Scott A. Melzer, chair and associate professor.
B.A., 1997, University of Florida; M.A., 2000, Ph.D., 2004, University of California, Riverside. Appointed 2004.

Bradley A. Chase, associate professor.
B.A., 1997, Northwestern University; M.S., 2000, Ph.D., 2007, University of Wisconsin-Madison. Appointed 2008.

Bethany M. Coston, visiting assistant professor.
B.A., 2008, Albion College; M.A., 2010, Ph.D. candidate, Stony Brook University. Appointed 2014.

Allison D. Harnish, assistant professor.
B.A., 2006, Western Kentucky University; Ph.D., 2013, University of Kentucky. Appointed 2013.

Lynn M. Verduzco-Baker, assistant professor.
B.A., 1991, California State University, Fresno; M.A., 2009, Ph.D., 2011, University of Michigan. Appointed 2011.


Anthropologists study humankind and its diversity from beginnings to the present day. They focus upon humans' many answers to the common problems of existence and their differing understandings of reality. Sociologists study the impact of social institutions upon individual lives, how individuals are affected by family structure; government, economic and religious institutions; schools; hospitals; courts; and other organizations. Anthropology and sociology attract students who are interested in social problems and social services, management, administration and policy development, the development of Third World nations, diversity in lifestyles, world views and value systems, and ancient civilizations.

The Anthropology and Sociology Department emphasizes the mastery of research skills. This is done for two reasons. First, students develop a better grasp of abstract concepts and theories when they can apply them to real life situations. Second, research skills such as problem definition, test design and evaluation of data sets prepare students for employment and for graduate study in a wide range of fields. The department tries to incorporate student research projects into all classes and encourage students to pursue independent research under faculty guidance. Students are also assisted in finding internship placements where their skills can be applied, and those who wish to do so may obtain fieldwork experience in ethnography and archaeology during the summer.

Anthropology and Sociology Department Website

Career Opportunities

Knowledge and skills gained through the study of anthropology and sociology are valuable in everyday life and in a wide variety of careers. Training in anthropology and sociology may be especially valuable for students interested in pursuing careers in international business, public administration, market research, law enforcement, job counseling, human services, public health, international diplomacy, medical social work, foreign assistance, hospital administration, service agency planning, journalism and management.

A bachelor's degree in anthropology/sociology prepares students for graduate study and employment in fields such as law, urban planning, labor relations, personnel management, hospital administration, corrections, school administration, public health and museum management, as well as research and teaching in the fields of anthropology and sociology. Recent graduates from the department have become biostatisticians, urban planners, lawyers, biological anthropologists, congressional staff workers, physicians, nurses, news reporters and church field staff workers.

Majors and Minors

Requirements for Major

  • A minimum of eight units in anthropology and sociology, following the programs of study outlined below:

    Anthropology--Eight units including 105 and 343. All anthropology majors are strongly encouraged to study a foreign language and/or study abroad for a semester. Students anticipating graduate work are advised to take 324.

    Sociology--A minimum of eight units, including 101, 312, 323 and 324. Students must complete at least two elective courses at the 300- or 400-level, not including internships.

    Combined Major in Anthropology and Sociology--Although anthropology and sociology are separate and distinct disciplines, they also have many things in common: theories and methodologies, a focus on cultural similarities and differences and a commitment to international and/or global studies. Nearly all students choosing one of the two tracks outlined above will take courses in both anthropology and sociology, but some students may find that their academic needs are best met by a major that explicitly combines both fields of study.

    Eight units including 101, 105, 324, 343 and two upper division courses in anthropology and two in sociology. At least two of these upper division courses must be at the 300-level or higher where the course requirements should include research-based assignments.

  • All department majors will be required to take a senior exit exam during the spring semester as part of the department's assessment program. Participation in additional assessment activities may be required.
  • No more than one unit of internship credit may be counted toward the major.
  • All anthropology and sociology courses must be taken for a numerical grade, except those offered only on a credit/no credit basis.
  • No more than two units from an off-campus study program may be counted toward the major.

Requirements for Minor in Anthropology

  • Five units in anthropology, including 343.
  • Students majoring in anthropology or sociology may not complete a minor in the department.
  • All anthropology courses must be taken for a numerical grade, except those offered only on a credit/no credit basis.

Requirements for Minor in Sociology

  • Five units in sociology, including 312 and either 323 or 324.
  • Students majoring in anthropology or sociology may not complete a minor in the department.
  • All sociology courses must be taken for a numerical grade, except those offered only on a credit/no credit basis.

Requirements for Minor in Anthropology/Sociology

  • Five units in anthropology and sociology, including 101, 105, and either 312 or 343.
  • Students majoring in anthropology or sociology may not complete a minor in the department.
  • All anthropology and sociology courses must be taken for a numerical grade, except those offered only on a credit/no credit basis.

Requirements for Social Studies Major with Elementary or Secondary Education Certification

Students interested in pursuing elementary or secondary education certification in social studies may choose to major in social studies. The detailed requirements for the major with elementary certification and secondary certification are provided in this catalog or are available from the Education Department.

Anthropology and Sociology Courses

Introductory Courses

101 An Introduction to Sociology (1)
(Sociology) Provides students with the analytic tools for adopting a sociological perspective in order to better understand their own lives and the lives of others. Emphasis on how sociologists think about the social world, how they research that world, and what we know about the social world based on sociological research. From our most personal experiences such as our identities and our interactions with others to the broader organization of institutions such as family, government, media, religion, economy and education, students will be encouraged to explore how social forces shape their own experiences and life chances and the experiences and life chances of others. Melzer, Verduzco-Baker, Staff.

105 An Introduction to Anthropology (1)
(Anthropology) What does it mean to be “human”? How can we understand human variation and change? This course provides a basic introduction to anthropology, with an emphasis on cultural anthropology. It also explores archaeology, biological anthropology, and linguistics. Chase, Staff.

Biological and Ecological Foundations

242 Biological Anthropology (1)
Prerequisite: A&S 105 or permission of instructor.
(Anthropology) Biological anthropology is the holistic study of the origins and bio-cultural nature of the human species. This course addresses several of the most important areas of biological anthropology such as human evolution; patterns of human physical diversity; human health and nutrition; gender and sexuality; bioarchaeology; primatology; dynamics of genetic ancestry, race, and ethnic identity; and forensic anthropology. Chase, Harnish.

271 Nature and Society: An Introduction to Ecological Anthropology (1)
Prerequisite: A&S 105 or permission of instructor.
(Anthropology) Provides an understanding of the diverse and ever-changing relationships between people and their natural environments. Considers the historical foundations of ecological anthropology and the human dimensions of contemporary environmental issues ranging from deforestation and desertification to ecotourism and environmental justice. Through cross-cultural case studies, students learn how human perceptions of and interactions with the environment are conditioned by social variables like gender, race, politics, economics and religion/worldview. Harnish.

357 Violent Environments (1)
Prerequisite: A&S 105 or permission of instructor.
(Anthropology) Does environmental degradation produce violence? What is the relationship between population growth, resource scarcity and violent conflict? In what ways do different environments (e.g., African national parks, Appalachian coal mines, hurricane-ravaged coastal cities) feature differential access to and control over natural and economic resources? This course first explores anthropological perspectives on violence, including biological, archaeological and cultural approaches to understanding war. Then, it investigates the multifaceted linkages between environments and conflict—the articulations among resource extraction, urbanization, economic development, population growth, biotechnology, biodiversity, natural disasters, human health, structural violence and social inequality. Harnish.


240 Ancient Civilizations (1)
Prerequisite: A&S 105 or permission of instructor.
(Anthropology) Although the human species has been on the planet in its present form for at least 100,000 years, complexly organized societies with cities, governments and organized religions did not emerge until the last 5,000. This phenomenon took place independently throughout the globe, and while some ancient civilizations collapsed, others became the foundations upon which the modern world was constructed. Why is this so? Through a comparative analysis of Mesopotamian, Egyptian, Indus, Maya, Aztec and Incan societies, among others, students will learn to analyze the factors that have led to the emergence and transformation of civilizations. Chase.

241 Principles of Archaeology (1)
Prerequisite: A&S 105 or permission of instructor.
(Anthropology) Archaeology is the investigation of human societies through the study of their material remains. It provides the only source of information regarding the period from the evolution of humans over the last two million years to the widespread adoption of the written word (in some places) over the last few thousand. During historical periods, archaeology gives voice to those rendered invisible by their exclusion from historical documents. More fundamentally, archaeology provides novel insights into the material worlds that actively shape as well as reflect social life. Students will learn the fundamentals of archaeological research through the analysis of case studies in conjunction with a series of hands-on field and laboratory exercises. Chase.

346 Archaeology of Social Change (1)
Prerequisite: A&S 241 or permission of instructor.
(Anthropology) In the last 6,000 years people from all over the world have shifted from living in societies in which status and leadership was based on age, gender, and individual achievement to societies in which some people are born into superior social positions. In most societies today—including our own—small groups of people have access to greater resources and economic benefits for little reason other than their family history. How did this come about? Why did people allow themselves to become the subjects of others? Archaeological case studies are analyzed in an attempt to understand this fundamental transition in human society. Chase.

365 The Archaeology of Empire (1)
Prerequisite: A&S 105 or permission of instructor.
(Anthropology) The global interconnections and inequalities that characterize the twenty-first century have their origins in the sixteenth-century European imperial expansions that drew peoples from all regions of the globe into novel economic, political and ideological relationships that fundamentally transformed the identities of all parties involved. European imperialism, however, was not a unique incidence of this phenomenon, but was rather the most recent in a series of colonial encounters that began over 5,000 years ago as the institutions of the world's first cities expanded their influence beyond the floodplains of Mesopotamia. In this course students gain a more complete understanding of the modern world through the critical review of case studies including Uruk, Greek, Roman, Aztec, Incan and European civilizations. Chase.

Area Studies

238 South Asian Identities (1)
(Anthropology) An introduction to the peoples and cultures of South Asia (Sri Lanka, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan). Examines issues including caste, South Asian religions, family life, colonialism, communal violence, popular culture and the South Asian diaspora. Chase.

248 Africa: Peoples and Cultures (1)
Prerequisite: A&S 101 or 105, or permission of instructor.
(Anthropology) A survey of African cultural diversity past and present. Explores the lives and livelihoods of African peoples through ethnographic case studies that span the continent. Engages stereotypes and challenges the ways in which Africa is popularly depicted in the media. Considers key issues in anthropology, including colonialism, conflict, ecology, economic development, food security, gender, childhood, religion, health, humanitarianism and globalization. Harnish.

256 Native North America (1)
Prerequisite: A&S 101 or 105 or permission of instructor.
(Anthropology) The historical and anthropological study of Native peoples of North America, with an emphasis on the twentieth century. Topics include federal policy, political movements, gender, the construction of identities and relationships between scholars and Native communities. Same as History 256. Staff.

263 Modern China (1)
(Anthropology or Sociology) Same as History 263. Staff.

264 International History of Modern Japan (1)
(Anthropology or Sociology) Same as International Studies 264. Yoshii.

Society and the Individual

222 Sociology of Childhood (1)
Prerequisite: A&S 101 or permission of instructor.
(Sociology) Uses sociological theory and research findings to examine childhood and adolescence as historical constructs and social contexts (rather than developmental moments) and children as social actors in their own right (not only adults in the making). Pays particular attention to how race, class and gender shape experiences of childhood as we investigate what it means to be a child or adolescent in the United States, how children’s lives are shaped by their social contexts and how children as social actors shape the worlds in which they live. Verduzco-Baker.

225 Criminology (1)
Prerequisite: A&S 101 or permission of instructor.
(Sociology) An introduction to the sociological study of crime, including varying definitions, causes, consequences, and societal responses. Scrutinizes multiple criminological theories (structural and interactionist), research methods, patterns in crime data, and public perception/media coverage, placing crime in a socio-historical context. Issues include criminal occupations, property crime, victimless crime, organized crime, white-collar crime, gangs, sex offenders, intimate violence and capital punishment. Melzer.

230 Men and Masculinities (1)
Prerequisite: A&S 101, or Women's and Gender Studies 106 or 116, or permission of instructor.
(Sociology) Examines how biological males are transformed into boys/men who interact in the social world through shared gendered meanings. Analyzes various socio-historical constructions of masculinity both in the United States and beyond, paying particular attention to how these differ over time, across cultures and within subcultures. Focuses on gender as a central organizing principle of society, and how this socially constructed characteristic affects individuals (men and women), society and, quite literally, the world. Also examines relational aspects of gender including women and femininities, as well as comparing masculinities by race, ethnicity, class, age, sexual orientation, etc. Discusses structural inequalities, cultural similarities and differences, and individual issues related to masculinities. Melzer.

280 Children of Immigrants (1)
Same as Ethnic Studies 280. Verduzco-Baker, Staff.

336 Social Psychology: Sociological Perspectives (1)
Prerequisite: A&S 101 and junior standing or above, or permission of instructor.
(Sociology) The study of the relationship between personal experiences and society. Explores how our sense of self, identity, subjective experience, feelings, beliefs, and relationships to and interactions with others are shaped by and influence social life. Focuses on theoretical traditions and trends within micro-sociology and their applications and usefulness for empirical research. Special attention will be paid to connecting the micro-workings of social life to larger institutional, cultural and political processes and issues. Melzer.

360 Intimate Violence (1)
Prerequisites: A&S 101, 324 (or Psychology 204) or permission of instructor.
(Sociology) Examines violence between intimates, primarily (but not solely) within the United States, covering a range of interpersonal relationships (children, parents, spouses, partners, acquaintances, siblings, etc.) as well as various forms of abuse (emotional, physical, neglect, sexual assault/rape, etc.) Traces intimate violence socio-historically, including theoretical, methodological, empirical and applied issues and debates within the field. Analyzes the incidence and prevalence of intimate violence, and, in the process, attempts to identify causes and solutions. Focuses on the importance of structural gender inequality in shaping individuals' violent behavior and the degree to which gender inequality influences various forms of violence. Melzer.

Social Institutions

235 Global Transformations (1)
Prerequisite: A&S 105 or permission of instructor.
(Anthropology or Sociology) Is "globalization" just a marketing slogan or does it actually describe a process involving profound change in life on this planet? Topics include communication and transportation technologies, political and economic developments, commerce and consumerism in the modern world. Considers relationships between the global and the local and explores whether the changes associated with globalization are best considered as progress or problem. Staff.

333 The Sociology of Sex and Gender (1)
Prerequisite: A&S 101 or 105 or Women's and Gender Studies 106 or 116, or permission of instructor.
(Sociology) Examines the social construction and social consequences of gender difference and gender inequality with a specific focus on the United States. Gender theory and research will be used to explore masculinity and femininity as identities, as behavioral expectations and as organizing features of social life. Covers belief systems; broad social institutions such as family, employment, media and health; experiences of sexuality and violence; and individual behavior such as personal styles and modes of interacting with others. Focuses on how gender as an organizing feature of social life benefits some and is disadvantageous to others, paying special attention to how race, ethnicity, class and sexuality intersect with gender. Melzer.

345 Race and Ethnicity (1)
Prerequisite: A&S 101 or 105 or permission of instructor.
(Sociology) Alternative theories of racial and ethnic relations, and their application to groups within the United States. Particular attention will be focused on the reasons for ethnic conflict and strategies for conflict resolution. Verduzco-Baker.

350 Comparative Families: A Global Perspective (1)
Prerequisite: A&S 101 or 105 or permission of instructor.
(Sociology) What is the family? Is the family a "natural" unit or a social construct? Is the family a dying institution or is it merely changing? How do family structures, values and dynamics vary across cultures? How is family structure in the United States different from those in Nigeria, India, China, Sweden and Saudi Arabia? This course utilizes a comparative perspective to explore the changing family in its historical, cultural, economic, social and political contexts. Topics include variations in family patterns; marriage and related issues such as dating, mate selection, divorce, single parenting and family violence: poverty and stress in family life; communication; power relations; gender roles; and family policies in selected societies. Staff.

370 Social Stratification (1)
Prerequisite: A&S 101 or 105 or permission of instructor.
(Sociology) An examination of the changing patterns of social stratification within the U.S. since World War II. Topics include income and wealth inequality, education and social mobility, the reorganization of the workplace, poverty and social welfare. Verduzco-Baker.

Theory and Methods

312 Sociological Theory (1)
Prerequisite: A&S 101 and junior standing, or permission of instructor.
(Sociology) An overview of sociological theory from classical to contemporary, and an assessment of how these theories frame research and analysis. Theorists range from the foundational work of Marx, Durkheim and Weber, to the more recent work of Parsons, Goffman and a number of critical and post-structuralist authors. Highly recommended for students who intend to do graduate work in the social sciences. Verduzco-Baker.

323 Qualitative Social Research (1)
Prerequisite: A&S 101 and junior standing, or permission of instructor.
(Sociology) An overview of qualitative social research methods with a focus on three key forms: ethnography, document analysis and interview. Examines research design and a variety of types of data collection and analysis as well as considering ethical issues in social research. Students design and carry out their own research project based on that semester’s theme. Verduzco-Baker.

324 Quantitative Social Research (1)
Prerequisite: A&S 101 and junior standing, or permission of instructor.
(Sociology) An overview of quantitative social research methods and statistics. Topics include problem formulation and connection between theories and research; research designs, measurement and sampling techniques; ethical issues in research; data processing and data analysis with discussion of descriptive statistics; hypothesis testing and chi-square tests of significance; correlation; and multiple regression models. Students design and carry out their own independent research projects in addition to an extensive application of SPSS in laboratory assignments using secondary data. Staff.

343 Theory and Method in Anthropology (1)
Prerequisite: A&S 105 or permission of instructor.
(Anthropology) Addresses questions surrounding what anthropologists should study and how they should study it. Considers how the basic assumptions, research methods, and the social conditions of anthropological practice have changed over time. Examines how anthropologists have been rethinking assumptions about culture, nature, power, the primitive and the modern, as well as the social and political conditions of research in colonial and post-colonial contexts. Also explores developments in biological anthropology, archaeology and other subfields. Staff.

Special Studies

187, 188, 189 Selected Topics (1/4, 1/2, 1)
(Anthropology or Sociology) An examination of subjects or areas not included in other courses. Staff.

287, 288, 289 Selected Topics (1/4, 1/2, 1)
(Anthropology or Sociology) An examination of subjects or areas not included in other courses. May be taken more than once for credit. Staff.

387, 388, 389 Selected Topics (1/4, 1/2, 1)
(Anthropology or Sociology) An examination of subjects or areas not included in other courses. Staff.

391, 392 Internship (1/2, 1)
(Anthropology or Sociology) Offered on a credit/no credit basis. Staff.

401, 402 Seminar (1/2, 1)
(Anthropology or Sociology) Staff.

408 Senior Paper (1)
Prerequisite: Senior standing, a major in the department.
(Anthropology or Sociology) An intensive study and written paper emphasizing a topic in either anthropology or sociology. Staff.

411, 412 Directed Study (1/2, 1)
(Anthropology or Sociology) Staff.