College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Department of History and Anthropology

Anthropology Course Descriptions

Butler University Course Search

Below are current and future course offerings and schedules. Only classes in the Butler system are shown.

AN 101. First Year Seminar: This course will introduce students to basic theories and methods in the disciplines of anthropology and history though the exploration of past and present cultural encounters and exchanges, and the diverse responses they engendered. Topics will range across time and space and focus on exploration, trade, colonialism, imperialism, and current cross-cultural interaction. (U)(3)

SW 215. Introductory Anthropology: The study of human behavior from a comparative, cross-cultural perspective. Explores theoretical, methodological and ethical issues; the focus is primarily socio-cultural anthropology, while addressing archaeology, physical anthropology and linguistics. (U)(3) 

GE 109. Cultural Geography: Regions of the World: (see description under history section)

AN 202. Encounters with Other Cultures: A survey of writings by anthropologists and others which tell of their experiences as travelers to other societies and as interpreters of other cultures. Students discuss and write about ways of playing the outsider's role and changes in the writers' own outlooks, as well as consider the cultural contexts of the readings. (U)(3)

AN 204. Cultures Through Film: An introduction to cultures of the world through film, supplemented by related ethnographic texts. Students consider the role of the film in representation and cross-cultural understanding. (U)(3)

AN 280. Sub-Fields in Anthropology: Introductory courses in the various sub-fields of anthropology such as biological anthropology, archaeology, primate behavior, language and culture are offered on an occasional basis. This may be repeated for credit if subject matter is different. (U)(3)

AN 300. Religion and Ritual: The cross-cultural study of such phenomena as witchcraft and magic; spirit possession; revitalization and millenarianism; and Christianity and Islam, primarily in contemporary, non-Western societies. Theoretical and historical overview of anthropological approaches are addressed. (U/G)(3)

AN301. Popular Religion: This course examines the variety of religious practices that are part of both world and indigenous religions traditions. Topics include: new religious movements and popular culture; religious devotion, icons, and iconography; gender and popular religion; pilgrimage; the transmission of popular religious practices; and science, pseudo-science, and popular beliefs and practices. (U/G)(3)

AN 302. The Body and Society: This course explores symbolism, ideologies and treatments of the body cross-culturally. Topics considered include imageries of the human body, ideas about bodily aesthetics and bodily health, physical treatments of the body, the relationship of body ideologies and identify, and the body and power dynamics. (U/G)(3)

AN 304. Medical Anthropology: An introduction to the field of medical anthropology, which explores the links between culture, society, disease and illness. Topics include discussion of biomedical, epidemiological, and other models of disease; knowledge and practice of healers cross-culturally; the relationship between religion and healing; and occupational health issues. (U/G)(3)

AN 311. Trespass: Anthropology of Difference: This course is about exclusions and inclusions.  All around us, there are walls and fences erected to keep people out and hold 'others' in.  Some partitions are concrete - harsh and visible; the rest remain fluid and negotiable.  This is a course on power and the social life of contemporary humans. (U/G) (3)

AN 312. Political Anthropology: Utilizes the comparative perspective to study authority, organization, and power. Topics include the ways in which authority is acquired and accepted as legitimate, issues of comparative political systems, local level politics, the connections between local and wider political systems, and the cultural and symbolic aspects of power and legitimacy. Subject matter includes political communities in various cultural contexts. (U/G)(3)

AN 313. Nation-States and Nationalisms: This course looks at nation-making projects and nationalist movements in a variety of historical and geographical contexts. Students study and then work to apply theories of nationalism to a range of case studies from Asia, the Middle East, Latin America, and Europe. (U/G)(3)

AN 314. Law and Disorder: This course examines how law, rule, and custom shape cultural perceptions of order in different societies throughout the world. Topics include: comparative study of legal systems and institutions; the resolution of conflict and violence in domestic and international arenas; and the relationship between law and class, gender, and race. (U/G)(3)

AN 316. Economic Anthropology: An introduction to the anthropological, comparative study of economic systems, challenging western assumptions about human nature, economy and society, through ethnographic studies. Topics include production, consumption, distribution, gift exchange, marriage transactions, development, and social change. (U/G)(3)

AN 317. Third World Development: A critical analysis of the complexities - and hazards - of economic "development" in the Third World. By focusing primarily on a micro-level, this course will explore such topics as colonialism and post-colonialism, the sexual division of labor, migration and disease. (U/G)(3)

AN 318. Environment and Culture: An introduction to concepts and issues in environmental studies from the comparative perspective of anthropology. Utilizing a wide range of cultural case studies, this course examines the diverse ways people make their homes and livelihoods, and the various cultural responses devised to meet environmental limits. (U/G)(3)

AN 320. Gender and Sexuality in Globalization: This course examines how gender is culturally constructed; the relationships between power, sexuality and social roles; and the key theoretical debates on gender in anthropology. (U/G)(3)

AN 328. Popular Culture: This course examines the role and function of popular culture in different social and cultural settings throughout the world. Students will compare the impact of popular culture in different regions, examining the cultural importance of such media as films, televisions, sporting events, music, and the internet. (U/G)(3)

AN 329. Japanese Popular Culture: This course will examine Japanese popular culture, including comics (manga), fashion magazines, feature films, anime, music, sports, and even children's games, to understand the social pervasiveness and cultural force of these mediums. While focusing on Japan, the course will introduce students to critical theoretical perspectives about popular culture that can be applied more broadly. (U/G)(3) 

AN 335. The Global Society: This course is an exploration of globalization and the social and cultural processes that are transforming local life throughout the world. The course introduces students to the impact of global capitalism, transnational culture and political flows, and the role of global non-government organizations in different regions. (U/G)(3) *was AN 330*

AN 338. Language & Culture: The course will consider the topic of human language and its use in society. Current linguistic and socio-linguistic assumptions, language differences and similarities, and the influence of cultural factors will be discussed. (U/G)(3)

AN 339. Linguistics: Linguistics is the systematic study of language from its sounds (phonetics and phonology), words (morphology), and sentences (syntax), to its meaning (semantics). In addition to examining language itself, this course will cover aspects of language use such as language change, and the role of language in society. (U/G)(3)

AN 340. Ethnographic Arts:  This course examines the cultural and social significance of art in non-Western contexts, paying particular attention to expressive forms found in Africa, the Americas and the Pacific. Relevant media include sculpture and masking, architecture, body ornamentation, dance and music. (U/G)(3) 

AN 341. Ethnographic Film: Human cultural and social diversity is explored through a series of ethnographic films, and readings and discussions relating to those films.  Attention is given to film as a mode of cross-cultural analysis as well as a visual medium developed in western culture. (U/G)(3) 

AN 342. Science, Technology, and Society: This course explores the cultural aspects of scientific knowledge and its effects, as well as the socio-cultural consequences of scientific and technological innovation. Students will examine issues including the power of scientific "truth" claims, the social dynamics of laboratory settings, and science's effect on what it means to be human. (U/G)(3) 

AN 344. Foodways: Anthropological Perspectives of Food, Nutrition and Famine: This course approaches habits of eating from a cross-cultural, anthropological perspective, and considers topics such as the cultural construction of food eating, and food taboos; subsistence strategies; food and ritual; food and gender, food and identity and world food problems. (U/G)(3)

AN 346. The Anthropology of Sport: This course will look at sport as a topic of anthropological study. We will explore (1) the cultural and political values produced and reaffirmed through sports training and competition, (2) the ritualistic and symbolic aspects of sporting events and spectacles, (3) the messages transmitted through media-produced images of sport. (U/G)(3)

AN 347. Asian Musics: This course provides an ethnomusicological examination of traditional and contemporary Asian musics. Topics include the history of Asian musics, the analysis of music as sound and behavior, and the role of music in daily life. The course includes hands-on drumming and playing; non-musicians are welcome. (U/G)(3)

AN 348. Introduction to Ethnomusicology: The Anthropology of Music: Ethnomusicology is the study of music as sound and behavior within a cultural context. Using an interdisciplinary approach, the course examines ethnomusicology's intellectual history; theory and method; research and fieldwork skills; tools for musical and behavioral analysis; and universal and unique aspects of music in people's everyday lives. Non-musicians welcome. (U/G)(3)

AN 349. African Musics: This course provides an ethnomusicological examination of traditional and contemporary African musics. Topics include the history of the musics of Africa and the Diaspora, the analysis of music as sound and behavior, and the role of music in daily life. The course includes hands-on drumming; non-musicians are welcome. (U/G)(3)

AN 350. Anthropological Methods: An introduction to the research process in cultural anthropology, with an emphasis on qualitative methods. Students also are prepared to conduct research, including fieldwork, to evaluate and present research, and to critically evaluate the research of others. (U/G)(3)

AN 352. Ethnography: Ethnography is most generally a qualitative research approach focused on providing detailed, in-depth description. We will approach ethnography from two angles in this course: (1) as a topic of intellectual analysis and critique, and (2) as a methodology that we will employ in a research project at a specific field site. (U/G)(3) 

AN 354. The American City: A methodological introduction to American urban studies from the perspectives of geography and anthropology; geographical and cultural change of the structure of the American city in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries with emphasis upon Indianapolis and the Butler-Tarkington neighborhood. Fieldwork and service learning are highlighted. (U/G)(3)

AN 356. Life Histories: A methodological course in which students are prepared to collect primary data in the form of life histories. The core of the course lies in selecting, interviewing and recording the life history of an informant; and in preparing that text for presentation to the class and to the informant. (U/G)(3)

AN 360. Peoples and Cultures of Africa: A study of the rich and diverse cultural traditions of Africa. Topics include: the analysis of stereotypes associated with African cultures; effects of colonialism on contemporary life; religion and cosmology; ecological adaptation; kinship and social organization; the expressive arts; and ethnicity. (U/G)(3)

AN 362. Peoples and Cultures of Latin America: A survey of the peoples, societies and cultures of Latin America, giving attention to demographic features, social differentiation, and stratification and the major social institutions. (U/G)(3)

AN 364. Native American Cultures: A survey course on the original, indigenous peoples of the Americas. The course will explore stereotypes of Native Americans; the effects of conquest and colonialism; and the resiliency of their traditions in contemporary settings. (U/G)(3)

AN 365. Peoples and Cultures of China: This seminar course explores the multi-ethnic nature of the Chinese state from ancient time to the present. It covers such topics as the relations between China proper and the grassland, Sinification, conquest dynasties, state policies towards minority groups, forms of ethnic identity, and ethnic nationalism. (U/G)(3)

AN 366. East Asia Through Ethnography: An introduction to selected topics in the society and cultures of East Asia (China, Japan, and Korea), Southeast Asia (Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, and the Philippines), and South Asia (the Indian sub-continent). Topics include post-colonialism, transnational processes, family and kinship, world and local religious traditions and ritual practices, economic development, and gender issues. (U/G)(3)

AN 368. Coming of Age in the Middle East: An introduction to peoples and cultures of the contemporary Muslim World. Social, economic and cultural diversity are approached from the comparative viewpoint of anthropology and the role of Islam, sometimes unifying, sometimes divisive, is considered in various local contexts as well as from the formal, historical perspective. (U/G)(3)

AN 370. Peoples and Cultures of Europe: A survey of the peoples, societies, and cultures of Western and Eastern Europe. In light of globalization and movements unifying Europe such as the European Union, the course will pay special attention to demographic features, cultural practices, and major social institutions. (U/G)(3)

AN 372. Vietnam: This seminar course will examine the different perspectives of Vietnamese history and the diverse cultures of Vietnam, with a focus on the modern period. It will locate the Vietnam War in a broad historical and cultural context and will explore such themes as Chinese and French colonialism in Vietnam, Nationalism and Communism, tradition and revolution, peasants and revolutionaries. (U/G)(3)  

AN 380. Selected Topics in Anthropology: An in-depth analysis of the theory, methodology and subject matter in an area not provided for in the current offerings of the department. Pre-requisites: AN 102 and junior standing or approval of the director. (U/G)(3)

AN 388. Documentary Film Production (1): This course is a hands-on introduction to making videotape documentaries with social science themes. Students learn to conceive, shoot and edit short exercises and a final project as they develop critical perspectives on the documentary process. (U/G)(3)

AN 390. Development of Anthropological Thought: This course inquires into the emergence and development of anthropological thought, theories, methods and generalizations in the context of western social and cultural milieu. The particular emphasis is on the changing shape of the academic discipline of anthropology, from the late nineteenth century to the present. Pre-requisite: AN 102 and junior standing. (U/G)(3)

AN 460. Culture and History: This course explores anthropologists' use of historical methods, and historians' employment of cultural analysis. Students will examine the history of the rapprochement between the disciplines, the fields' most influential interlocutors, significant debates, and some of the scholarly work emerging from this disciplinary pairing. (U/G)(3)

AN 481, 482, 483. Independent Study: An opportunity for qualified students to pursue a topic of individual interest. With permission of the director. (U/G)(1, 2, 3)

AN 484, 485. Internship: A program offering the superior student the opportunity to participate in a closely supervised work experience in a setting pertinent to the major area of study. Majors are strongly encouraged to engage in the internship experience. Prerequisites: AN 102 and permission of the director. (U)(3, 6)

AN 486. Seminar: Intensive reading with problems for investigation in some special field. Pre-requisites: AN 102 and permission of the director. (U)(3)

AN 488. Documentary Film Production (2): This course is an advanced course in making videotape documentaries with social science themes. Students learn to conceive, shoot and edit short exercises and a final project as they develop critical perspectives on the documentary process. Prerequisite: AN 388 or permission of instructor or department head. (U/G)(3)

AN 499. Honors Thesis: (U)(3)