The Anthropology Major and Minor at Davidson

The anthropology major and minor provide you with a firm grounding in social theory and the comparative study of human diversity through time and in different world regions.


Course offerings provide introductions to three of the four sub-disciplines of anthropology (sociocultural, biocultural, and archaeological anthropology; linguistics is not currently being offered) and a number of area surveys, supplemented by seminars on anthropological theory and more specialized topics. Elective courses allow you to tailor your major to particular intellectual or career goals, as do independent studies. Many of the upper level courses can be directed to specific regions if you are interested in a particular region of the world.

Anthropology is particularly exciting for those students who want active engagement with their studies. All majors complete a methods requirement involving independent research. Student projects may involve interviewing informants for family histories, researching archives on historical topics, studying ethnic performances or festivals, or a myriad of other possibilities.


Anthropology is an ideal complement to a number of majors. Anthropological theory has been an important influence in contemporary interpretations of religion, literature, and social history, while the cross-cultural approach of anthropology will be of particular importance to those interested in international careers.

Courses examine issues of race and ethnicity from a variety of perspectives. Offerings in archaeology provide coverage of a number of past time periods and societies as well as theoretical perspectives that usefully supplement offerings of the history department. For those interested in biology, anthropologists have been prominent in primatology (the study of primates), the study of human evolution, forensics, and studies of human ecology, including comparative medical systems, nutrition, and human adaptation. Pre-med students may wish to take advantage of courses in medical anthropology or human evolution. Those studying Africa, the African diaspora, East Asia, and Latin America will also find several courses relevant to their interests.

If you have any questions or would like additional information, please contact Laurian Bowles at

Courses & Requirements


Courses You Might Take

ANT 327

Religion in Latin America


The emphasis in this course is on the contemporary religious pluralism that has resulted from the encounter of the Old World with the New. Religious change in Latin America since Vatican II and the advent of liberation theology is examined alongside the burgeoning presence of Protestantism in the region during the last quarter of the twentieth century. Particular attention is given to indigenous and Afro-Latin American traditions. Case studies in the course are selected for their use of ethnographic methods, and the geographic focus centers on the Andean region, Mesoamerica, Brazil, and the Caribbean.

Satisfies the World Religion, History of Religions, Religion and Culture requirement of the Religious Studies major.

Satisfies a requirement in the Latin American Studies major.

Satisfies the Philosophical and Religious Perspectives requirement.


ANT 315

Queer Ethnography

S. Cho

This course will look at the growing body of queer ethnographies about non-normative genders and sexualities in Western and non-Western countries. Beginning with classic monographs on same-sex sexuality such as Esther Newton's Mother Camp: Female Impersonators in America (1972), we will move onto examine contemporary ethnographies of nonnormative sexualities in United States and around the world, including C.J. Pascoe's Dude, You're a Fag: Masculinity and Sexuality in High School (2011) and Margot Weiss' Techniques of Pleasure: BDSM and the Circuits of Sexuality (2011). By interrogating ethnography's generative but contentious relationship with LGBT Studies and feminist, queer, post-structuralist, and postcolonial theories, we will assess how applicable Western queer theory is to the non-Western world.

Satisfies a requirement in the Gender & Sexuality Studies major and minor (Society & Politics Track).


ANT 101

Intro Cultural Anthropology


Cross-cultural study of systems of knowledge and belief, social and political institutions, economic behavior, and human ecological adaptation. Anthropological approaches to traditional tribal and peasant societies as well as complex contemporary societies.

Required course for the major in Anthropology.

Satisfies a requirement for the minor in Anthropology.

Satisfies the Social-Scientific Thought requirement.

(Fall and Spring)