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 cultural behavior and sociocultural systems through the analysis of the materials remaining from human activities and deposited in sites ranging from paleolithic hunting camps to modern cities. 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. Courses of particular interest to nonmajors include: ANTH 1100: World Prehistory, ANTH 1300: Ethnography: Text and Film, ANTH 1530: Human Evolution, or any of our “topics in anthropology” offerings.
Anthropology Study-Abroad Courses
Nonmajors also may take a number of anthropology study-abroad courses including: ANTH 3240: The Ancient and Modern Maya of Yucatan, ANTH 3250: Ancient Civilizations of the Mexican Highlands, ANTH 3270: Exploring Ancient Southeast Asia, and ANTH 3340: Exploring the Ancient Civilizations of Peru.
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 by successful completion and defense of a serious research/writing project in the form of a baccalaureate thesis.
Internships and Teaching Apprenticeships
Opportunities are available for majors to fulfill the LEAP requirement through coursework or an internship organized and coordinated through the Department of Anthropology. Teaching apprenticeships for majors are offered in a number of courses including ANTH 1160: Introduction to Anthropology, ANTH 3220: Laboratory Techniques in Archaeology, ANTH 3440: Human Osteology, and ANTH 3500: Forensic Anthropology, and ANTH 5260: Anthropological Thought and Theory.
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.
Applied anthropology is a rapidly growing area of employment. Anthropologists bring their knowledge and skills to government and non-government organizations, museums, corporations, tribal and ethnic associations, advocacy groups, and educational institutions of various kinds. Fieldwork is carried out in cultural resource management, public health, forensics, food and agricultural systems, marketing and business culture.
The Department of Anthropology operates three research/teaching labs: the Archaeology Lab (DSC 19), the Human Osteology Lab (DSC 207), and the Visual Anthropology Lab (GLC 9S). In addition to equipment and research space, these labs offer students access to collections in North Americana archaeology, zooarchaeology, human osteology, human evolution casts, and Africa and China ethnographic materials. 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. Donors to the Anthropology Department have created a research fund to support student and faculty activities. Anthropology majors can apply for these funds in order to attend conferences, travel, and pay for research expenses. Department faculty also work closely with the Minnesota Indian Affairs Council, the Minnesota Historical Society, the Minnesota Office of State Archaeologists, the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, and US Fish & Wildlife Service. Anthropology majors are able to work on grant and contract funded research and applied anthropology project with these organizations.
K. Valentine Cadieux, assistant professor. AB 1998, Harvard and Radcliffe Colleges; MA 2001, PhD 2006 University of Toronto. She also serves as director of the Environmental Studies program.
David J. Davies, professor. BA 1991, Hamline University; MA 1997, PhD 2002 University of Washington. History and anthropology, social memory, nostalgia, travel and representation; P.R. China. On leave for the 2017-2018 academic year.
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. On leave for the 2017-2018 academic year.