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Sociology and Anthropology

Anthropology Course Descriptions

In addition to the classes offered for the core of our major, we offer a wide array of interesting upper level electives in Anthropology that you can use to complete your major or minor in the discipline.

Spring 2014

ANTH4398 Human Behavioral Ecology

Our goal in Human Behavioral Ecology will be to explore questions about human behavior using an evolutionary perspective. The course will begin by providing grounding in behavioral ecology, which is the study of “evolution and adaptive design in ecological context”. We will then apply this approach to understanding human behavioral diversity. Topics addressed may include foraging, kinship, altruism, social relationships, mating and marriage, life history, and illness. Taught by Dr. Sylvia Amsler.

Fall 2013

Archaeological Investigations

This course will focus on how we conduct archaeological research, why, and what archaeology can contribute to the understanding of the diversity of human cultures around the world. Emphasis on hands on field and laboratory activities, methodologies, and research design that respects and involves living human communities.

(Think of this as an “Archaeology 2″ course). Prerequisite ANTH3313 Archaeology, an archaeological field school, or consent of instructor.

The course will include a special focus on the medieval port city of Al-Baleed and the UALR Archaeological Projects in Oman and Yemen. Required for, but not limited to, students who want to apply to be a team member for the Summer 2014 archaeological field season in Oman.

Taught by Dr. Krista Lewis

Eating Cultures: Anthropology of Food

Are we what we eat? A global-local look at humans and their food, from early foodways, to traditional diets, to an analysis of food cultures and food problems right here in the US and Arkansas today. Students in the class will also learn hands-on in the UALR Campus Garden and plan Food Day events on campus. Taught by Dr. Krista Lewis

Forensic AnthropologyTaught by Dr. Kathryn King

EgyptologyTaught by Dr. Jessica Scott

Spring 2013

Language and Gender

Language and gender are two key elements of any given society. By studying the complex relations of the two, we can enrich our understanding of each.  The claim that men and women use language differently is simultaneously overblown and poorly understood. Is men’s language powerful and women’s weak? Is men’s language oriented to facts and women’s to relationships? Can we even differentiate gender based on language? How can we test such questions and why are they so enduring? To avoid essentialisms, the course is rigorously cross-cultural and draws from wide range of sources from popular, ethnographic, and theoretical sources. Taught by Dr. Simon Hawkins.

Caravans, Suqs, and Ports:  Archaeology of Trade in the Ancient Near East

This class looks at the development of complex international trade, global economy and multicultural interactions through archaeological sites and data from the ancient and pre-modern Middle East, Indian Ocean, eastern Mediterranean, and Red Sea areas. Taught by Dr. Krista Lewis


In this course students will explore the social systems, behavior, and ecology of nonhuman primates. The class consists of 3 hours of lecture and 3 hours of lab each week. In lecture we will examine behavioral and biological diversity within the primate order using an evolutionary perspective. Course material will draw heavily on field studies of primates and emphasize their behavior in natural environmental and social settings. The lab portion of the class will complement lecture and reading material with practical experience in scientific research and writing. We will meet regularly at the Little Rock Zoo to practice observational field methods used by primatologists. Taught by Dr. Sylvia Amsler.

Religion, Society and Culture

Introduction to the role of shamans, witches, diviners, cultic and magic belief systems, function of myth, ritual, religious symbolism, meaning of spirit possession, revitalization, and ancestor worship in tribal, peasant, and modern societies. Taught by Dr. Ed Hale.

Cultures of the Middle East

Visit this link for more information about the topics covered in Cultures of the Middle East. This class is required for Middle Eastern Studies minors but is open to anyone.  Taught by Dr. Krista Lewis.

Other Anthropology Courses Taught in Recent Semesters

Islam and Gender

How does Islam view the role of women and men? What are Islamic stances on sex and sexuality? Who wears head coverings and why? What is the status of tradition and modernity in Islam? How does dating work in Saudi Arabia? The popular media provides some answers to these questions, but reality is far more complex. This course will tackle the multiple perspectives and debates about gender across the Islamic world. We will avoid simplistic stereotypes to look at the diversity of real people’s thoughts and experiences. We explore the lives of men and women and the complicated choices they must make. Islam and Gender is taught by Dr. Simon Hawkins

Dental Anthropology
Teeth are among the best sources of evidence for both identification purposes and studies of demography, biological relationships, and health in modern and ancient human communities. This course is intended to give students a detailed introduction to the methodology used in the study of teeth and jaws in physical anthropology and archaeology, and the main current issues in research. It provides an anatomical background to the dentition, as well as the histology of dental tissues, morphological variation, changes with age and development, and dental pathology.  Topics will include: dental development; tooth identification and orientation; variation in tooth size and shape; common dental pathologies and what they tell us about lifeways; dental modification; and how anthropologists from different sub-fields use teeth from living and ancient populations to inform our understanding of health, diet, migration patterns, ancestry, etc.  Students interested in paleoanthropology, bioarchaeology, forensics, and archaeology would benefit from the class. However, there will also a cultural component focused on studies of dental modification, as well as health studies of modern populations using the dentition, so I think there will be something for everyone. Dental Anthropology is taught by Dr. Jessica Scott.

Teaching the Future? The Anthropology of Education
What do we really learn in school? What is an educated person? Do schools change society or perpetuate it? Taught by Dr. Simon Hawkins

Experimental Archaeology
Have you ever wondered how people lived in the past and made the tools, homes, food and other materials they needed everyday? In this course we will use the archaeological evidence for ancient lifeways in Arkansas to construct a replica prehistoric Native American house as accurately as possible using authentic technologies, tools and materials. This will be a hands-on project in cooperation with the Toltec Mounds State Park.  We will often meet off campus at Toltec or other locations for collecting or processing raw materials Taught by Dr. Elizabeth Horton and Dr. Krista Lewis

In this class, we explore the complex relationships between society and language. We will examine language variations and usages as indicators of significance aspects of social life, such as class, racial, ethnic and gender identities. We will explore questions of language shift and maintenance looking at the social conditions that foster the continued use of minority languages, and those that result in shifts to a dominant language. We will also examine the roles that language performances (talking) play in everyday life, that is, how people accomplish social life through talking. We will learn to do conversational analysis, and we will learn how the analysis of how people actually talk can lead to discoveries about culture and society. Taught by Dr. Jeff Nash.

The Anthropology of Death
Holistic perspective on death across human cultures. Taught by Dr. Kathryn King.

Anthropology Field Experiences:  Archaeological Ceramic Analysis
Students will learn basic analytical methodology in the course of a independent research project, as well as do selected readings in ceramic studies.  Students will be responsible for producing one draft report at midterm and a final report at the end of the semester, as well as completed analysis paperwork to be left on file at Toltec Mounds Research Station.  Students will be required to work a minimum of 90 hours in the lab at Toltec (in Scott, AR). Taught by Dr. Elizabeth Horton.

North American Indians
A study of Indian cultures from the Arctic to northern Mexico from immediately after European contact to the present. Taught by Dr. Robert Sanderson.

Human Paleontology
Study of the fossil evidence for human evolution and the scientific principles that apply to that study; interpretation of morphological patterns in a functional and adaptive framework; interaction of cultural and biological aspects of hominid development. Taught by Dr. Jessica Scott.

Updated 2.19.2014