This course will be an overview of the discipline of cultural anthropology, introducing the student to diverse cultures around the globe through reading and analysis of anthropologists’ writings about their work. Readings will show that humans in different cultures have developed different solutions to the same problems. Emphasis will be placed on techniques for learning about other cultures, and the theories and concepts used to understand why humans behave as they do.
A survey of the ﬁeld of archaeology, including these topics: the history and goals of archaeology; methods for recovering, dating, preserving, analyzing, and interpreting archaeological data; and the contributions of archaeology to a study of the past. May include sections on the archaeology of New England, the archaeology of foraging societies, and the origins of agriculture.
Through a collaboration with Fruitlands Museum, Assumption College offers this field methods course in historical archeology. It involves students in excavation, survey, measured drawing, sampling procedures, conservation and other field, lab and recording activities through participation in an excavation at the Willard-Atherton site, an 18th-19th century house on the grounds of Fruitlands Museum in Harvard, Massachusetts. The first two classes provide an introduction to the site and to archaeological recording practices. For the rest of the course, students gain skills through participation in excavation and in lab processing of the recovered archaeological materials. Students are responsible for their own lunches and for transportation to the site, approximately 40 minutes from Assumption College. 6 credits
A cross-cultural study of humankind’s responses to the wonder and terror of the process of nature, and efforts to control these processes through interaction with, and manipulation and control of, supernatural beings, power, and events. Emphasis is placed on the diversity of the human religious experience in its broadest sense. This class considers both anthropological theory and ethnographic data.
This course takes an anthropological approach to the study of folklore in the context of festivals and holidays. This semester we will be focusing on the British Isles, Ireland and America. We will take a look at seasonal and calendrical rites of passage and rituals of intensification with a view to understanding the prehistoric and historic origins of the folkloric beliefs and customs associated with these rituals. Using models of the anthropology of performance and agency, we will examine ways in which these rituals are socially constructed, and how they shape regional and local identity.
This course uses an anthropological approach to introduce aspects of Chinese culture in mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan. Such topics as the individual, household and family, marriage and reproduction, religion and ritual, and art are examined using ethnography, film historical materials, autobiographical and fictional accounts to develop an understanding of the differences and similarities of Chinese society in these three locations.
This course will examine the dialectic between media and society. Media includes but is not limited to: newspapers, magazines, radio, TV, films, audio CDs, and most importantly in the third millennium — information dispensed digitally via Internet news, educational, sales and propaganda websites, email, instant messaging, text messaging, blogs, YouTube, Twitter and social networking websites such as Facebook. In this course, students will work together to discover emergent forms of social discourse and analyze ways in which these forms affect society, using the principles of sociology.
Assumption College participates in an exchange program with Providence University in Taiwan that allows Assumption students to study in Taiwan for one month during the summer. A specially designed course of studies in Chinese culture, language and calligraphy, coupled with travel throughout the island, will give Assumption students an introduction to this ancient culture that will be so important both culturally and economically in this new millennium. 6 credits