Graduate Courses

Browse our current semester course offerings.

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Spring 2018 Course Offerings

APY 501SEM: Teaching and Research Resources

Reg. #21787
Dr. Joyce Sirianni

Pedagogical aspects of instruction, including use of films, laboratories and field experience, bibliographic and archival materials, cross-cultural files and data banks.

APY 514SEM: Museum Management

Reg. #21764
Monday 9:30am - 12:10pm
Anderson Gallery
Dr. Peter Biehl

Museum and collection management and research are motivated by two things: a love of objects, and a fascination with the ways in which they speak about the past and the present. The care of artifacts cannot stop at identification, physical conservation, and exhibition. Research about museum and collection objects must be seen as part of a larger task: an exploration of the social and cultural significance of objects in relation to each other and to the people who made, used, and kept them as well as those who collected them. Conservation must include preservation of the information accompanying an object, information beyond provenance, or object type. Finally, curatorial research entails a critical awareness of our own culturally-bound responses to artifacts. This course prepares students for research in the museum environment, and for the challenge of developing meaning and value for those collections, in the context of the Cravens Collection, housed since 2010 in the Anderson Gallery of the UB College of Arts and Sciences, where the course will be held. Each class integrates presentations, group work and discussion, case studies, and independent research. In addition, the instructor will facilitate visits from guest lecturers. At the end of the course, the students will curate together their own public exhibition of objects from the Cravens Collection, and will write up short narratives about the objects they have studied during the course. The narratives will then be included in an exhibition catalogue.

APY 515SEM: Advanced Socio-Legal Studies

Reg. #22994
Friday 12:15-3:15pm
O'Brian Arranged
Dr. Errol Meidienger
Dates: 2/5/18 - 5/4/18

Please note this course is crosslisted with LAW 762 and runs on a Law 12-week session.

This course is a colloquium for advanced graduate and law students who wish to learn about and carry out cutting edge research on law, legal institutions, and social policy. It will build upon ongoing distinguished speaker and workshop series sponsored by the Baldy Center, Law School, and affiliated UB departments. Substantive topics will vary with speakers and student interests, but are likely to range across administrative regulation, criminal law, environmental governance, human rights, international trade, legal profession, race, and a variety of other subjects. Students will read the papers, attend and participate in the presentations, and meet with the speakers in a small group setting following the public presentations. They will be able to discuss both the speakers' and their own research in a multi-disciplinary environment and build important new relationships with visiting speakers, UB faculty members, and fellow students. Students enrolling in the seminar will have the option of writing one substantial research paper or three short critical analyses of papers presented by speakers.

APY 515SEM: End of Nature

Reg. #24899
Wednesday, 6:00-9:00pm
Obrian 533 (inside the Law Library)
Dr. Irus Braverman
Dates: 2/5/18 - 5/4/18

Please note this course is crosslisted with LAW 885 and runs on a Law 12-week session.

Have we reached the end of nature? Are the dire predictions of a human-inflicted apocalypse something we need to worry about, or are they exaggerated? And what does the end of nature even mean or humans, nonhumans, and our environments? Proclaiming that the natural world is disappearing is nothing new. As far back as Plato, people have complained about humans altering nature beyond repair. Is there anything that sets the period we are living through, newly referred to as the Anthropocene, apart from those earlier times? And does this situation really change everything like Naomi Klein argues in her book about climate change? Finally, how do our scientific and legal systems account for this change? These questions are particularly acute in light of the assaults by the current political administration in the United States on the EPA, national parks, and efforts to mitigate climate change.

This interdisciplinary course will draw on legal, scientific, and cultural perspectives to discuss climate change, species extinction, biodiversity loss, capitalism, and the Anthropocene. We will read books and articles from various disciplines, host experts from multiple fields, watch documentaries, and discuss the great ecological changes and challenges of our time, emphasizing the interconnections between law, science, and society. This course is for graduate students only; no background in environmental studies or law is required. Graduate students from all schools and departments including law, geography, history, sociology, anthropology, English, urban planning, and media studies are welcome. Contact the instructor at with inquiries.

APY 540LEC: History of Archaeology

Reg. #20035
Wednesday 2:00-4:40pm
261 Fillmore Academic Center (Paley Library)
Dr. Sarunas Milisauskas

This course is a general survey of the history of archaeology from the Renaissance to the present.  We will focus on the major scholars in the history of archaeology.  The relationship of archaeology with political, social and religious issues will be discussed. 

APY 546SEM: Topics - Evolution of Human Diversity

Reg. #20616
Friday 11:00am--1:40pm
Spaulding 158
Dr. Noreen von Cramon-Taubadel

The nature and extent of the biological diversity observed among human populations has been at the heart of anthropological enquiry for centuries. Here, we will explore the history of ‘racial anthropology’ and its impact on the modern discipline of biological anthropology. Biological anthropologists today use a variety of analytical models and techniques drawn from population and quantitative genetics in order to analyze human biological diversity in a meaningful way. Students will be introduced to these such that the complexities of microevolutionary theory are readily understood through a series of modern human case-studies. Students will investigate the extent to which humans have adapted to various environmental conditions as well as understanding the effects of recent migrations, demographic changes and population expansions. This facilitates a direct comparison with other non-evolutionary methods of analysis such as those employed by forensic anthropologists. Finally, we will investigate the potential for using models of human diversity to understand the evolution of other human paleospecies. This places the study of modern human biology within the broader framework of human evolution.

APY 550SEM: Evolution Colloquium

Reg. #22633
Tuesday 12:30-1:50pm
Cooke 435
Dr. Howard Lasker

This seminar is a focal point of the Graduate Group in Evolutionary Biology and Ecology, but it is open to all students of the College of Arts and Sciences with an interest in Evolution, Ecology and Behavior. Students and faculty will review recent research in evolutionary processes by discussing topics in evolutionary theory, ecology, ethology and paleobiology. This will also be a forum for students to present their research ideas and topics.

APY 572SEM: Topics - Homo Migrans: Modelling Migration and Mobility in the Archaeological Record

Reg. #20227
Wednesday 6:00-8:40pm
354 Fillmore Academic Center
Dr. Megan Daniels

The great novelist Salman Rushdie argues, “we live in the age of migration”. In fact migration is, paradoxically, one of the great constants throughout human history: our story is one of continuous movement and exchange, despite our attempts to draw neat geographical and conceptual boundaries around particular groups and regions past and present. In this course, we will take a long-term perspective on human migration, using the archaeological record of the ancient Mediterranean, Near Eastern, and European worlds to understand the concomitant causes and effects of human movements. Students will engage with the various types of evidence for studying migration and mobility, from genetics to skeletal biochemistry to artifacts and texts. Furthermore, students will examine various case studies from the Neolithic to Late Antiquity to understand how we can holistically account for and understand why and how humans move, and how such movements have affected the trajectories of human development. Emphasis will be placed on group discussion, evaluations of scholarly accounts of migration and mobility, and research that is methodologically holistic.​

APY 573LEC: Primate Evolutionary Biology

Reg. #21677
Monday 4:00--6:40pm
170 Fillmore Academic Center
Dr. Joyce Sirianni

Primate specialization and taxonomy, fossil history, anatomy and behavior in the primate order, odontology and human origins.  Lecture course with some laboratory work.

APY 587SEM: Topics - North American Archaeology

Reg. #23407
Wednesday 9:30am--12:10pm
325 Fillmore Academic Center
Dr. Ezra Zubrow

This course meets the New World requirement in Archaeology.

APY 593SEM: Topics - Socialism and Beyond

Reg. #23229
Wednesday 9:30am--12:10pm
261 Fillmore Academic Center (Paley Library)
Dr. Vasiliki Neofotistos

This graduate seminar will focus on political and social transformations that have taken place in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union in the aftermath of the collapse of socialism. We will explore a variety of themes that are common to anthropological studies of postsocialism, including identity politics, the creation of market economies, social trust, changing gender relations, and the politics of history.

APY 600TUT: MA/Thesis Guidance

Variable Credit
Permission of Instructor

Graduate students should register for their major professor’s section of this course when they are writing their MA Project/Thesis.

APY 601TUT: Individual Readings in Archaeology

Variable Credit
Permission of Instructor

If, after speaking to the Instructor and he/she agrees to work with you, the graduate student must fill out an Independent Study Form (form available outside the Anthropology Graduate Office), have the instructor and the Director of Graduate Studies sign it then give it to Maria to put in your file which becomes part of your Application to Candidacy. Then the student may register for the appropriate number of credit hours.

APY 602TUT: Individual Readings in Cultural Anthropology

Variable Credit
Permission of Instructor

If, after speaking to the Instructor and he/she agrees to work with you, the graduate student must fill out an Independent Study Form (form available outside the Anthropology Graduate Office), have the instructor and the Director of Graduate Studies sign it then give it to Maria to put in your file which becomes part of your Application to Candidacy. Then the student may register for the appropriate number of credit hours.

APY 604SEM: Culture and Disability

Reg. #23228
Monday 12:30-3:10
354 Fillmore Academic Center
Dr. Frederick Klaits

This course is an introduction to diasbility studies, an integrative subfield representing research by medical anthropologists, sociologists, psychologists, and historians, as well as clinical and social interventions by social workers, occupational and physical therapists, and public health agents. What unifies these discplines is the search for understanding of societal and cross-cultural attitudes and policies regarding impairment, illness, and difference, especially those whose physical or behavioral differences have been stigmatized through negative social or medical labels.

Among the topics to be considered are the meanding and perceptions of impairment in various cultures and how these perceptions influence the rights and status of people living with disability. We will look at how individuals and their families experience disability, severe injury, stigmatized illnesses, and severe trauma and come to develop new identities through these experiences. And we will consider commmunity support systems and government policies that positively or negatively affect traumatized and disabled individuals and their families.

APY 607TUT: Individual Readings in Physical Anthropology

Variable Credit
Permission of Instructor

If, after speaking to the Instructor and he/she agrees to work with you, the graduate student must fill out an Independent Study Form (form available outside the Anthropology Graduate Office), have the instructor and the Director of Graduate Studies sign it then give it to Maria to put in your file which becomes part of your Application to Candidacy. Then the student may register for the appropriate number of credit hours.

APY 610SEM: Method and Theory in Archaeology

Reg. #20038
Tuesday 10:00am-12:40pm
261 Fillmore Academic Center (Paley Library)
Dr. Timothy Chevral

This seminar introduces archaeology graduate students to the critical theoretical and methodological issues that are central to Anglo-Americanist archaeology. Using a numerous primary sources, we will study the historical development of the field, highlighting significant changes in the direction and nature of archaeological research from the formation of the culture history paradigm in the early 20th century, through the processual perspective of the past 35 years, to the post processual approach that has emerged since the 1980s.

We will examine how theory and method together explain cultural transformations such as the origins of agriculture, the development of social complexity, the rise and fall of states, and other important issues in archaeology, and how explanations are derived through specific approaches including neo-evolutionism, materialism, historicism, functionalism, cultural ecology, behavioral archaeology, practice theory, agency theory, queer theory, gender theory, interaction theory, hermaneutics, interpretive archaeology, cognitive approaches, Neo-Darwinianism, and archaeology as social action.

APY 613LEC: Cultural Evolution

Reg. #23230
Wednesday 3:00-5:40pm
158 Spaulding Quad
Dr. Stephen Lycett

Humans pass on and receive information, consciously and unconsciously, via social interaction. Some of this information manifests itself in the form of cultural traditions; for examples, 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, languages 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. 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). We 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. 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 to their own work, across various aspects of anthropological research.

APY 618SEM: Cultural Heritage

Reg. #23336
Tuesday 3:30--6:10pm
261 Fillmore Academic Center (Paley Library)
Dr. Jaume Franquesa

Cultural heritage is everywhere. Since the 1970s we have witnessed what Francoise Choay aptly termed “heritage inflation”: not only there is a proliferation of initiatives oriented to promote cultural heritage, but also a widening of the temporal, geographical and thematic scope of those objects labeled as heritage. In addition, the notion of cultural heritage has “gone native”, and anthropologists often find that their informants present their culture and claims in terms of cultural heritage. In parallel, we observe worldwide an increasingly intricate constellation of experts and institutions devoted to the promotion, preservation, and creation of cultural heritage, ranging from local associations to international organizations such as UNESCO. While concerns around cultural heritage have historically been associated with nationalism and nation-building, recent processes show that cultural heritage is becoming increasingly central to the world of tourism.

The main objective of the course is to provide students with the methodological and analytical skills necessary to problematize conventional understandings of cultural heritage, thus encouraging an approach to heritage as a multi-vocal, complex process. Classes will focus on the critical reading, analysis and discussion of two main sets of readings: theoretical contributions from a broad range of disciplines, and ethnographic case analyses. On a theoretical level, the seminar will deal with the history and intricacies of the notion of cultural heritage, as well as germane notions such as memory, tradition or inalienability. On the other hand, ethnographic case studies, focusing mostly on issues of tourism and nationalism, will give students the opportunity to explore the plurality of agents involved in the production of heritage as well as the diverse, often conflicting claims articulated around them. The seminar welcomes students from all fields in the humanities and social sciences.

APY 654LEC: Graduate Survey - Social & Cultural Anthropology II

Reg. #20039
Tuesday 12:30-3:10pm
354 Fillmore Academic Center
Dr. Deborah Reed-Danahay

This seminar will introduce you to current theoretical issues within social and cultural anthropology.  After gaining some historical perspectives on our discipline during the past 25-30 years, we will take stock of socio-cultural anthropology in the early 21st century. We will read theoretical and ethnographic work drawing from a variety of subfields and geographic regions.

APY 700TUT: Dissertation Guidance

Variable Credit
Permission of Instructor

Graduate students should register for at least 1 credit hour of their major professor’s section of this every semester until the dissertation is complete when writing their PhD dissertation.

APY 729SEM: Topics - Human Impacts on Ancient Environments

Reg. #23231
Thursday 11:00am--1:40pm
354 Fillmore Academic Center
Dr. Timothy Chevral

This course examines the impact of human actions on past environments and cultures: negative, positive and neutral outcomes related to agricultural livelihood, ancient industries, and political or religious ritual manipulation of landscape. We will also learn how professionals concerned with documenting the past can play a larger role in the public’s understanding that present-day ecosystems are not the result of recent activities, but of centuries of millennia of human-environment interactions.