||ANT 102: Humankind Evolving
This course is an overview of human origins. We will focus on the origins of our family (Hominidae), genus ( Homo ), and species ( sapiens ). The course will begin with the theoretical and historical backgrounds in various fields, including geology and biology that are essential for understanding the evolutionary theory. We will discuss the biology and behavior of monkeys and apes, which are the closest living relatives to humans, as well as other living animals that serve as analogs to understanding our early human ancestors. The hominid fossil record will be examined in a chronological order. Through lectures, discussion, readings, images of fossils, and casts of some specimens, you will have the opportunity to critically evaluate the evidence in a scientific format and formulate your own picture of how humans evolved. The format of the course is mainly lectures.
ANT 271: Human Ecology
Humans are unique organisms that are able to live in various environments, including hostile ones. This course is an overview of human biological variation among and within living populations. Evolutionary, genetic, ecological, demographic, and especially cultural factors that contribute to human biological variation and their adaptedness are explored. Topics include biological and cultural adaptations to hot/cold climates, high altitudes, lactose intolerance, diseases, etc. The format of the course is mostly lectures.
ANT 272: Forensic Anthropology
Forensic anthropology is the application of the methods and techniques used in biological anthropology to the law. Various methodologies applied to human skeletal remains for identification purposes will be introduced. These include estimation of age-at-death, sex, stature, population ancestry, trauma, cause and manner of death, and other distinguishing characteristics such as pathology. Relevant topics such as excavating human remains, cooperating with medical examiners and law enforcement agencies, legal protocols, writing reports, mass disasters, genocide, etc. will also be discussed. The format of the course is mainly lectures.
ANT 273: Bioarchaeology
Bioarchaeology is the excavation and study of associated biological remains from archaeological sites to reconstruct ancient human behavior and biology, and their environmental and cultural conditions. Human skeletal indicators of diet, physical activity level, disease, demography, warfare, and other aspects of ancient culture are investigated to reconstruct a past population’s lifestyle. In addition, bioarchaeology attempts to identify and interpret faunal remains from archaeological sites in terms of human usage such as hunting and domestication. The reconstructions of past lives and paleoecology help us to understand the consequences of major shifts in subsistence economy, colonization, and evolution of diseases in contemporary populations. Such endeavors employ archaeological techniques and methodologies from various scientific disciplines including chemistry, anatomy, ecology, zoology, etc. The format of the course is mainly lectures.
ANT 275: Monkeys, Apes, Humans
In this course, we examine the living species in the primate order from evolutionary and ecological perspectives. We study non-human primates, our closest living relatives, in order to better understand the human species and the evolution of human characteristics such as bipedality, concealed ovulation, menopause, large brains, and culture that includes language, religion, art, and all other aspects of behavior. The anatomy and social behaviors of non-human primates such as locomotion, diet and foraging strategies, mating systems, parental care, sexual dimorphism, intelligence, culture, communication, infanticide, etc. are addressed in relation to the human primate.
ANT 335: Biocultural Perspectives on Race
This course examines the concept of race from a biocultural perspective. By exploring evidence from population genetics and human origins, the concept of race is deconstructed. Contemporary racial issues such as classification of racial/ethnic groups, and explanation of the variation in intelligence, achievement, crime, and disease incidence by using race are explored.
ANT 340: Medical Anthropology
This course is an overview of medical anthropology, which is the study of the human experience of health, disease, sickness, and healing. We will discuss topics such as cross-cultural attitudes towards health and illness, disease manifestations in different cultures, environmental and ecological influences on disease, and disease and human evolution. By the end of this course, you will have a better understanding and appreciation of how illness is viewed and treated by different cultures, the interaction of biology and culture in the experience of disease, and the role of political and economic systems in health risks. The format of the course is mainly class discussion of assigned readings supplemented with lectures.
ANT 374: Methods in Forensic Anthropology
This course concerns forensic taphonomy, the study of postmortem and postdepositional processes that occur in animals, including humans in the medicolegal context. We will focus on the decomposition process as it applies to various forensic science disciplines, such as forensic anthropology, forensic entomology, and forensic pathology. Students will design their own research projects during the earlier part of the semester, collect data on piglets that students will lay out on the Ecological Preserve as the weather warms up, analyze and interpret the data, and present the research project to their peers at the end of the semester. The format of the course is mainly discussions, independent research, and one-on-one conferences with Dr. Cho. Additionally, we will collaborate with Dr. Paradise’s BIO 352: Insect Community Ecology throughout the semester.
ANT 375: Human Osteology
In this course, students will learn to identify all the bones in the human skeleton, major landmarks in each skeletal element, and basic skeletal biology. During the second part of the course, osteological methods and analyses applicable to bioarchaeology and forensic anthropology will be introduced. These include estimation of age-at-death, sex, stature, trauma, and some pathology. The classes will consist of lectures in the beginning of each class period followed by hands-on lab time so that the students can familiarize themselves with bones and practice the osteological methods.
ANT 490: Senior Colloquium on Violence
Anthropology is a holistic study of humankind, encompassing all aspects of our biology and behavior. Exploring a topic through an anthropological lens requires that we employ an interdisciplinary approach. The purpose of the capstone seminar is to apply an anthropological perspective in investigating the topic of violence, a pervasive behavior in our past, present, and most likely, the future. To understand if violence is an integral component of human nature, we look to biological sciences and closely-related primate relatives, as well as archaeological sciences for evidence of similar behaviors in our ancient past. To decipher reasoning behind atrocious acts of violence and if violence is a core component of human society and culture, we will take a cross-cultural approach and investigate the economic, political, and religious factors behind organized, large-scale acts of violence. Even within the confines of the U.S., we are very familiar with daily acts of violence and we will also examine the roles of race, gender, class, and social inequalities in the perpetrators and victims. Regardless of the weekly topic, we will end each class by discussing plausible solutions, conflict resolution, and peace building.
CIS 261: Introduction to Forensic Sciences
Forensic science is the application of science to the law and encompasses various scientific disciplines. This course will introduce various methodologies and applications used in the forensic context. Topics discussed include organic and inorganic chemical analyses of physical evidence, principles of serology and DNA analysis, identification of fresh and decomposed human remains, ballistics, fingerprint analysis, facial reconstruction, drug analysis, and forensic entomology. The format of the course is mainly lectures.
Comparative Skeletal Anatomy and Function
On the island of Ometepe in Lake Nicaragua, the Ometepe biological field station offers a unique opportunity to study the skeletal anatomy and function of various mammals, reptiles, and birds. The short course is designed to introduce the students to identifying the relationship between the animal’s locomotion, diet, other behaviors, and its physical environment through the examination of the skeletal structures. Non-human animal bones are found abundantly in archaeological sites and can reveal much about a past people’s way of life and climatic conditions. Human bones are also found in archaeological contexts, sometimes commingled with nonhuman remains, and in unfortunate modern contexts of genocide, human rights violations, domestic and international terrorism, and daily acts of homicide. Whether it is for bioarchaeology, zooarchaeology, paleoanthropology, forensic anthropology, primatology, or functional anatomy, it is necessary to be familiar with the skeletal anatomies of human and non-human animals. This course serves as an introduction to comparative skeletal anatomy for anyone interested in these fields and wishing to learn the basic methods in identifying the bones of humans and other mammals and birds. In addition to identification, the functional aspects of anatomy are discussed from evolutionary and ecological perspectives.
The format of the course will be hands-on laboratory modules with the bones and lectures in a large tiki hut that serves as the lecture room. We can also take full advantage of the living animals that are within the vicinity of the biological field station (howler monkeys, turkey vultures, chickens, turkeys, geckos, horses, cows, cats, dogs, pigs, etc.) and observe the animals in motion. Many activities such as hiking up to the San Ramon waterfalls, trekking up the Maderas volcano, kayaking on Lake Nicaragua, visiting a beautiful colonial city called Granada, souvenir shopping in Masaya market, or simply lounging around in a hammock with a good book are part of the experience. The course will be offered over winter break from December 2010 ~ January 2011. Please ask Dr. Cho for more information.
Locating graves, excavating human remains at any stage of the decomposition process, and analyzing skeletal remains to identify unknown individuals are subject matters addressed in forensic anthropology. Forensic anthropology is the application of the methods and techniques used in biological anthropology to the law. We will learn various methodologies applied to human skeletal remains for identification purposes, including estimation of age-at-death, sex, stature, population ancestry, trauma, cause and manner of death, and pathology. The course is designed for students interested in forensic sciences and we will discuss other relevant topics such as forensic entomology, mass disasters, facial reconstruction, etc. The format of the course is mainly lectures with hands-on modules of some of the techniques.