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The immersion in African Studies provides students with the opportunity to gain a broader understanding of African peoples, histories, societies, and cultures from pre-colonial times to the present. Students can explore the linkages among African societies and cultures and those beyond the African continent by a focus on the nexus between the global North and the global South. Courses investigate the societal dynamics, cultural beliefs, and politics of gender, health, and crisis throughout Africa, the forcible displacement of Africans to other continents, labor migration into Africa, and the neoliberal impact of globalization on local life.
Archaeology is the study of the human past by means of the physical residue of past human behavior from pottery, stone, and metal tools to the remains of ancient dwelling sites. The archaeologist explains how human society has changed and developed over time using such physical evidence. Archaeology employs techniques from the physical sciences to build a more detailed picture of the human past. Students explore the worlds of the past through hands-on applications of physical science techniques in a diverse range of fields, including chemistry, metallurgy, biology, and material science, applying these disciplines in a novel and challenging context.
Cultural anthropology is the study of culture past and present from a worldwide comparative perspective. As a disciplinary field, cultural anthropology attempts to provide insights on how human beings across the globe live and work and shape their cultural world in families, cities, societies, ethnic groups, nations, and networked solidarities through ideas, ideologies, beliefs, and values or worldviews. One of the goals of cultural anthropology is to promote understanding among peoples--an increasingly important venture in our vastly interconnected world communities. This immersion is closed to students majoring in the sociology and anthropology degree program who have chosen the cultural anthropology track.
Diversity in the U.S.
The Immersion in Diversity in the United States offers students a variety of academic perspectives on how diverse groups may share cultural or inherited characteristics, and how perceptions of difference influence their interactions. Race, ethnicity, gender, and sexualities are the main points of focus. Students will examine differential power between groups, analyze the social structures used to maintain, moderate and alter power relations, as well as probe interpersonal relationships across social divides. This immersion is closed to students majoring in sociology and anthropology who have chosen either the cultural anthropology or the sociology track.
Globalization theory analyzes how linkages and interconnections across and beyond conventional borders and boundaries are forged by people, political regimes, social movements, corporate enterprise, and culture industries. The conceptual thematic emphasis is on the causes, signs, and possibilities of globalization with view to mobile populations, permeable borders, transnational flows of capital, and the traffic of culture across space or historical time. Immersion courses examine how global fluidities, mobilities, and connections have been forged, the various dynamic and unpredictable responses of people in diverse locations to global processes, and the implications of global processes for a shared future. This immersion is closed to students majoring in international and global studies and have chosen the sociology or anthropology track or are majors in international and global studies majors.
Health and Culture
This immersion focuses on the shifting configurations of health and culture in a globalizing world. Health beliefs, including notions about bodily integrity or emotional well-being, illness causation, and diagnostic practices, and the experiences, expressions, and treatments of human ailments unfold in concrete cultural contexts. Every society has some form of healthcare system, which is minimally administered by community members or specialized practitioners. By moving beyond the lens of ‘western’ biomedicine, the immersion provides students with a set of tools for analyzing the impact of culture on how healthcare is delivered, how health symptoms are interpreted and communicated by patients and health providers, and how costs for treatment are calculated and managed in relation to perceived benefits. The immersion courses examine the interrelation between health and culture from a number of perspectives and contexts, including the cultural realities within which bodies are meaningfully constituted or in some cases enhanced by technology, the culture-specific communicative or representational health practices, the socially constituted experiences of trauma, death, suffering, and healing, and the various culturally mediated approaches to health care costs and remedies.
Language is a fundamental property of being human. Linguistics, the study of human language, is one of the four branches of anthropology. Linguistic anthropology explores the dynamic interrelationships among language, culture, and society, how human beings make sense of the world, and participate in social life through creative speech acts and linguistic play. The immersion courses familiarize students with a range of theoretical and analytic approaches, including general linguistics, sociolinguistics, theories of languages, communication, semiotics, and literary studies.
Native American Studies
The Native American Studies immersion enhances students’ knowledge of the unique heritage of Native Americans and their relationships with people from other communities and nations. This enhanced understanding is grounded in the study of the histories, collective memories, cultures, and languages of Native Americans, and the representations, stereotypes, and pertinent laws and policies governing their lives. Immersion courses emphasize indigenous ways of knowing and learning in the past and present.
Social inequalities and collective responses to them, both locally and globally, are the focus of this Immersion. Students will explore the interplay between social and cultural dimensions of the rapid globalization of societies, and the concurrent inequalities of race, ethnicity, class, gender, and culture. The egalitarian strivings that emerge from these inequalities will also be examined. The courses offer the unique standpoints of two academic disciplines, sociology and anthropology, to analyze the roles of powerful social institutions and culture industries, and to identify and explain social inequalities and resulting conflicts and egalitarian hopes.
Metropolitan areas must address such enduring issues as poverty, homelessness, affordable housing, transportation, pollution, education, water and food security, health, crime, safety, recreation, zoning, segregation, ethno-racial tensions, and economic development. Each city must do so with recognition of its place in the wider regional, national, and global contexts. The urban studies immersion helps students identify and analyze such fundamental issues and allows them to explore and assess various ways policy-makers respond to those issues.