Jun 15, 2024  
2016-2017 Undergraduate Catalog 
2016-2017 Undergraduate Catalog [Archived Catalog]


Jing Lei, Chair
313 Mahar Hall

Directory of Professors  

Anthropology arose as a novel attempt to address fundamental questions about humanity. Who are we? Where do we come from? Where are we going? Anthropologists approach these questions through a unique combination of methods and a spirit of comparative inquiry. In doing so they draw on cultural history, human evolution, ecology, the comparative view of human biological and cultural diversity, linguistics, and philosophy of science. They examine the relationships between the physical, biological, social, technological, symbolic, and moral worlds in which we live. Anthropology, is in this wide sense, the most scientific of the humanities and the most humanistic of the sciences. It is interdisciplinary by nature. Students find it to be a means for developing an informed viewpoint about other peoples of the world and themselves that is personally enriching as well as practical.

The anthropology curriculum makes available the following areas of study: physical anthropology, archaeology, language and culture,  ethnology (including specific culture areas), theory, research methods, and a variety of special topics such as culture change, the study of tribal religions, and forensic anthropology. Anthropology students are also encouraged to supplement their studies in other areas such as biology, foreign languages, philosophy, mathematics, computer science, and specialized topics in other social and behavioral sciences that will enhance career goals.

The broad nature of anthropology makes it uniquely suited to engage a wide variety of disciplines, from the social sciences and area studies to the natural sciences. A minor in anthropology will be beneficial to future teachers who find themselves increasingly involved in minority programs or teaching about humans in their urban, suburban, and rural environments. A minor in biocultural anthropology will be of particular interest to students who wish to combine the study of biology and zoology with relevant topics in anthropology.

In addition to selected courses, which vary each semester, small classes and independent study offer ample opportunity for individualized instruction. The Anthropology Club sponsors social events and guest lectures, as well as trips to meetings of national anthropological societies.

Positions as professional anthropologists who engage in teaching, fieldwork, and basic research generally require the Ph.D. There are openings for archaeologists in cultural resource management and various other career opportunities for students with a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology, especially in companies whose work engages global relations and in the helping professions. There is also an increasing number of Master’s programs in anthropology, which several Oswego students have entered and completed successfully.

The Department of Anthropology cosponsors these programs leading to the Bachelor of Arts degree. Interested students should consult the major requirements: