Sociology and Anthropology Courses

Fall 2015

See complete information about these courses in the course offerings database. For more information about a specific course, including course type, schedule and location, click on its title.

Introduction to Anthropology

SOAN 101 - Bell (Multiple Sections)

An examination of people and their cultures. An introduction to the techniques employed by the physical anthropologist, archaeologist, and ethnographer is provided. Specific subjects considered include: the physical prerequisites to the acquisition of culture, archaeological interpretation of cultural behavior, and the influences of culture upon the individual and society.

General Sociology

SOAN 102 - Eastwood, Novack (Multiple Sections)

Human society: culture, personality, human nature, social groups, associations, and institutions; analysis of major institutions and of modern social trends.

Basic Statistics in the Social Sciences

SOAN 118 - Eastwood

Introductory statistics course designed to help students become good consumers of statistics, but especially geared for students interested in sociology, archeology, and anthropology. Course is aimed to help students engage in hypothesis-testing. Topics include descriptive and inferential statistics, sampling, and regression analysis. Students also get practical experience with cleaning and analyzing real world secondary data.

FS: First-Year Seminar in Anthropology

SOAN 181 - Gaylord

Fall 2015 topic:

SOAN 181: FS in Anthropology: Discovering W&L's Origins Using Historical Archaeology (3). First-year seminar. Prerequisite: First-year class standing. An introduction to the practice of historical archaeology using Liberty Hall Academy and our ongoing excavations there as a case study. With archaeological excavation and documentary research as our primary sources, students use several software packages common in the archaeological sciences and approaches from the digital humanities to analyze our data and to explore the range of questions and answers that these data and methods of analysis make possible. Hands-on experience with data and its analysis is the focus of this course, with students working together in small groups deciding how to interpret their findings about the University's early history to a public audience. The final project is a museum-quality display of our research installed on campus. (SS4) Gaylord.

Race and Ethnic Relations

SOAN 228 - Novack

An analysis of minority groups in America. Theories of ethnicity are examined focusing on the relationship between class and ethnicity, and on the possible social and biological significance of racial differences. Attention is also given to prejudice and discrimination, as well as to consideration of minority strategies to bring about change.

Anthropology of American History

SOAN 238 - Bell

This course explores issues within historic American communities that ethnographers often investigate among living groups, including cultural values, religious ideologies, class structures, kinship networks, gender roles, and interethnic relations. Although the communities of interest in this course ceased to exist generations ago, many of their characteristic dynamics are accessible through such means as archaeology, architectural history, and the study of documents. Case studies include early English settlement in Plymouth, Massachusetts; the 18th-century plantation world of Virginia and South Carolina; the post-Revolutionary Maine frontier; and 19th-century California.

Food, Culture, and Society

SOAN 240 - Goluboff

This course explores connections among food, culture, and society. Food has been an essential way that individuals and societies define themselves, especially now in our ever globalizing world, as cultural anthropology continues to be a central discipline guiding this field of study. Students review some of the classic symbolic and structural analyses of gastro-politics. We explore relationships between fast-food/globalized taste vs. the Slow Food Movement/localized taste, and delve into socioeconomic and political practices behind the production and consumption of coffee, milk products, and alcoholic beverages. Students investigate relationships among cooking/eating and race, gender, and sexuality, and discuss community food justice. Opportunities to experience the Rockbridge area food scene are integrated into the syllabus.

Seminar in Medical Anthropology

SOAN 277 - Markowitz (Multiple Sections)

Despite radical differences in theory and procedure, the diagnosis and treatment of diseases are human cultural universals. This seminar first examines the beliefs and practices that comprise the medical systems found among a wide variety of non-western peoples. We then investigates the responses of a number of non-western communities to the introduction of western, biomedical practices. We finish by considering such ethical issues as whether or not non-western peoples who supply western doctors and pharmacologists with knowledge of curing agents should be accorded intellectual property rights over this information; in what situations, if any, should western medical personnel impose biomedical treatments on populations; and should anthropologists make use of indigenous peoples as medical trial subjects as was allegedly done by Napoleon Chagnon.

Special Topics in Anthropology

SOAN 291 - Markowitz

A discussion of a series of topics of anthropological concern. May be repeated for degree credit if the topics are different.

Fall 2015 topic:

SOAN 291: Seminar in American Indian Ethnohistory (3). No prerequisite. One of the major goals of modern ethnohistory is to use historical and anthropological methods to uncover the understandings that non-western peoples have of their own histories. This seminar introduces students to the theoretical and methodological principles of ethnohistorical research and their application to North American Indian peoples. Students first study American Indian conceptions of time and their relationship to the criteria by which tribal communities selected and comprehended the events comprising their histories. We then examine how Indian tribes from different parts of North America, including the Southwest, Northeast, Southeast, and Plains interpreted, evaluated, and responded to their encounters with colonial and the United States governments. Markowitz.

Theorizing Social Life

SOAN 360 - Goluboff

This seminar considers the development of theory about social life and culture within anthropology and sociology. We read the works that have shaped, and continue to shape, major theoretical trends in these interconnected disciplines.

Methods of Social Inquiry

SOAN 375 - Chin (Multiple Sections)

The rationale and practice of social research methods and their relationship to social theory. Major aspects of social inquiry - such as asking questions, creating hypotheses, measurement and interpretation are examined. The course includes lecture, discussion, and completing a major term-long research project.

Special Topics in Sociology

SOAN 390 - Novack

A discussion of a series of topics of sociological concern. May be repeated for degree credit if the topics are different.

Fall 2015 topic:

SOAN 390: Microsociology (3). Prerequsite: One course in Sociology/ Anthropology. The focus of this seminar is on the intricacies of social interaction. Particular emphasis is placed on three theoretical approaches: symbolic interaction, social dramaturgy, and social construction. Each model is examined with regard to the meaning of interaction and the manner in which it operates, with emphasis placed as well on socialization and self-development within the context of social determinism and voluntarism. The seminar concludes with viewing the various interactionist perspectives as elements to be incorporated in developing a more coherent, emergent image of social interaction. Novack.

Honors Thesis

SOAN 493 - Bell, Eastwood, Novack (Multiple Sections)

Honors Thesis.


Spring 2015

See complete information about these courses in the course offerings database. For more information about a specific course, including course type, schedule and location, click on its title.

Exploring Social Networks

SOAN 265 - Eastwood

This course is an introduction to network analysis. Students learn some of the major network analysis literature in sociology and related fields and develop their skills as network analysts in laboratory sessions. Social science, humanities, business, and public health applications are emphasized.

Adolescence Under the Microscope

SOAN 281 - Novack / Novack

This course focuses on adolescence through the lens of social psychology. Insights from sociology, anthropology, and psychology are employed to explicate the adolescent experience in the United States in contrast to other societies. Topics include: the impact of liminality on adolescent identity in cross-cultural perspective; adolescence as objective reality or cultural fiction; adolescence and peer relations, gender and suicide; and new technologies and virtual adolescence. Each student engages in a research project focusing on adolescence and identity through either interviews or observational techniques. The final project is a group analysis of adolescence as reflected in Facebook.

Special Topics in Sociology

SOAN 290A - Jasiewicz

A discussion of a series of topics of sociological concern. May be repeated for degree credit if the topics are different.

Spring 2015 topics:

SOAN 290A: Polish Politics, Society and Culture (4).  Prerequisite: Instructor consent required. This study abroad program in Poland will examine the contemporary cultural, social, and political issues of this nation.  Poland will be examined here as a test case of a rapid social, political, and economic change, which characterizes the recent historical developments in the entire East Central Europe.  The chief educational objective of the course is demonstrate to American students that the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness can be achieved (1) despite major historical, cultural, and geopolitical adversities, and (2) within a framework of political, social, and economic institutions that are markedly different from those they have known in the United States.

SOAN 290B: Medical Sociology (4). No prerequisite. SOC 102 recommended. The course introduces the sociological perspectives of health and medicine. The class will explore the underlying premise that social factors, not just biological ones, influence health outcomes and the practice of medicine. We cover how our everyday environments can affect our health, both through macro-level institutions (e.g., the shape our healthcare system) to micro-level interactions (e.g., doctor-patient interactions). In doing so, we consider the social organization of health, illness and medicine that go beyond differential access to medical care. Some questions we address include: How is the medical profession changing? What are the pros and cons of market-driven medicine? Does class have an enduring impact on health outcomes? Are we what our friends eat? Can unconscious biases affect the quality of care for people of different ethnicities? Chin

Special Topics in Sociology

SOAN 290B - Chin

A discussion of a series of topics of sociological concern. May be repeated for degree credit if the topics are different.

Spring 2015 topics:

SOAN 290A: Polish Politics, Society and Culture (4).  Prerequisite: Instructor consent required. This study abroad program in Poland will examine the contemporary cultural, social, and political issues of this nation.  Poland will be examined here as a test case of a rapid social, political, and economic change, which characterizes the recent historical developments in the entire East Central Europe.  The chief educational objective of the course is demonstrate to American students that the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness can be achieved (1) despite major historical, cultural, and geopolitical adversities, and (2) within a framework of political, social, and economic institutions that are markedly different from those they have known in the United States.

SOAN 290B: Medical Sociology (4). No prerequisite. SOC 102 recommended. The course introduces the sociological perspectives of health and medicine. The class will explore the underlying premise that social factors, not just biological ones, influence health outcomes and the practice of medicine. We cover how our everyday environments can affect our health, both through macro-level institutions (e.g., the shape our healthcare system) to micro-level interactions (e.g., doctor-patient interactions). In doing so, we consider the social organization of health, illness and medicine that go beyond differential access to medical care. Some questions we address include: How is the medical profession changing? What are the pros and cons of market-driven medicine? Does class have an enduring impact on health outcomes? Are we what our friends eat? Can unconscious biases affect the quality of care for people of different ethnicities? Chin

Special Topics in Anthropology

SOAN 291A - Goluboff

A discussion of a series of topics of anthropological concern. May be repeated for degree credit if the topics are different.

Spring 2015 topics:

SOAN 291-01: Special Topics in Anthropology: Cults (4). In this course, we explore the phenomenon of cults (also known as new religious movements, NRMs). We look at the development of cults, how they operate, and the experiences of those who participate in them. Topics to discuss include: brainwashing, gender, violence, sexuality, child rearing, and the possibility of objectivity on the part of the researcher. We analyze a variety of case studies, but, most importantly, we structure the term around a visit from Marsha Goluboff Low, who will talk about the eighteen years she spent as an Ananda Marga yogic nun. In preparation, we read her autobiography, Orange Robe. (SS4) Goluboff. Spring 2015

SOAN 291-02: Special Topics in Anthropology: Chanting Down Babylon: Rastafari, Reggae, and Structural Inequality (4). This course examines the way people negotiate and giving meaning to experiences of social, racial, and economic inequality, by exploring Rastafarianism, Reggae, and Dancehall subcultures in Jamaica. We investigate the social and economic context that gave rise to Rastafarianism and its central tenets, while also examining the shifting political context through which Rastafarianism, Reggae, and Dancehall continue to find meaning and powerful critical commentary. Throughout this course, we analyze the lyrics of reggae and dancehall music that give insight into the worldview of Rastafarians and the structural inequalities of Jamaican society. Includes discussions on the global impact of Rastafarianism and reggae and its resonance to the experiences of people world-wide. Jenkins. Spring 2015

Winter 2015 topics:

SOAN 291-01: Topics in Anthropology: Campus Sex in the Digital Age (3). This class explores how the cell phone has impacted hooking up and dating on campus, with particular attention to Washington and Lee University as a case study. We discuss the development of campus sexual culture in America and the influence of digital technology on student sociality. Students use open source digital research tools to analyze data (interviews, focus groups, and statistics) collected about dating and hookup behavior at our college. As a digital humanities project, students work in groups to post their analyses on the class WordPress site. Goluboff.   SOAN 291-02: Topics in Anthropology: Contemporary Forms of Slavery (3). This course introduces students to how anthropologists have studied 'contemporary forms of slavery', a term representing many forms of inequality, including child labor, debt bondage, and religious practices, among others. The course investigates the language of slavery and what ideas we have about the practice in historical and contemporary forms, while also examining the historical development of using the term to describe these varying forms of inequality. Throughout the course, we examine the complexity involved in applying universalistic ideas of human rights, and the social, political, and economic dimensions of inequality. Jenkins.

SOAN 291-03: Topics in Anthropology: Consumer Cultures (3). "It is extraordinary to discover that no one knows why people want goods," or so observed a famous pair of authors -- one an anthropologist, the other an economist -- in 1979. What, since then, have anthropology and interrelated disciplines learned about consumer desire? This course considers human interaction with the material world in a variety of cultures, periods, and scales. From socio-cultural and political perspectives, what do consumers hope to accomplish by buying, patronizing, or using products like Barbies, bottled water, craft beer, tattoos and piercings, football games, farm houses, history museums, cemeteries, or asylums? How does consumerism facilitate claims to social connection, personal identity, and meaning? And how do potentially constructive roles of buying "stuff" relate to debt, hoarding, and environmental overexploitation? Bell.

SOAN 291-04: Topics in Anthropology: Anthropology of International Development (3). This course introduces students to theories, practices, and experiences of economic and social development initiatives that seek to address economic growth, poverty, and inequality. We begin with an overview of the key theoretical and policy frameworks that have informed development initiatives in the post-colonial context. We then examine particular themes in various cultural contexts, specifically discussing gender and households, the informal economy, the experience of poverty and suffering, and the role of governmental and non-governmental organizations. We also examine anthropology's critical engagement with policies of economic development and the role of anthropologists in the planning and execution of development projects. Jenkins.

Fall 2014 topic:

SOAN 291: Economic Anthropology (3). This course presents a cross-cultural survey of economic practices throughout time and around the world. Using classic and contemporary anthropological studies, we seek to understand how people have organized production, exchange, and consumption, and how these processes articulate with community dynamics such as religious beliefs, ethical codes, social networks, and gender roles. With case studies ranging from prehistoric foragers to contemporary cell phone users, we investigate culturally diverse and socially embedded understandings of commodities, gifts, property, success, and wealth. Bell.

Special Topics in Anthropology

SOAN 291B - Jenkins

A discussion of a series of topics of anthropological concern. May be repeated for degree credit if the topics are different.

Spring 2015 topics:

SOAN 291-01: Special Topics in Anthropology: Cults (4). In this course, we explore the phenomenon of cults (also known as new religious movements, NRMs). We look at the development of cults, how they operate, and the experiences of those who participate in them. Topics to discuss include: brainwashing, gender, violence, sexuality, child rearing, and the possibility of objectivity on the part of the researcher. We analyze a variety of case studies, but, most importantly, we structure the term around a visit from Marsha Goluboff Low, who will talk about the eighteen years she spent as an Ananda Marga yogic nun. In preparation, we read her autobiography, Orange Robe. (SS4) Goluboff. Spring 2015

SOAN 291-02: Special Topics in Anthropology: Chanting Down Babylon: Rastafari, Reggae, and Structural Inequality (4). This course examines the way people negotiate and giving meaning to experiences of social, racial, and economic inequality, by exploring Rastafarianism, Reggae, and Dancehall subcultures in Jamaica. We investigate the social and economic context that gave rise to Rastafarianism and its central tenets, while also examining the shifting political context through which Rastafarianism, Reggae, and Dancehall continue to find meaning and powerful critical commentary. Throughout this course, we analyze the lyrics of reggae and dancehall music that give insight into the worldview of Rastafarians and the structural inequalities of Jamaican society. Includes discussions on the global impact of Rastafarianism and reggae and its resonance to the experiences of people world-wide. Jenkins. Spring 2015

Winter 2015 topics:

SOAN 291-01: Topics in Anthropology: Campus Sex in the Digital Age (3). This class explores how the cell phone has impacted hooking up and dating on campus, with particular attention to Washington and Lee University as a case study. We discuss the development of campus sexual culture in America and the influence of digital technology on student sociality. Students use open source digital research tools to analyze data (interviews, focus groups, and statistics) collected about dating and hookup behavior at our college. As a digital humanities project, students work in groups to post their analyses on the class WordPress site. Goluboff.   SOAN 291-02: Topics in Anthropology: Contemporary Forms of Slavery (3). This course introduces students to how anthropologists have studied 'contemporary forms of slavery', a term representing many forms of inequality, including child labor, debt bondage, and religious practices, among others. The course investigates the language of slavery and what ideas we have about the practice in historical and contemporary forms, while also examining the historical development of using the term to describe these varying forms of inequality. Throughout the course, we examine the complexity involved in applying universalistic ideas of human rights, and the social, political, and economic dimensions of inequality. Jenkins.

SOAN 291-03: Topics in Anthropology: Consumer Cultures (3). "It is extraordinary to discover that no one knows why people want goods," or so observed a famous pair of authors -- one an anthropologist, the other an economist -- in 1979. What, since then, have anthropology and interrelated disciplines learned about consumer desire? This course considers human interaction with the material world in a variety of cultures, periods, and scales. From socio-cultural and political perspectives, what do consumers hope to accomplish by buying, patronizing, or using products like Barbies, bottled water, craft beer, tattoos and piercings, football games, farm houses, history museums, cemeteries, or asylums? How does consumerism facilitate claims to social connection, personal identity, and meaning? And how do potentially constructive roles of buying "stuff" relate to debt, hoarding, and environmental overexploitation? Bell.

SOAN 291-04: Topics in Anthropology: Anthropology of International Development (3). This course introduces students to theories, practices, and experiences of economic and social development initiatives that seek to address economic growth, poverty, and inequality. We begin with an overview of the key theoretical and policy frameworks that have informed development initiatives in the post-colonial context. We then examine particular themes in various cultural contexts, specifically discussing gender and households, the informal economy, the experience of poverty and suffering, and the role of governmental and non-governmental organizations. We also examine anthropology's critical engagement with policies of economic development and the role of anthropologists in the planning and execution of development projects. Jenkins.

Fall 2014 topic:

SOAN 291: Economic Anthropology (3). This course presents a cross-cultural survey of economic practices throughout time and around the world. Using classic and contemporary anthropological studies, we seek to understand how people have organized production, exchange, and consumption, and how these processes articulate with community dynamics such as religious beliefs, ethical codes, social networks, and gender roles. With case studies ranging from prehistoric foragers to contemporary cell phone users, we investigate culturally diverse and socially embedded understandings of commodities, gifts, property, success, and wealth. Bell.

Field Methods in Archaeology

SOAN 377 - Gaylord

Fieldwork in archaeology. The student participates in all phases of ongoing archaeological projects. Students who have successfully completed SOAN 206 (old ANTH 205) are assured of a place in ANTH 377. With the supervision of the instructor, students may take ANTH 377 more than once. May be repeated for degree credit if the topics are different.


Winter 2015

See complete information about these courses in the course offerings database. For more information about a specific course, including course type, schedule and location, click on its title.

Introduction to Anthropology

SOAN 101 - Goluboff, Jenkins (Multiple Sections)

An examination of people and their cultures. An introduction to the techniques employed by the physical anthropologist, archaeologist, and ethnographer is provided. Specific subjects considered include: the physical prerequisites to the acquisition of culture, archaeological interpretation of cultural behavior, and the influences of culture upon the individual and society.

General Sociology

SOAN 102 - Chin (Multiple Sections)

Human society: culture, personality, human nature, social groups, associations, and institutions; analysis of major institutions and of modern social trends.

Biological Anthropology

SOAN 207 - Bell

This course considers the emergence and evolution of Homo sapiens from fossil, archaeological, and genetic evidence. The class focuses on evolutionary mechanisms; selective pressures for key human biological and behavioral patterns, such as bipedalism, intelligence, altruism, learned behavior, and expressive culture; relations among prehuman species; the human diaspora; and modern human diversity, particularly "racial" variation. The course also examines theories from sociobiology and evolutionary psychology about motivations for modern human behaviors.

Neighborhoods, Culture, and Poverty

SOAN 266 - Eastwood (Multiple Sections)

This course examines social-scientific research on the determinants of poverty, crime, and ill health by focusing on neighborhoods as the sites where many of the mechanisms impacting these outcomes operate. In addition to engaging with key readings and participating in seminar discussions, students conduct their own exploratory analyses of neighborhood level processes using ArcGIS and related software.

Deviance

SOAN 270 - Novack

An examination of theories of deviance from a sociological perspective. Particular emphasis is placed on the causes of deviant acts and on the social processes utilized in evaluating these behaviors. Theoretical applications are made to crime and mental illness.

Gender and Sexuality

SOAN 280 - Novack

An anthropological and sociological investigation of sex roles in preliterate and modern societies. Special consideration is given to the role of innate sexual differences, cultural variation, technology, and power in determining patterns of male dominance. Emphasis is placed on real and mythical female and male power in the context of changing relationships between men and women in American society.

Special Topics in Anthropology

SOAN 291 - Goluboff

A discussion of a series of topics of anthropological concern. May be repeated for degree credit if the topics are different.

Spring 2015 topics:

SOAN 291-01: Special Topics in Anthropology: Cults (4). In this course, we explore the phenomenon of cults (also known as new religious movements, NRMs). We look at the development of cults, how they operate, and the experiences of those who participate in them. Topics to discuss include: brainwashing, gender, violence, sexuality, child rearing, and the possibility of objectivity on the part of the researcher. We analyze a variety of case studies, but, most importantly, we structure the term around a visit from Marsha Goluboff Low, who will talk about the eighteen years she spent as an Ananda Marga yogic nun. In preparation, we read her autobiography, Orange Robe. (SS4) Goluboff. Spring 2015

SOAN 291-02: Special Topics in Anthropology: Chanting Down Babylon: Rastafari, Reggae, and Structural Inequality (4). This course examines the way people negotiate and giving meaning to experiences of social, racial, and economic inequality, by exploring Rastafarianism, Reggae, and Dancehall subcultures in Jamaica. We investigate the social and economic context that gave rise to Rastafarianism and its central tenets, while also examining the shifting political context through which Rastafarianism, Reggae, and Dancehall continue to find meaning and powerful critical commentary. Throughout this course, we analyze the lyrics of reggae and dancehall music that give insight into the worldview of Rastafarians and the structural inequalities of Jamaican society. Includes discussions on the global impact of Rastafarianism and reggae and its resonance to the experiences of people world-wide. Jenkins. Spring 2015

Winter 2015 topics:

SOAN 291-01: Topics in Anthropology: Campus Sex in the Digital Age (3). This class explores how the cell phone has impacted hooking up and dating on campus, with particular attention to Washington and Lee University as a case study. We discuss the development of campus sexual culture in America and the influence of digital technology on student sociality. Students use open source digital research tools to analyze data (interviews, focus groups, and statistics) collected about dating and hookup behavior at our college. As a digital humanities project, students work in groups to post their analyses on the class WordPress site. Goluboff.   SOAN 291-02: Topics in Anthropology: Contemporary Forms of Slavery (3). This course introduces students to how anthropologists have studied 'contemporary forms of slavery', a term representing many forms of inequality, including child labor, debt bondage, and religious practices, among others. The course investigates the language of slavery and what ideas we have about the practice in historical and contemporary forms, while also examining the historical development of using the term to describe these varying forms of inequality. Throughout the course, we examine the complexity involved in applying universalistic ideas of human rights, and the social, political, and economic dimensions of inequality. Jenkins.

SOAN 291-03: Topics in Anthropology: Consumer Cultures (3). "It is extraordinary to discover that no one knows why people want goods," or so observed a famous pair of authors -- one an anthropologist, the other an economist -- in 1979. What, since then, have anthropology and interrelated disciplines learned about consumer desire? This course considers human interaction with the material world in a variety of cultures, periods, and scales. From socio-cultural and political perspectives, what do consumers hope to accomplish by buying, patronizing, or using products like Barbies, bottled water, craft beer, tattoos and piercings, football games, farm houses, history museums, cemeteries, or asylums? How does consumerism facilitate claims to social connection, personal identity, and meaning? And how do potentially constructive roles of buying "stuff" relate to debt, hoarding, and environmental overexploitation? Bell.

SOAN 291-04: Topics in Anthropology: Anthropology of International Development (3). This course introduces students to theories, practices, and experiences of economic and social development initiatives that seek to address economic growth, poverty, and inequality. We begin with an overview of the key theoretical and policy frameworks that have informed development initiatives in the post-colonial context. We then examine particular themes in various cultural contexts, specifically discussing gender and households, the informal economy, the experience of poverty and suffering, and the role of governmental and non-governmental organizations. We also examine anthropology's critical engagement with policies of economic development and the role of anthropologists in the planning and execution of development projects. Jenkins.

Fall 2014 topic:

SOAN 291: Economic Anthropology (3). This course presents a cross-cultural survey of economic practices throughout time and around the world. Using classic and contemporary anthropological studies, we seek to understand how people have organized production, exchange, and consumption, and how these processes articulate with community dynamics such as religious beliefs, ethical codes, social networks, and gender roles. With case studies ranging from prehistoric foragers to contemporary cell phone users, we investigate culturally diverse and socially embedded understandings of commodities, gifts, property, success, and wealth. Bell.

Special Topics in Anthropology

SOAN 291B - Jenkins

A discussion of a series of topics of anthropological concern. May be repeated for degree credit if the topics are different.

Spring 2015 topics:

SOAN 291-01: Special Topics in Anthropology: Cults (4). In this course, we explore the phenomenon of cults (also known as new religious movements, NRMs). We look at the development of cults, how they operate, and the experiences of those who participate in them. Topics to discuss include: brainwashing, gender, violence, sexuality, child rearing, and the possibility of objectivity on the part of the researcher. We analyze a variety of case studies, but, most importantly, we structure the term around a visit from Marsha Goluboff Low, who will talk about the eighteen years she spent as an Ananda Marga yogic nun. In preparation, we read her autobiography, Orange Robe. (SS4) Goluboff. Spring 2015

SOAN 291-02: Special Topics in Anthropology: Chanting Down Babylon: Rastafari, Reggae, and Structural Inequality (4). This course examines the way people negotiate and giving meaning to experiences of social, racial, and economic inequality, by exploring Rastafarianism, Reggae, and Dancehall subcultures in Jamaica. We investigate the social and economic context that gave rise to Rastafarianism and its central tenets, while also examining the shifting political context through which Rastafarianism, Reggae, and Dancehall continue to find meaning and powerful critical commentary. Throughout this course, we analyze the lyrics of reggae and dancehall music that give insight into the worldview of Rastafarians and the structural inequalities of Jamaican society. Includes discussions on the global impact of Rastafarianism and reggae and its resonance to the experiences of people world-wide. Jenkins. Spring 2015

Winter 2015 topics:

SOAN 291-01: Topics in Anthropology: Campus Sex in the Digital Age (3). This class explores how the cell phone has impacted hooking up and dating on campus, with particular attention to Washington and Lee University as a case study. We discuss the development of campus sexual culture in America and the influence of digital technology on student sociality. Students use open source digital research tools to analyze data (interviews, focus groups, and statistics) collected about dating and hookup behavior at our college. As a digital humanities project, students work in groups to post their analyses on the class WordPress site. Goluboff.   SOAN 291-02: Topics in Anthropology: Contemporary Forms of Slavery (3). This course introduces students to how anthropologists have studied 'contemporary forms of slavery', a term representing many forms of inequality, including child labor, debt bondage, and religious practices, among others. The course investigates the language of slavery and what ideas we have about the practice in historical and contemporary forms, while also examining the historical development of using the term to describe these varying forms of inequality. Throughout the course, we examine the complexity involved in applying universalistic ideas of human rights, and the social, political, and economic dimensions of inequality. Jenkins.

SOAN 291-03: Topics in Anthropology: Consumer Cultures (3). "It is extraordinary to discover that no one knows why people want goods," or so observed a famous pair of authors -- one an anthropologist, the other an economist -- in 1979. What, since then, have anthropology and interrelated disciplines learned about consumer desire? This course considers human interaction with the material world in a variety of cultures, periods, and scales. From socio-cultural and political perspectives, what do consumers hope to accomplish by buying, patronizing, or using products like Barbies, bottled water, craft beer, tattoos and piercings, football games, farm houses, history museums, cemeteries, or asylums? How does consumerism facilitate claims to social connection, personal identity, and meaning? And how do potentially constructive roles of buying "stuff" relate to debt, hoarding, and environmental overexploitation? Bell.

SOAN 291-04: Topics in Anthropology: Anthropology of International Development (3). This course introduces students to theories, practices, and experiences of economic and social development initiatives that seek to address economic growth, poverty, and inequality. We begin with an overview of the key theoretical and policy frameworks that have informed development initiatives in the post-colonial context. We then examine particular themes in various cultural contexts, specifically discussing gender and households, the informal economy, the experience of poverty and suffering, and the role of governmental and non-governmental organizations. We also examine anthropology's critical engagement with policies of economic development and the role of anthropologists in the planning and execution of development projects. Jenkins.

Fall 2014 topic:

SOAN 291: Economic Anthropology (3). This course presents a cross-cultural survey of economic practices throughout time and around the world. Using classic and contemporary anthropological studies, we seek to understand how people have organized production, exchange, and consumption, and how these processes articulate with community dynamics such as religious beliefs, ethical codes, social networks, and gender roles. With case studies ranging from prehistoric foragers to contemporary cell phone users, we investigate culturally diverse and socially embedded understandings of commodities, gifts, property, success, and wealth. Bell.

Special Topics in Anthropology

SOAN 291C - Bell

A discussion of a series of topics of anthropological concern. May be repeated for degree credit if the topics are different.

Spring 2015 topics:

SOAN 291-01: Special Topics in Anthropology: Cults (4). In this course, we explore the phenomenon of cults (also known as new religious movements, NRMs). We look at the development of cults, how they operate, and the experiences of those who participate in them. Topics to discuss include: brainwashing, gender, violence, sexuality, child rearing, and the possibility of objectivity on the part of the researcher. We analyze a variety of case studies, but, most importantly, we structure the term around a visit from Marsha Goluboff Low, who will talk about the eighteen years she spent as an Ananda Marga yogic nun. In preparation, we read her autobiography, Orange Robe. (SS4) Goluboff. Spring 2015

SOAN 291-02: Special Topics in Anthropology: Chanting Down Babylon: Rastafari, Reggae, and Structural Inequality (4). This course examines the way people negotiate and giving meaning to experiences of social, racial, and economic inequality, by exploring Rastafarianism, Reggae, and Dancehall subcultures in Jamaica. We investigate the social and economic context that gave rise to Rastafarianism and its central tenets, while also examining the shifting political context through which Rastafarianism, Reggae, and Dancehall continue to find meaning and powerful critical commentary. Throughout this course, we analyze the lyrics of reggae and dancehall music that give insight into the worldview of Rastafarians and the structural inequalities of Jamaican society. Includes discussions on the global impact of Rastafarianism and reggae and its resonance to the experiences of people world-wide. Jenkins. Spring 2015

Winter 2015 topics:

SOAN 291-01: Topics in Anthropology: Campus Sex in the Digital Age (3). This class explores how the cell phone has impacted hooking up and dating on campus, with particular attention to Washington and Lee University as a case study. We discuss the development of campus sexual culture in America and the influence of digital technology on student sociality. Students use open source digital research tools to analyze data (interviews, focus groups, and statistics) collected about dating and hookup behavior at our college. As a digital humanities project, students work in groups to post their analyses on the class WordPress site. Goluboff.   SOAN 291-02: Topics in Anthropology: Contemporary Forms of Slavery (3). This course introduces students to how anthropologists have studied 'contemporary forms of slavery', a term representing many forms of inequality, including child labor, debt bondage, and religious practices, among others. The course investigates the language of slavery and what ideas we have about the practice in historical and contemporary forms, while also examining the historical development of using the term to describe these varying forms of inequality. Throughout the course, we examine the complexity involved in applying universalistic ideas of human rights, and the social, political, and economic dimensions of inequality. Jenkins.

SOAN 291-03: Topics in Anthropology: Consumer Cultures (3). "It is extraordinary to discover that no one knows why people want goods," or so observed a famous pair of authors -- one an anthropologist, the other an economist -- in 1979. What, since then, have anthropology and interrelated disciplines learned about consumer desire? This course considers human interaction with the material world in a variety of cultures, periods, and scales. From socio-cultural and political perspectives, what do consumers hope to accomplish by buying, patronizing, or using products like Barbies, bottled water, craft beer, tattoos and piercings, football games, farm houses, history museums, cemeteries, or asylums? How does consumerism facilitate claims to social connection, personal identity, and meaning? And how do potentially constructive roles of buying "stuff" relate to debt, hoarding, and environmental overexploitation? Bell.

SOAN 291-04: Topics in Anthropology: Anthropology of International Development (3). This course introduces students to theories, practices, and experiences of economic and social development initiatives that seek to address economic growth, poverty, and inequality. We begin with an overview of the key theoretical and policy frameworks that have informed development initiatives in the post-colonial context. We then examine particular themes in various cultural contexts, specifically discussing gender and households, the informal economy, the experience of poverty and suffering, and the role of governmental and non-governmental organizations. We also examine anthropology's critical engagement with policies of economic development and the role of anthropologists in the planning and execution of development projects. Jenkins.

Fall 2014 topic:

SOAN 291: Economic Anthropology (3). This course presents a cross-cultural survey of economic practices throughout time and around the world. Using classic and contemporary anthropological studies, we seek to understand how people have organized production, exchange, and consumption, and how these processes articulate with community dynamics such as religious beliefs, ethical codes, social networks, and gender roles. With case studies ranging from prehistoric foragers to contemporary cell phone users, we investigate culturally diverse and socially embedded understandings of commodities, gifts, property, success, and wealth. Bell.

The History of Violence in America

SOAN 361 - Senechal

An examination of the social origins, evolution, and major forms of extralegal, violent conflict in the United States, including individual and collective violence and conflict related to race, class, gender, politics, and ethnicity, especially emphasizing the 19th and 20th centuries. Major topics include theories of social conflict, slavery and interracial violence, predatory crime, labor strife, and inter-ethnic violence.

Senior Seminar in Social Analysis

SOAN 395 - Jasiewicz (Multiple Sections)

This course is designed as a capstone experience for majors with the sociology emphasis. Students, utilizing their knowledge of sociological theory and research methods, design and execute independent research projects, typically involving secondary analysis of survey data. Working on a subject of their choice, students learn how to present research questions and arguments, formulate research hypotheses, test hypotheses through univariate, bivariate, and multivariate analyses (utilizing appropriate statistical packages such as SPSS), and write research reports.

Directed Individual Study

SOAN 402 - Bell, Chin, Eastwood, Jasiewicz, Novack (Multiple Sections)

A course for selected students, typically with junior or senior standing, who are preparing papers for presentation to professional meetings or for publication. May be repeated for degree credit with permission and if the topics are different.

Directed Individual Study

SOAN 403 - Jenkins

A course for selected students with junior and senior standing, especially for honors students, with direction by different members of the department. May be repeated for degree credit with permission and if the topics are different.

Honors Thesis

SOAN 493 - Bell, Eastwood, Novack (Multiple Sections)

Honors Thesis.