Shawn Wick (chair), Jeffrey Bass, Cynthia Mahmood, Jeremia Njeru
Cultural anthropology asks what it means to be human. Holistic and broad in scope, cultural anthropologists have an interest in all humans in all times and places. In a Western setting, such as Central College, there is an emphasis on learning about peoples from non-Western societies, with the goal of preparing ourselves to understand better an increasingly diverse and culturally dynamic world.
The cultural anthropology major is structured to provide students with a strong grounding in cultural anthropology within an interdisciplinary framework. The required courses offer a combination of academic anthropological knowledge and real world experiences, which gives students the foundation they will need to put their anthropological training to use after college. The major is also structured in a way that allows students to easily combine with another program of study (e.g. foreign language, English, History, Business Management major or minor, ect.), providing even more opportunities for students to turn their individual interests into meaningful life endeavors.
Living in another culture and learning a second language have been important aspects of anthropology from its inception, since learning about another culture means immersing oneself in the local scene and interacting with people in their native language. Also, cultural anthropology majors who have lived in another culture and have a proficiency in a second language will have a wider range of employment opportunities outside of anthropology available to them than majors who do not. Therefore, studying abroad for at least one semester and second language acquisition are strongly encouraged for all cultural anthropology majors.
The sociology/anthropology department begins to evaluate each student’s reading, writing, and speaking skills one semester after the student declares his/her intention to major in cultural anthropology. All available evidence will be used including results of tests, grades received in courses and information supplied by department members. Students may be required to demonstrate communication proficiency either by providing a portfolio of their writing or by writing an essay on a broad topic of anthropological significance. Students who need to strengthen their communication skills may receive an outline of procedures that may include taking composition courses, developmental reading or speaking courses and working with the skills center.
Students may choose to declare a major in either cultural anthropology or sociology. Sociology majors may not declare a cultural anthropology minor. Cultural anthropology majors may not declare a sociology minor.
Note: International education and honors courses may be applied toward the major upon departmental approval.