ANT Department of Anthropology Courses
Anthropology offers Social Science and Science Courses; below are first, Social Science courses, then Science courses.
Anthropology Social Science Courses
Undergraduate seminar that focuses on specific ideas, questions, phenomena or controversies, taught by a regular Faculty member deeply engaged in the discipline. Open only to newly admitted first-year students. It may serve as a distribution requirement course; see page 40.
Society and culture from various anthropological perspectives: socio-cultural, biological, archaeological, and linguistic.
Cultures in the Old and New Worlds from an archaeological perspective. Principles of prehistoric research are applied to archaeological information, from the Early Pleistocene to the beginning of written history.
Basic approaches to the understanding of social and cultural organization in societies of varying complexity. Comparative social institutions: economic, political, familial, and ritual. Belief systems and symbolic thought, the individual in society, sources of stability and change in socio-cultural systems. Anthropological perspectives on current social issues.
The study of the relationship between language and society with the goal of understanding social structure through language; major themes are multilingual societies, including pidgin and creoles, and social interaction through speech. (Given by the Departments of Anthropology and Linguistics)
The study of language structure through its social functions; major themes are the interaction between social and linguistic aspects of language variation, including language and gender, style and linguistic change. (Given by the Departments of Anthropology and Linguistics)
The course explores a range of African cosmologies, epistemologies, and theologies, as well as specific case studies on justice, the moral order, and gender relations. The influence of these richly diverse traditions is traced as well in the writings of African thinkers in the Diaspora. Jointly taught by the Departments of Anthropology and Philosophy
Credit course for supervised participation in faculty research project. See page 40 for details.
See “ARH: Archaeology Program”
This course examines human prehistory in North America, North of Mexico, from the time of earliest occupation to European contact. Special topics include Paleoindian and Archaic adaptations, the rise of complex hunter-gatherers, origins of farming and the evolution of complex chiefdoms.
Practical field training through six weeks of excavation on an archaeological site. Basic principles of artifact handling and classification. (Offered only in Summer Session)
(See “ARH: Archaeology Program”)
This course provides an overview of the Archaeology of Africa from prehistory through to colonialism.Units covered include: human origins, behavioural modernity, origins of food production, iron technology, African state societies, and slave trade and colonialism.
Archaeology and ethnohistory of Arctic cultures. Emphasis is on variation in social organization, settlement pattern, economy, ideology, and interaction with the expanding European world-system.
The Southern African peoples before, during, and after their domination by colonial regimes. Reserve systems, migratory labour, farm labour, urban life and social stratification.
For the Twenty-first century, the most important facts regarding genetics are those that have social, political, medical and ethical implications. Topics include: Darwinism, biological communication between generations, gene interaction, selection formulation, population genetics, human diversity, race, eugenics and euphenics, nature and nurture.
Introduction to writing systems; their historical development, their relationship to language, and their role in culture and society. (Given by the Departments of Anthropology and Linguistics)
The role of language and symbolism in the representation and manipulation of ideology and power structure. Case materials drawn from the study of verbal arts, gender, law, ethnic relations, consumption patterns, advertising, and politics with a focus on North America.
Social anthropological perspectives on variations in gender roles and systems. Examines, through comparison of ethnography, the relationship of gender to social organization, economic and political processes, belief systems and social change.
Pre-industrial sociocultural types and their transformation in the national development of Southeast Asia.
Politics, economics, religion, marriage and kinship in traditional, colonial, and contemporary West African societies.
The role of culture, cultural diversity, space and performance in urban institutions and settings. The cultural context and consequence of urbanization.
Aspects of health and disease in cross-cultural perspective. Critical views on the interface between conventional “western” medicine and alternative, indigenous, and traditional therapeutic systems.
The contribution of ethnographic study to the understanding of regional disparities within Western and Third World nations. The inter-relationship between persistent economic underdevelopment, expressions of regional identity and class formation by reference to comparative ethnographic examples.
A survey of ethnographic film as a medium for representation of other cultures. Films using different styles and techniques of presentation are viewed. Readings on ethnographic film.
Ways in which women and men differ in their use of language and in their behaviour in conversational interaction; ways in which language reflects cultural beliefs about women and men. (Given by the Departments of Anthropology and Linguistics)
Linguistic variation and its social significance, especially markers of social class, sex and age; applications of statistics and other quantitative methods for correlating linguistic and social variables. (Given by the Departments of Anthropology and Linguistics)
See “ARH: Archaeology Program”
See “ARH: Archaeology Program”
Origins, history and internal dynamics of early and modern state societies, examined with a view to placing our own system in an historical and comparative perspective. Case studies include material from Africa, Asia, the Americas and Europe.
Culture areas and types existing in precontact and early contact times in North America; problems arising out of contacts between North American Indians and Euroamericans.
Explores how anthropologists have traditionally studied social movements and how new social movements have challenged anthropologists to rethink some of their ethnographic methods and approaches. Some specific movements covered include those related to indigenous rights, environmentalism, refugees, gay and lesbian issues, biotechnology, new religions, and globalization.
Concept and practice of spirituality in indigenous cultures: Australian Aboriginal, Native North American, African, aspects of Judeo-Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam. Includes performative aspect.
An instructor-supervised group project in an off-campus setting. See page 40 for details.
Practice in language analysis based on elicited data from a native speaker of a foreign language, emphasizing procedures and techniques. (Given by the Departments of Anthropology and Linguistics)
The survey and spatial analysis of archaeological evidence over territories larger than individual camps, villages or towns. Settlement systems, regional exchange and communication, rank-size analysis, nearest neighbour analysis etc.
Examines the diversity of recent hunter-gatherer societies, as a source of analogues for understanding the archaeological record of past foraging peoples.
Seminar in the critical examination of major schools of archaeological thought.
Introduces the problems, methods and some of the material culture of colonial and industrial archaeology with emphasis on Canada and colonial America. Covers the use of documentary evidence, maps, architecture, and a variety of artifact classes.
How social complexity is manifested in the archaeological record. Origins and evolution of prehistoric complex societies, from small-scale chiefdoms to large-scale states.
How ideas about language fit into the overall views of humankind as expressed by selected anthropologists, linguists, sociologists, and philosophers.
Language and imagery representing the “oriental” in the West. Emphasis on representations of the “Semites”, the Islamic peoples of North Africa, the Middle East and South Asia, as well as the Jews from the mid-nineteenth to the mid-twentieth century.
The role of language in the reproduction and transformation of ideology and political economy. Readings include linguistic analyses of gender and class relations in local and global contexts, as well as seminal works in linguistics and other social sciences.
An exploration of the conceptual tools used to understand reflexive modernity. Focus on the articulated web of global and local networks that produce simultaneously inequalities and potentially new identities and collectivities.
Concepts, theories and controversies in economic anthropology.
The relationship between technology and culture through a focus on reproductive, genetic and communications technologies.
Social and linguistic anthropological approaches to research in urban settings. Methodology, field techniques and research ethics. Students must formulate and complete a field research project.
The extent to which the conventional methods of ethnography can be helpful in understanding the European Union and its member states, is examined. European history and the ethnographic study of fieldsites take up the first term; current European social/cultural ideas and political movements are addressed in the second term.
The course investigates the nature and significance, in history and the history of ideas, of the ways of life of the Australian Aborigines. The emphasis is on the influence of religion and music on the economic, political and social organization of the people.
An examination of theories and critique of ethnicity and nationalism from an anthropological perspective. The problem of the cultural context of ethnicity. Case studies.
Comparative examination of human ecological adaptations, livelihood strategies, spiritual and cultural values and their relation to environmental maintenance or degradation. Explores contemporary “grass roots” environmental movements and ideologies.
Major social issues in Caribbean societies. Pre-conquest social organization, slavery, race and class, plantation and peasant organization, family structure, cultural pluralism and the nation state, rural and international migration, social change.
The concept of human rights in its universal claims rises fundamental questions for anthropology as it challenges a central value of the discipline: cultural relativism. Students are asked to consider epistemological and theoretical questions and case studies (e.g. claims of rights by ethnic collectivities).
Major issues in the history and development of Sub-Arctic Native people of Canada: Indian social structure, European/Native interaction, land tenure, politics and religion.
This course investigates the connection between religion, music and society from an anthropological point of view. The primary focus is on societies where music is seen by people as the principal vehicle for religious expression. Examination of religions and musics of Australian aboriginal, Melanesian, Native North America, African societies, others.
This course examines international health, focusing on the health problems of “third world” populations and the contributions and critiques provided by medical anthropology. Topics include: the political ecology of infectious disease, disease eradication campaigns, population policy and reproductive health, the AIDS pandemic, and the quest for culturally appropriate interventions.
History and development of theories which underlie contemporary anthropology.
Unique opportunity to explore a particular anthropological topic in-depth. Topics vary from year to year.
See ARH: Archaeology Program
Independent Research TBA
Anthropology Science Courses
Introduction to Biological Anthropology, investigating various lines of evidence for human evolution including our primate relatives and an exploration of the relevance of human origins to contemporary human biology and variability.
Introduction to methods for remote sensing of buried archaeological remains, dating, and analysis of ancient materials. Application of methods and interpretation of results in archaeological contexts. (Offered in alternate years) (Given by the Departments of Physics and Anthropology)
Introduction to the principles behind archaeometric methods for remote sensing, dating, and analysis of archaeological materials, and interpretation of results. Offered in conjunction with JPA305H1. (Offered in alternate years) (Given by the Departments of Physics and Anthropology)
This course provides background in the practical and theoretical aspects of fieldwork in Paleoanthropology. Students are trained in the treatment and analysis of fossil vertebrates, plant macro- and micro-fossils and sediments. Excursions to paleoanthropological localities of Homo erectus and Homo sapiens, and excavation at a hominoid site. (Joint undergraduate-graduate)
A detailed examination of human musculo-skeletal anatomy from the comparative and evolutionary perspectives. Allometry, basic biomechanics, functional anatomy, and the structure and function of human mastication, the brain, the forelimb and bipedalism. Labs make use of the large collection of primate skeletal material and fossil human casts.
A survey of living primates, this lab-oriented course describes and compares the diverse behavioural and anatomical adaptations that are characteristic to this order of mammals. The understanding of the biological diversity and evolutionary history of primates is important for further understanding of human adaptation and evolution.
Exploration of the development and maintenance of the human skeleton and dentition, with emphasis on application to archaeological, forensic and biomedical sciences.
Discussion of biological diversity of human populations according to climatic, nutritional, disease and demographic variables. From an ecological perspective, emphasis on evaluating the role of various factors (genetic, environmental and cultural) influencing population biology and on understanding the significance of human population variation.
An introduction to research in archaeometry and archaeological prospecting. Possible projects: magnetic and resistivity surveying of archaeological sites; thermoluminescence measurements; neutron activation analysis and x-ray fluorescence analysis of artifacts; radiocarbon dating by atom counting; lead isotope analysis. (Offered in alternate years) (Given by the Departments of Physics and Anthropology)
Advanced seminar addressing the questions of primate and human evolution from a palaeoecological perspective. The course reviews methods, theories, and physical evidence behind the palaeoecological approach. Students are expected to research and review the scientific literature relevant to specific case studies in the primate and human fossil record.
Method and theory in paleoanthropology focusing on reconstructions of human evolutionary history and the behaviour of fossil hominids. Identification and analysis of fossil human material and hominid systematics. Includes an extensive lab component using a large collection of primate skeletons and fossil human casts.
Reviews the evolutionary history of the Order Primates by examining the fossil record of this group for the past 60 million years. Lab-oriented, the course compares the anatomy and adaptations of modern primates with the abundant and diverse primate skeletal material preserved in the fossil record.
Advanced exploration of the life histories of past populations, through the application of palaeodietary analyses, palaeopathology and other appropriate research methods.
This course will provide an overview of the ecology and social behavior of extant nonhuman primates. Topics will include socioecology, conservation biology, biogeography, aggression and affiliation, community ecology, communication, and socio-sexual behavior. There will also be extensive discussions of methods used in collecting data on primates in the field.
Unique opportunity to explore in-depth a particular topic in Biological Anthropology. Topics vary from year to year.
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