Department of Anthropology


Distinguished Teaching Professor Emeritus
Gary H. Gossen, Ph.D., Harvard University

Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus
Ernest A. Scatton, Ph.D., Harvard University

Professors Emeriti
Louise Burkhart, Ph.D., Yale University
Robert M. Carmack, Ph.D., University of California, Los Angeles 
James P. Collins, Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley  
Timothy B. Gage, Ph.D., Pennsylvania State University    
Robert W. Jarvenpa, Ph.D., University of Minnesota
John S. Justeson, Ph.D., Stanford University
Richard G. Wilkinson, Ph.D., University of Michigan

Lee S. Bickmore, Ph.D., University of California, Los Angeles
Walter E. Little, Ph.D., University of Illinois
Marilyn Masson, Ph.D., University of Texas, Austin (Department Chair)
Robert Rosenswig, Ph.D., Yale University
Lawrence M. Schell, Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania

Associate Professors Emeritus/ae        
Hetty Jo Brumbach, PhD., University at Albany (Associate Curator)
Gail H. Landsman, Ph.D., Catholic University of America
Stuart Swiny, Ph.D., University of London       

Associate Professors
Elise Andaya, Ph.D., New York University
Jennifer Burrell, Ph.D., New School for Social Research
Lauren E. Clemens, Ph.D., Harvard University
Adam Gordon, Ph.D., University of Texas at Austin
Julia A. Jennings, Ph.D., Pennsylvania State University     
Veronica Perez-Rodriguez, Ph.D., University of Georgia
John Polk, Ph.D., Stony Brook University
Sean M. Rafferty, Ph.D., Binghamton University
Christopher B. Wolff, Ph.D., Southern Methodist University

Assistant Professor
John Rowan, Ph.D., Arizona State University

Assistant Clinical Professor
Amanda N. Spriggs, Ph.D., University at Albany, SUNY

Lecturer and Lab Director
Mercedes Fabian, Ph.D., University of Buffalo

Adjunct Faculty
Robert Feranec, Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley       
John P. Hart, Ph.D., Northwestern University
Robert D. Kuhn, Ph.D., University at Albany               
Carol Raemsch, Ph.D., University at Albany
Annette Richie, Ph.D., University at Albany
Christina Rieth, Ph.D., University at Albany
Bradley Russell, Ph.D., University at Albany       
Daniel D. White, Ph.D., University at Albany

Adjuncts (estimated): 8
Teaching Assistants (estimated): 18

Anthropology is the study of humankind, of ancient and modern people and their ways of living. From its first establishment as a professional discipline, anthropology has been defined in terms of its holistic, cross-cultural, and evolutionary approaches. By systematically analyzing differences and similarities among human groups over time and space, anthropologists achieve the fullest possible understanding of human nature, human diversity, and the forces that govern change in cultural and biological characteristics.

The Anthropology Department provides undergraduates with a wide variety of courses, field and laboratory experiences, and guided research in each of the four major subfields of the discipline: archaeology, biological (physical) anthropology, ethnology (cultural anthropology), and linguistics.

The department offers two majors: a B.A. in anthropology and B.S. in a combined major/minor in human biology.

Students are offered special opportunities for the study of past and present cultures in Mesoamerica, North America, and elsewhere through the research programs of the anthropology faculty.

The major prepares students for graduate studies in anthropology (the department has M.A. and cognate M.A. programs, and a doctoral program), as well as laying a broad scientific and liberal foundation for entering the professions, arts, or other occupations in the modern world.

Many new career opportunities are developing in addition to traditional anthropological careers in college teaching, museum curation, and public archaeology. For example, the diverse ethnic composition of American society is making cross-cultural awareness a matter of increasing importance for careers in business, law, journalism, medicine, public policy, and primary and secondary education.

The B.A. degree in anthropology also offers excellent preparation for careers in international business, public health, politics, and diplomacy. Moreover, many local, state, federal, and international agencies are seeking personnel who have sensitivity to cultural diversity.

Anthropology also provides a holistic perspective of and systematic training in the impact of human activity and values on the environment. The study of cross-cultural factors affecting the delivery of health care can be important to a career in health services.

Finally, a degree in biological anthropology is a good foundation for graduate work in genetic epidemiology and other specialties within the field of public health.

Special Programs or Opportunities
Programs in archaeological, bio-anthropological, and ethnological fieldwork are available, with the Northeast and Mesoamerica being the most frequent locations. The archaeology program provides intensive training and/or research opportunities through research programs in Mexico, Belize, Costa Rica, and New York State. Laboratory research experience, both in formal courses and as independent projects, is available in archaeology and biological anthropology.

Degree Requirements for the Major in Anthropology

General Program B.A.: A minimum of 36 credits in anthropology including A ANT 104, 108, 110, 220, and 499. Of the 21 additional credits in anthropology, all must be at the 300 level or above

Honors Program

Outstanding anthropology students are encouraged to consider the department’s honors program, which is designed to give them the opportunity to work closely with members of the faculty on research and writing projects. Declared majors in anthropology are eligible to apply, provided that they have completed 12 or more credits in the department with a grade point average in the major of at least 3.50. They must also have an overall grade point average of at least 3.25. To participate in the program, students should contact their adviser during their junior year or at the beginning of their senior year. Students should plan their course work in consultation with their faculty adviser.

Students in the honors program must fulfill the requirements for the major plus the following requirements:

1. Among the 36 credits of course work in anthropology required for the major, students in the honors program must complete at least one course at the 300 or 400 level in  three different subdisciplines (archaeology, cultural anthropology, biological anthropology, linguistics), for a total of 9 credits:

2. Students must write an honors thesis based upon original research under the direction of an anthropology faculty member. Any anthropology faculty member knowledgeable in the topic may supervise a thesis project. A written proposal for the intended project must be formally approved by that faculty member and the departmental Undergraduate Affairs Committee during the semester prior to the semester in which the thesis is completed. Students will enroll in A ANT 482 and 483, “Senior Honors Thesis Seminar,” during the fall and spring of their senior year. The 6 credits from these courses can be counted toward the 36 credits required for the Anthropology major.

3. Research skill: Students will complete 6 credits of coursework in a research skill appropriate for anthropological research. Examples include, but are not limited to, foreign languages, statistics or other quantitative courses, and anthropological methods courses. The research skill courses must be approved by the Undergraduate Affairs Committee.

To graduate with “honors in anthropology,” students must achieve an overall grade point average of 3.25 and a minimum grade point average of 3.50 in the major, in addition to the above requirements.

Degree requirements for the major in Human Biology are listed in the Human Biology Program section of this bulletin.