The Washington State University Pullman Catalog

Department of Anthropology

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Department of Anthropology
College Hall 150

Professor and Department Chair, A. Duff; Professors, E. Chilton, C. Grier, E. Hagen, B. S. Hewlett, C. L. Meehan, M. B. Quinlan, R. J. Quinlan; Associate Professors, A.D. Blackwell, J. Cassaniti, A. Pisor, E. Thornton, C. Wilkinson; Assistant Professors, J. Blong, R. Horowitz; Professor, Career Track, M. Mansperger; Associate Professors, Career Track, N. Hess, B. L. Hewlett, M. Sugerman; Assistant Professor, Career Track, N. Grow; Professors Emeriti, R. E. Ackerman, W. Andrefsky, Jr., J. H. Bodley, T. A. Kohler, W. D. Lipe, N. P. McKee.

The curriculum includes courses in the four major subfields of anthropology: archaeology, cultural/social anthropology, linguistic anthropology, and biological anthropology. These courses familiarize students with current issues in human evolution, linguistics, the prehistoric development of culture, and cultural theory. Undergraduate majors are required to gain a background in all four of these major subfields. Graduate students may specialize in archaeology, cultural anthropology, or evolutionary anthropology. The program in archaeology emphasizes research and training in the prehistory of the Americas, including the Pacific Northwest from Alaska to northern California, the Columbia Plateau, the Pueblo societies of the Southwest, Mesoamerica, and the Andes. Faculty research employs ceramic and lithic analysis, paleoeconomic and paleoenvironmental approaches including geoarchaeology, paleobotany and zooarchaeology, as well as stable isotope analysis, archaeometry via gas chromatography-mass spectrometry, and modeling and simulation. The department also conducts summer archaeological field schools. The program in cultural anthropology emphasizes globalization, historical ethnography, psychological anthropology, medical anthropology, gender and culture, biocultural perspectives, and public health anthropology. Faculty research is based in North and Central America, Polynesia, Sub-Saharan Africa, and South and Southeast Asia. The program in evolutionary anthropology emphasizes evolutionary psychology, behavioral ecology, evolutionary cultural anthropology, evolutionary archaeology and paleoanthropology. Evolutionary faculty have research interests that span several continents including the Americas, Europe and Africa.  The department also emphasizes research and training in Psychological/Medical Anthropology and Ethnobiology.

Departmental offices and laboratories are located in College Hall near the center of campus. Physical facilities include special laboratories for biological anthropology, isotope and lithic analysis, paleoecology, geoarchaeology, and zooarchaeology, as well as research laboratories for faculty and advanced students. The Museum of Anthropology, with permanent and temporary exhibits, and ethnographic and archaeological research collections, is also housed in College Hall.

The department offers courses of study leading to the degrees of Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology, Bachelor of Arts in Human Biology, Master of Arts in Anthropology, and Doctor of Philosophy (Anthropology). Positions open to anthropologists include those in teaching, research, museum work, state and federal agencies, non-governmental organizations, private consulting firms, and international business. In addition, anthropology provides a strong general foundation for a pre-professional education.

Human Biology

Human Biology is an explicitly interdisciplinary degree jointly administered by the Department of Anthropology and the School of Biological Sciences. The BA in Human Biology offers students an opportunity to explore how human biology influences and is influenced by the environment, cultural and social structures, and economic and political policies. Human Biology melds approaches and content from social and biological sciences to provide students with a synthetic understanding of the roles of culture, the dynamics of natural and social systems, and biological attributes responsible for shaping the human being. Our aim is to prepare students to be engaged, creative, insightful, and skillful in diverse professions that encompass the arenas of health and environmental sciences, societal support, and public policy that influence the welfare of humans.

Student Learning Outcomes

We expect that our graduating students will have:

  1. Familiarity with the basic principles and findings of ethnology, archaeology, biological anthropology, and linguistics, the four subfields of American anthropology as well as the ways in which these four subfields are interrelated;
  2. Awareness of the basic research and analytical methods and underlying theories of the four subfields of anthropology;
  3. Ability to read critically and synthesize information produced by professional anthropologists and published in academic books and journals;
  4. Ability to write in accessible, standard, academic prose narratives that are marked by: a framework of clear, general statements; specific, concrete evidence that supports these statements; analysis and discussion of the material presented; and a coherent summary conclusion, indicating the significance of the work;
  5. Ability to apply the principles, findings, and research and analytical methods of anthropology to new situations and data, including those of everyday life.

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