Anthropology distinguishes itself from related fields in Social Sciences and Humanities by emphasizing sustained and intimate engagement with people’s lived experiences. Our curriculum prepares students to understand and communicate the linkages between culture and power in changing, local, national, and global circumstances as they affect people’s daily lives. Our courses explore anthropology through engagement in and beyond the classroom with pressing issues surrounding the new economy, gender, human rights, legal systems, transnational migration, politics, race, religion, and social justice.
The major in anthropology requires ten courses: four core courses and six electives. Only the introductory course (ANTH-001) may be transferred from another institution; the other three core courses must be taken at Georgetown. At least three of the six electives must be taken at Georgetown, either from elective offerings in Anthropology or cross-listed courses taught by anthropologists in other departments. Questions about courses not cross-listed with Anthropology should be directed to the Director of Undergraduate Studies. A maximum of three electives may be transferred from coursework taken abroad.
Requirements for the A.B. in Anthropology
Four Core Courses
- ANTH-001 Introduction to Cultural Anthropology
- ANTH-320 The Ethnographic Imagination
- ANTH-358 Doing Anthropological Fieldwork
- ANTH-495 Anthropological Theory
The major requires six electives, chosen from the listings in Anthropology, numbered 100-499. For lists of current and historical offerings, consult the department website.
Senior Honors Thesis
Anthropology majors may apply by the end of the spring semester of junior year to undertake a senior honors thesis under the direction of a faculty mentor. Consult the department website for procedures.
Scott MacPherson Stapleton Award
Awarded annually for the Fall/Spring semester or academic year to Anthropology majors or minors who demonstrate the drive and passion to make a difference in the world that Scott embodied in his work and life. This award will give the recognized students the resources to focus on independent research, an unpaid internship, or a professional experience related to the social and cultural concerns of Anthropology. For more information about the Award, please refer to the Anthropology Department website.
Writing in the Anthropology Major
Ethnographic writing involves placing oneself in the research context to gain first-hand sense of how local knowledge is put to work in grappling with practical and philosophical problems. Anthropology students learn the skills of qualitative research by reading ethnographies and applying methods like participant observation; writing field notes; developing social maps of particular communities; media analysis; written observations; reflective writing about advocacy projects in which students are engaged; and, analysis of interview and observational data.
Our majors are required to design and carry out their own research projects in the fieldwork methods core class. This course gives the students a chance to get a first hand experience of crafting a research proposal, to design and apply methods and to gather and interpret their findings. In addition to learning the tools of ethnographic writing, students also typically write reading reflections, précis of significant readings, as well as full research papers that draw on their ethnographic field research.
Writing in the anthropology major is a central tool for communicating and producing knowledge about “local” realities and everyday experiences, and how they are shaped by the larger forces (economic, cultural, political) that shape – and are shaped by – all human experience. In our program, students also learn to be attuned to their own roles as researcher and writer, insiders and outsiders, and observers of socio-cultural phenomena drawing on their own experiences and positions in society.
Requirements for the Minor
The minor in anthropology requires six courses: three core courses (ANTH-001 Introduction to Cultural Anthropology; ANTH-320 The Ethnographic Imagination; and ANTH-358 Doing Anthropological Fieldwork) and any three electives in Anthropology.
Only the introductory course (ANTH-001) may be transferred from another institution; the other two core courses in the minor must be taken at Georgetown. All electives must either originate in Anthropology or be taught by an anthropologist in another Georgetown department with approval from the Director of Undergraduate Studies. Minors may transfer a maximum of two electives from coursework taken abroad.
For course listings for Anthropology see the Schedule of Classes