Today, after about 150 years, the discipline of anthropology is as active and relevant as ever. Incorporating the ongoing advances in science and technology, students in anthropology find no lack of engaging anthropology topics for research papers. There is the challenge and need to study and protect endangered nonhuman primates, to continuously search for fossil hominid specimens and hominid-made stone artifacts, and to comprehend the many complex relationships between our biocultural species and its dynamic environment. Moreover, research in anthropology has been very instrumental in increasing human tolerance for the biological variations and cultural differences that exist within the hundreds of societies that comprise our global species. As a new research area, applied anthropology strives to be relevant in this civilized but converging world (e.g., the emergence of forensic anthropology and biomedical anthropology).
This collection is meant to feature more than 100 anthropology research paper examples. Since its emergence as a scientific discipline in the middle of the 19th century, anthropology has focused on the study of humankind in terms of science and reason, as well as logical speculation. Within a comprehensive and interdisciplinary framework, anthropology aims for a better understanding of and proper appreciation for the place of our species within earth history and organic development. As such, the scientific theory of biological evolution has been indispensable for giving meaning and purpose to the awesome range of empirical facts and conceptual insights that now constitute the rich content of present-day anthropology. Furthermore, cross-cultural studies emphasize the vast differences among human groups from the perspectives of material culture, social behavior, languages, and worldviews.
Human societies are situated within and interact with their ecological and environmental systems. Even social relationships within and between groups imply spatial relationships and geographic orientation, advantages, influence and limitations. Beyond subsistence, environment and the "natural world" play an integral role in how humans pattern the landscape, structure society, develop their world view, and, in turn, alter and adapt the world in which they live. This upper-division undergraduate and graduate seminar course introduces students to anthropological conceptions of human-environmental relationships, past and present. Topics include environmental and landscape archaeology; historical, political, and human behavioral ecology; world view and conceptualizations of nature; human adaptation, resilience theory, and niche construction; anthropological case studies; the intersections of humans, animals and the environment; and end with environmental politics.
A survey of the human face, including both an evolutionary perspective on why our faces changed to look the way they do today and a theoretical perspective on how we create and maintain self-image through body modification. Comparative and cross-cultural approaches are used to understand modern human craniofacial and cultural diversity. The course includes discussions of how perceptions of biological variation inform social interactions and of how sociocultural norms pattern body modification, both presently and historically. Most importantly, students learn how information obtained with archaeological, sociocultural, and biological methods is integrated to address anthropological questions.
This paper is based primarily on the work of Deborah Root, but also focuses on other anthropological perspectives on the progression of cultural norms.
This course describes the history of the myth of race and racism from the Spanish Inquisition to modern times. Since race is not a biological term but a cultural term, it is important for students to understand the origins and connections of ideas of race and racism from its beginnings in western thought to its current usage. The historical and literature connections can be seen thoughout the writings and behavior of the Spanish Inquisition, to the Renaissance, though colonization and slavery, to the reconstruction, to the late 19th century, to the early 20th century, to modern times. In fact, the early history of anthropology can be traced through racist history.
The public imagination thrills at the fantastic adventures of Indiana Jones and Laura Croft, Tomb Raider, but the reality of modern archaeology is more complex, ethically challenging and interesting than a simple treasure hunt. In the United States and Canada, our science museums and museums of anthropology still display artifacts that are regarded as sacred and culturally definitive by Indian nations, although such holdings are now subject to negotiation and repatriation. Art museums in Europe and the U.S. still are stocked with looted ancient masterpieces that are revered as vital heritage by the nations from which they were stolen. We display looted art alongside a much smaller number of legitimately excavated artifacts of masterpiece quality, so it is no surprise that our popular images of archaeologists as avid and undiscerning collectors raise little concern. But modern archaeologists are not extractors of art or even of scientific information, from places as passive and inert as the museums' objects ultimately occupy. Archaeologists work with living people inhabiting societies and states that care deeply about their pasts and the relics of it. They are active agents engaged with many other people in the production of knowledge about the past. In our rapidly shrinking world, educated sensitivity to the many ancient cultural legacies that shape the values of modern global society is more than a moral imperative; it is a basic form of collaboration in the common project of survival. Archaeologists are ethically charged to advance that project through education about the complex contemporary arena of artifacts, sites and information they occupy.
The rising interest in food research crosscuts various academic disciplines. This seminar focuses on aspects of food of particular interest in anthropology. The first two-thirds of the course is reading-intensive and discussion-intensive. Each student writes short review/response papers for major readings. For the final third, we still are reading and discussing, but the reading load is lighter (and we have a field trip) as students devote more time to their research papers. The research paper is a major effort on a topic discussed with and approved by the professor. In most cases it has to deal with cultural and historical aspects of a food, set of foods, form of consumption or aspect of food production. Papers are critiqued, assigned a provisional grade, revised and resubmitted.
In this community-based learning course, students partner with a St. Louis AIDS service organization (ASO) or sexual health agency to explore how the interrelationships among gender, class, race/ethnicity and sexual identity shape sexual health decisions, outcomes and access to services. Students also examine the complex relationship between men's and women's life goals and constraints, on the one hand, and the public health management of sexual health, on the other. In collaboration with their community partner and its clients, students develop a project that addresses an identified need of the organization and the community it serves. Course readings draw from the fields of anthropology, public health, feminist studies and policy making. Prerequisite: PHealth 4134 The AIDS Epidemic: Inequalities, Ethnography and Ethics or permission from the instructor, which is determined based on past student's experience in the fields of medical anthropology or sexual/reproductive health.
Same as L90 AFAS 406
Students undertake research projects centering on the most fundamental demographic processes — fertility, mortality and migration. The first section covers basic demographic methodology so that students understand how population data is generated and demographic statistics analyzed. Then, course readings include seminal theoretical insights by anthropologists on demographic processes. Meanwhile, students work toward the completion of a term paper in which they are expected to undertake some original research on a topic of their choice (e.g., new reproductive technologies; cross-cultural adoption; ethnicity and migration). Each assignment in this course is a component of the final term paper. Prerequisite: Anthro 3612 Population and Society or permission of instructor.