Professor of Anthropology Bruce Hardy joined the Kenyon faculty in 2004, having previously taught at Kenyon from 1996-1998. He is part of the environmental studies faculty at Kenyon and teaches courses on human environment interaction and human evolution.

Trained in paleoanthropology, he has worked extensively on the Paleolithic of Europe and Africa, particularly with early hominins and Neanderthals. Recently, he published evidence for the earliest known manufacture of string 50,000 years ago by Neanderthals. Hardy is a previous holder of the John B. McCoy-Banc One Distinguished Teaching Chair.

Areas of Expertise

Neanderthals, human ecology, biological anthropology


1994 — Doctor of Philosophy from Indiana Univ Bloomington

1991 — Master of Arts from Indiana Univ Bloomington

1988 — Bachelor of Arts from Emory University

Courses Recently Taught

Biological anthropology studies the biological diversity of our species and the evolutionary history that has led us to our present condition. The course includes: (1) examination of the genetics underlying evolution and the mechanisms by which change occurs; (2) variation and adaptation among living humans; (3) living primate populations as keys to understanding our evolutionary past; and (4) human evolution. This course is designed to expose students to the breadth of biological anthropology and to prepare them for upper-level classes in anthropology and related disciplines. Enrollment is limited to first-year students and sophomores. This foundation course is required for upper-level work in biological anthropology courses. Offered every semester.

Our television "science" and "history" channels, as well as our bookstore shelves, are riddled with works claiming the discovery of lost Atlantis, attributing monuments to the lost tribe of Israel, explaining cultural developments as the result of contact with aliens, and loosely documenting routine sightings of Yetis, Bigfoots, Skinwalkers and Swamp Apes. Indeed, these have now become common entertainment themes in popular culture. But when entertainment themes pose as scientific knowledge, they can be dangerous because they provide false and misleading explanations of the world around us. We live in a country where some 40 percent of the population does not accept the theory of human evolution. Concurrently, the state of Ohio has seen a rise in Bigfoot sightings that makes us the fifth "squatchiest" state in the nation. This course will examine how we know about the world around us and what passes for knowledge of a particular type. In the process, we will explore scientific literacy, pseudoscientific belief, anthropology's response to such pseudoscience, and its effects on our culture. This course can be paired with another anthropology course to fulfill a social science distribution requirement. This course does not count toward the anthropology major but will count toward minor. Prerequisite: open to first-year and sophomore students only. Offered every other year.

This seminar examines the meaning and significance of connection to place through an intensive investigation of Knox County. We will spend much of our time in the surrounding locale, exploring the landscape and interacting with individuals knowledgeable about community life. Complementing these field experiences, scholarship in the arts, humanities and sciences will address how natural, economic, social and cultural conditions inform rural character and personal identity. We will conclude our studies by creating a public project designed to share what we have learned. Taken together, these activities will illustrate the distinctive perspective and power of a liberal education. This course can be paired with another anthropology course to fulfill a social science distribution requirement. This course does not count toward the anthropology major but will count toward minor. Prerequisite: open to first-year and sophomore students only. Offered every other year.

Africa is a vast continent with an incredibly diverse set of people and cultures. This course demonstrates the complexity and depth of sub-Saharan Africa's past through the exploration of human skeletal and archaeological evidence. Most people are aware that Africa is the birthplace of our species, and we will begin our journey by exploring human origins and technological innovations. Unfortunately, other cultural complexities such as emergence of food production, indigenous states and the development of long-distance trade are usually attributed only to Egyptian civilization. This course seeks to fill in the missing details of innovation and complexity for the rest of the continent by discussing the evidence for a vast array of societies in sub-Saharan Africa's past. This counts toward the upper-level biological anthropology or archaeology requirement for the major. Prerequisite: ANTH 111 or 112 or permission of instructor. Offered every other year.

Neanderthals. Dull, dim-witted, hairy, beetle-browed, stooped, savage, primitive and dragging a woman by the hair. These are among the images elicited from students in introductory anthropology classes when asked to describe our closest relative on the human family tree. Is this image accurate? Did Neanderthals really have trouble walking and chewing gum at the same time? This course will examine in detail the archaeological and paleontological evidence that informs us about Neanderthal behaviors and capabilities as well as the intellectual climate in which this information is interpreted. Topics covered will include the popular images of Neanderthals through time, functional morphology of the skeleton, dietary reconstruction, settlement patterns and site use. This counts toward the upper-level biological anthropology or archaeology requirement for the major. Prerequisite: ANTH 111 or 112 and permission of instructor. Offered every other year.

Beginning with the Age of Discovery, developing through the periods of conquest and colonization, and continuing into the present, anthropology has embodied as well as defined the Western world's experience with "other" peoples and cultures. Within this broad historical context, this course investigates the emergence and definition of anthropology as a discipline by focusing on significant theoretical issues and "schools" of thought (e.g., evolutionism, functionalism, materialism and structuralism); biographical and intellectual portraits of several major figures who were instrumental in formulating these issues; and continuing controversies in the elucidation of certain fundamental principles (e.g., "culture," "relativism," and "the primitive"). This capstone course is required for the major and is in addition to the six required upper-level courses for the major. Prerequisite: senior standing. Offered every year.

The department reserves individual study for those students who are unusually motivated in an area of the field and who we believe are responsible enough to handle the challenge of working independently. Such courses might be research-oriented (e.g., students returning from off-campus study programs with data) but are more commonly reading-oriented courses allowing students to explore in greater depth topics that interest them or that overlap with their major course of study. To arrange for individual study, a student should consult with a faculty member during the semester prior to when the independent work is to be undertaken. The individual-study course may be designed exclusively by the faculty member or it may be designed in consultation with the student. For reading courses, a bibliography is created, and the student reads those works, meeting periodically (weekly or bi-weekly) with the faculty member to discuss them. Faculty directing the individual study will set the terms of course evaluation, which typically involve either a research paper or an extensive annotated bibliography with a short explanatory essay tying the entries together and situating the debates which they represent. Another option is for the student to write one- to two-page assessments of each book or reading at intervals throughout the semester. The faculty member comments on these assessments and may request periodic reassessments. The course culminates with a synthetic paper that pulls together all the readings. Because students must enroll for individual studies by the end of the seventh class day of each semester, they should begin discussion of the proposed individual study preferably the semester before, so that there is time to devise the proposal and seek the departmental approval before the established deadline. This course can count toward the major or minor.