Loyola University Chicago

Department of Anthropology


Click the course title to view course descriptions below. Cross-listed courses taught outside of Anthropology are indicated in parentheses after the course title.

For more information about research opportunities in Anthropology, click here.

The courses in the upper section of this list are regularly offered (at least once every two years during regular semesters):

This course is a study of cultural diversity on a global scale, and provides a comparative perspective on the investigation of humans as cultural and social beings.

Introduction to biological anthropology and anthropological archaeology--those portions of the discipline concerned with human prehistory and our continuing development. Reconstruction of the human career based on fossil and artifactual evidence of human biological and cultural change over time, as well as primate behavior and human genetics. Consideration of alternative theories of human biological evolution and the emergence of culture, humanity's unique ecological niche. Application of the scientific method to excavated data. Use of the comparative framework provided by contemporary primates in formulating hypothesis about early human adaptation.

An introduction to some of the anthropological insights into human life-ways arrived at by study of living people in a fieldwork context. Special emphasis is given to the nature of human language and its relationship to culture. Goals of this course are to give a basic appreciation for the fact that a comparative approach reveals fundamental similarities in all cultural traditions and to provide and explanation for cultural variation. [Formerly titled Introduction to Cultural Anthropology]

Draws from the biological sciences, ethology, and anthropological primatology in order to introduce a modern set of perspectives to which the elaborate patterns of human behavior may be compared, contrasted, and analyzed. Emphasis on the study of animal behavior in the context of its applicability to the understanding of human behavior.

Study of human/land interactions in past and contemporary cultures. Processes of landscape formation and the study of people's impact on these processes. How the development of culture and technology affects land use patterns. Archaeological and geographical methods of environmental analysis.

Study of the relationships between human biological diversity and adaptation through out the world. Scientific approaches to the concept of human variation, how genetic differences may have evolved, and the effects of genetics and different environments on the human body will be examined. Topics include adaptation to stressors (e.g., high altitude, nutritional, heat, cold, overcrowding, and infectious disease), polymorphisms and genetic disorders, blood groups and evolution, and the concept of races and alternative approaches to the understanding of human variation. Analysis of the dynamic interactions between biology and culture to understand the adaptations that present populations possess in order to survive in less than ideal conditions.

An introduction to the study of sex and gender in physical anthropology. Students will study: recent anthropological theories concerning the role of sex in human adaptation, evolution, biology and behavior; the history of physical anthropological thought concerning sex and gender; and the roles and contributions of women scientists.

This course explores the cultures and civilizations that rose and fell in our distant past; its coverage is global in character and historical in content.

The course explores different types of and ideas about exchange, economies, and development¿in cross-cultural perspective and through ethnography.

Prerequisites : ANTH 100 or ANTH 102

Outcomes : The course will help students learn about (1) the development of social thought about non-Western economic activity; (2) the key theories from and debates within Economic Anthropology; (3) contemporary ethnography about economies and development; and (4) ways to think critically about and apply course concepts.

This course will examine how language both reflects and helps constitute identity in social and linguistic interaction. Presenting a broad introduction, this course will address complex and often intersecting relationships between language and gender, race, class, place, age, and social practice, using case studies from around the world.

This course investigates the form, construction, and symbolic characteristics of visual representations of human groups and identities. Consideration and analysis is focused on traditional anthropological visualization, such as ethnographic film, as well as more popular forms, such as National Geographic Magazine. A central aim of the course is to develop a critical visual "literacy" among students on matters relating to how other cultures are represented.

Anthropological analysis of cultural diversity in recent and contemporary Latin America. Geographical survey of the major cultural regions of Latin American, including the Amazonian, Andean, Caribbean, and Mesoamerican areas. Topics include: social, political and economic organization; colonial heritage; race and ethnicity; urbanization; and the modern situation of indigenous people. The social history of Latin American cultures to the present is covered briefly; selected cultures will be studied in some detail.

This course attempts to recontextualize and explain former images (both popular and anthropological) of African peoples as "timeless," "traditional," and "tribal." By focusing on the later period of colonial contact and the present (stressing West Africa) the interplay of African and European institutions, ideas, and communicative patterns is stressed rather than the reconstruction of supposedly "pristine" pre-colonial cultures. The course also considers the recent development of trans-ethnic popular culture and globally oriented media culture in an African context. Forms of African cultural creativity and expressive culture are considered in the light of their impact beyond Africa itself.

Using theoretical, ethnographic, and autobiographical literature from different world regions, we will explore three central questions: 1) How do people make the decision to move? 3) How do political policies structure the life chances of im/migrants in the "global north"? 3) How do im/migrants transform their own life situations and communities?

The development of Mexican culture from prehistoric times to the present day, including the history of Mexican-Americans. Discussion of the major pre-Spanish civilizations including Toltec, Maya, Aztec, Zapotec. Effects of Spanish conquest and social history of colonial and national Mexico. The diversity of peoples in contemporary Mexico is explored by contrasting traditional Indian cultures. The history of Mexican-Americans from the early Southwest to the present.

This course investigates language from an anthropological perspective. The scope of our interest will extend beyond description of linguistic units to include language as part of our evolutionary and primate heritage. Topics include the functional roles of language in social interaction, the relationship between language and thought, the use of language as an index of social and cultural change, and linguistic ideology. We will also investigate other aspects of human communication such as nonverbal behavior, paralinguistics, and prosodics.

Prerequisite: ANTH 100 or 102

Prerequisite: ANTH 101 or ANTH 104. Introduction to methods used by archaeologists to reconstruct prehistoric cultures, covering excavation and fieldwork, laboratory analysis, and archaeological theory. Methods presented in the context of their use in such areas as Paleolithic society, early farming villages, prehistoric Illinois, and the first civilizations. Application of archaeological method and theory to contemporary society and the modern relevance of archaeology.

This course provides an archaeological exploration of major pre-Columbian Mesoamerican cultures. Emphasis will be on the process of culture change as represented in artifacts, art, and architecture. Coverage includes the Olmec, Maya, and Aztec civilizations and their interactions with other groups. Issues of culture contact, ideology, and hieroglyphic scripts will also be considered.

No prerequisities

Prerequisite: ANTH 101 or 104 or 100-level BIOL class. The complex interaction between humans and pathogens is explored throughout time, with particular emphasis on the role and impact of human biology, human culture and changing environments. Students will be able to demonstrate understanding of the human immunological system, competing paradigms of human health, the processes and mechanisms of biological evolution, the pathogeneses of specific diseases, and the archaeological, paleopathological, paleodemographic, and historical data used to explore the evolution of disease.

This interdisciplinary course explores the evolution of the human diet utilizing a biocultural perspective. The complex interplay between our diet, biology, and culture is examined through energy acquisition, primate and hominin nutrition, the Agricultural Revolution and Industrialization on human health, food sustainability, and nutritional inequality through socioeconomic and gender lenses.

Prerequisite: ANTH 101: Human Origins

Students will identify the role food has played throughout the 6-7 million years of human evolution, and its significance in terms of climate change variability, evolutionary adaptations and contemporary inequality.

Prerequisites: ANTH 102. Addresses the historical contexts in which anthropological theory has developed since the 18th century. Examines relationships between historical circumstances and leading theorists, and the questions they asked. Topics include: Victorian evolutionism, the American historical school, cultural materialism, symbolic and structuralist anthropology, past and present functionalism, feminist anthropology, political economy, and post modernism.

This course examines how culture shapes how the human body is understood, categorized and used, and it also examines how bodily experiences shape culture and society.  Drawing on cultural anthropology, it analyzes diverse cross-cultural examples, possibly ranging from body decoration among Amazonian indigenous people, to plastic surgery, childbirth, or sports.  Students will also examine classic social theories about the body, race, gender, sexualty, social class and subjectivity.

Prerequisite: ANTH 100 or 102, or Culture Area Requirement. Explores the variety of human religious expression and considers whether common features underlie the diversity of religious practices in the world. Topics addressed include: What is special about the anthropological study of religion?; How does religion relate to other aspects of life?; Can religion be explained?; What are the dynamics of the interactive process between indigenous religions and world religions (e.g. the indigenization of Christianity)? Attention will be devoted to ritual, including performances that some may regard as secular, rather than religious (highlighting the question of what is meant by "religion").

Prerequisite:  ANTH 304 or Instructor approval 

This course is designed to offer an introduction to qualitative methods in anthropology. Students will learn methodologies such as participant observation, interviewing, and document analysis, and we will also address ethical issues in field research. Students will design and carry out an ethnographic research project. 

Outcomes:  Students will: demonstrate in-depth knowledge of qualitative research techniques; critically discuss ethical implications of ethnographic research; undertake original ethnographic fieldwork; prepare a comprehensive, theoretically informed, and clearly written report based on original ethnographic data.

Engaged Learning (EL), Writing Intensive (WI)

This course examines human rights in Latin America from a multidisciplinary perspective. It asks: what are human rights? Why have human rights abuses occured and how have Latin Americans responded?

Outcomes: Students will understand the international human rights legal framework, be able to analyze why abuses have occurred, and understand how Latin Americans have mobilized by studying specific cases.

Prerequisite: ANTH 101 or ANTH 103. A detailed analysis of the fossil evidence and surrounding controversies of human evolution. The integration of interpretations of the skeletal and archaeological material, the processes of evolutionary theory, and information from related scientific fields to provide a unified view of human evolution.

Recommended: ANTH 101 or ANTH 103, or background in biology or comparative psychology. Interrelations between the behavior and ecology of monkeys, apes, and prosimians. Problems of conservation and management. Implications for human behavior.

Prerequisite: ANTH 101, or ANTH 103, or background in biology. Introduction to skeletal anatomy, along with various methods and techniques currently being employed by physical anthropologists to determine age at death, sex, and diseases of past human populations.

Prerequisite:  Anth 101 and Biol 101

This course will contrast popular ideas about language with scholarly approaches from the fields of linguistic anthropology, linguistics, sociology, ethnic studies, and other disciplines. Students will demonstrate an understanding of the consequences of linguistic ideology on language policy, language representation and the evaluations of others.

Writing Intensive (WI)

This course addresses how and why languages and speakers are associated with racialized stereotypes, and how linguistic discrimination operates in U.S. culture today. In-depth case studies examine language and race in education, mass media, material culture, and everyday interaction. Critical perspectives on sociolinguistic norms and relationships between language, Whiteness, and power are also included.

This course explores the museum as a dynamic site of cultural production and consumption, and an important sphere for anthropological study. It examines the historical and contemporary relationships between museums, anthropology, and material culture, with particular attention to the broader socio-cultural context of collecting from and representing cultures. 

Prerequisites : ANTH 100 or ANTH 102

Outcomes : Students will gain knowledge of museums as sites of anthropological study and practice, with specific attention to an understanding of the formation and use of anthropological collections, and cultural representations. Students will visit, discuss, and critique exhibitions in Chicago-based museums.

This course offers direct experience with anthropological research methods and analysis using material culture and archival holdings from the May Weber Ethnographic Study Collection. Grounded in object-based studies and using examples from the collection, this course will examine collecting contexts, formal and technical analyses, operational sequences, cultural contexts, and interpretation.

Instructor permission required.

Prerequisite: ANTH 101 or background in biology and human anatomy. ANTH/BIOL 326 recommended. Advanced students are introduced to the exploration of the history of human disease through the analysis of human skeletal remains. Students will be able to demonstrate understanding of pathological and pseudopathological processes in human skeletal tissue, be familiar with data collection, interpretation and etiology of lesions, and place this knowledge within archaeological and historical contexts.

Prerequisite: ANTH 101 or ANTH 104. Specific theoretical, methodological, and research problems in archaeology will be examined. Focus will be on current research in the discipline. Topic include but are not restricted to: environmental archaeology, prehistoric trade, scientific techniques, prehistoric demography, prehistoric urbanism, North American archaeology.

Prerequisite: ANTH 102. A specific topic pertinent to theoretical and research problems in cultural anthropology will be examined. The course may center on one of the following topics depending on instructor's preference: medical anthropology, rituals and symbols, kinship, cultural ecology, comparative economic systems, urban anthropology.

Prerequisite: ANTH 101, or BIOL 125, or NTSC 104, or equivalent. A specific theoretical, methodological, or research problem in biological anthropology will be examined, focusing upon current work in the discipline. Topics might include anthropological genetics, osteology and forensic medicine, paleoanthropology.

Prerequisite: ANTH 231. Examination of a current research question or area within linguistic anthropology. Topics will vary and may include: language and gender, linguistic diversity, language and cognition, language and identity, linguistic contact and change, conversation analysis, and the ethnography of communication.

Prerequisite: ANTH 101 or ANTH 104.  

Practicum in analysis techniques for common archaeological materials, such as lithics, ceramics, faunal and floral remains, and historic debris.  Topics include transformation processes; classification techniques; data recording and analysis standardization; curation; and computerized strategies of data management and analysis.  

Outcome: Students will be able to identify, describe, and classify basic archaeological materials and relate these analyses with traditional techniques of material fabrication and processing.

1-6 credit hours. Prerequisites: Instructor permission and completion (with signatures) of the Course Contract Form. This course is designed to enhance student engagement by facilitating internship experiences within the department or in museums, service-oriented organizations, businesses, and non-profit organizations. Experiential learning is combined with rigorous academic work. This course may serve, if appropriate, as a capstone experience.

Engaged Learning (EL)

1-3 credit hours. Prerequisites: permission of chairperson and faculty member. Each student will have an individualized program of instruction that has been worked out with the faculty member supervising the student's study. Topics, readings, and written assignments will vary.

1-3 credit hours. Prerequisites: permission of chairperson and faculty member. Each student will have an individualized program of instruction that has been worked out with the faculty member supervising the student's study. Topics, readings, and written assignments will vary.

1-6 credit hours. Prerequisites: permission of chairperson and faculty member. Application of anthropological concepts and methods to a specific field situation under the supervision of a faculty member. Fieldwork may be undertaken in any of the four subfields of anthropology. Arrangements for individual fieldwork projects must be worked out in advance by the student and a faculty member.

Engaged Learning (EL)

This class investigates violence, suffering and justice through an ethnographic and cross-cultural perspective. It asks, how are overt forms of violence related to larger social structures which produce less visible forms of suffering?  How are violence and suffering related to other socio-cultural phenomena such as race, gender, sexuality and identity?

Tier 2 Core course in Societal and Cultural Knowledge Area

Prerequisite: ANTH 100 or 102, PLSC 102, PSYC 100, SOCL 101, or WSGS 101

Through study of gender cross-culturally, students will understand the historical circumstances, social structures, and cultural ideologies which shape categories and concepts of sex and gender. The course draws on ethnographic and linguistic findings to trace local meanings of gender in a variety of societies.

History and culture of the indigenous peoples of North America. Survey of Native American societies from the time of European Contact to the present. Culture Areas of North America are examined in detail in terms of the nature of contact, historical processes, and the diversity of culture. Economic, social, political, and religious practices of selected groups are described, analyzed, and compared. Consideration of the contemporary situation of indigenous North American peoples is given focusing on acculturation, genocide, reservations, ethnicity, and government policies.

This course considers the influence of African cultural patterns in the New World context, the historical role of slavery in shaping distinctive culture patterns of diverse African-Americans. Topical focus is directed to family, kinship, religion, language, expressive arts, and the relationship of African-Americans to the larger political and economic structures of New World communities.

This course will critically evaluate popular and scholarly characterizations and theories about Japan through investigation of contemporary social diversity, ethnicity, gender roles, sociolinguistics, demographic change, and the impact and role of global popular culture. Of particular interest will be the manner in which the "sarariiman" (salaried worker) has become a stereotype and symbol of post-war ideology. Topical foci will be explored in a seminar format through various readings, ethnography, films, "manga" (comics), novels, music, and popular artifacts.

Focusing on the culturally diverse region of the Middle East, the course considers historical dynamics, diversity of religious orientations, gender and ethnic relations, nation-building strategies, and expressive arts (architecture, film, literature and media), from the Middle East. The outcome of this class is that students will be able to demonstrate an understanding of the history, geography, religious, cultural and ethnic diversity of the Middle East as well as the major ethnographic themes and scholarly debates concerning the area. No prerequisites, but Anth 100 and/or 102 are highly recommended.

This course offers an anthropological approach to contemporary European culture. Working with ethnographic texts from both "old" and "new" Europe, the course addresses topics such as: recent developments in European nationalisms, the EU, and Europeanization; (im)migration and integration; family and gender; production and branding; international tourism; and the politics of language.

This class examines social movements and activism from an ethnographic perspective.  Case studies will examine movements across the globe. Topics to analyze include: what socio-cultural contexts shape, and are shaped by, social movements?  How do social movements organize themselves, and what meanings or belief systems do they appeal to?

Learning outcomes include: familiarizing students with the ethnographic analysis of social movements; analyzing the socio-cultural effects of global commodity flows, secularization, environmental pollution, corporate power, migration and other political issues; examining how people resist, reproduce and alter relations of power; and introducing students to the broader field of political anthropology.

Prerequisite: ANTH 101 or ANTH 104. This course surveys archaeological evidence in North America with focus on regional patterns of indigenous adaptation and explanations for prehistoric culture change.

Historical archaeology views history through the lens of the archaeological record.  This course is an introduction to contemporary method and theory in historical archaeology with a focus on the European colonization of North America, including the major topics of reconstructing everyday lifeways and understanding modernization and globalization.

Prerequisites: ANTH 101 or ANTH 104.  Recommended: Anth 241.

Outcomes : Students will learn research strategies for using historic artifact analysis and archival documents in interpreting the unique physical evidence of the historical archaeological record.

This course considers the interplay between indigenous peoples and environmental resources utilizing current perspectives from evolutionary and community ecology, conservation biology, anthropology, political ecology and economics. Students will demonstrate an understanding of factors influencing this interplay, including environmental ethics, traditional environmental knowledge, resource management, community-based conservation, property rights, common-pool resources, sustainable development, land tenure, indigenous movements, and eco-tourism.

This course examines the complex relationships between violence and culture using the ethnographic method as practiced by anthropologists and other social scientists. Students will demonstrate an understanding of the ways violence destroys, alters or produces forms of cultural meaning and social action and the ways in which cultural difference impacts patterns of violence.

This course examines the concept of universal human rights, and the social movement that has developed to promote human rights, from an anthropological perspective. Students will be able to demonstrate an understanding of the social and historical origins of the concept of human rights and analyze the debates that arise out of applying the concept of human rights in cross-cultural contexts.

Prerequisite: ANTH 100 or 102. This course investigates the anthropology of complex societies and city life. Consideration is given to the major problems of method and analysis involved in urban ethnography. Examination of selected issues in urban anthropology will include the comparative growth and structure of urban systems past and present, and the globalization of contemporary urban life. The problems and pathologies of urbanism are placed in a comparative perspective.

Prerequisite: ANTH 102. This course will survey the applications of anthropological data, methods, and theory in the analysis and understanding of contemporary human problems. Topics range from cross-cultural differences in the experience of illness, curing and health, cultural meanings and practices involved in substance abuse, the role of culture in educational practice and learning, and the influence of culture in business and workplace settings.

Prerequisite: ANTH 100 or 102, or Culture Area Requirement, or Instructor Permission. This course explores the phenomenon of tourism from an anthropological perspective. Drawing on case studies from Asia, Europe, Africa and the Americas, the course addresses the social, cultural, economic, and environmental impact of tourism on host communities and nations. Also examined are the history and cultural structure of tourism, the psycho-cultural motivations of contemporary tourists, and the role of tourism institutions (museums, souvenirs, travel literature, etc.) in the construction of "exotic others." Throughout the course, case data are related to anthropological theories of cultural and economic change, cross-cultural communication, identity, ethnicity, and gender.

Problems and procedures of archaeological investigations of Greco-Roman antiquities. Main explorations and achievements in the recovery of classical monuments and brief history of classical archaeology's development; extensive bibliographic background; detailed study of several key sites and their excavations and reconstruction, including Mycenae, Delphi, Olympia, Pompeii, Rome.

Mediterranean cult places before Greece; Dark Ages of Greece; Archaic Greece. Socio-political role and ritual function of Greek sanctuaries. Offered only at Rome Center.

Prerequisite: ANTH 101 or ANTH 104. Archaeological evidence from around the world examined in an attempt to answer the question of why civilizations rise and fall. Focus on ancient civilizations including Mesopotamia, Egypt, Indus Valley, Shang China, Inca and Maya. Topics include the environment setting, economics, politics, social structure, religion and art of the major ancient civilizations. Examples from different areas are compared and contrasted. Modern anthropological theories of cultural evolution and the rise of the state are evaluated against the archaeological evidence.

This course is a laboratory analysis of archaeological stone tools through experimentation and ethno-archaeology. Students will demonstrate an understanding of causes of variability in raw material procurement, manufacturing techniques, use wear, discard, recycling, methodological and theoretical considerations of artifact classification and interpretation, data recording and analysis standardization, and computerized strategies of data management and analysis.

A survey of archaeological research in Greece covering the period from the Paleolithic through the early Iron Ages (to circa 700 BC)