The Department of Anthropology of The University of Alabama offers programs leading to the master of arts degree and the doctor of philosophy degree. These programs seek to furnish a balanced view of anthropological inquiry by means of intensive training in the literature, theory, methods, techniques, and skills required for research in anthropology. The MA builds on the inherent strengths of medium-sized departments—the ability to provide necessary background through small seminar courses and specialized training through the tutorial format of individually directed research projects. In short, the MA program provides students with a scholarly comprehension of the discipline, practical experiences in anthropological research situations, and the initial competency required of a professional anthropologist. The PhD program provides students with advanced training in one of two departmental focus areas: Biocultural Medical Anthropology or Archaeology of Complex Societies of the Americas. See specific details at the website of the Department of Anthropology.
- Ian Brown
Graduate Program Director
- Jason DeCaro
- Elliot Blair
- John Blitz
- Ian Brown
- Jason DeCaro
- William Dressler
- Marysia Galbraith
- Keith Jacobi
- Lisa LeCount
- Christopher Lynn
- David Meek
- Kathryn Oths
- Sonya Pritzker
- Alexandre Tokovinine
- Lesley Jo Weaver
Prerequisites: Twelve hours in anthropology and graduate standing, or permission of the instructor.
The scientific study of natural language; phonology and grammar, lexicon, and meaning; and the role of linguistics in anthropological research. Offered once a year.
No description available.
The cultural and linguistic basis of cognitive organization, local systems of folk classification, and the collection and analysis of data of shared cultural and social information. Offered according to demand.
A survey of the origin and development of Mesoamerican civilizations. Offered according to demand.
Ancient Maya civilizations in Mexico and Central America from the earliest inhabitants until the Spanish Conquest.
Provides the student with an overview of health, illness, and healing as they vary between and within cultural systems.
A survey of the standards, customs, and beliefs that typify European cultures. Offered according to demand.
A survey of the standards, customs, and beliefs that typify Latin American cultures. Offered according to demand.
Holistic survey of cultures of Asia with a rotating sub-topical focus. Explores social norms, processes of cultural change (including globalization), ethnic group relations, and functioning of contemporary societies.
A theoretical and descriptive study of social change and development in non-Western societies. Major emphasis will be on the effect of change on indigenous institutions. Offered according to demand.
A survey of the anthropological literature on religion, including such topics as myth, ritual, magic, witchcraft, totemism, shamanism, and trance states. Offered according to demand.
Planning, preparing, and executing ethnographic field work. Problems of health, logistics, data recording, obtaining support, and ethics. Observation and interviewing exercises. Offered according to demand.
An examination of the origin and development of pre-Columbian and early historic cultures of eastern North America. Offered according to demand.
Contemporary issues in concept formation, theory construction, methods, and techniques. Offered according to demand.
The course views the art that societies past and present produce; it explores culture, creativity, and human beings' distinctive compulsion to make decorative objects.
Interdisciplinary course in ethnographic filmmaking, focusing particularly on analyzing the many dimensions of culture and social experience. Students produce a short documentary film on a story of justice or injustice in Alabama. First semester of a two semester course.
Interdisciplinary course in ethnographic filmmaking, focusing particularly on analyzing the many dimensions of culture and social experience. Students produce a short documentary film on a story of justice or injustice in Alabama. A two semester course.
Directed field study in the excavation and analysis of archaeological deposits. Each student must design and conduct a research project, then adequately report the results. Off campus.
No description available.
12 hours of anthropology or permission of instructor; graduate standing This course combines the methods used in historical archaelogy with a basic survey of the archaeological record of the historic period of North America.
Devoted to issues not covered in other courses. Offered according to demand.
This course examines the cultures of the Andes in South America. It focuses on the rise of civilizations, cities, and empires in the Andes. The course also investigates the emergence, growth, and conquest of the largest indigenous empire in the Americas through a critical reading of archaeological, ethnohistorical, and popular accounts of the Inkas. Throughout this course, students will learn how the cultural practices of the contemporary Andes are still influenced by Inka values and institutions, and how the current Andean political landscape emerged from the dramatic historical process through which the Inka Empire was conquered and disassembled. The course interrogates the dynamic interplay of history, power, and identity within the Andean world, introducing students to the general theoretical interpretations that may be derived from particular ancient societies. The first part of the course analyzes current empirical evidence and theoretical perspectives on how Andean people shaped their environment, built impressive cities, and forged unique religious traditions. The second part of the course emphasizes how the Inkas produced and imagined their empire, as well as its role within the universe. Attention will be given to a comparison of the economic, institutional, and religious structures that undergirded concepts of social authority and political sovereignty within Andean societies, and how these concepts were transformed into the foundations of the Inka Empire. The third part of the course examines how Spanish conquest and colonization transformed the Andean world. Emphasis will be placed on the clash between Spanish and indigenous ideologies and political representations, with particular focus on how this clash fostered the production of new kinds of social classes throughout the Americas. In sum, the course is an intensive introduction to Andean civilizations, while allowing for the discussion of broader anthropological theories regarding the religion, empires, environmental transformation, social class, and the sociopolitical production of history. This course has been designed to expose students to different anthropological and historical perspectives on the indigenous Andes, Inka imperialism, and Spanish colonization. These perspectives include primary sources (Spanish and indigenous chronicles), archaeological accounts, and historical renderings. Lectures and discussions will also focus on how architectural, aesthetic, and narrative representations of Andean peoples have been mobilized for political purposes within contemporary contexts in Perú, and more broadly. In each class, the instructor will provide a critical overview of the material, select students will be expected to comment on the readings, and then all students will participate in a discussion about salient issues within the readings.
This course explores anthropological theories and methods of space, place, and environment. It concentrates on ethnographic and archaeological discussions of landscape and ecology. Anthropologists who study landscape and ecology focus on the cultural practices through which communities in the past and present produce the socially meaningful sites, shrines, and physical features of their environment, while also taking into account how the environment influences people’s social actions and underlies people's deepest cultural values. To understand a landscape or an ecology, then, is to examine the interrelation of various social and environmental, cultural and material phenomena. The course also introduces the field and laboratory methods that anthropologists employ to apply their theoretical perspectives on landscape and ecology.
Ceramics are the most ubiquitous and variable materials on many archaeological sites and, as such, they offer archaeologists a vast amount of information about the past. In this class, we approach ceramics from the perspective of research questions, and investigate how analytical techniques can help address them. The class also has a large practical component. Students will conduct analyses on collections and present their findings at the end of the class. This course is meant to provide a framework for developing hypotheses, methods and skills directly applicable to senior projects, MA theses, and Ph.D. dissertations.
A survey of the discoveries, methods, and theories that provide the background for modern research in macroevolution.
A detailed introduction to human osteology, emphasizing the identification of fragmentary remains and the criteria for determination of age, sex, and race. Offered according to demand.
This course provides an introduction to evolutionary and biocultural approaches within anthropology to the central and peripheral nervous systems and their interconnections. Topics include the evolution of the brain; how culture and social structure shape the brain, its development, and its activity; and anthropological perspectives on connections among culture, behavior, brain, mind, and body.
An introduction to the biocultural and evolutionary bases of human adaptability.
Health culturally competent socialized adults and mature physical forms arise from a developmental process with evolutionary, biological, social and cultural dimensions. We survey child/human development from an anthropological perspective, considering interactons across levels of analysis from genes to culture.
Course investigates skeletal pathology and trauma. Topics included: 1. Understanding disease processes, 2. Distinguishing accidental and violent trauma on bone, 3. Recognizing the following conditions in skeletal remains: congential anomalies, circulatory disorders, joint diseases, infectious diseases, metabolic diseases, skeletal dysplasias, neoplastic conditions, diseases of the dentition and other conditions. Students will inventory, evaluate and analyze sets of human skeletal remains for pathology and trauma and complete final reports on those remains.
Directed nonthesis research in archaeology, cultural anthropology, anthropological linguistics, or physical anthropology.
No description available.
Prepares students in the scientific method and research skills used in anthropology. Instruction emphasizes grant writing, study design, interview and observation techniques, and the collection, management, and analysis of data using a statistical software package.
This seminar is designed to refine doctoral students' background in qualitative and quantitative research methods necessary for dissertation research. Emphasis is placed on the integration of qualitative and quantitative methods for students doing ethnographic research, and techniques of numerical induction for archaeology students.
An examination of contemporary archaeological theory and method and their development during the 19th and 20th centuries.
Contemporary issues in the archaeology of complex societies, including different aspects of complexity and attempts to classify and measure them.
A biocultural overview of the anthropology of health. Topics include biological and cultural approaches to various dimensions of human health and illness.
An in-depth examination of the prehistory of the various areas of North America, focusing on environmental and cultural influences that affected ways of life.
An examination of Indians and Eskimos of North America during the historical period, focusing on the impact of European contact on culture and society.
A critical examination of archaeology's history as a science, with emphasis on intellectual trends, changes in method and theory, and recent developments. Offered once a year.
This course examines seminal works in the history of anthropology. Works may include books or smaller publications that exemplify important developments in theory and method.
This seminar reviews past and contemporary theories and approaches used in cultural anthropology.
An exploration of anthropological and art-historical concepts as applied to the problem of meaning in prehistoric representational art.
A series of seminars and lectures designed to refine the student's knowledge of research on nonhuman primates, fossil hominids, population genetics, and human variation and adaptation. Offered once a year.
Directed dissertation research in archaeology, cultural anthropology, anthropological linguistics, or physical anthropology.
No description available.
This course considers the intellectual, physical, legal, financial, social, and ethical challenges of preserving and providing access to museum collections. Through lectures, readings, hands-on activities, and field trips students explore the theory and practice of collections management and learn how to maximize available resources for collections care in any museum regardless of size.
This course provides an overview of museum exhibition and education initiatives; two of the most important functions of all museums. The emphasis of the first part of the course will be on critiquing, designing and presenting museum exhibitions to various audiences. As exhibition and education are intricately linked in museums, the education component of this course will explore various ways to engage the visiting public through museum displays as well as other public outreach programs. Students should be prepared to not only design appealing museums displays but also successfully export their content in various formats to various publics that include schoolchildren.