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Get a feel for the exciting variety of courses taught at Marlboro.

This is a list of courses that faculty felt was representational of the courses offered. It is not a complete list of courses, some courses are offered yearly, while others are infrequent. A course may be inspired by events or strong interests and taught only once.

Most advanced work is in the form of tutorials on specific subjects, a collaboration between one faculty member and one student or a handful of students.


(4.00 Credits — Intermediate)

Fall 2011

An overview of the dominant theories and issues that have shaped anthropological research and writing in the 20th century. Paradigms to be investigated include Boasian anthropology, functionalism, French structuralism, cultural materialism, sociobiology, interpretive anthropology, feminist anthropology, historical anthropology, and reflexive anthropology. Prerequisite: Background in social sciences or permission of instructor

Anthropology Plan Writing Seminar
(1.00 Credit — Advanced)

Fall 2013

Whenever we write, we enter into a community of people sharing ideas. This seminar is intended to provide a space in which students on Plan in anthropology and related disciplines can come together to discuss their reading and writing. Prerequisite: Students doing senior Plan work in anthropology or a related discipline

(4.00 Credits — Intermediate)

Fall 2012

Everyone eats, but producing, procuring, preparing, and consuming food varies according to cultural and historical contexts. In this class we’ll consider a range of questions such as:

What do people eat? What don’t people eat? How does food link people in visible and invisible chains of relationships, from the local to the global? What is the nature of the preparation and consumption of food and how is this food tied to traditions near and far? In addition we will examine food practices and gustatory meaning systems, food and the body, the taste of place and other sensory dimensions of comestibles, and gendered dimensions of food. While readings will be drawn from research around the world, this class will also have a significant research component based on fieldwork in Marlboro.

Prerequisite: A background in the social sciences or a related discipline.

Introduction to Anthropology
(4.00 Credits — Introductory)

Fall 2010

This course provides a broad overview of cultural anthropology. We start by considering two concepts that are central to the discipline: the idea of "culture" and the research method called "fieldwork." From there, we take up a range of topics (e.g. language, social relations, economic exchange, power and control, belief systems, socialization, and the nature of the person) and consider the issues and approaches important to anthropologists. Class readings will include a number of ethnographic studies based on research in communities around the world. Prerequisite: None

Introduction to Human Rights and Anthropology
(4.00 Credits — Introductory)

Spring 2014
Designated Writing

This course will introduce students to human rights as the dominant language of social justice movements. Rather than investigating all forms of rights and protections, we will focus on three specific areas that are subjects of human rights activism: (1) environmentalism/biological citizenship, (2) Ethnic Minority/Collective Rights/Indigeneity, and (3) Migration. After discussing the theoretical foundations of human rights, we will read articles from anthropology journals on these three topics and then follow each section with readings from human rights theorists. The purpose of this course is to consider how various social issues can be framed within the discourse of human rights, and to discuss the merits and problems with applying a human rights frame to complex social and moral issues. Students will present on one of these three areas of focus and produce a research paper on a topic of their own choosing.

Introduction to Sociocultural Anthropology
(4.00 Credits — Introductory)

Fall 2013
Global Perspective

This is an introductory course to socio-cultural anthropology that provides a general intellectual history of the discipline.  The course reviews research methods and analyzes the study of culture in terms of production and critique.  This class is not meant to survey the entire field but instead aims to introduce students to basic anthropological theoretical orientations and to the importance of long-term ethnography. As such, we will read contemporary articles from leading anthropology journals and full-length ethnographies, as well as excerpts of key canonical texts, in the course to gain a better understanding of what is anthropology and how it is written.  This class will explore concepts including kinship, power, race, exchange, cultural relativism, globalization, and political economy.  Paramount to this class is the understanding that culture is a dynamic, complicated, and context-dependent concept; it is not a fixed or bounded “thing” of peoples and places. Throughout, we will employ a comparative perspective as socio-cultural anthropology rests upon this fundamental goal of making the familiar strange, and the strange familiar. While this class may engage in cross-cultural comparisons, students are also expected to draw connections between groups of people across time and space. Prerequisite: None

( Variable Credits — Intermediate)

Fall 2011

In recent years, anthropologists have been experimenting with innovative forms of writing as a means to explore how they construct and represent people's lives in words. In this seminar we will consider how to read and write ethnographies and, in doing so, will ask questions about narrative form, audience, argument, uses of field data, the place of the fieldworker/writer, and more. Students are expected to either have field materials with which they want to work or be willing to do a small field-based project as part of the seminar. This seminar would work well taken with "Designing Fieldwork." Prerequisite: Course work in the social sciences or history

Plan Seminar: Reading and Writing Culture (Part 2)
(2.00 Credits — Advanced)

Spring 2012

This is a continuation of the Plan Seminar of the same name offered in fall semester 20112. -- Whenever we write, we enter into a community of people sharing ideas. This seminar is intended to provide a space in which students on Plan in anthropology and related disciplines can come together to discuss their reading and writing. Prerequisite: Senior Plan work in anthropology or a related discipline.

(4.00 Credits — Intermediate)

Spring 2011

Everyone lives someplace, but how people conceive of where they live differs according to particular cultural senses of space and place. In this course we will draw on readings from a number of world areas to consider how spaces may be embodied, engendered, inscribed, torn apart, crossed, and drawn together; how people relate to different places experientially and expressively; and how how different places reflect and help create -- or problematize people's identities. An integral part of the class will be student-conducted fieldwork on course-related topics. Prerequisite: Coursework in the social sciences

Social Suffering
(4.00 Credits — Advanced)

Fall 2013
Global Perspective

This seminar will first examine a range of bearable and unbearable forms of suffering, including: war, poverty, disease, insecurity, political violence, and natural disasters. Within medical anthropology, social suffering has become an important subject of anthropological inquiry whereby ethnographers record everyday forms of suffering within communities and amongst individuals in various societies. Juxtaposing ordinary suffering of everyday life against the sudden eruption of extraordinary suffering, this seminar examines various modes of explanation, experience, humanitarianism and ethics. Some of the questions this seminar will pose include: what should ethnographers do with the disciplinary practice of cultural relativism in a world of great suffering? Is “witnessing the inhuman” enough, or do anthropologists have an obligation to help end human suffering? What is the ethical role of anthropologists in the face of human suffering? If anthropologists intervene, what assumptions of authority, power and inequality are embedded in such efforts? Additionally, this course will also require students to consider how communities and individuals survive mass violence, poverty, and “ordinary” forms of suffering or human deprivation.  Prerequisite: Familiarity with social science research

For Anthropology offerings, also see:

After 9/11
First Contact: Voices of America's Frontiers
Living with War
Political Rituals
Research Methods
The Soviet Era Through Film and Memoir


(a mostly random selection of Marlboro microdestinations)