Spring 2020 Course Offerings

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APY 105LEC: Introduction to Anthropology

Reg.# 22634
Monday/Wednesday/Friday 11:00-11:50am
170 Fillmore Academic Center
Instructor Amber Kalush

This class is a general introduction to the field of anthropology, the study of humanity. It is designed to pique your interest in the broad diversity of human behavior and lifestyles across the world and throughout time. This course will take a look at our four major subfields - archaeology, linguistic anthropology, physical anthropology, and cultural anthropology - and include discussions on our "youngest" subfield, applied anthropology. The goal of this class is to understand the wide range of issues covered by the fields of anthropology, the ways in which these issues are studied by specialists in the field, and the practical effects of the questions covered by anthropological study.

APY 106LEC: Introduction to Cultural Anthropology

Monday/Wednesday/Friday 10:00-10:50am
170 Fillmore Academic Center
Instructor Dr. Meghana Joshi

Commonly, people either ignore or exaggerate the importance of culture.  “Introduction to Cultural Anthropology” will explain the concept of culture—as a set of meanings, values, and practices—and put it into useful perspective.  We ignore culture when we presume that people act simply to maximize profit, convenience, or enjoyment.  An understanding of culture, then allows us to appreciate the complexity of social life and the ways in which it intersects with constructions of race, class, gender, sexuality and nationality.  This discussion of culture’s explanatory power constitutes the central part of the course.

We explore in this course cross-cultural perspectives and variance in meanings of what often remains unquestioned, for e.g. differences between men and women, sexual practices and identities, racial and class based experiences, ideas about illness and health to name just a few. We also look at what methods, ethics, and cast of mind, the anthropologist brings to the people studied, near and far. More important for most students would be a reflection on how a non-anthropologist could apply the same cultural sensibilities to the daily life of a plural-but-unequal society such as our own?  Politicians and pundits mostly treat culture as a fixed, genetic category, the way one used to think of race.   If it succeeds, this course will enable you to contribute nuance to debates on social diversity around you and at a distance.   

APY 107LEC: Introduction to Physical Anthropology

Reg. #18542
Tuesday/Thursday 3:30-4:50pm
355 Fillmore Academic Center
Instructor Dr. Stephen Lycett

For centuries preceding modern times, our uniqueness as a species was taken as a sign of special creation; we were not seen to be a part of nature. But as knowledge of human evolution, our closeness to other primates, and our adaptations to specific environments emerged, we have taken our place in the animal kingdom. Here, we learn how those insights developed, and about current methods of understanding human origins and the natural forces that have shaped us.

APY 108LEC: Introduction to Archaeology

Reg. #18543
Tuesday/Thursday 11:00-12:20pm
Talbert 107
Instructor Dr. Douglas Perrelli

Archaeology is the study of the human past through its material remains.  So much evidence of human activity on earth exists outside the realm of written records that archaeology is of primary importance in reconstructing past human life ways. Bridging the gap between the natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities, archaeologists integrate many types of evidence in order to shed light on the origins of our species, Homo sapiens sapiens and development through time of so many different cultural manifestations.  Introduction to Archaeology provides an overview of the methods, theories and models used by archaeologists to better understand past human societies, from the formulation of a research question, through the processes of survey and excavation, to the analysis of data, and the interpretation of the results. The many topics covered in the course include: excavation, interpretation, conservation, technology, cultural diffusion and evolution, the individual and culture groups, and cultural heritage. The course will include hands-on introduction to stone tools and other artifacts in class.

APY 168LEC: Myth and Religion in the Ancient World

Reg. #18653
Monday/Wednesday/Friday 12:00-12:50pm
215 Natural Science Center
Instructor Dr. Roger Woodard

Provides an introduction to the mythology of the Greeks and Romans. In addition to considering the myths themselves, we study how they have been employed by ancient through contemporary cultures as reflected in areas ranging from religious and social practice to works of art and architecture. This course is the same as RSP 113 and APY 168 and course repeat rules will apply.

APY 245LEC: Survey of the Primates

Survey of the Primates Course Information Flyer.

Reg. #23083
Tuesday/Thursday 12:30-1:50pm   
123 Clemens Hall
Instructor Dr. Stephanie Poindexter

From the tropical jungles of Uganda to the snowy mountains of Japan primates have diverse adaptions to help them survive in the wild. In this class we will discuss primate diversity, sociality, cognition, feeding ecology, and conservation.

As we learn about our primate relatives, we will also see just how unique humans are among primates.

APY 275LEC: Culture, Health and Illness

Reg. #23636
Monday/Wednesday/Friday 12:00-12:50pm
222 Natural Sciences Complex
Instructor Dr. Meghana Joshi

People in all societies experience illness, but their understandings of the causes of disease and approaches for restoring health differ greatly. This course examines the social and cultural dimensions of health, illness, and healing. Through a variety of case studies, we will learn about the ways medical anthropologists study explanations of disease, experiences of suffering, and the social organization of health care.  Western medicine, also called “biomedicine,” will also be an object of our analysis. We will discuss how the delivery of biomedical health care involves particular understandings of the body and appropriate social relationships. Emphasis will also be placed on how the stories that individuals and institutions circulate about human agency in suffering shape people’s convictions about how to care, and for whom to care. The course aims to teach students to think about health, disease, and medicine in national, cross-cultural and global terms.

APY 311LEC: Psychological Anthropology

Reg. #23638
Tuesday/Thursday 9:30-10:50am
354 Fillmore Academic Center
Instructor Dr. Donald Pollock

This course was originally called “Culture and Personality,” but that topic is a little old‐fashioned. It refers to a kind of anthropology that was done in the 1920s up until the 1950s, when there was a great deal of interest in the idea of “personality” and how it might relate to culture and society. Since then, anthropologists have expanded these ideas in at least two directions: “psychological anthropology” (sometimes known as “cultural psychology”) and “cognitive anthropology.” This course will start with a historical overview of classic work on culture and personality, and will then move into a perspective on psychological anthropology more broadly. Since the department offers a course on cognitive anthropology specifically, we will not spend much time on that topic, but I will review some of the major issues in cognitive anthropology where they overlap with psychological anthropology.

APY 345LEC: Comparative Primate Anatomy

Reg. #21711
Monday 4:00--6:40pm
170 Fillmore Academic Center
Instructor Dr. Joyce Sirianni

Co-requisite: APY 346: Primate Dissections

This course focuses on studying the differences and similarities in the anatomy of living primates in order to understand the biological relationships of various primate species and the selective adaptations which led to differences in their anatomy. Knowledge of how living primates are adaptive to diverse environments is useful in interpreting the evolutionary history of primate species. By establishing behavioral and morphological correlates paleontologists may better understand how fossil primates may have utilized their environment. Basic to this course is the comparison of the gross anatomy of three closely related primates, e.g. monkeys, apes and humans.

Important Class Note
All students must register for APY 345 lecture and a APY 346 lab section. There are 4 sections of APY 346 - please be sure to select "View All" in the blue box above the course listing to see all four sections of the lab. If you are having trouble enrolling in one section, try another section. Then contact Tamara Dixon (tmdixon2@buffalo.edu), department administrator, to assist you in enrolling for your preferred section (if space permits).

Students are required to register for 1 lab section (see below)

APY 346LAB: Dissections in Primate Anatomy

Location: All labs take place in Spaulding Quad, Room 155

LAB A      
Monday, 10:00am—1:50pm      (Reg.#18566)

LAB B      Tuesday, 1:00pm—4:50pm       (Reg.#18567)

LAB C      Wednesday, 1:00pm—4:50pm   (Reg.#18568)

LAB D      Thursday, 1:00pm—4:50pm      (Reg.#18569)

LAB E      Friday, 2:00pm—5:50pm           (Reg.#18570)

The laboratory component covers basic primate gross anatomy learned by dissecting and making comparative observations of various species of primates.

APY 347LEC: Understanding Human Variation

Tuesday/Thrusday 3:30-4:50pm
354 Fillmore Academic Center
Instructor Dr. Noreen von Cramon-Taubadel

Modern humans are very unusual primates. We have low levels of genetic variation relative to other primates, yet are outwardly quite diverse in our external appearance. This diversity is structured geographically due to the fact that we live on almost every continent on earth. The history of population dispersals, migrations, gene flow, and natural selection have shaped our genetic and phenotypic variation. Here we will explore the empirical reality of modern human population genetic and phenotypic variation and set it in its evolutionary and historical context.

APY 349LEC: Human Genetics

Instructor Dr. Melanie Mayberry

Over the course of the last 100 years, prevention and treatment have greatly reduced the amount of illness and death due to infectious diseases. This has had the effect of increasing the relative importance of genetic defects on the health and well-being of the human population. In addition to human costs incurred, genetic problems may impose extensive financial burdens on individuals and on society as a whole. Thus, what may seem to be an individual or family problem at first, may ultimately be the object of public policy. Such policies may be seen as totally beneficial (mandatory screenings of newborns for PKU) or potentially discriminatory (mid-1970’s sickle-cell legislation). Methods of human reproduction which may be utilized by families to avoid transmission of genetic disorders (artificial insemination, surrogate motherhood) also become a matter of public concern when their legal status is questioned. Rapid advances in genetic engineering have led to an increased potential for diagnosis and treatment of genetic diseases. People have expressed concern regarding the hazards and mortality of some aspects of genetic engineering. The purpose of this course is to provide students with sufficient understanding of contemporary human genetics to intelligently address such issues. 

APY 356SEM: Cultural Evolution

Wednesday 3:30-6:10pm
354 Fillmore Academic Center
Instructor Dr. Stephen Lycett

Humans pass on and receive information, consciously and unconsciously, via social interactions. Some of this information manifests itself in the form of cultural traditions; for example, artifacts spread over time and space or the languages we speak. Using a framework of social transmission theory, many anthropologists have increasingly turned to evolutionary theory and methodology to study cultural traditions in material artifacts, language, or other products of cultural transmission processes.

This course enables students to explore the main theoretical and methodological aspects of using social transmission theory and cultural evolutionary principles to address human behavioral patterns. A large part of the class deals with evolutionary theory, and allows students to better understand evolutionary theory and its application. Case studies will be presented, which will highlight the broad range of data to which such approaches may be applied. We will consider a range of case studies from a diversity of chronological periods and geographic settings (including contemporary settings).

You will also critically consider the concept of culture, its presence (or otherwise) in animals other than humans, and what this may mean for the study of cultural phenomena. Students will come to see how contemporary applications of this approach differ from previous (and often theoretically erroneous) applications of evolutionary principles to the study of human behavior, which negatively taint evolutionary approaches to humanity to this day. The course will also help to dispel common misconceptions regarding the use of evolutionary theory to study culture, but be sensitively astute as to the reasons why these issues arise. By the end of the course, students will have an understanding of both the theoretical and practical (methodological) tools involved in this type of work, and be able to conceive of how to apply them across various aspects of anthropological research.

APY 401LEC: Theory in Anthropology

Reg. #18989
Monday/Wednesday 9:30-10:50am
354 Fillmore Academic Center
Instructor Dr. Jaume Franquesa

This course explores the main theoretical frameworks that have informed anthropology from the late nineteenth century to nowadays. Lectures will combine with hands-on, seminar-style discussions based on the students’ reading of key texts. In addition to exploring specific paradigms and key authors’ contributions, the course also explores the nature of theory in the social sciences and, more specifically, of anthropological theory.

APY 402SEM: Contemporary Europe

Contemporary Europe Course Information Flyer.

Reg. #23639
Monday/Wednesday 2:00-3:20pm
354 Fillmore Academic Center
Instructor Dr. Deborah Reed-Danahay

This course meets the Area Studies requirement. 

This course will focus on approaches to European cultures and societies in the field of socio-cultural anthropology. We will examine current issues facing Europe – including migration/immigration, Brexit, populism, and nationalist movements. Students will acquire a working knowledge of the European Union and its relationship to individual countries, and will also learn about the everyday lives of people living in Europe.

This course is a blended (or hybrid) course that combines in-class meetings with online instruction and assignments.

APY 437LEC: Celt Anglo-Saxon Viking

Reg. #23560
Tuesday/Thursday 12:30-1:50pm
354 Fillmore Academic Center 
Instructor Dr. Timothy Chevral

This course meets the Area Studies requirement.

Celts, Anglo-Saxons and Vikings: these names evoke many colorful ideas and legendary images, but who were these peoples and what do we really know about them? This course explores over two millennia of cultural dynamics in Europe. Far from being faceless prehistoric peasants, as people often imagine, the pre- and proto-historic peoples of Europe ranged from head-hunting warriors, to nature-loving druids and pioneering missionaries, to empire-building sea-farers encountering the unknown.

Celtic peoples, who occupied both continental Europe and Britain, can be traced to the late Bronze Age, perhaps as early as 1200 BC. The archaeological remains they have left us are spectacular: gold, silver and bronze works of art, fantastically rich burials and monuments, trade with the Greeks, then Romans. This latter connection gives us some limited but tantalizing documentary evidence, and a legacy of myths and legends. The Celtic Britons, eventually interwoven with contemporary Germanic traditions, resulted in the Anglo-Saxon cultures that existed from around AD 400 to 1000. Once thought of as a “dark age,” this period is now known to be socially and politically dynamic, seeing the rise and fall of many states, economically expansive, with innovative trade and manufacturing traditions, and was a time of religious transformation, when Christianity spread, developed, and mingled with pre-Christian beliefs. At the same time, pre-Viking and Viking cultures were developing in Scandinavia, bursting upon the world at around AD 800. Often imagined as bloodthirsty raiders, Vikings were also master craftspeople, traders, explorers, and built their own state-level societies at home as they colonized abroad.

APY 495SEM: Supervised Teaching

Reg. #18560
Saturday 12:00—2:40pm
Spaulding Quad 158
Instructor Dr. Joyce Sirianni

Requires permission of instructor.

APY 496TUT: Internship

Credits: 1-6
Pre-requisites: permission of instructor
Grading: Graded (A-F)

Students wishing to complete an internship with a host agency may register for this course with the agreement of the agency supervisor and the faculty advisor.

APY 499TUT: Individual Study and Research

Credits: 1-8
Pre-requisites: permission of instructor
Grading: Graded (A-F)

Individually designed program of reading, research, or skills development in close association with an instructor.