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Anthropology is the study of human societies and the development of human diversity to better understand what it means to be human. Anthropology differs from other social sciences in that anthropologists are interested in, and take seriously, all kinds of social life. Whether the social phenomena concerns only a few people or a whole population, anthropologists recognize it is relevant to all of humanity.

About the Major

How do anthropologists study humans? At Hamilton, anthropology is a holistic discipline. Anthropologists consider and deconstruct inference from language, behavior, material culture, and biological adaptations of humans. Anthropology sees social and cultural life as constituting the questions, pursuits, and dilemmas entailed by living among others. Anthropologists trace the ways in which such questions, pursuits, and dilemmas have emerged in ways shaped by power and inequality through the construction of categories.

I learned how to think about the ways in which things happen, why they happen, who makes them happen and what happens because of them. The anthropology professors at Hamilton expertly draw these ways of thinking out of their students, and they do so through encouragement, humor and the expectation of hard work.

Ana Baldrige — anthropology major

How do we teach anthropology at Hamilton? Our department emphasizes experiential learning opportunities that provide students with the theoretical and methodological toolkits to better understand human diversity. Using ethnographic methods, anthropologists immerse themselves in the particular social environment, build reciprocal relationships with participants, consider participants as ‘teachers’, and analyze what those specific cultural practices tell us about the human condition. Quantitative methods include the incorporation of cutting-edge scientific techniques to make inferences about past and present societies.

Careers After Hamilton

  • Project Geologist, GEI Consultants
  • Physician, Jefferson General Medical & Pediatric Group
  • Exhibition Coordinator, Philadelphia Museum of Art
  • Vice President of Sales, Bayer Corp.
  • History Teacher, Hingham Public Schools
  • Attorney, Voices for Children
  • Staff Archaeologist, Colonial Williamsburg Foundation
  • Trial Preparation Assistant, New York County District Attorney’s Office
  • Professor, Brandeis University

Contact Information

Anthropology Department

198 College Hill Road
Clinton, NY 13323
315-859-4404 315-859-4649 anthropology@hamilton.edu

Meet Our Faculty

A Sampling of Courses

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Stuff: Materiality and Inequality 200S

This course fulfills the SSIH requirement for Anthropology and Archaeology concentrators. In keeping with the history of U.S. four-field anthropology, it examines the social origins of inequality through the lenses of material culture and technologies of production, labor and social structure, and hierarchy. The topical foci of the course will be developed around a contemporary issue or event. The course will engage students from both tracks, emphasizing the shared interest in material culture analysis and issues of labor, inequality, and political economy.

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Globalization and the City: An Anthropological Interrogation 204F

Examines why and how the city has taken on renewed focus as "site" in which contemporary global processes take place. Draws on anthropological literature and films on urbanization to provide theoretical foundations and empirical case studies to critically respond to the question: What does the globalization of the city look like? Students will choose their own city upon which to conduct secondary research drawing from scholarly articles, news media sources, and documentary film archives to create short essay films that illustrate how global processes reshape their selected urban locale.

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Everyday Archaeology: Daily life in the past and present 216S

The activities and experiences that make up our routines often seem mundane and even insignificant. However, choices we make and strategies we develop through the course of our daily lives are connected with larger systems and structures that make up our societies. This class explores how daily life has been integral to episodes of sociopolitical change in the ancient and more recent past. We will explore global case studies from archaeological studies of daily life in the past and present including the first villages, early urbanism, and historic plantations, and contemporary houses.

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Phonetics and Phonology: The Analysis of Sound 225S

How the sounds of language are produced. The structure of sound systems in a variety of languages (including non-European). Organization of field projects: data collection, transcription analysis. Quantitative and Symbolic Reasoning.

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Anthropology of Food 272F

This course examines how culturally variant practices of food and eating are actively involved in (1) creating and maintaining sociality, (2) constructing and reinforcing identity, and (3) in shaping global relations of power and inequalities. Through reading ethnographies, watching films, and discussing materials in class, this course will introduce you to other ways of viewing, experiencing, and understanding food. It will also provide an opportunity to inquire how our role as consumers reinforces certain global food-ways, impacting many people who remain unseen in the process. Writing-intensive.

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Ethnicity, Gender, and Sexuality in China 314S

This course discusses the transformations in Chinese notions of ethnicity, gender, and sexuality from 1949 to the present. We will explore topics such as defining, naming, and preserving ethnic identity and culture; changing notions of femininity and masculinity; emerging forms of gendered inequality; and the growing importance of sex work and sex-at-work while considering the interrelationship between such phenomena and the broader political, economic, and social developments in 21st-century China.

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