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Swarthmore College    
College Bulletin - Course Catalog 
  
 
  Sep 19, 2017
 
College Bulletin - Course Catalog

Sociology and Anthropology


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Anthropology Courses  
Sociology Courses  
Sociology/Anthropology Courses  


Faculty

JOY CHARLTON, Professor of Sociology
FARHA N. GHANNAM, Professor of Anthropology1
MICHAEL L. MULLAN, Professor of Sociology
BRAULIO MUÑOZ, Professor of Sociology2
SARAH WILLIE-LEBRETON, Professor of Sociology, Chair
CHRISTINE SCHUETZE, Associate Professor of Anthropology
LEE A. SMITHEY, Associate Professor of Sociology
CHRISTOPHER FRAGA, Assistant Professor of Anthropology
NINA JOHNSON, Assistant Professor of Sociology
DANIEL LAURISON, Assistant Professor of Sociology
MAYA NADKARNI, Assistant Professor of Anthropology
ROSE MAIO, Administrative Coordinator


1 Absent on leave, fall 2017.
2 Absent on leave, spring 2018.


The Sociology and Anthropology Department provides students with intellectual tools for understanding contemporary and historical cultural patterns and social issues such as globalization, nationalism, racism, sexism, embodiment, and the complex layering of inequalities in everyday life.  These two disciplines approach the study of social life from different avenues, each bringing a set of separate and overlapping analytical and research tools to intellectual tasks that are complementary and synergistic. Our students seek knowledge about societies of the world and the social dynamics within them. To that end, our majors each conduct independent projects based on primary research and/or fieldwork during their senior year.

Sociology and Anthropology analyze experiences at the level of the individual or the group and connect them to larger social dynamics. The disciplines illustrate how matters that are often perceived as "private troubles" are actually consequences of cultural categories and social structures, including those that appear and feel natural and inevitable. Among the goals of Sociology and Anthropology are to acquire knowledge about different social groups and culture systems and to engage critically with the complexities of social life.

The Department of Sociology and Anthropology offers a Course Major, Honors Major and Minor, and several Special Majors, but no Course Minor.

The Academic Program


Overview of the Curriculum


Course majors are required to take eight units of work in the department; of the eight, five are assigned. Assigned courses include, "Foundations: Culture, Power, and Meaning (Anthropology)," "Foundations: Self, Culture, and Society (Sociology)" (at least) one designated methods course and a two-credit senior thesis. Students in the classes of 2019 and 2020, who have taken "Introduction to Anthropology and Sociology," (which is no longer offered) need not take the "Foundations" courses.

Introduction to Anthropology and Sociology

The "Foundations" courses offer key introductions to the department's two fields; anthropology and sociology. Each highlights the distinct but complementary theories and methods of the two disciplines and provides a solid background to ongoing debates in each discipline. Throughout the courses, we will examine concepts fundamental to both sociology and cultural anthropology and how these disciplines have changed over time.

Introduction to Anthropology and Sociology


This course offers a foundational introduction to the department's two fields; anthropology and sociology. Taught by both a sociologist and an anthropologist, it provides a solid background to ongoing debates in the study of culture and society, highlighting the distinct but complementary theories and methods of the two disciplines. Throughout the course, we will examine fundamental theories and concepts of both sociologists and cultural anthropologists and how these have changed over time.

Course Major


Applicants for the major normally have completed at least two courses in the department. Courses numbered ANTH/SOCI/SOAN 001 to 020 serve as points of entry for students wishing to begin work in the department and normally serve as prerequisites to higher-level work in the department (ANTH/SOCI/SOAN 021-099). (Some higher courses may, however, with permission of the instructor, be taken without prerequisite.) Seminars are numbered ANTH/SOCI/SOAN 100 to 199. For current seminar listings, consult the Web site at http://www.swarthmore.edu/socanth, or contact the department administrative coordinator.

The applicant's performance in department courses is discussed during the application review process; we also consider carefully an applicant's potential for carrying out the department's senior thesis requirement. Please note that the Sociology and Anthropology Department does not offer a course minor.

Note: Course labeling within each of the three tiers of offerings-introductory courses (ANTH/SOCI/SOAN 001-019), regular courses (ANTH/SOCI/SOAN 020-099) and seminars (ANTH/SOCI/SOAN 100-199)-reflect internal departmental codes rather than levels of advancement or particular research areas. Consult the listings for prerequisites particular to each course.)

Culminating Exercise/Comprehensive Examination


In order to graduate, all course majors must complete a two-credit senior thesis.

Acceptance Criteria


For course majors, the department usually looks for at least a C average overall and at least a C average for work in the department.

Course Minor


The Sociology and Anthropology Department does not offer a course minor.

Honors Major


Requirements


Students seeking to complete an honors major are required to complete at least nine ANTH or SOAN credits, five of which are assigned: "Foundations: Culture, Power, and Meaning (Anthropology)," "Foundations: Self, Culture, and Society (Sociology)," (at least) one designated methods course and a two-credit honors senior thesis. In addition, two - 2 credit preparations may be seminars, or, with permission, a course plus attachment, or paired upper-level courses, or off campus study.

Honors preparations include:

1.   Three honors preparations in Sociology and Anthropology, of which one must be a double credit thesis. The other two may be a seminar, course plus attachment, paired upper level courses, or in special circumstances, off campus study. The latter three forms of preparation must have the advance approval of the supervising faculty member and of the department.

2.   For thesis preparations: the thesis will be sent (the last day of April in your senior year) to and read by an external examiner, who will also administer an oral exam. These will be the bases for the examiner's evaluation of the thesis.

3.   For non-thesis preparations: evaluations will be in the form of written assignments or examinations given by the external examiners and completed by honors students at the end of the senior year. External examiners will also administer oral examinations.

Acceptance Criteria


Applicants for the Honors Program (majors and minors) will usually be expected to have completed at least two courses in the department outside the honors preparations, to have at least a B average overall and grades of at least B for work taken in the department.

The department will evaluate the progress of students writing Senior Honor Thesis before the end of November. If progress is deemed inadequate, the student will be asked to withdraw from honors.

Honors Preparation with Attachments


Students wishing to prepare for honors through a course plus an attachment must obtain permission from the instructor. Honors preparation will consist of the following materials: a) the syllabus for the course. b) the syllabus for the attachment, and c) written materials as requested by the instructor. The syllabus for the class and for the attachment, plus the written materials, if any will be forwarded to the external examiner. The external examiner will be asked to prepare a written examination based on the material as a unified whole. An oral examination will follow.

Honors and Off-Campus Study


There are a number of ways in which off-campus study can be either integral or complementary to an honors major in Sociology and Anthropology. These include, but are not restricted to, the development of an honors preparation from work abroad and preparation for the senior thesis. To explore off-campus study possibilities, students must consult with the Chair of the department.

Students who contemplate basing an honors preparation on off-campus study work must seek the department's conditional approval for this, before undertaking off-campus study. Upon returning from abroad, students must request departmental approval of the honors preparation based on work done abroad. To do this, students must submit to the department all materials done abroad, including syllabi and written work, which are intended to be part of the honors preparation. Upon review of these materials, the department will notify the student as to whether or not the proposed honors preparation is approved. Students should expect approval of only one honors preparation which includes off-campus study.

Honors Minor


Students seeking to complete an Honors minor normally complete at least five SOAN credits, three of which are assigned: "Foundations: Culture, Power, and Meaning (Anthropology)," "Foundations: Self, Culture, and Society (Sociology)," and (at least) one designated methods course.

Minors in the Honors Program must complete a two credit preparation: a seminar or a thesis, a class with an attachment, or with permission paired courses. 

The Honors Minor preparations include:

1.   One honors preparation in SOAN.

2.   Depending on the format of the presentation, the examiner will receive the materials described in (2) or (3), above. The honors minor student's work for this preparation will be similar to the honors major student's work.

Acceptance Criteria


Applicants for the Honors Program (majors and minors) will usually be expected to have completed at least two courses in the department outside the honors preparations, to have at least a B average overall and grades of at least B for work taken in the department.

The department will evaluate the progress of students writing Senior Honor Thesis before the end of November. If progress is deemed inadequate, the student will be asked to withdraw from Honors.

Special Major


Most Special Majors need to be anchored in a home department. When a student anchors their special major in the department of Sociology and Anthropology they must fulfill the requirements below. In many cases, the best option is pursuing a course major, since the department is not required to approve a Special Major application.

Requirements

---In SOAN, we normally require five SOAN credits to be a home department. Two credits must be "Foundations: Culture, Power, and Meaning (Anthropology)," "Foundations: Self, Culture, and Society (Sociology)," (at least) one designated methods course and a two-credit senior thesis.

---Four credits from outside of the department must be included as part of the special major.

---In putting together the special major, it is advisable that the student only designate ten courses as part of the major.  That way there will be no problems with the 20-course rule.

Culminating Exercise/Comprehensive Examination


In order to graduate, all special majors housed in the Sociology and Anthropology Department must complete a two-credit thesis.

Acceptance Criteria


The department usually looks for at least a C average overall and at least a C average for work in the department.

Thesis / Culminating Exercise


The 2-credit senior thesis requirement, normally completed in the fall and spring semesters of the senior year, includes the Thesis Writers Masters Class and a thesis tutorial in which the student works closely with a faculty adviser. The senior thesis project represents the centrality of research to our disciplines, and allows students to develop their research interests through working directly with a faculty member. Students develop their analytical and writing skills and learn the process of developing and conducting a substantial research project from proposal to completed manuscript. 

Application Process Notes for the Major or the Minor


Students intending to major or minor in sociology/anthropology must submit a Sophomore Plan application to the department office.

Advanced Placement/International Baccalaureate Credit


Considered on a case-by-case basis for majors and minors.

Transfer Credit


Considered on a case-by-case basis for majors and minors.

Off-Campus Study


Because of its strong cross-cultural and transnational orientations, the department encourages students to study abroad. For many, study abroad provides a basis for their senior thesis project (see the department's homepage for a listing of students' projects). The senior thesis project allows students to develop their research interests through working directly with a faculty member. This combination of breadth of knowledge, global understanding, and independent research make sociology and anthropology an ideal liberal arts major.

Research and Experiential Learning Opportunities


The Sociology and Anthropology Department emphasizes independent research. We prepare students to conduct research on primary and secondary documents as well as to conduct interviews, engage in participant observation, organize focus groups, administer surveys, and produce ethnographic films. By senior year, our students are ready to write a senior thesis that is not only based on library research but also in real-world experience. Recent student research projects have focused on issues such as alternative development programs in Latin America, immigration policies in the United States, and human rights in Africa. Independent research conducted by our students is one feature that consistently distinguishes them when they are pursuing jobs, fellowships, or graduate school admission.

Some students have the opportunity to conduct original research with faculty - whose approaches run the gamut from ethnography to textual analysis to survey research. Students also explore the historical development of Sociology and Anthropology. Research design, qualitative research, and statistical analysis are important components of many of our courses, enabling students to undertake rigorous research projects and best analyze, interpret, and communicate their findings. The curriculum also provides opportunities for students to learn techniques to creatively convey their work through photography and documentary films.

Experiential and Service Learning Opportunities

Experiential learning is an important component of much work in Sociology and Anthropology. Our department strongly supports participation in study abroad as well as work in the field. For many students, these experiences challenge them to ask questions that eventually serve as foundations of their senior thesis project. Study abroad and fieldwork provide an opportunity for students to develop contacts and gain rapport within their eventual research setting. Funding is available from the department and the College to support students in their pursuit of these experiences.

Summer Opportunities


Summer funding opportunities exist and are particularly relevant for juniors planning research towards their senior thesis projects. Grants from a variety of college-administered sources are available to support research by students during the summer. Please have a look at our website: http://www.swarthmore.edu/x8583.xml to learn more about our extensive and generous funds for travel, research, internships, and faculty/student collaboration. We especially encourage our juniors to explore these possibilities. Funded summer research has often been the basis for fine senior theses.

Teacher Certification


Each year, in conjunction with the Educational Studies Department, a number of our majors seek teacher certification. Students contemplating teacher certification would normally schedule their program in a semester which does not conflict with their senior thesis. Such programs should be developed in close consultation with advisers in the Educational Studies Department.

Anthropology Courses


Note: Course labeling within each of the three tiers of offerings-introductory courses
(ANTH 001-019), regular courses
(ANTH 020-099) and seminars
(ANTH 100-199)-reflect internal departmental codes rather than levels of advancement or particular research areas. Please consult the listings for prerequisites particular to each course.

Sociology Courses


Note: Course labeling within each of the three tiers of offerings-introductory courses

(SOCI 001-019), regular courses (SOCI 020-099) and seminars (SOCI 100-199)-reflect internal departmental codes rather than levels of advancement or particular research areas. Please consult the listings for prerequisites particular to each course.

ANTH


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