Course Descriptions and Syllabi

SBSA 101

Introduction to Social and Behavioral Sciences, Concentration in Anthropology

(3) [S]

An introduction to the study of human society from a multicultural perspective. The course covers such topics as language, food, economics, political systems, religion, art, kinship and descent, gender, marriage and family, health, and cultural change. A prerequisite for many SBSA courses.




SBSA 200

Ethnographic and Research Methods

(3) [S]

An introduction to ethnographic fieldwork and research design. The course covers both issues that confront researchers in the field as well as the methodology used to collect data. Among the methods to be presented are interviews with individuals, focus groups, surveys and questionnaires, data analysis and presentation. Students will have the opportunity to learn by doing. Prerequisite: SBSA 101.




SBSA 205

Fundamentals of Arab Society

(3) [K] [S]

An overview of the structure of Arab society and its diversity. The course covers the relationship between environment and culture, the impact of history and religion on regional values, and the three basic subsistence strategies: Bedouin nomad, agricultural villager, and urban dweller. It also provides examples of social and cultural change.




SBSA 210

Arab Society and Culture

(3) [K] [S]

This course explores the complexity and diversity of Arab society in its socio-cultural aspects. Among the topics to be covered are family life, gender roles, political culture and the military, economics, education, media, the arts, and the Arab communities in Europe and America.




SBSA 214

Lost Worlds

(3) [S]

Explores various societies around the world known largely through the material remains uncovered by archaeology. Includes societies such as that of ancient Egypt, the Nabateans, the Mayans and Incas of the Americas, Easter Island, and Paleolithic sites in Europe and the Middle East. Briefly covers archeological methods and controversies such as ownership of artifacts, looting of sites, and conservation needs.




SBSA 218

Museums as Artifacts

(3) [S]

The course examines how and why museums represent and reflect cultures in their exhibitions and public programming.  Among the topics to be considered are the development of museums, their organization, funding, and purpose, exhibit display styles, educational activities, audience evaluation techniques, and the ethics of collecting. Museum visits will be an integral part of the course.




SBSA 220

Culture and Visual Arts

(3) [S]

Examines visual arts of both tribal and complex societies in terms of cultural symbolism, and their political, economic, social and gender contexts. Includes such arts as cave painting, textiles, gardens, jewelry, architecture, sand painting, tattooing, funerary artifacts, and murals. Includes discussion of issues such as commercializing, looting, and repatriation.




SBSA 222

Global Media & Identity

(3) [S]

Anthropology of media is an essential area of study, living as we do, in a media saturated world today. The course examines new paradigms in the anthropology of visual communication in looking at how media interacts with issues such as representation, people's sense of self-identity and collective cultural identities, nationalism and transnationalism, media activism, diasporas, and social engagements with technology. The course locates the anthropological voice in media by locating it in worlds of practice and debate. [Cross-listed with COMM 222].




SBSA 224

Shopping and Consumerism

(3) [S]

This course focuses on how consumers negotiate desire, difference, and power in the most seemingly commonplace material consumption and tries to decode the culture of consumption and what shopping says about people. The course traces the historical development of the relationship between goods and identity from the eighteenth century and identifies the systems of inequality that have been reproduced (as well as subverted) through material consumption. Students learn how social reality is constituted in an environment steeped in global consumer imagery, and are armed with analytical techniques to probe the social and ideological meanings invested in goods, thereby also gaining a critical, self-reflective perspective on cultural differences.




SBSA 226

Material Culture of Clothing

(3) [S]

The course examines material culture in the form of clothing: how dress expresses culture in its social, economic, political, religious, and ritual dimensions. Also explored is the way clothing reflects social ideas about gender and ethnic differences, cultural change, and historical development. Dress is analyzed in both its symbolic and international aspects in the form of the couture houses of Paris and the film industry in California.




SBSA 235

Identity, Difference, and Deviance

(3) [S]

A critical, historical assessment of concepts of abnormality and deviancy as they emerge across time and cultures. The course covers longstanding debates about the relations of human nature and culture from 19th-century measurements of "primitives" and "freaks" to contemporary studies of mental illnesses, witchcraft, affliction and spirit possession, drug and alcohol abuse, moral panics, social control, outlawed deviancy, and acceptable forms of deviancy.




SBSA 239

Nations and Migration

(3) [S]

Mobility, a key feature of contemporary life, has led to fundamental changes in our understanding of identity, culture, and community. Drawing on an inter-disciplinary range of debates, the course examines how, while nationalism and migration might be seen as opposing processes, migration often leads to reinvigoration and rephrasing of national identity, frequently with important political consequences. The course also discusses the range of phenomena that make up the "endless motion" of migration that shapes our everyday experiences.




SBSA 249

Images of Women in Media

(3) [S]

In examining links between gender, media, and modernity, this course offers examples of media representations of women's identity. Students will not simply analyze media representations of women, but learn to contextualize and critically examine them within a broader framework of the characteristics of contemporary culture in specific regions. This course will "cross borders" of disciplines, methods, and approaches, and intervene in current debates in the fields of cultural anthropology, media and cultural studies, global/local, Eurocentrism and multiculturalism. [Cross-listed with COMM 249].




SBSA 255

Health, Medicine, and Curing

(3) [S]

Analyzes the socio-cultural factors and the global forces that compose health, medicine, and curing. Critically explores health care consequences of inequality and the connection between power and medical knowledge particularly in Western bio-medicine. The topic covers how different people socially construct and manage wellbeing and illness, and examines the role of healers (e.g. physicians, shamans, and mid-wives) in cultural context.




SBSA 260

Ethnographic Film

(3) [S]

A survey of historical and contemporary trends in ethnographic films and filmmaking. This course explores the use of film in anthropological analysis, documentation, and representation, and the technical limitations and ethical issues encountered by ethnographic filmmakers. We will screen and discuss films that portray the lives of diverse people and communities.




SBSA 265

South Asian Film: A Global Perspective

(3) [S]

The Indian film industry is the largest in the world, of which Hindi films are its most popular component. This course uses popular Hindi films as anthropological texts through which we consider broader questions about the anthropology of representations in examining roles and representations of femininity and masculinity, tradition and modernity, the importance of family and family values, the Indian diaspora, and the Hindi film phenomenon as it develops in the age of globalization. In this course we treat visual representation as an aspect of material culture and practice of social scientists, as well as culture researched by social scientists. [Cross-listed with COMM 265]




SBSA 270

The Indigenous Americas

(3) [S]

This module of the Indigenous Americas introduces students to the cultures of South America through historical and ethnographic study. It is designed to give students a general understanding of some of the core issues of a large and complex geo-political area. We will explore the shifting cultural, political and economic relations from the colonial period to contemporary times. The course will pay particular attention to the place of indigenous people in the national and international context.




SBSA 280

Kinship & Families-Global Era

(3) [S]

Surveys the anthropological history of kinship and explores the way global processes have changed or challenged family bonds. The course analyzes the impact of technologies, migration, and the global economy on personal relationship.




SBSA 341

Women in Cross-Cultural Perspective

(3) [S]

Explores the biological and cultural basis of gender, examines the factors that influence the relative status of men and women, and investigates the relationship between gender and such fields as politics, economics, health, violence, the family, and the media.




SBSA 342

Gender Relations in the Arab World

(3) [K] [S]

The course considers the relationship between men and women in the Arab world, as well as the impact on gender of social structure, family dynamics, religion, law, education, economics, health, aging, politics, and the arts. Also examined is the symbolic communication of gender through the media and dress. Additional topics include the challenges that Arab women confront when conducting anthropological research in the region.




SBSA 344

Tourism and Cultural Change

(3) [S]

Analyzes tourism from a cultural perspective. Explores issues such as the impact of tourism on the environment and society, culture as a commodity, authenticity, touristic imagery, material aspects of tourism such as souvenirs, gender roles in tourism, and exploitation.




SBSA 345

Globalization: Opportunities and Challenges

(3) [S]

The course provides an anthropological and ethnographic introduction to globalization and a world of flows and interconnections. We will focus on how through globalizing processes, peoples and cultures are becoming increasingly interconnected, and also on ways how people in different parts of the world mediate these processes in culturally specific ways.




SBSA 348

Anthropology of Human Rights

(3) [S]

This course applies anthropological concepts and methods to understanding human rights issues in the contemporary world. The course compares Western to non-western views of human rights, and examines how competing views are grounded in the United Nations, governmental and non- governmental organizations.




SBSA 360

Genocide and Refugees

(3) [S]

A critical, historical approach to understanding genocide with a human rights orientation to assess why such atrocities should be confronted. The course explores specific cases and diverse conditions leading to genocide, ethnocide and population displacements. Students will analyze the role of the modern state, colonialism, political ideologies, ethnicities and nationalism as major forces behind genocidal campaigns and assess the cultural factors leading to genocide.




SBSA 366

Popular Culture in South Asia: Film and Beyond

(3) [S]

In this course, popular culture is examined – ranging from calendar art, romance fiction, magazines, photographs, music, food, fashion, films, and television – as an important resource for anthropological insights into contemporary social issues and processes. Issues such as continuity and transformation of tradition, the impact of imperialism, and the "Indianization" of English are increasingly seen as areas of debate and research. Notions of hybridity, diversity, and globalization are addressed. [Cross-listed with COMM 366].




SBSA 369

Short Course


Topic varies by semester. Classes are taught by a guest lecturer or lecturers. Can be repeated for credit with a different topic. Permission of instructor.




SBSA 370

Music of the Arabian Peninsula

(3) [K] [S]

This course deals with music, dance, and poetic genres of Kuwait and regions of the Arabian Peninsula. It includes structural analysis and an examination of the context in which these creative forms exist. This course satisfies the General Education Requirement for Arab Culture. Permission of instructor. [Cross-listed with MUSC 370]




SBSA 372

Anthropology of Business

(3) [S]

This course focuses on the application of anthropology in business. Access to meaningful information is often the difference between success and failure. Anthropological methods, by focusing on a holistic approach, qualitative data, and ethnographic analyses provide information in ways that traditional business simply cannot. Anthropology plays a critical role in understanding and analyzing diverse business and organizational issues in different societies and cultures, where cultural awareness and sensitivity is critical for successful business ventures.




SBSA 388

Independent Study


Can be repeated for credit with a different topic. Permission of instructor.




SBSA 389

Special Topics


Can be repeated for credit with a different topic. Permission of instructor.




SBSA 470

Internship in Social and Behavioral Sciences, Concentration Anthropology


An internship experience to apply the knowledge acquired in the Social and Behavioral Sciences, concentration Anthropology Program. A maximum of three (3) internship credits hours can be applied to the SBSA degree program. Permission of instructor is required.




SBSA 485

Seminar in Social and Behavioral Sciences, Concentration in Anthropology


A senior seminar that examines selected critical issues in the field of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Concentration in Anthropology. Senior standing or permission of instructor.