Anthropology studies human beings and their behavior in all of its variety and complexity through the concept of culture. It is a holistic discipline that draws on the insights of natural and social sciences, humanities and arts, demanding a broad foundation for understanding the ways human cultures shape and are shaped by historical, environmental, biological and social forces. It is thus an ideal major for students interested in acquiring knowledge and skills for living and working in our culturally diverse and complex world.
The discipline is divided into four subfields that focus more precisely on specific sets of human questions. Sociocultural anthropology studies humans as meaning-making beings, using a variety of methods to investigate how people living in different societies experience and make sense of their worlds. Archaeology reconstructs past cultural behavior and sociocultural systems through the analysis of the materials remaining from human activities and deposited in sites ranging from ancient cities to paleolithic hunting camps. Biological anthropology studies human beings as biocultural organisms within the framework of evolution through the study of fossils, living primates, human skeletal remains, and genetic variation in living people. Linguistic anthropology investigates the myriad ways in which communication, thought, and social life affect each other by observing how speakers use language in a wide range of social settings.
The faculty in the anthropology department offer a broad range of courses covering anthropology’s four subfields. All classes value the active involvement of students, promote critical understanding of course material, and promote regular collaboration with students in the learning process. In addition, we provide students with engaged learning opportunities both on and off campus through our field schools, study abroad courses, collaborative research opportunities, internships, and teaching apprenticeships. Anthropology labs are equipped for research on archaeological artifacts and skeletal materials. The cultural diversity of the Twin Cities and Hamline’s off-campus study programs offer a variety of opportunities for comparative cultural studies.
Opportunities for Nonmajors
Anthropology Courses open to Nonmajors
All anthropology courses are open to nonmajors. A prerequisite of ANTH 1160: Introduction to Anthropology is recommended for upper-level courses, though familiarity with the perspectives of other social science disciplines may be adequate for several. For example, courses of particular interest to nonmajors include: ANTH 1100: World Prehistory, ANTH 1300: Ethnography: Text and Film, ANTH 1410: Indonesian Music and Cultures, ANTH 1530: Human Evolution, ANTH 3260: Pilgrims, Travelers, Tourists, ANTH 3330: North American Indian History and Cultures, ANTH 3410: Africa, Music, and Cultural Production, ANTH 3430: Transnational Migration and Diasporic Communities, ANTH 3460: From Development to Globalization, ANTH 3470: Prehistory of the Non-Mediterranean World, ANTH 3490: Language, Culture, and Society, ANTH 3530: Culture, Illness, and Health, ANTH 3570: Religion, Culture, and the State, and ANTH 3580: Cultural Psychology.
Anthropology Study-Abroad Courses
Nonmajors also may take a number of anthropology study-abroad courses including: ANTH 3230: Made in China: The Cultures of Economic Transformation, ANTH 3240: The Ancient and Modern Maya of Yucatan, ANTH 3250: Ancient Civilizations of the Mexican Highlands, ANTH 3270: Exploring Ancient Southeast Asia, ANTH 3340: Exploring the Ancient Civilizations of Peru, and ANTH 3390: Field Experience in Ghana: Study Abroad.
The Anthropology Department expects all majors to engage in some form of critical independent study, typically in their junior or senior year. Upon recommendation of anthropology faculty during the junior year, senior majors are eligible to work toward departmental honors at graduation by successful completion and defense of a serious research/writing project in the form of a baccalaureate thesis.
Student success is also measured through compilation of a portfolio. With the assistance of their advisor, students are requested to put together a portfolio consisting of materials that record their growth and accomplishments, in terms of skills and knowledge, as anthropology majors.
Internships and Teaching Apprenticeships
Opportunities are available for majors to fulfill the LEAD requirement by a teaching apprenticeship in the department, or an internship organized and coordinated through the Department of Anthropology.
Anthropology serves as an excellent basis for any career where one encounters people from a variety of cultural backgrounds. Integrative understanding and cultural sensitivity are useful tools for lawyers, teachers, health professionals, planners, public servants, and business people. Many majors go on to graduate or professional training in anthropology or related fields. There are other opportunities as well in the growing field of applied anthropology.
Anthropologists are employed in fields such as governmental and non-governmental organizations, museums, and educational institutions of various kinds. Fieldwork is carried out in such organizations as school systems, citywide health systems, agricultural development programs, and multicommunity urban cities and rural areas. Another significant trend is for anthropologists to work closely with community people–ethnic organizations, neighborhood health clinics, immigrant organizations, women’s groups, and other community groups–whose activities require up-to-date quantitative and descriptive data.
Among the resources of the Department of Anthropology are Archaeology and Human Osteology Labs, Minnesota Archaeology and Osteology Collections, and Africa and China Collections. Monthly meetings of the Maya Society of Minnesota during the academic year bring nationally- and internationally-recognized speakers to Hamline’s campus. Students have opportunities to interact directly with them and often become active in this organization.
Cynthia A Cone, professor emeritus. BA 1956, MA 1971, PhD 1976 University of Minnesota. Community and rural development, comparative study of art and aesthetics, psychological anthropology, applied research, Middle and North America.
David J. Davies, associate professor. BA 1991, Hamline University; MA 1997, PhD 2002 University of Washington. History and anthropology, social memory, nostalgia, travel and representation; P.R. China. He also serves as director of the East Asian studies program.
Verne A. “Van” Dusenbery, professor. AB 1973, Stanford University; AM 1975, PhD 1989, University of Chicago. Social theory, political anthropology, anthropology of religion, transnational communities; South Asia, Southeast Asia, Australia, North America. He also serves as the Chair of the Global Studies Program at Hamline University.
Kathryn Linn Geurts, associate professor. BA 1984 Sarah Lawrence College; MA 1991, PhD 1998 University of Pennsylvania. Psychological anthropology, medical anthropology, anthropology of the senses and subjectivity, disability oppression and empowerment, theory in ethnography, postcolonialism; West Africa, Ghana, North America.
Brian W. Hoffman, associate professor, chair. BA 1983 Augsburg College; MA 1994, PhD 2002 University of Wisconsin. Hunter-gatherers, household archaeology, sociopolitical complexity, lithic analyses; Arctic, North Pacific.
Lewis “Skip” C. Messenger, Jr., professor. BA 1971, Hiram College; MA 1975, Universidad de Las Americas; PhD 1984, University of Minnesota. Archaeology, complex societies, cultural ecology, tropical food-producing systems, environmental archaeology, climate change, Mesoamerica, Southeast Asia.
Susan M. T. Myster, professor. BA 1984, Hamline University; MA 1989, PhD 2001, University of Tennessee. Biological anthropology, human osteology, prehistoric population relationships and migration patterns, human evolution, forensic anthropology, North America. She also serves as Director of the Forensic Sciences Certificate Program at Hamline University.