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Liberal Arts Courses

Specials Topics in Social Science

Course No. SS 314  Credits: 3.0

This special topics course explores critical issues in the social sciences. Each section will focus on distinct topics and disciplines, such as psychology, sociology, anthropology, political science, economics, environmental science, human geography, and cross-disciplinary studies in the sciences. Course activities will include readings and discussion, the analysis and interpretation of data and texts, presentations, and research assignments. 3 credits.

Visual Anthropology

Course No. SS 321  Credits: 3.0

Visual anthropology is an important growing subfield of cultural anthropology. The course focuses on how anthropologists have used visual media of various kinds, especially ethnographic film, to record, document and study human cultural and social diversity worldwide. A series of ethnographic films, readings and class discussion will explore this method of anthropological data collecting and analysis. As a counterpoint to earlier, popular, western cultural biases in visually "representing" non-western, non-industrial peoples as "romantic," "noble," "savage," "enigmatic," "curiosity," anthropology's film studies sought a stronger objectivity. Did they succeed? Worldwide, indigenous peoples now make extensive use of visual media/communication to reflect on their "contested identities." How has visual anthropology helped in that effort? From the 19th century's still photographs to today's cyberspace, visible culture and visual media interface. The course reviews ethnographic film as part of that communication process. $15 course fee required. 3 credits.

Anthropology of Gender Roles

Course No. SS 350  Credits: 3.0

In this course students will examine the various forms of gender roles, stereotypes, stratification, and attitudes from a cross-cultural, anthropological perspective. We will look at different cultural notions and assignments of gender, and how men’s and women’s activities vary in different types of cultures. We will also consider gender related topics in our own culture. This course will be conducted in a seminar format, with a smaller class size, and an emphasis on student-led discussion around the topics presented. 3 credits.

Introduction to Archaeology

Course No. SS 370  Credits: 3.0

Archaeology is a branch of the wider field of Anthropology that seeks to understand past human cultures and life-ways. This course will introduce students to archaeological concepts, methods, techniques, and theoretical approaches. It will be based on a scientific, materials studies grounding of the field of archaeology, to understand how archaeologists approach the past. 3 credits.

Cultural Anthropology

Course No. SS 378  Credits: 3.0

The course is an introduction to the nature of culture and a comparison of contemporary western and non-western cultures worldwide. Readings, films, slides and class discussion help review cultural similarities and differences in subsistence technology, language, social organization, politics, religion and art. An analysis that views culture as humankind's most important adaptive tool, a strategy for survival, also suggests anthropology's relevance for appreciating modern world social, economic and ecological problems. The course addresses contemporary issues of human choices and culture change. Fulfills Social/Natural Science distribution requirement. 3 credits.

Applying Anthropology

Course No. SS 386  Credits: 3.0

Through the lens of applied anthropology, we will conduct local ethnographic fieldwork to investigate broad topics around place and community. The class will start with basic anthropological field research methods, where students will be asked to work to develop a specific research agenda, with community collaboration, that can be addressed in the local community. Once mastered, we will use anthropological methods and techniques to conduct fieldwork in a local community, and use our findings to assist in the “Neighborhood, Community, and Creative Placemaking” class for their collaborative community art project. The objective is to build a foundation in basic anthropological field research methods, and to ultimately show how those methods can be useful to artists and designers when working with community partners. As with other Liberal Arts courses, this course meets regularly for class instruction time, but some of that class meeting time will be in the community. Course faculty will provide guidance and support regarding transportation to community sites. Appropriate dress for seasonal weather is expected. 3 credits.

Urban Ethnography

Course No. SSQR 371  Credits: 3.0

According to the UN, today over half the world’s population lives in urban areas. This class will examine urbanism as a concept through the lens of anthropology. We will begin with a grounding in the theoretical writings on urban anthropology to give us context, and examine the origins of cities and urbanism in human prehistory. From there we will read several ethnographies, or anthropological case studies on urbanism and culture, focusing on both non-western and American cities and urban locations. In doing so we will also examine the intersection or poverty, race, gender, and globalization as they are affected by urban development. We will also consider how these issues are related to us in our own urban ‘spaces’ in the greater Cleveland area. 3 credits.

Writing & Inquiry I

Course No. WR 101  Credits: 3.0

A composition-intensive course that emphasizes basic composition skills, while introducing basic research and documentation skills. Along with cultivating the concomitant skills in critical reading and thinking, this course also introduces an explicitly theoretical approach to contemporary culture. Twenty pages of student expository writing will be required. 3 credits.

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