The Anthropology Major/Minor

The anthropology major at St. Lawrence involves intensive study in all four fields of anthropology (minors focus on any three of these fields): cultural anthropology, linguistic anthropology, archaeology, and biological anthropology. Anthropology links the social sciences, natural sciences, arts, and humanities. It has always incorporated insights from biology, geology, geography, literary studies, history, philosophy, political science, economics, and psychology, among other disciplines. An anthropology major or minor is therefore an excellent choice as a component of a broader liberal arts education, and complements a major or minor in many other disciplines very well.

The department offers introductory courses in each of the principal fields of the discipline: biological anthropology, archaeology, cultural anthropology, and linguistic anthropology. 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 fields. All of them, beginning from distinct sets of questions, converge on the central and fundamental issue of what it means to be human.

Some courses are cross-listed for credit toward African Studies, Asian Studies, Peace Studies, Performance and Communication Arts, Government, Conservation Biology, and Business in the Liberal Arts. Specific anthropology courses also fulfill general education requirements such as SS, DIV13, and EL. The department offers an Anthropology/African Studies major, which most students complete by spending a semester studying in Kenya. Many of our courses provide excellent preparations for students wishing to study abroad.

Our faculty members are prepared to assist students in pursuing a range of directions in their studies within the discipline. With personal field experience in Namibia, Sudan, India, and Indonesia, among other places, they have published books and articles on a wide range of topics. The department’s Anthropology Teaching and Research Laboratories house several collections of artifacts as well as human skeletal materials and ancient bone and fossil casts for hands-on study.

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 are majors or minors. Some students qualify for membership in Lambda Alpha, the national anthropology honorary society. The department compiles information on the many anthropological field schools (e.g., ethnographic, linguistic, archaeological, and biological) and ongoing projects open to students throughout the United States and other parts of the world.  St. Lawrence students have also accompanied faculty on research trips to Australia, India, Indonesia, Kenya and Papua New Guinea.