I find that engaging students successfully begins with establishing mutual respect, defining clear course goals, and explaining the benefits of assignments. I especially favor directed, active learning. Participation and student-to-student interaction is essential because it involves students in the learning process. This method shifts learning from passive reception of revealed material to active acquisition through consideration of a range of possible explanations. Fieldwork is an especially valuable context for instructor – student interaction that reinforces material learned in the classroom. I incorporate students into my research during the year as well as during the summer field school.
I am convinced that the most important skill that I can convey to my students is the ability to think anthropologically. It is imperative that we train students to observe, engage, and attempt to understand cultures that are not their own, both today and in the past, and to reflect critically upon their own culture, which we often take for granted. Thinking anthropologically is crucial in the United States, a country of great cultural diversity in an increasingly interconnected world. Without the tools to engage positively the past and cultures outside our own, we risk perpetuating cultural misunderstanding, prejudice and violence.
Ant 120: World Archaeology
This class examines the course of human biological and cultural development around the world, from the earliest proto-human beings to complex urbanized states and written language developed at the transition from prehistory to history. Our survey takes a comparative perspective centered on several key questions: 1) What distinguishes us from our primate ancestors? How, when, and where did we develop distinctively human traits? 2) When and how did we develop key aspects of our culture, including art, symbolism, ideology, and technologies such as stone tools, cooking, weaving, pottery manufacture and metallurgy? 3) What are the origins of sedentism, agriculture, and animal domestication? 4) How and why did cities and states emerge around the world? As we investigate these questions, we will review archaeological theories and methods related to collecting and interpreting the material remains that make up the bulk of our data.
Ant 320: Archaeological Research Methods
This course reviews a host of archaeological field and lab methods, ranging from analysis of stone tools, animal and human remains, soil layers, dating techniques, and ceramics, to topographic survey, geophysics, excavation, and surface survey. Each week we conduct in-class or outdoor activities that bring these methods to life.
Ant 321: Archaeology of North America
This course examines the rich diversity of Native American cultures throughout North America over the last 20,000 years. We proceed chronologically through each major region, touching on key themes and cultural practices and how these changed over time. In the process, we discuss the history and methods of archaeology in North America. We also consider key debates in North American archaeology, including how and when people came to the Americas, the social structure of various cultures, the adoption of agriculture, regional adaptations to highly variable environments and ecosystems, and the ethics and politics of studying the North American past.
Ant 323: Ancient Civilizations
In contemporary anthropology, "civilization" refers to urbanized, state societies. Thus, a "civilized" society is one in which cities are common and are embedded within a state-level sociopolitical and economic system. Civilizations generate impressive, enduring monuments and change their landscape in dramatic fashion through construction of roads, dams, and agricultural fields. Civilizations often develop writing systems, leaving a valuable record of their culture, if we can decipher their language.
In this course we examine several examples of ancient civilizations. We compare and contrast their features and examine the arc of their history. Today we no longer view civilizations as morally or socially superior to less complex societies because we recognize that civilizations have many moral vices, including murder, environmental degradation, and social inequality. Instead, we study civilizations and compare them to one another to better understand how they arouse, functioned, and fell. Since civilizations of antiquity are the ancient polities most like modern states, they provide not only insight into the past, but also lessons on how complex societies function as well as instructive examples of success or failure in matters of culture and society.
Ant 421: European Prehistory
This course tracks the prehistory of Europe, from the Upper Paleolithic to the Iron Age. We examine social structure, subsistence strategies, technology and art as they develop and change across millennia. Key topics include the peopling of Europe by early human groups, the role of art and technology in defining social identity, sedentism and the adoption of agriculture, and urbanism and state formation.
ANT 470:Senior Seminar
- The senior seminar provides an opportunity for advanced students from all four sub-fields of anthropology to combine and apply what they have learned during their anthropology career at UNC in a format that supports and encourages discussion, peer-review, and original research.
- Students will read and discuss challenging material related to the course topic, and complete original projects that require substantial research and critical thinking.
- Peer-review, discussion, and presentation of topics and research results will be a key component of the course.
- Seminar participants will be held to a high standard of participation and scholarship.
- The general topic for the senior seminar may vary from year to year.
Archaeological Field School
The archaeological field school takes place each summer and offers an opportunity for students to develop essential field skills. These include surface survey, topographical survey with gps and total station, geophysics, excavation, and processing and analysis of archaeological remains. Recent field schools have taken place in North Park, Colorado, and Dearfield Colorado. Check here for the latest on the upcoming field school.