other archaeological artifacts.

The Anthropology Society, a campus club, is open to all students interested in anthropology. The Anthropology Colloquium showcases guest speakers and gives faculty and students an opportunity to discuss new approaches to anthropological questions. Students and faculty interested in archaeology also gather informally at the Archaeology/Physical Anthropology Forum to share information on fieldwork and employment opportunities.

Undergraduate Handbook

All undergraduate majors should obtain a copy of the Anthropology Department undergraduate handbook from the department web site. It outlines information on department procedures and requirements, program planning, independent study, faculty interests, and campus resources for anthropology majors.

Admission into the Major

In order to qualify for the major, students must have passed at least one lower-division anthropology course (ANTH 1, 2, or 3) and have either passed a second lower-division anthropology course or be enrolled in a second lower-division anthropology course at the time of declaration.

Requirements of the Major

The Anthropology Department urges students to seek faculty advice early in planning for the major. Faculty hold regular office hours weekly and encourage students to come in to talk about their program or coursework. Peer advisers are also available.

To graduate with an anthropology major, students must take courses 1, 2, and 3 as background for upper-division courses. They must take a minimum of 10 upper-division courses, including at least one course selected from each of these four categories listed below. Note: Not all of these courses are offered each year. Students must also complete the Disciplinary Communication (DC) Requirement.

Anthropological Theory Courses

100     History and Theory of Physical Anthropology

150     Communicating Anthropology

152     Survey of Cultural Anthropological Theory

170/270     History of Archaeological Theory

Sociocultural Anthropology Courses

119     Indigenous Visual Culture

123     Psychological Anthropology

124     Anthropology of Religion

126     Sexuality and Society in Cross-Cultural Perspective

127     Ethnographies of Capitalism

128     Contemporary American Evangelical Culture

129     Other Globalizations: Cultures and Histories of Interconnection

131     Women in Cross-Cultural Perspective

132     Photography and Anthropology

133     Narratives of the Popular

134     Medical Anthropology

135A   Cities

136     The Biology of Everyday Life

137     Consuming Culture

138     Political Anthropology

139     Language and Culture

140     Art, Artist, Artifact

142     Anthropology of Law

143     Performance and Power

144     Anthropology of Poverty and Welfare

145X   Special Topics in Socio-Cultural Anthropology

146     Anthropology and the Environment

148     Gender and Development

151     Workshop in Ethnography

154     Multimedia Ethnography

155     Cultural Encounters

157     Modernity and Its Others

158     Feminist Ethnographies

159     Race and Anthropology

160     Reproduction and Population Politics

161     The Anthropology of Food 

162     Anthropology of Displaced Persons

163     Kinship

164     Anthropology of Dance

165     Anthropological Folklore

166     States, Bureaucracies, and Other Cosmological Propositions

Ethnographic Area Studies Courses

130A    Peoples and Cultures of Africa

130B    Brazil

130C   Politics and Culture in China

130E    Culture and Politics of Island Southeast Asia

130F    African Diasporas in the Americas

130G   Asian Americans in Ethnography and Film

130H   Ethnography of Russia and Eastern Europe

130I    Cultures of India

130J    Politics and Statemaking in Latin America

130L    Ethnographies of Latin America

130M   Inside Mexico

130N    Native Peoples of North America

130R    Provincializing America

130T    Anthropological Approaches to Islam

130U    Central America

130V    Ethnography of Russia

130W   Ethnography of Eastern Europe

130X    Special Topics in Ethnography

Physical Anthropology and Archaeology Courses

101     Human Evolution

102A    Human Skeletal Biology

103     Forensic Anthropology

104     Human Adaptability

105     Human Paleopathology

106     Primate Behavior and Ecology

109     Evolution of Sex

110     Comparative Functional Anatomy

111     Human Ecology

112     Life Cycles

171     Materials and Methods in Historical Archaeology

172     Archaeological Research Design

173     Origins of Farming

174     Origins of Complex Societies

175A    African Archaeology

175B    African Archaeology: Development

175C    African Diaspora Archaeology

176A    North American Archeology

176B    Meso-American Archaeology

176C    Archaeology and the American Southwest

176D    Colonial Encounters in the Americas

177      European Conquest of the Americas

178      Historical Archaeology: A Global Perspective

180      Ceramic Analysis in Archaeology

182A    Lithic Technology

183      Introduction to Quantitative Methods in Archaeology

184      Zooarchaeology

185      Osteology of Mammals, Birds, and Fish

187      Cultural Heritage in Colonial Contexts

Exit Requirement

Students can fulfill the senior comprehensive requirement in anthropology either by passing an advanced senior seminar (194-series course, 190ABC, or 196AB), by writing an acceptable independent senior thesis, or by passing an approved graduate-level topical seminar in anthropology.

Senior seminars are small, writing-intensive classes focusing on advanced topics in anthropology. The prerequisite for admission to a senior seminar is successful completion of courses 1, 2, and 3; senior seminars are restricted to senior anthropology majors.

Students considering an independent thesis must arrange for the sponsorship and support of a faculty member before beginning research. An independent senior thesis (not written within a senior seminar) should be based on original research and reflect the student’s understanding of fundamental theories and issues in anthropology. The thesis should be comparable in content, style, and length (generally 25–30 pages) to a professional journal article in its subfield.

Students who intend to satisfy the exit requirement by taking a graduate seminar must first get permission from the department. Not all graduate seminars are appropriate for fulfilling this requirement. Students who take a graduate-level course to fulfill the theory requirement may not use this course to satisfy the exit requirement.

All majors, including double majors, must prepare a program of study in consultation with a member of the Anthropology Department. A combined major in anthropology and Earth and planetary sciences, leading to a bachelor of arts (B.A.) degree, is also offered; for that program description, see Earth and Planetary Sciences. Students going on to graduate school should plan course schedules in close consultation with faculty advisers.

Many anthropology majors whose studies emphasize archaeology have benefited from concurrent study in the Cabrillo College Archaeological Technology Certificate Program. This vocational certification program is sponsored entirely by Cabrillo College, but credit for its summer field survey and excavation component may be transferred for credit at UCSC. Although courses in the Archaeological Technology Certificate Program do not count toward the UCSC anthropology major, students who have obtained the certificate in tandem with their bachelor’s degree in anthropology have expanded their employment and  advanced degree program opportunities. Students interested in exploring this possibility are encouraged to consult with UCSC archaeology faculty and to visit the program’s web site at

194A   Anthropology of Dead Persons

194B   Chimpanzees: Biology, Behavior and Evolution

194C   Feminist Anthropology

194D   Tribes/Castes/Women

194E    Belief

194F    Memory

194G   Politics and Secularism

194H   Paleoanthropology

194I    Consumption and Consumerism

194K    Reading Ethnographies

194L    Archaeology of the African Diaspora

194M   Medical Anthropology

194N   Comparison of Cultures

194O   Masculinities

194P    Space, Place, and Culture

194Q   Race, Ethnicity, Nation

194R    Religion, Gender, Sexuality

194S    The Anthropology of Sound

194T    Poverty and Inequality

194U    Environmental Anthropology: Nature, Culture, Politics

194V    Picturing Cultures

194W   The Anthropology of Social Movements

194X    Women in Politics: A Third World Perspective

194Y    Archeology of Space and Landscape

194Z    Emerging Worlds

196AB  Southwest American Archaeology

196C    Traveling Cultures

196D    Food and Medicine

196E    Pastoralists Past and Present

196F    The Anthropology of Things: Gift, Sign, Commodity, Tool

196G    Advanced Topics in Folkloristics

196H    Global History and the Longue Durée

196I     Hard Problems

Two-credit courses do not count toward the 10 upper-division courses required for the major. Only one 5-credit individual studies course (197, 198, or 199) may be counted toward the 10 required upper-division courses. Course 107L does not count toward the 10 upper-division courses required for the major. Theory courses can only be counted toward the theory requirement or an upper-division elective.

Disciplinary Communication (DC) Requirement

Students of every major must satisfy that major's upper-division Disciplinary Communication (DC) requirement. Anthropology’s DC requirement aims especially at cultivating high-level skills in critical and ethnographic writing. To satisfy the DC requirement students must: a) complete an Anthropological Theory Course (chosen from ANTH 100, 150, 152, 170, 270) and; b) complete a Senior Seminar or complete an Independent Senior Thesis, following the guidelines of the senior exit requirement. Students who take 270 to fulfill the theory/DC requirement may not use the course to satisfy the senior exit requirement. Please refer to the Undergraduate Handbook for details. 

Transfer Students

If possible, transfer students should complete lower-division requirements for the major before coming to UCSC by taking classes equivalent to courses 1, 2, and 3. Department policy also allows students to petition up to 10 quarter credits (equivalent to two UCSC courses) of upper-division transfer credit toward the major requirements. Any courses completed at the community college level are not considered to be upper-division courses. Transfer students should bring an unofficial copy of all pertinent transcripts to the undergraduate adviser in the department office (361 Social Sciences 1 Building) as soon as possible after reaching campus so that prerequisites can be verified and course enrollment can proceed smoothly.

Peer Advisers

The Anthropology Department has instituted a peer adviser program as a supplement to academic advising offered by faculty members. The peer advisers are juniors and seniors who have been trained to help students with questions and general guidance through the anthropology major. Peer advisers hold regularly scheduled office hours in the department office.


The Anthropology Department awards honors in the major and highest honors in the major based on a ranked departmental grade-point average (GPA) that is calculated using all upper-division courses taken in the major with the exception that only one independent-study course can be used in this calculation. For students who have taken multiple independent-study courses in the department, the independent-study course that has the highest grade is used for the calculation. Approximately 15 percent of the graduating class is considered for honors based on their cumulative (GPA) through the quarter before graduation. The criteria for awarding highest honors in the major are overall superlative performance in the major and general breadth of excellence across the subfields of anthropology. Receiving honors on the senior exit requirement is also considered as a factor in awarding highest honors, but is not always determinative. When applicable, narrative evaluations can be taken into consideration for highest honors.

Minor Requirements

Students earn a minor in anthropology by completing all of the requirements for the major with the following differences:

The number of upper-division courses is reduced from ten to seven. Of these, at least one must be from each of the following categories: 1) sociocultural anthropology, 2) ethnographic area studies, and 3) physical anthropology or archaeology.

Independent study courses cannot be used toward completion of the minor.

No senior seminar or thesis is required.

For more information regarding department policies, please consult the undergraduate adviser at the Anthropology Department office, 361 Social Sciences 1 Building. A handbook on the anthropology program is available on the anthropology web site

Graduate Program

The anthropology doctoral program at UCSC consists of two tracks: cultural anthropology and anthropological archaeology. The majority of students are admitted to the cultural anthropology program. Smaller numbers of students are admitted to the anthropological archaeology program. Admission of students who are interested in the physical anthropology program described below have been suspended indefinitely.

Although applicants are accepted only for the doctor of philosophy (Ph.D.) program, students may obtain a master of arts (M.A.) degree after fulfilling specific requirements during the first two years.

The theme of emerging worlds—culture and power after progress unites the research interests of many faculty in the cultural anthropology graduate program at UCSC. In recent years, anthropology’s central concept of culture has been subjected to extraordinary ethnographic and theoretical pressures.  Across the social sciences, scholars are responding to emergent scientific and social dilemmas by turning to the concept of culture and the ethnographic method. Such disciplinary turns grow from a challenging new set of social configurations, which affect both scholarly and lay understandings of the present, past, and future: the demise of certainties about progress and modernization and the need to understand newly emergent worlds. Nineteenth- and 20th-century ideas of progress and programs of modernization both created the concept of culture and relegated it to a nostalgic role as backward-looking sentiment. Anthropologists studied “vanishing worlds.” In the last 30 years, however, such certainties have been challenged. Grand theories of human behavior that depended on the idea of a universal man have begun to fray around the edges. Heterogeneity and disjuncture have caught the attention of a wide range of social scientists, calling out for ethnographic investigation. In this context, scholarly discussions have turned toward culture, the world-making networks, geographies, innovations, meanings, and assemblages that are carrying us into the future.

Our concentration on ”emerging worlds” and on the construction of anthropological knowledge is especially well suited for drawing together diverse scholars and specialists in challenging and enriching conversations. Rather than reproduce the boundaries among the traditional subfields of anthropology, we explore how recombination of these approaches can elucidate specific anthropological problems.

Working with their faculty advisory committee, students in cultural anthropology have considerable freedom to design their own programs of study after completing the two-quarter core course and the ethnographic practice course during the first year. To achieve Ph.D. candidacy, students are expected to pass a first-year and second-year review of their written work, take three additional 5-credit courses in anthropology (excluding independent study courses), maintain satisfactory academic progress, satisfy the ethnographic writing requirement and the foreign language requirement, pass a qualifying exam at the end of the third year, and meet the specific requirements of the Division of Graduate Studies. After advancing to Ph.D. candidacy, students carry out a sustained ethnographic fieldwork project and are expected to complete their dissertation within two years after returning from the field.

Graduate students in cultural anthropology may obtain a designated emphasis on the anthropology Ph.D. diploma indicating that they have specialized in feminist studies or Latin American and Latino studies (LALS) if they meet requirements spelled out by the individual committee composed of anthropology faculty and faculty from the program awarding the notation.

The Ph.D. program in anthropological archaeology is highly selective, focusing on the archaeology of late pre-colonial societies in East and West Africa and North America, especially the Southwest and California. The program also features an emerging concentration on the archaeology of colonial encounters among peoples of Europe, Africa, and the Americas. It is distinctive in insisting that theories of power, production and exchange, human ecology, gender, ethnicity, and technological practice be explored through rigorous laboratory and field research methods.

The Ph.D. program in physical anthropology combines a strong emphasis on hard and soft tissue anatomy with a broad evolutionary perspective. This highly selective track is characterized by intense mentoring of students, involvement of students in instruction as well as coursework, and interdisciplinary training. Specific training is offered in skeletal biology, comparative primate anatomy, behavior and ecology, forensic anthropology, and evolutionary theory.

Although the areas of study of the archaeology and physical anthropology programs are distinct, their paths toward the Ph.D. are similar. In the first year, students take two foundational theory courses and pass a review of their work. Within the first two years of study, students complete at least two foundational materials/methods courses or laboratory courses in other departments; two advanced laboratory apprenticeship courses or similar courses in other departments; two foundational courses in geographic/temporal areas or, in physical anthropology, topical areas; two graduate seminars with other anthropology or campus faculty; one quantitative methods course; and two terms of supervised teaching experience.

The third-year requirements are three laboratory apprenticeship courses, the grant writing seminar, and tutorials to prepare the student for the qualifying exams. All courses outside the department must be approved by the student’s adviser. After advancing to Ph.D. candidacy, the student carries out a sustained laboratory or fieldwork project and is expected to complete the dissertation within a year after finishing research.

[Return to top.]

Revised: 09/01/13