This course introduces students to the discipline of cultural anthropology. Students read a combination of ethnographies and articles as well as critically examine multimedia to learn about human cultural diversity. In exploring ethnographic methods, students also apply anthropological frameworks to reflect on their own lives and the world around them.
This course provides a general overview to the field of environmental anthropology, and surveys key methods and theories anthropologists use to analyze diverse expressions of human-environment interconnections. Topics include cultural ecology, agroecology, ethnobiology, politicalecology, and environmental justice. Students design their own mini-ethnography projects centered on a topic relevant to the course and build on knowledge about sustainable communities in the West Lafayette/Lafayette region.
GAPS (Global Alternative Power Solutions) is a course offered through EPICS, a program at Purdue. Our mission is to provide alternative means of power to communities, businesses, or people. Currently, we are working on two projects. For the first project, we are partnering with the University of Antioquia to provide power to a local school (Leon XIII) in Medellin, Colombia. Our second project focuses on co-designing and supporting a media center with a Kayapó community in Brazil.
This is an advanced level seminar that covers the history of anthropological thought up to the 1980s. Learning about earlier theories, students learn about evolutionism, historicism, functionalism, structuralism, materialism, visual anthropology, and other approaches that served as the foundation to the discipline. Applying a critical lens to this intellectual genealogy, students engage with theories with questions about authority, representation, and power in mind.
A different version of this course has also been offered at the 400 level and serves as a capstone experience for anthropology majors (Anth 407). Check out the final projects from graduating seniors in 2014 where they addressed different "wicked problems."
Ethnographic methods are at the core of most cultural anthropological toolkits. This seminar course offers students an introduction to ethnographic research, methods, and design. A selection of case studies will be read, reported on, and discussed by seminar participants. Students will formulate a research design appropriate to their graduate work and carry out assignments that build on their understanding of what it means to do ethnography.
Using an anthropological and social science perspective on water issues, this course explores the myriad ways in which water resources are part of the lives of millions of peoples in the world. Focusing on issues of access, use, and resource management, students examine the politics and rules surrounding water in freshwater and marine environments. Students in this course will create digital ethnographies as part of the Presence to Influence team (www.presence2influence.org). Stay tuned for more information about their results.
Political ecology is a research framework that pairs the strengths of political economic analysis with socio-ecological approaches to environmental issues. In this course we explore the diverse ways of doing political ecology by drawing upon the fields of anthropology, political science, geography, and history as well as interdisciplinary environmental studies and sciences. We also critically examine the field through a historical exploration of its intellectual genealogy, an investigation of current research trends, and imagine possible futures.
This course is the lynchpin of the undergraduate Certificate in Environmental and Sustainability Studies. It is designed from the ground up to be an interdisciplinary course, and to match the transdisciplinary spirit of the CESS program. CESS 326 explores three main fields of interdisciplinary approaches to analyzing and tackling environmental programs: 1) the humanities and social sciences, 2) engineering, and 3) environmental sciences. This team-taught course will present a series of case studies, core concepts, and problem questions that integrate the following three academic approaches in mind: 1) Human Dimensions and Environment/ Sustainability, 2) Engineering and Environment/ Sustainability, and 3) Environmental/ Sustainability Sciences.
In addition to these courses, I also offer opportunities for students to take independent studies at the graduate or undergraduate level ranging from the anthropology of space and place to visual and digital ethnography. Interested undergraduates are also encouraged to reach out to faculty in their junior year if they would like to write a senior honors thesis. I co-lead a study abroad course to Brazil in the summers. Check out our field opportunities page for updates and information.
Purdue Anthropology Courses:
Honors Options in Anthropology:
Study Abroad Brazil: