Course OutlinesPlease Note: The following class synopses convey a general idea of the nature of the courses offered on the Kenyon-Honduras program. There may be some changes in class structure and texts for the 2012 semester.
- ANTH 330 : Method and Theory in Archaeology
- ANTH 336: Fieldwork in Anthropology
- ANTH 345 : Ethnicity in Central America
- ANTH 464 : Methods in Cultural Anthropology
- HIST 492 : The History of Central America
This class is a survey of some of the major analytical techniques and theoretical approaches archaeologists employ in the effort to reconstruct past societies. We will consider briefly the historical development of archaeology, then we will explore the key concepts that define the discipline. The student will gain an appreciation of: 1) the procedures involved in conducting field research, 2) the nature of the material record, 3) the process of archaeological reasoning, 4) the study of various materials, 5) the nature of culture change, and 6) the ethics of archaeological practice. The class will consist of lectures and discussion.
This is a field-based course designed to give practical knowledge of, and experience in utilizing, the techniques of contemporary anthropology. After initial training in both cultural methods (ANTH 464) and archaeological methods (ANTH 330), students will choose to do research in either cultural anthropology or archaeology. Working closely with the instructors, students will develop and carry out individual field projects. In the past, cultural field projects have included such topics as herbal medicine, wood use and conservation, religious choice, and attitudes toward pregnancy. Archaeological topics have included studies of rural households, monumental architecture, and the symbol systems expressed through figurines and polychrome ceramics.
Although most people have heard of the Maya of Guatemala, few are aware of other ethnic groups in Central America, such as the Jicaque, Sumu, Pech, and Miskitu, all Native American groups; the Afro-Central Americans, such as the Garifuna and Creoles; and the self-named Arab-Central Americas. This class will begin with a consideration of the term "ethnicity" and "ethnic group," after which we will examine case studies of particular groups, looking at questions of identity formation and maintenance, the groups' structural position in the larger society, and the future of ethnic identities in Central America.
This course will provide hands-on experience with some research methods that cultural anthropologists use. Participant observation, interviews, and note-taking are standard methods, and we will consider how to organize and access qualitative data through electronic data-base management. There will be some attention to quantitative methods as well, statistical inference based on methods such as unobtrusive observation or survey questionnaires. The difficulties of designing a good questionnaire and of becoming a perceptive interviewer or observer are best learned through practice. Students will be required to carry out a small-scale research project. Only by actually attempting primary research ourselves do we realize just how difficult it is to make statements about human ideas and behaviors that stand up to scientific scrutiny. Ethical issues associated with the conduct of anthropology will be given special and repeated attention.
(½ unit) Urban/Schortman
This survey of Central American history, from late Precolumbian times to the present, will follow a conventional narrative format for most of the course. At the end, we will examine closely current topics for each country except Belize. Throughout, emphasis will be placed on the impact of national policies on Native American populations. Attention is also directed to the changing ways in which Central American nations have been and are embedded within the international economy and the consequences of these relations for the creation and transformation of local political, commercial, and social structures. The format will be lecture and discussion.