Perspectives

Social Sciences (SO)

The social sciences perspective will help you understand how social forces shape, predict, and determine human action. You will learn to recognize relevant social patterns and use those patterns to interpret individual and group behavior. You’ll also explore how diverse cultures and institutions help shape, and in turn are shaped by, the decisions of their members. And you will find out how your own values, beliefs, and behaviors may have been shaped by the people and behavioral patterns around you.

HIGHLIGHTED COURSE

ANTH11500 Box Office Archaeology: Movies, Mummies, and the Real Indiana Jones

This course is an introductory level film-based consideration of archaeology and archaeologists. Various films, ranging from the 1920s to the present, are viewed, discussed and critiqued. The foci of inquiry are on how archaeology is portrayed in visual media through time, and how media have affected archaeology, the human past and popular culture. The romanticized image of archaeology will be compared with scientific realities, specifically the nature of archaeological data, theory, field methods and analytical techniques.

In this course, students will be challenged to reevaluate how they perceive archaeology, the study of the past and the past itself. The students will reflect on their own preconceptions of archaeology and social science and how that has shaped their view of scientific inquiry and the past, as well as how their own background (socioeconomic, gender, etc) affects their perceptions. Students learn how the complexities of archaeology are altered, simplified or romanticized and why the scientific study of the past has led to fantasies in American cinema and political critique in other areas of the world.