The Anthropology Major

The major program at St. Lawrence not only involves intensive study in anthropology, but also enriches the studies of students in other disciplines who wish to include anthropology courses in their courses of study. Anthropology links the social sciences, natural sciences, arts and humanities. It has always utilized insights from biology, geology, geography, history, philosophy, political science, economics, psychology and many other disciplines.

Our faculty members are prepared to assist students in pursuing a range of directions in their studies within the broad field of the discipline. With personal field experience in Africa, Europe, India, Australia and the Pacific Islands, they have published numerous books on cultures and human issues in different parts of the world, often addressing the interrelationships among local cultural systems and global forces. The department’s archaeology and biological anthropology laboratory houses several collections of artifacts, stone and bone materials for hands-on study.

Some courses are cross-listed for credit toward African studies, Asian studies, Biology, Canadian studies, English, Native American studies, Environmental studies, Fine Arts, Gender studies, Global studies and Music. The department offers a combined major with African studies (see below). Specific anthropology courses also fulfill the social sciences, diversity, natural science and science studies distribution requirements.

In recognition of the diverse approaches to the study of humanity that anthropology involves, the department offers introductory courses in each of the principal branches of the discipline: biological anthropology, archaeology, cultural anthropology and linguistics. These courses are designed for beginning students and assume no previous knowledge of the discipline. They provide avenues to more intensive and specialized study in each of these areas. All of them, beginning from distinct sets of questions, converge on the central and fundamental issue of what it means to be human.

Outside the classroom, students are welcome to join the Anthropology Club, a student-run organization open to anyone with a strong interest in anthropology, whether or not they have declared majors or minors in it. Some students are members of Lambda Alpha, the national anthropology honorary society. The department also compiles information on the many archaeological and ethnographic field schools and ongoing projects open to students throughout the United States and other parts of the world.

St. Lawrence students have accompanied faculty on research trips to Australia, India, Kenya and Papua New Guinea. Opportunities outside the University are also available through programs with other universities on summer archaeological excavations or ethnographic field schools in Bermuda, Kenya, Costa Rica, China, Italy, Hungary and Mexico, as well as several U.S. states. Students have also taken part in the University’s Kenya Program. This program, in which our faculty members have been closely involved as directors, coordinators and instructors, offers a rare opportunity for anthropology students to gain intensive experience in the field. Over the years our courses have provided excellent preparations for students wishing to study abroad in St. Lawrence programs in Africa, Australia, Europe, India and elsewhere.