Student Learning Outcomes

Goals of the Sociocultural Track

Students who complete the cultural-social track of the anthropology major should:

  • 1. Be able to recognize and critically engage popular versions of anthropological theories in such non-academic forms as informal conversation and mass-mediated entertainment; and furthermore, when these popular versions of anthropological theories are versions of social evolutionism and/or racism, or are ethnocentric, be able to identify their fallacies and harmful consequences;
  • 2. Be able, when reading an anthropological article or book, to recognize and critically discuss the work's relationship to major paradigmatic traditions in disciplinary anthropology (e.g., functionalism, structuralism, and semiotic theory);
  • 3. Question the universality of meanings and practices; be able to identify contingent social orders through comparisons across time and geography and be able to distinguish human phenomena that are, to various degrees, invariant from those that are not;
  • 4. Be able to relativize—or doubt the absoluteness of—taken-for-granted concepts in their own lives (notably "gender," "race," and "ethnic" identifications) and taken-for-granted institutions and domains in their own social world (such as "the family" and "the economy").
  • 5. Be able to analyze the interconnections among economics, politics, kinship and family, the psyche, and expressive and artistic forms—domains conventionally differentiated and separated by the social sciences.
  • 6. Be able to identify (in particular circumstances) how cultural categories contribute to and reproduce relations of power and inequality.
  • 7. Be able to plan and conduct ethnographic field research projects at an undergraduate level.

Goals of the Human Evolution, Prehistory, and Material Culture Studies Track (HEPtrack)

The educational goals for majors in the HEP track include:

  • 1. An understanding of the human evolutionary past, in terms of both biological and cultural factors;
  • 2. An awareness of the biological facts of contemporary human physical diversity and the socio-political implications attached to the concept of "race" as a means to label differences through 500 years of history, particularly in what is now the U.S.;
  • 3. A recognition of diversity in cultural systems, and the roles played by material culture in the negotiation of cultures and the agency practiced by their social enactors;
  • 4. An ability to analyze problems, to formulate and test hypotheses, to seek evidence and interpret data rationally, and to recognize one's own bias as well as the biases of others;
  • 5. An ability to conduct original research.

Goals of both tracks

All students who complete the anthropology major should:

  • 1. Comprehend and critically analyze scholarly works; demonstrate a capacity to distinguish the author's point of view from the views the author criticizes, responds to, and builds upon;
  • 2. Write cogent, clear research papers and short anthropological essays.