My Anthropology Minor!
I just finished my minor in anthropology this spring—I'll take you through the six courses I took to complete it in chronological order! Anthropology classes at Dartmouth fall into three categories: archaeology, biological anthropology, and cultural anthropology. While I'm most interested in the cultural element of anthropology, the ANTH department requires all minors to take courses in all three categories, as well as at least one course that qualifies as an introductory course. These requirements actually made the minor much more enriching—I was still able to focus primarily on cultural anthropology but had the opportunity to take a truly wide array of courses on all sorts of topics I never would've investigated otherwise!
- No. 1
ANTH 44: Language, Gender, & Sexuality (Spring 2021)
This was my first class in the anthropology department, and I signed up for it because it was at a perfect intersection of my interests–as a linguistics major and a queer student, the interaction of language, gender, and sexuality was something that grabbed my attention the moment I saw the course title. This class took place on Zoom due to the pandemic, but Prof. Billings made every day fascinating. We covered so much ground over ten weeks, from the ways trans people use language to carve out discursive space for themselves in a world that does not provide it to gendered workplaces and the linguistic practices that uphold them. I got to write a final paper about language as a tool for queer and feminist agency, which allowed me to reflect on and apply anthropological theories to my experiences as well as others'.
- No. 2
ANTH 31: Gender in Cross-Cultural Perspective (Fall 2021)
I loved ANTH 44 so much that I signed up for another class with Prof. Billings in the fall. This course had a lot in common with Language, Gender, & Sexuality without ever feeling repetitive. The highlight of the course was definitely the opportunity to gain a greater understanding of colonialism’s impacts on modern understandings of gender, with special emphasis on culturally specific gender identities. Our final project in this course was to deliver a presentation on an “artifact” of our own gender identity; I chose to discuss the hair clippers I used to shave my head my freshman fall as a tool to explore the role of visual presentation in navigating transness (particularly transmasculinity, in my case).
- No. 3
ANTH 6: Introduction to Biological Anthropology (Fall 2021)
This class with Prof. DeSilva was one that I took primarily to check off the intro course requirement and biological anthropology requirement at the same time. While I originally signed up for the course to fulfill requirements, I had so much fun! Every lecture was simultaneously entertaining and packed with knowledge, providing an overview of DNA and laws of inheritance, primate ecology and behavior, and the future of human evolution. Approaching anthropology from a more scientific perspective than I had before was deeply enriching and gave me new ways of understanding cultural anthropology for my future courses.
- No. 4
ANTH 50.50: Archaeology of Food (Spring 2022)
Between this course and ANTH 6, I was able to complete my SCI distributives (more on that here) entirely within the anthropology department with courses that counted towards my minor at the same time! Additionally, I took this course to fulfill the minor’s archaeology requirement, but just like the biological anthropology requirement, I was so glad I did! I had no prior experience with archaeology, but I had so many opportunities to learn about it hands-on; I worked with various archaeological food remnants for lab activities, analyzed artifacts at the Hood Museum of Art, and even had the chance to try my hand at ancient millet brewing techniques as part of a final project (don’t worry, underage students had to turn in the product at the end of the course)!
- No. 5
ANTH 52: Introduction to Māori Society (Winter 2023)
While the brilliant Prof. Craig is officially listed as this course’s instructor on my transcript, ANTH 52 was actually a course at the University of Auckland during their 2023 Summer Session, even though it was winter back in Hanover (just Southern Hemisphere study abroad things)! At the University of Auckland, this course was MĀORI 130: Te Ao Māori: The Māori World. Taught primarily by Dr. Tiopira McDowell alongside a variety of Māori guest lecturers, I mean it when I say every single class period was extraordinarily meaningful: the course and lecturers centered Indigenous perspectives in a way that I had simply never seen in the US. It was so incredible and necessary to have the internalized Western perspectives that many of us are fed in so many classrooms challenged and deconstructed. (Side note: this was a part of my Linguistics FSP; my other two courses this term counted towards my LING major, but all LING FSP students get one anthropology course credit as well!).
- No. 6
ANTH 50.17: Rites of Passage: The Biology and Culture of Life's Transitions (Spring 2023)
Co-taught by Prof. Craig, who I grew to appreciate deeply over the course of my FSP and was the main reason I enrolled in this course, and the superb Dr. Mishra, ANTH 50.17 was legitimately transformative. The class met as a whole just once a week, for three hours on Wednesday nights, and though I went into the class worried about the schedule setup, it was a restorative time each Wednesday that I anticipated eagerly. There were four primary components: small group discussions, whole-class interactive lectures with constant interspersed discussion, Community Partner conversations where each student was paired with an older Upper Valley community member to reflect on our life experiences together, and weekly yoga nidra sessions with accompanying reflective writing prompts. Every element of the course was exactly what I needed. I entered the class at an uncertain and challenging point in my personal life, and this class quite literally helped me find my footing again–we left no stone unturned, and I finished the class brimming with gratitude to Prof. Craig and Dr. Mishra for the chance to hold a magnifying glass to the moments that make a human life what it is.