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Butler University Bulletin

History, Anthropology, and Classics


Vivian Deno, PhD, Department Chair


  • Christopher Bungard, PhD
  • Vivian Deno, PhD
  • Elise Edwards, PhD
  • Paul Hanson, PhD
  • Tom Mould, PhD
  • Thomas Paradis, PhD
  • Sholeh Shahrokhi, PhD
  • Ageeth Sluis, PhD

Associate Professors

  • John Cornell, PhD
  • Antwain Hunter, PhD
  • Lynne Kvapil, PhD
  • Zachary Scarlett, PhD

Assistant Professor

  • Julie Searcy, PhD

Instructors and Lecturers

  • Nancy Germano, PhD
  • Jeana Jorgensen, PhD

Department Website

The disciplines of history, anthropology, geography, and classics share the same home because they address the same fundamental questions about life from different perspectives, the interplay among which enlarges our students’ minds and lives. Butler is singular among American universities in knitting these three disciplines into a working organism. Prospective majors in both history and anthropology take a first-year course together, introducing them to each other and to the disciplines in their departments, thus offering all the advantages of self-standing disciplines and interdisciplinary approaches. The recent addition of classics helps to extend the focus and reach of the department, and provides new opportunities for our students to explore the experiences, ideas, and material culture of the Ancient Mediterranean world.

Members of the department offer expertise in wide-ranging areas and eras of the world: the United States, Latin America, East Asia, the Middle East, Europe, and ancient Rome and Greece. Within these areas we offer courses on the fundamental conditions that shape human life past and present: citizenship, politics, peace and war, gender, race, class, sexuality, language, economics, religion, and thought. The department offers a small student-faculty ratio, individual attention, and abundant opportunities for undergraduate research. Most of our students also study away from Butler, either abroad or in Washington, DC, offering them a taste of this increasingly global world we inhabit.

Why Study Anthropology?

Anthropology explores the human condition, appreciating humans and human practices holistically. We focus on cultural anthropology and research methods critical to understanding the complexities of the modern world. Our graduates enter a wide range of careers—including field archaeology, social work, law, public health, and library sciences—as well as top-level graduate programs.

By producing original work through course research assignments, and possibly self-designed honors thesis projects, students learn how to think critically and write effectively. They leave our program equipped to carefully investigate issues and creatively solve problems on their own—essential skills for any future career direction.

Why Study History?

History explores the human condition throughout the world from earliest time to the present moment. Through course work and individualized projects, students will learn how to contextualize and investigate past events and understand their relevance for the present as well as the future.

With a minimum of prescribed courses, our curriculum allows you to follow your curiosity and feel free to discover through a myriad of course offerings the unfolding of past events and the processes of history making that are such a central component of the human condition.

By producing original work through course research assignments, and possibly self-designed honors thesis projects, students learn how to think critically and write effectively. They leave our program equipped to carefully investigate issues and creatively solve problems on their own—essential skills for any future career direction.

Why Study Classics?

The culture, history, and literature of ancient Greece and Rome have long captivated the imagination of people throughout history and across the globe, from the Renaissance to the founding fathers of America, to modern writers from the Caribbean. We continue to live in a world of classical roots, whether it be the Athenian roots of democracy or the Roman origins of our republic, the Greek love for the beauty of athletics, or an enthusiasm for theatre that moved from Greece to Rome to Shakespeare and beyond. The Greeks and the Romans helped articulate the liberal arts that are at the heart of a Butler education. As we engage with the thinking and the art of the ancients, we aim to develop an understanding, enjoyment, and critical appreciation of some abiding principles of our world. We enter into dialogue with minds of the past in order to understand ourselves better now. Studying the Greeks and Romans, we become part of our larger family over time. We enrich our minds and our imaginations, and we sharpen our skills for work and life today.

Why Study Classics at Butler?

  • Intimate and vibrant learning community: Students in the Classics Program at Butler have the opportunity to work closely with a small but dedicated faculty. Smaller classes give students a greater opportunity to engage directly with faculty and with each other. As part of a smaller major, students develop a stronger sense of being part of a community of thinkers engaging in a subject they are passionate about.
  • Building on past knowledge: Our program recognizes the quality of work many students have done before arriving on our campus. Students placing into the second or third year of Latin and completing at least 6 hours of study in Latin are eligible for 3–9 advanced placement credit hours, which may count toward the major or the minor.
  • Real engagement with the ancient world: Students are encouraged to immerse themselves in the environments that inspired the ancient Greeks and Romans. Our program offers the opportunity to study the culture and literature of the Romans while traveling to important sites in Rome and Italy, or to participate in an archaeological field school in Greece. Our program is also supportive of students who wish to study abroad in programs in Greece and Italy specifically focused around classics.
  • Practical experience: Our students are encouraged to take advantage of opportunities to work with faculty on research of their own, whether in the form of a Butler Summer Institute project or a senior thesis. Students who have done quality research have presented their work at undergraduate conferences and regional classics conferences.
  • Making your education your own: Thanks to generous support from the Georgia Watkins Fund, our program provides funds to help students participate in archaeological digs, select summer study programs, or conferences in classics. Grants are awarded on a competitive basis.
  • Embracing the liberal arts: Since the field of classics embraces a wide variety of approaches to the study of the ancient Greeks and Romans, our program encourages students who wish to relate their interest in classics with work in other disciplines. Our students often take courses in English, history, philosophy, religion, political science, and modern languages.

Classics Student Learning Outcomes

Students majoring in classics are expected to gain factual knowledge about key figures, historical events, and concepts from Greek and Roman antiquity. They will interpret and analyze significant works from antiquity, and at the same time gain a better understanding of cultural diversity by comparing current values and practices to those of the Greeks and Romans. They will become proficient in reading Latin or Ancient Greek texts and discover how knowledge of Latin or Ancient Greek helps in the understanding of modern languages.

Why Study Geography?

Cultural geography brings together history, culture, and spatial patterning, and reinforces the message of both history and anthropology in a common department. Geography at Butler starts by studying Indianapolis, then moves outward to Indiana, the United States, and the world. These courses are generally valuable, but particularly so for students preparing to teach social studies in secondary school.

Anthropology and History at Butler

  • Small class size and student-faculty ratio, guaranteeing one-on-one attention, mentoring, and guidance to all majors and minors.
  • Unique partnership between history and anthropology, providing cutting-edge training in theory and methodology that binds the two disciplines.
  • Access and connections to premier area museums, regional historic sites, archival collections, archaeological field sites, and community cultural groups.
  • Extensive internship, employment, and study-abroad opportunities.
  • Guest lectures, site visits, and numerous other means to meet professionals in the field.
  • Opportunities to do independent research projects, participate in the Butler Summer Institute and other funded research possibilities, produce honors theses, and attend regional and national conferences.

Anthropology Student Learning Outcomes

The anthropology program seeks to teach students to think for themselves, appreciate human and cultural differences, and master the basic tools necessary for understanding those differences. They learn to employ the ethnographic method, understand issues from a diversity of viewpoints, and ready themselves for responsible citizenship. More specifically, we seek to teach students the characteristic methods of anthropology and the basic range of anthropological theories, to analyze evidence and develop arguments, incorporate the views of other people into their projects, understand issues in all their complexity rather than oversimplify them, and share their ideas and research effectively.

History Student Learning Outcomes

The history program seeks to teach students to think for themselves independently and critically, master the history of one part of the world, apply the past to understand the present, appreciate those who are different from themselves, appreciate academic and civil discourse, and ready themselves for responsible citizenship. More specifically, we seek to teach students the characteristic methods of history and the basic range of historical theories, to analyze evidence and develop arguments, conduct historical research, incorporate the views of other people into their projects, look at problems from a variety of perspectives, and share their ideas and research in proper form.

Degree Programs

  • Major in Anthropology (BA)
  • Major in History (BA)
  • Master of Arts in History (MA)
  • Combined Major in Anthropology and Psychology (BA) (see Combined Majors)
  • Combined Major in Anthropology and Religion (BA) (see Combined Majors)
  • Combined Major in History and Anthropology (BA) (see Combined Majors)
  • Combined Major in History and Political Science (BA) (see Combined Majors)
  • Combined Major in History and Classics (BA) (see Combined Majors)
  • Minor in Anthropology
  • Minor in Geography
  • Minor in History
  • Major in Classics—Ancient Languages (BA)
  • Major in Classics—Greek and Roman Culture (BA)
  • Combined Major in History and Classics (BA)
  • Minor in Classics