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Department of Anthropology


Carol J. Greenhouse

Departmental Representative

Alan E. Mann

Director of Graduate Studies

João G. Biehl


João G. Biehl

John W. Borneman

Isabelle R. Clark-Decès

Carol J. Greenhouse

Abdellah Hammoudi

Rena S. Lederman

Alan E. Mann

Lawrence Rosen

Carolyn M. Rouse, also African American Studies

Visiting Professor

Didier Fassin

Visiting Associate Professor

Janet M. Monge

Assistant Professor

Elizabeth A. Davis


Noelle J. Molé

Mekhala D. Natavar

Associated Faculty

Amy B. Borovoy, East Asian Studies

Serguei A. Oushakine, Slavic Languages and Literatures

Everett Y. Zhang, East Asian Studies

Information and Departmental Plan of Study


Students who wish to major in anthropology must take one anthropology course (any level) prior to junior year or have permission from the departmental representative. It is strongly recommended they complete ANT 201 prior to spring of junior year.

Early Concentration

A sophomore may apply for early concentration through consultation with the departmental representative.

Program of Study

Anthropology concentrators take eight or more departmental courses. Three are required "core'' courses: 201 Introduction to Anthropology, 301 The Ethnographer's Craft, and 390 History of Anthropological Theory. The core courses ensure that students will have a systematic understanding of method and theory in sociocultural anthropology. Students should plan to complete 201, 301, and 390 by the end of their junior year so as to be prepared for their independent work.

The rest of each student's courses may be chosen in accordance with his or her special interests. Up to two courses from other departments may be counted as cognates so long as they are judged by the departmental representative to be relevant to a student's junior or senior independent work. Well-prepared undergraduates may take graduate seminars for departmental credit. To enroll in a graduate seminar, the student must have the approval of the departmental representative and the instructor of the course.

Independent Work

Junior Independent Work. Independent work in the junior year involves an original paper, usually based on library research. In the fall students work with a faculty adviser to develop a detailed problem statement and annotated bibliography on a subject relevant to the student's interests, and approved by the department. In the spring students submit a paper based on the research initiated in the fall. 

Senior Independent Work. In the senior year, the independent work consists of a thesis, or a comparable project that must include a substantial written component, on a subject relevant to the student's interests, and approved by the department. Field work is encouraged but not required. It is recommended that students participate in the senior thesis writing workshop.

Senior Departmental Examination

In the spring of senior year, after the thesis deadline, all concentrators must complete a departmental examination designed to test their knowledge of anthropology.

Special University Programs. Students who choose to major in the department are encouraged to take advantage of opportunities for individual study under special University programs. For example, under the Study Abroad Program students may enrich their programs at Princeton with a term or a year of anthropological study abroad. Under the Field Study Program it is possible for departmental students to do intensive domestic field study. The Community-Based Learning Initiative also provides opportunities for independent research. Students should consult with the departmental representative about these and other possibilities.

Interdepartmental Programs. Students concentrating in the department may participate in programs such as: African American studies, African studies, American studies, East Asian studies, environmental studies, European cultural studies, gender and sexuality studies, global health and health policy, Hellenic studies, humanistic studies, Latin American studies, Near Eastern studies, South Asian studies, creative and performing arts, various languages and cultures programs, and the Program in Law and Public Affairs.


ANT 201 Introduction to Anthropology   Fall SA

A comparative study of human cultures. The human capacity for culture, embedded in language and symbolism, enables us to know the world in distinctive ways. Culture helps us make sense of human nature and distinguish between the universal and the culturally specific. Knowledge of the world and nature, and that which gives meaning to human life, is "uncultured" cognition. Students examine diverse cognitive dispositions through empirical, historical, and theoretical cross-cultural conditions for the possibility of gaining knowledge. Two lectures, one preceptorial. Staff

ANT 206 Human Evolution (also GEO 208/EEB 306)   Spring EC

The evolution of humans in the Pleistocene. An interdisciplinary perspective on the role of biology and culture in human evolution. Readings and lectures from the fields of biology, geology, and anthropology. Two lectures, one preceptorial. A. Mann, J. Monge

ANT 215 Human Adaptation (also EEB 315)   Fall STL

Human adaptation focuses on human anatomy and behavior from an evolutionary perspective. Lectures and weekly laboratory sessions focus on the evolution of the human brain, dentition, and skeleton to provide students with a practical understanding of the anatomy and function of the human body and its evolution, as well as some of its biological limitations. No science background required. Two 90-minute lectures, one three-hour laboratory. A. Mann, J. Monge

ANT 225 Japanese Society and Culture (see EAS 225)

ANT 232 Social Lives, Social Forces   SA

Examining law and love as social forces provides a way to examine some key assumptions behind such everyday distinctions as altruism and self-interest, public and private, rules and norms, regulation and free market, kinship and citizenship, friend and foe. This seminar untangles these binaries by exploring various settings--of family, community, law, and business--where they have been put into practice as organizing principles, and thus into contention. It also follows them beyond the United States into postcolonial and post-socialist environments, so as to further hone our comparative and interpretive questions. One three-hour seminar. C. Greenhouse

ANT 250 Musical Cultures of the World (see MUS 250)

ANT 301 The Ethnographer's Craft   Fall SA

Ethnography as a craft and as a written genre, combining student field research projects in Princeton with the study of classic ethnographies. Required for juniors concentrating in anthropology. One 90-minute lecture, one 90-minute class. Prerequisite: one course in anthropology or instructor's permission. Staff

ANT 302 Gender and Latin American States (see LAS 302)

ANT 304 Political Anthropology   SA

A cross-cultural examination of collective action, power, and legitimacy. Topics will include cultural variation in systems of leadership and decision making, the sociocultural contexts of egalitarianism and hierarchy, and human rights struggles. Issues of representation and self-representation in film and media will be considered. One 90-minute lecture, one 90-minute class. Staff

ANT 306 Current Issues in Anthropology   SA

A course taught by different members of the department and visiting faculty on various subjects not normally taught in regular courses. Staff

ANT 308 Forensic Anthropology  

An introduction to the analytical techniques that biological anthropologists apply to forensic (legal) cases. Topics include human osteology, the recovery of bodies, the analysis of life history, the reconstruction of causes of death, and various case studies where anthropologists have contributed significantly to solving forensic cases. Discussions will cover the limitations of forensic anthropology and the application of DNA recovery to skeletal/mummified materials. One three-hour seminar. J. Monge

ANT 310 Fundamentals of Biological Anthropology   EC

A survey of current data and debates in evolutionary theory, molecular anthropology, primate biology and behavior, primate and human evolution, and modern human biology and adaptation. One three-hour seminar. A. Mann

ANT 311 Cultural Analysis and International Development Dilemmas   SA

Designed to give students the anthropological tools to analyze concrete development dilemmas. Specific instances of violent ethnic conflict, international food relief, refugee rights, the global factory, and culturally diverse regional blocs will be considered. Staff

ANT 315 Modern Human Origins   STL

This summer course focuses on the fossil and archaeological evidence that documents the evolutionary origins of modern humans. Working at the prehistoric cave site of Marillac in the southwest of France, students have an intensive introduction to archaeological field and laboratory techniques. Three weeks of classroom/lecture and three weeks of field study/laboratory. A. Mann

ANT 316 Cultural Diversity: Money, Sex, Nation   SA

This course explores the use of money, sex, and national belonging in processes of cultural diversification. Its focus is anthropological: making and understanding difference in space and time. Its method is primarily ethnographic: relating face-to-face or personal encounters to macro-political factors and to contemporary issues. Drawing from film, music, and selected readings, it examines how money, sex, and national form create value and interact to create people. Students will be asked to examine critically and reflexively their own prejudices as they influence the perception and evaluation of cultural differences. One three-hour seminar. J. Borneman

ANT 318 Understanding Muslim Social and Political Movements   SA

Introduces students to a number of contemporary movements claiming to restore Islam as the central norm for practice in the social, economic, and political life of Muslim communities and societies. These movements are studied from an anthropological perspective, using anthropological studies as well as writings by orientalists and others. The course is centered on the reconfiguration of religion, self, community, identity, and power. Emphasis on the Arab world and Iran. One three-hour seminar. A. Hammoudi

ANT 321 Ritual, Myth, and Worldview   SA

An exploration of classic and modern theories of religion (belief, ritual, myth, worldview) as they pertain to a cross-cultural understanding of these phenomena. One 90-minute lecture, one 90-minute class. I. Clark-Deces

ANT 322 Cross-Cultural Texts   HA

This seminar closely reads descriptive and fictive works replete with cross-cultural representations and juxtaposed histories. What makes a given comparative account--whether colonialist or postcolonialist--compelling? Various genres--ethnographic essays, intense travel narratives, translated tales and myths, and novels--receive concerted attention. One three-hour seminar. Staff

ANT 330 The Rights of Indigenous Peoples   EM

Using American Indian sovereignty, Australian Aborigine land claims, the Canadian Bill of Rights, the Maori Treaty of Waitangi, and various international conventions, students will consider whether there is a fundamental right to cultural integrity, and the historical, legal, and ethical implications posed by the relations between modern states and their indigenous populations. One 90-minute lecture, one 90-minute class. L. Rosen

ANT 331 Dance Performance Theory and Cultural Studies - Cultural Politics of Moving Bodies (see DAN 331)

ANT 335 Medical Anthropology   EM

Exploration of cross-cultural constructions of sickness, disease, health, and healing interrogates our basic ethical, moral, and political positions. Our healing and disease models derive from specific cultural assumptions about society, gender, class, age, ethnicity, and race. Categories of disease from one culture can compromise ethical positions held by another. We pursue the moral implications of a critique of medical development and the political and ethical implications of treating Western medicine as ethnoscience as well as universal truth. One 90-minute lecture, one 90-minute class. J. Biehl

ANT 336 The Anthropology of Selected Regions   SA

The significant impact of peoples of particular regions on the development of anthropological theory, method, and sensibility. Special attention to the dynamic precolonial history of the region and to political and religious movements in the contemporary context of rapid socioeconomic change. Staff

ANT 337 Social Change in Contemporary India (also SAS 337)   SA

This course introduces students to the debates that have defined the anthropological study of India. It explores classic and recent theories of caste and hierarchy, focusing in particular on the ethnography of change in everyday Indian life. The course also considers the emergence of identity politics in India. Communal identities and power relations in India are often expressed and challenged in popular religious practices. The course will explore everyday Indian religiosity with reference to debates about Hindu reformism and nationalism. One three-hour class. I. Clark-Deces

ANT 341 The Anthropology of Gender   SA

Comparative perspectives on sexual divisions of labor, sex-based equality and inequality, and the cultural construction of "male'' and "female.'' Analysis of gender symbolism in myth and ritual, and of patterns of change in the political participation and power of the sexes. Two 90-minute lectures with discussion. Staff

ANT 342 The Anthropology of Law   EM

Study of the relation between formal legal institutions and the social and cultural factors influencing their development. Western and non-Western systems compared in terms of their forms of judicial reasoning, implementation through law of moral precepts, fact-finding procedures, and dispute settlement mechanisms. Two 90-minute lectures. L. Rosen

ANT 352 Pacific Islanders: Histories, Cultures, and Change   SA

This course concerns histories of Pacific Islanders from the first settlements through colonial rule. It will also look at the diversity of cultures and their sociocultural transformation in more recent times. Throughout the semester, we will also use Pacific ethnography to shed light on general questions concerning cultural difference, inequality, and issues of interpretation/translation. Two 90-minute classes. R. Lederman

ANT 359 Acting, Being, Doing, and Making: Introduction to Performance Studies (see THR 300)

ANT 363 Islamic Social and Political Movements (see NES 363)

ANT 390 History of Anthropological Theory   Spring HA

A review of the main currents in anthropological theory with particular emphasis on major issues in American and European anthropology and the intellectual climate within which they developed. Required for juniors concentrating in anthropology. One 90-minute lecture, one 90-minute class. Prerequisite: one course in anthropology or instructor's permission. Staff

ANT 403 Race and Medicine (see AAS 403)

ANT 404 Special Topics in Regional Studies   HA

Analysis of a major world region stressing the issues of cultural diversity, history, and social change. Attention will be given to the theoretical contributions of regional study, the history of regional approaches, and the internationalization of the production of anthropological research. Prerequisite: instructor's permission. Staff

ANT 405 Topics in Anthropology   SA

Study of a selected topic in anthropology; the particular choice will vary from year to year. Staff

ANT 406 Theoretical Orientations in Cultural Anthropology   SA

Analysis of classical and contemporary sources of cultural anthropology, with particular emphasis on those writers dealing with meaning and representation. The topical focus of the course will vary with the instructor. Prerequisite: anthropology major or instructor's permission. One three-hour seminar. Staff

ANT 410 Race and Modernity in the Caribbean Surround (see AAS 410)

ANT 412 Anthropological Approaches to the Study of Religion (also REL 412)   SA

Classic and modern theories of religion relevant to anthropologists. Students will familiarize themselves with anthropological monographs dealing with a particular aspect of religion: shamanism, witchcraft, possession and ecstasy, healing. Prerequisite: instructor's permission. Staff

ANT 413 Cultures and Critical Translation   EC

Approaches to language and culture by Sapir, Saussure, and their forerunners and successors. The seminar draws on anthropology, linguistics, and other disciplines alert to critical theories of translation. Topics include field work encounters, standardized nationalist and colonialist languages, philosophies of translation, ritual languages, marketplace discourse, and orality/literacy. One three-hour seminar. Prerequisite: anthropology major or instructor's permission. Staff

ANT 415 The Anthropology of Science   EC

This course considers how the sciences can be studied ethnographically, how they vary culturally one from another, and how scientific knowledge is generated. It develops an understanding of the values and social contexts of Western scientific practice through the comparative study of Western and non-Western systems of knowledge, and explores the implications and validity of the assumption that the sciences are culturally produced rather than objective standards transcending culture. One three-hour seminar. Staff

ANT 416 Culture and International Order   SA

This course focuses on the relation of local and global cultural processes to international orders and regimes. After colonialism and after the Cold War, there is a fundamental reorganizing of "peoples" and "cultures." Emphasis on the increased intensity and scale of interaction between local and global processes, on changes in group identifications, on the transformation of ideologies (cultural, economic, religious, political), and on alternative ways of imagining and managing life. One three-hour seminar. J. Borneman

ANT 425 Post-War French Social Theory   SA

Using the works of thinkers such as Sartre, Merleau Ponty, Aron Ricoeur, Lévi-Strauss, Foucault, and Bourdieu, the course will present students with some conflicting images of Western society. It will introduce students to these authors, with emphasis on their departure from traditional schools of thought and the consequences of their ideas on the production of knowledge and societies. Two 90-minute seminars. A. Hammoudi

ANT 427 Democracy and Ethnography in the United States   SA

Ethnography is a mode of research, a creative literary genre, and a democratic discourse. This seminar focuses on these different ways of reading in relation to the ethnography of the United States--to consider how ideas about personhood, gender, citizenship, community, identity, and power "work" simultaneously as theory and practice. Drawing on close readings of ethnographies, fiction, and public policy debates, the seminar gives particular attention to the (often uneasy) connections among anthropological theories of cultural identity, political struggles over rights, and literary experiments in social analysis. One three-hour seminar. C. Greenhouse

ANT 432 The Anthropology of Memory   SA

Explores issues surrounding the organization of experience in dealing with the past, and the use of narrative tools in the analysis of culture and structuring of memory generally. This course takes up three major approaches to memory: social organization (Halbwachs), psychoanalysis (Freud), and associative temporalities (Sebald). A better understanding of memory will improve our approaches to cultural observation, documentation, analysis, and interpretation. One three-hour seminar. J. Borneman

ANT 441 Gender: Contested Categories, Shifting Frames   SA

An exploration of the reciprocal influences of anthropology and gender studies, considering both classic and recent contributions; an evaluation of key interpretive categories (for example, "nature,'' "domestic,'' "woman'') specifically in the context of cross-cultural translation; and comparison of various approaches to questions about the universality of gendered power hierarchies. One three-hour seminar. R. Lederman

ANT 445 The Post Colonial Subject (see AAS 445)

ANT 451 Visual Anthropology  

Explores the theories and methods of ethnographic filmmaking. This seminar introduces students to the pioneering work of filmmakers including Robert Flaherty, Jean Rouch, and Fred Wiseman in order to address questions of documentary authenticity, knowledge, methods, ethics, and audience. One three-hour seminar. C. Rouse

ANT 491 Critical Perspectives on Global Health and Health Policy (see GHP 350)