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Anthropology Courses

ANTH 200 Cultural Anthropology

A general survey of cultural anthropology, which is one of the main branches of general Anthropology. Employs a global and holistic perspective to examine the economic, social, political, cultural, and ideological integration of society. The comparative, cross-cultural method distinctive to anthropology is used to explore the diverse ideas and behavior that characterize humanity and the human condition. Presents the fundamental questions that cultural anthropologists ask, the methods they use to answer these questions, and some of the uses of anthropological knowledge. Self-reflection and critical analysis of one's own world view assumptions and cultural belief system are fundamental objectives of the course.

ANTH 215 Human Origins

Offers an introduction to human origins from the perspective of biological anthropology. A premise of the course is that the human form and human behavior have evolved together and neither can be fully understood or appreciated without a full understanding of the other. Subject matter to be covered includes the geological time frame, evolutionary theory, and the evolution of primates, hominids, and modern humans as evidenced by fossil remains, specific sites, genetic research, and artifacts. 

ANTH 301 Culture and Medicine: Healers and Healing Practices

Every culture and society has had to deal with illness and thus has well-developed concepts about the healing process, healers, medical knowledge, and healing practices. Offers a cross-cultural exploration of healers and healing approaches. Examines differences and similarities in the ways that people approach illness and healing by relying heavily on an abundance of examples from various cultures, including that of the United States. Examines illness causation and classification theories, diagnostic practices, therapeutic procedures, preventive care, the assumptions that underlie these concepts and practices, and their relationship to the social, cultural, and technological environments in which they are constructed. Focuses on the role of the healer in the context of culture and examines physicians, shamans, witch doctors, curandero/as, midwives, wise men and women, and other healers. Explores the use of music, botanicals, healing aids, and pharmaceuticals in the healing process. Informed self-reflection and critical analysis of one's own world view assumptions and medical belief system are fundamental objectives of the course.

ANTH 305 Medical Anthropology

General survey of medical anthropology including the study of specific medical cultures, ethnomedicine, ethnobotany, medical concepts and treatments, illness causation, etiology, diagnostic methods, prognosis, treatment practices. health care delivery systems, patient-provider relationship, cross-cultural medicine, and the organization of health care systems. Course includes examination of the role of medical anthropology in cross-cultural medicine. 

ANTH 310 World Prehistory

Provides an interdisciplinary overview of the major developments in the early human past. Drawing upon archaeological, biological, linguistic, and anthropological sources, this global coverage of human prehistory examines ancient cultures and societies of Africa, Europe, the Americas, Asia, and the Pacific. Explores human evolution, adaptive behavior, the hunter and gatherer diaspora, plant and animal domestication, trade, the development of agriculture, and the origins of states. Through crosscultural comparisons and anthropological theory, explores such subject matter as the origins of gender differences in the division of labor, the role of ideology in cultural adaptation, differential access to technologies, economic production, artistic expression, and mechanisms of cultural change.

ANTH 325 Ancient Mexican Society and Art

Examines Ancient Mexican art, cosmology, architecture, mythology, and literature as they reflect social structure, religion, social roles, ideology, economic and political organization, world-view, and the family. Using archeological and ethnographic sources, the course covers the preclassic, classic, and postclassic periods, focusing on several cultural areas including the Olmec, Teotihuacan, Monte Alban and the Zapotec and Mixtec of Oaxaca, the Toltecs, the Maya, and the Aztec, or Mexica. Among other topics to be examined are the calendar, writing, concepts of space and time, the ball game, tribute, human sacrifice and bloodletting, sacred plants, and specific Mesoamerican deities.

ANTH 328 Body and Identity

Explores the social construction and performances of the body and identity through a cross-cultural look at definitions and meanings of the body, codes inscribed on it by our everyday practices (wearing makeup, working out), and choices of decorative markers (clothing, jewelry, tattoos, piercings). How are gender, race, ethnicity, and power status signaled by the body? How is rebellion enacted through the body? Anthropological perspectives are used to explore how people approach these issues across cultural, economic, political, social, and religious contexts.

ANTH 330 Ritual and Religion

Ritual and religion have historically been powerful shapers of society. Every society that has existed has asked universal questions like the following.  Where do we come from? Why are we here? How did “here” get here? How did we get here? How are we supposed to act? What happens to us when we die?  This course provides a cross cultural and comparative examination of sacred texts and teachings to reveal the ideological constructs that people have generated in seeking to answer these questions.  Concepts and practices of holy, creation, anima, heroes/prophets, codes of behavior, ritual and prayer, and the center-world tree-temple complex are examined as they are revealed in the sacred primary texts. The course emphasizes the influence of the social, environmental, and economic contexts on ideological systems and incorporates field research to local religious specialists in the region.

ANTH 340 Immigration and Health

Migration has become a common phenomenon and is an indication of the growing interdependence of nation-states in an increasingly globalized economy. The health implications of migration challenge public health systems worldwide. At the same time, providing health care for immigrants in receiving countries is a politically contentious and urgent issue. This course cross culturally examines the impact of human migration on the health of migrant communities in a transnational context. By situating migration and its impact on health within the political and economic reality of globalization the course will examine health impacts as well as the social and political context of how immigrants access and utilize health care services. The course will also examine how class, ethnicity and gender condition the health of migrants.

ANTH 350 Visual Anthropology

Course explores the field of visual anthropology, including but not limited to the examination of ethnographic film, process and production of ethnographic film, the relationship between the filmmaker and the subjects of the film, ethnographic photography, visual representation, multimedia presentation of ethnographic data, digitization of ethnographic data, community-led visual ethnography, and the use of ethnographic film in community advocacy.

ANTH 370 Environment, Population, and Culture

This course focuses on contemporary world problems from interdisciplinary and anthropological perspectives.  Employing the cross-cultural, evolutionary, and multi-disciplinary methods of anthropology and cultural ecology, the course examines the environmental crisis, rain forest destruction, resource management, consumption culture, world hunger, food systems, population pressure, poverty, energy distribution, the future of the global free market, and the role of ideology in environmental adaptation with the objective to foster crisis awareness and informed response.

ANTH 380 Current Archaeology

General survey of global archaeological sites, archaeological practice, the history of archaeology, and current issues in archaeology including intellectual property rights and the relationship between archaeology and world/regional cultural resources. Course includes examination of the construction of culture history and the archaeological record, survey and excavation, dating technologies, and subsistence patterns. Portions of the class are dedicated to examination of local archaeological sites or collections, pictographs and petroglyphs, lithic techniques, indigenous land management practices, indigenous resource management practices, indigenous knowledge of archaeological sites, ceremonial sites, food gathering and processing sites, village sites, and contemporary use of culturally significant sites by local indigenous bands.

ANTH 390 Anthropological Research Methods

Introduces the fundamental methods in cultural anthropology including research design, participant observation, informant selection, organization of field notes, household and community questionnaires, structured and unstructured interviews, oral and life histories, case studies, focus groups, archival research and secondary data, and coding and analysis of qualitative data. Topics include construction of research problems, research design, research implementation, preparation of human subject protocols, strategies of data collection and analysis, and report preparation

ANTH 430 Medical Ethnography

Course involves advanced students conducting ethnographic fieldwork in local health clinics or hospitals or with local communities with unique medical cultures. Course examines patterns of health service utilization and access to clinical health care, as well as alternatives to clinical health care. Students, working collaboratively with either health care professionals and/or ethnic populations with special health care needs, such as immigrant or indigenous communities, document and analyze ethnographic data pertaining to the delivery and consumption of health care services and the generation of health care alternatives, such as community medicinal gardens. A focused research question is examined through interviewing, participant observation, data collection, and analysis involving the community under study and specific health service providers.

ANTH 440 Farmworker Health Ethnography

Course involves field and quantitative ethnographic research regarding the health and health care practices of local farmworker communities. Farmworker Health and Ethnography uses the California Agricultural Workers Health Survey (CAWHS) to document and analyze the health of local agricultural workers and contribute to a long-term study of farmworker health. The course relies on partnerships with local health care providers, local farmworker organizations, and local agencies. Using quantitative ethnographic field methods, particularly the administration of a health survey instrument to local farmworkers, students record work histories, living conditions, health behaviors, health histories, and use of clinical and non-clinical health care forms to assess the status of health and health care practices among local agricultural workers.  Students engage in ethnographic research among local farmworker populations living in North County San Diego. A principal course objective is to contribute to the documentation and assessment of local farmworker health status and health care practices through the creation of an on-going database and the generation of an annual report on local farmworker health.

ANTH 460 Anthropology and Cultural Competency

Examines the relationship between concepts of cultural competency and realities of cultural interface. Focuses on individual and community interaction with health care, education, legal, social, and cultural institutions from the perspectives of both the provider and consumer of social services. Course topics include distinction between cultural knowledge, awareness, sensitivity, and competence; cross-cultural capabilities; principles of equal access and non-discriminatory practices in service delivery; identification and understanding of the needs and help-seeking behaviors of individuals and families; and the use of informal support and helping networks within culturally diverse communities (e.g. neighborhood, civic and advocacy associations; local/neighborhood merchants and alliance groups; ethnic, social, and religious organizations; and spiritual leaders and healers). Examines the use of cultural and linguistic interpreters; unique social and cultural forms regarding health, education, and social concepts and practices; economic and social barriers to health, social and education services; institutional adaptation to diversity and the cultural contexts of the communities that health, education and social agencies serve; and the role of community in decision making regarding policy and practice by service agencies.  Students generate research questions and conduct case studies regarding cultural competency and cross-cultural capabilities. Fulfills requirement for credit certificate program in Cultural Competency.

ANTH 470 Community Ethnobotany

Course continues the development of the The Indian Rock collaboration between anthropology and advanced computer art students at CSUSM and the San Luis Rey Band of Luiseño Indians in Vista, California. Community Ethnobotany offers an opportunity for students to engage with members of the local indigenous community, to understand the social, economic, environmental, historical, and cultural worlds in which the members of the community live, and to participate in the implementation of the Indian Rock Native Garden as well as in the crucial process of cultural preservation.  A central goal of the course is to instill through practice social responsibility towards the local community on the part of both the university and the students and a long-term collaborative relationship between the indigenous community and the university.

ANTH 480 Local Archaeological Practice

Students perform archaeological and anthropological research relating to local cultural resource management (CRM) and documentation. Students engage with local professional archaeologists and Native American groups working in cultural resource management to learn site research methods, identification and documentation of material culture.  The primary goals of this class are 1) to provide students with an appreciation of the importance of CRM; 2) to provide students with an understanding of the legislation that drives CRM; 3) to expose students to the everyday practices of archaeological practice in a CRM context, and to 4) expose the students to various cultural viewpoints with recovered archaeology. The course is divided into 3 segments. The first presents a background to CRM law and practice (Sections 1-5). The second section focuses on CRM Archaeology- how CRM archaeologists operate in the field, the phases of CRM archaeology, and what happens to the data once the project is over (Sections 6-11). The third section covers preservation, ethics, and specific case studies (Sections 12-15). Field activity includes working with an archaeological collection and review of unpublished literature produced during the CRM process, conducting a record search/review of recorded site information for a particular area. Students write a proposal/brief archaeological research project during Sections 2 and 3. In addition, through a series of exercises, the student explores the connection between archaeological field work and interpretation.

ANTH/NATV 481 Native American Archaeological Monitoring

Students work with local Native American bands concerning cultural preservation and the monitoring of archaeological sites threatened by development. Students examine traditional land use management and the traditional knowledge associated with specific sites. Students learn site research methods, identification and documentation of material culture, interpretation of federal, state, county, city, and private documents including Environmental Impact Reports, California Environmental Quality Act, land use legislation, and assessment of cultural significance. Course covers preservation options, ethics, and specific case studies. Pre-requisite ANTH 200.

ANTH 498 Directed Research in Anthropology

Involves original anthropological research directed by instructor. Advanced students in anthropology propose an ethnographic and anthropological research project, or collaborate with original research project to gain experience in field research, data analysis, and write up.

ANTH 499 Directed Research in Medical Anthropology

Involves original anthropological research in medicine or health care directed by instructor. Advanced students propose an ethnographic and anthropological research project, or collaborate with original research project to gain experience in field research, data analysis, and write up.