ANT 117 Introduction to Ethnobotany
An examination of the relationship between human beings and the plant world, along with the corresponding impact on human existence.
Anthropology is the exploration of the human condition. In coursework, individual study and field schools, you examine an astonishing range of human experience across space and time. Our curriculum incorporates a wide variety of themes in cultural anthropology as well as archaeology, and you can pursue a geographic specialization in Africa, the Caribbean, Europe, South America or North America. Your work will give you rich insights into our increasingly interconnected, globalized world. It will prepare you for a variety of careers, too. Our students go on to graduate school for anthropology and related disciplines, and they pursue work in higher education, business, law, human rights and many other fields.
Many anthropology majors pursue a second major or a minor in another field, drawing connections between such diverse fields as art, art history, biology, botany, economics, English, Hispanic studies, international relations and psychology. A number of students are accepted to the College’s interdisciplinary centers, where they focus on international studies, the environment or public policy.
Anthropology majors have recently completed semester-long academic programs in Australia, Brazil, China, Greece, Denmark, England, Germany, Ireland, Israel, India, Italy, Scotland, South Africa, Spain, Syria and Vietnam. Areas of research have included food security, organic farming, museum outreach and education, and heritage management. We encourage students to pursue research-intensive field programs; credits for some can be applied to the major.
Joyce Bennett is an anthropologist whose research and teaching focus on sociocultural and sociolinguistic issues in Mesoamerica. She mostly focuses on the Kaqchikel-speaking population of the Western highlands of Guatemala, but she is also interested in other ethnolinguistic groups in the country and, most recently, some of their indigenous counterparts in North America.
Catherine Benoit’s research projects have developed in two directions. First, she explores the emergence and construction of individual and collective identities in the Caribbean in relation to the bodily experience of space and nature. Second, she examines immigration issues and border reinforcement in the Caribbean.
Rachel Black has conducted research in Italy, France, the United States and Canada, focusing on the production, distribution and consumption of food and what food can tell us about social organization, identity and cultural changes in Europe and North America.
Jeffrey Cole was appointed Associate Dean of the Faculty January 1, 2015; he had served as chair of the department of anthropology since 2008. Food matters increasingly figure in Cole’s teaching and research. Cole's earlier research explored varied aspects of migration, with a focus on Italy.
Anthony P. Graesch is an anthropologist whose research and teaching focus on the archaeology of North America, including the study of aboriginal and colonizing societies in both past and present settings, as well as anthropological studies of modern material culture. He is an ardent supporter of cross-disciplinary and mixed-methods approaches in the social sciences, particularly those that illuminate the roles of objects and built space in the shaping of everyday experience.
Manuel Lizarralde, a professor with a dual appointment in anthropology and botany, grapples with questions of people and the environment on a daily basis in his teaching and research. A native of Venezuela, Lizarralde has focused much of his work on the relation of indigenous Latin Americans to the environment, including the types of areas they inhabit and their use of plants. He studies ethnobotany (how people use plants) because the indigenous knowledge of local plants is very rich, and all of these cultures are rapidly changing and the information is being lost.
Christopher Steiner teaches a range of interdisciplinary courses in art history, anthropology and museum studies. His classes cover topics on the traditional and contemporary arts of Africa; on the visual representation of race and ethnic identity in art and film; on the history of museums and on recent museum debates and controversies; and on kitsch or "bad" art emerging from the margins, cracks and corners of the canonical art world.
A: I was impressed by the science facilities and the Arboretum. I was drawn to a liberal arts education because I had a pretty good idea of what I wanted to do – learn from nature, grow academically, build analytical skills – but there was so much I was still waiting to figure out.
A: After taking an introductory anthropology class and another class called "Human Origins," I realized that anthropology was the missing link in my intellectual experience. Through the department I’ve built relationships with professors of many different backgrounds, uncovered connections and interests I never knew existed, and pursued my own independent study with a solid network of resources behind me.
A: I went to Queensland, Australia, with School for Field Studies (SFS) in the fall of my junior year. It was probably my most formative experience yet. The center was 2.5 km into a World Heritage Site rainforest, one of the last in Australia. I explored the issues facing nearby rural communities. The College made going abroad a complete no-brainer: no matter your major, financial situation or other obligations, a semester abroad is within reach.