Department of Sociology and Anthropology

The Department of Sociology and Anthropology offers a wide variety of courses aimed at studying human society in Kazakhstan and around the world, past and present. We also offer degree programs in both sociology and anthropology: Course Requirements for a Sociology Degree Major and Minor,  Course Requirements for an Anthropology Major and Minor.

A B.A. in sociology from NU provides you with a solid foundation for graduate study in the social sciences, and can prepare you for careers in such fields as social services, social research and data analysis, non-profit and charity organizations, government and human resources.

Anthropology provides a wide array of skills and information to students. We train students to think critically about the ways in which people differ and to seek creative solutions to problems in the world around them. We also work to provide a broad perspective and a familiarity with the diversity of humanity. Whether as a major, a minor, or simply as an elective course, anthropology can enhance any educational experience. Because of the breadth of the field of anthropology, our students are prepared for a wide variety of careers. However, there are very few jobs with the word anthropology in the job title, so our students need to be creative in applying their skills. Please see our constantly evolving student webpage for more information on careers and opportunities for anthropology and sociology majors.

Courses offered by the Sociology and Anthropology Department at SHSS:  Anthropology CoursesSociology Courses. See the Courses pages for the complete list with descriptions.

What can I do with my major?

Sociology

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the program, Sociology graduates will be able to:

  1. Knowledge: Demonstrate an in-depth knowledge of core substantive areas of society, important contemporary social problems, and of key theoretical traditions in sociology.  Students are expected to accurately employ the lens of sociology and social scientific research (i.e. social location, social stratification, units of analysis, etc.).
  2. Methods and Ethics: Acquire essential knowledge and skills in the ethical application of quantitative and qualitative research methodologies, for example, statistical analysis, survey design, program evaluation, interviews, policy analysis, content analysis, and ethnography.
  3. Engaging with Scholarship: Understand, evaluate, and engage with empirical and theoretical findings concerning social practices, institutions, and structures  – including the methods that are used, the assumptions that are embedded in the analysis, and the conclusions that are drawn.
  4. Practicing Sociology: Critically apply sociological methods, theories, and perspectives to analyze social practices, institutions, and structures. Students are expected to identify social problems using the sociological imagination, critically evaluate the effectiveness of state and non-state interventions, and apply evidence to justify alternative strategies.
  5. Self-Directed Learning: Demonstrate the ability to conduct sociologically informed research projects, beginning from the formation of a research question, progressing to the gathering and analysis of qualitative or quantitative data, and, using the insights of social theory, generating a persuasive and socially important finding or conclusion.
Courses

SOC 101: Introduction to Sociology
This course will introduce you to the field of sociology, which is the study of human groups and the societies they build. Sociology helps us to understand our own experiences in the context of broader societal and historical processes and institutions or, in the words of sociologist C. Wright Mills (1959), to connect our “personal troubles” with “public issues.” In addition to acquainting you with a few among the vast array of topics that sociologists study (from interactions at the “micro” level to systemic processes at the “macro” level) the course will also introduce you to some of the tools (theory and research methods) that sociologists use in answering questions about society.

SOC 115: Global Social Problems
“Global Social Problems,” is a sociology course with an emphasis on the influence of the global on our everyday lives. Throughout the course of the semester we will examine sociological explanations of international social problems such as world hunger and global inequality. Sociologists are interested in trying to describe the influence of society on individual behavior and, in turn, the influence of individual behavior on society. There is not one simple explanation put forth by sociologists concerning individual behavior, so we will be exploring various theories and research about how sociologists explain international social problems. The first half of the course is devoted to understanding theories of global inequality in many dimensions. In the second half of the course we will investigate different issues, such as women’s education, terrorism, and democracy to better understand the possible social aspects related to them.

SOC 201: Social Science Research Methods
Social Science Research Methods is designed as an introduction to basic concepts in both quantitative and qualitative research such as research design, measurement, sampling, and analysis. The course will also provide background on a variety of social research methods such as survey, experimental methods, interviewing and observation.

SOC 203: Quantitative Methods in Sociology
Quantitative Methods provides students hands on experience with quantitative data analysis. They will have the opportunity to learn basic statistical approaches to social data. Students will improve their statistical thinking abilities (identifying appropriate statistical techniques, computing required statistics, and interpreting the results) as well as learn applied techniques.

SOC 210: Gender and Society
Gender, a set of social practices, is one of the organizing principles of society; it shapes our identities and behavior as individuals, our social interactions, and social institutions (such as education, work, religion, and the family). This course will introduce you to this subfield of sociology, including the frameworks for studying gender, the differences between sex and gender, gender socialization, gender in interactions, “gendered” institutions, inequality based on gender, and the relationship between gender and other social divisions, including race/ethnicity, social class, and age.

SOC 211: Social Justice in a Global Society
Throughout this course students will gain a practical understanding of globalization, and the ability to define and apply key concepts in the study of social justice, including topics such as human rights, development, oppression, racism, ethnocentrism, sexism, inequality, poverty, dependency, and freedom. This course gives an appreciation for the multiple ways that societies and cultures differently conceptualize and apply ideas about social justice and human rights.

SOC 212/ANT 285: Food and Society
This course explores the relationships among society, population, food production, and politics. We will study cross-cultural views about food and how various systems of food production such as foraging, shifting cultivation, and intensive agriculture, are altered by society, government, and industrialization. Some of the many topics explored during the class are the Great Leap Forward, the Green Revolution, GMOs, sustainability and food production, “ethical food” movements, and issues regarding social inequality and access to food.

SOC 213: Work and Society
Work is an essential and time-consuming part of our lives, whether it is paid or unpaid, in the formal or informal economies. As an introduction to one of the major subfields within sociology, work and employment, this course will begin with an historical overview of work in pre-industrial and early industrial societies, followed by an exploration of what blue collar workers do, the work of managers and people in the professions, and work in the service industry. Next, we’ll focus on the important ways in which the social divisions of gender, race/ethnicity, social class and migration status shape work and workers’ experiences, and the role that labor unions have played in protecting workers’ rights. Finally, we’ll take a brief look at the issue of “work-family balance” and the effects of globalization on the workplace.

SOC 214: Qualitative Methods
“Qualitative Research Methods” is a course that will teach you about qualitative research methods, as indicated by the title, and give you a chance to practice conducting and analyzing your own research. Although the topic sounds far removed from your daily lives, in fact, you do research- gather information, interpret facts, and share the information with others- every day. We will look at formal ways of doing these same things in a scientific manner in this course. Throughout the course you will be responsible for participating in a class research project- collecting data, analyzing the data, and presenting the findings.

SOC 215: Sociology of Race and Ethnicity
This course is a general introduction to the sociology of race and ethnicity. We will begin to understand the concepts of race and ethnicity not as static, but as changing phenomena. We will address the following questions: How do race and ethnicity shape our social life? What does it mean to study race and ethnicity from a sociological perspective? And how do race and ethnicity intersect with other systems of inequality (class, gender) and significant social institutions (education, employment, media etc.)? In our exploration of these questions, we will begin by reading a collection of key readings in racial and ethnic studies that lay out central concepts, theories, and historical contexts. We will then utilize these concepts as we read a collection of case studies. Throughout the course, students will work to expand their critical thinking and reflection skills, make meaningful connections between sociological ideas and everyday experience, and better understand how their personal experience of race/ethnicity interacts with larger social and historical forces.

SOC 218: Introduction to Social Policy
What is Social Policy? The course will introduce students to the concepts, terminology, main theories, debates, and approaches to social policy. The course will provide an overview of the main theories and empirical developments in welfare state and social policy analysis. Major topics (e.g., poverty, disability, aging, immigration) will be discussed. The discussion of social policy will be linked, when possible, to social issues relevant to Central Asia and Kazakhstan.

SOC 220: Science, Technology, and Society
The aim of this course is to present an overview of the relationship between science, technology, and society: from the practice of science, to the production of scientific truth, to the development of technologies, and to the impact of technologies on social life. Key themes include the differences between scientific and lay knowledge, the social shaping of science and technology, and the relationship between science, technology and politics. This course is aimed primarily at two different groups: first, students in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences who are interested in exploring the social dimensions of science and technology; second, students in the School of Science and Technology who are interesting in gaining a socially grounded understanding of science and technology.

SOC 221: International Migration
This course reviews the main theories, and explanations of international migration. Throughout the course, theoretical approaches and empirical studies from different disciplinary traditions are discussed, explaining migration and the integration of first-generation immigrants at micro, meso, and macro-levels of analysis. The emphasis of the course is on comparative empirical research examples, strategies and findings. The course assesses social, economic, political and demographic consequences of population migrations in countries of origin and destination. It examines important themes in sociological research, including race, ethnicity, gender, transnational processes, social networks, political institutions and the state. The course also draws on theories of “straight-line” and segmented assimilation and queries challenges to immigrant integration into the host society.

SOC 223: Social Movements: How People Make Change
This course builds a critical analysis of social movements or organized attempts by disempowered groups to demand and enact social change. We read and discuss interdisciplinary theoretical frameworks that will help us to better understand the dynamics shaping historical and contemporary social movements, how social movements are formed and why they meet with varying levels of success.

SOC 225: Environment and Society
This course is designed to provide students with a thorough basic understanding of the key theories, literature, and issues in environmental sociology. During the semester students will explore the relationship between human societies and the larger natural environment of which they are a part. This course focuses on modern society, especially contemporary Asian society, but is not limited to that geographical region. Students will also review the history of resource use, wilderness preservation, pollution, various environmental movements, and other developments with significant ecological implications. To further broaden their perspective, students will look at ecological regimes in other societies and actually participate in how the natural environment interacts with the society where they live.

SOC 301: Classical Sociological Theory
In this introduction to classical sociological theory, we will read and discuss the original works of some of the social theorists who shaped the intellectual course of the discipline of sociology, including: Karl Marx (1818 -1883, along with his collaborator, Friedrich Engels, 1820 -1890), Emile Durkheim (1858 -1917), and Max Weber (1864 -1920). These theorists analyzed the dramatic changes brought about by the Industrial Revolution, both in society as a whole and in people’s daily lives. Although the world has changed substantially since the Industrial Revolution, these theorists’ ideas and concepts continue to be of relevance to contemporary researchers in analyzing the modern social world.

 

SOC 310: Social Inequality
Societies around the world are characterized by the unequal distribution of wealth, prestige and power. In this course we will examine how societies are socially stratified and the ways in which inequality is shaped by class, race/ethnicity and gender, among other social divisions. We will also look at how social institutions, including the family, the educational system, the economy and workplace, and the media are key in both creating and reproducing inequalities. Finally, we will examine the role of the state, non-governmental organizations, and individuals in reducing social inequality.

SOC 314: Organizations and Society
The goal of the course is to familiarize students with contemporary frameworks for analyzing organizations at the meso and macro levels, and to provide them an opportunity to apply these theories to studying social problems and issues of concern. The main theories and topics covered by the course will include organizational ecology, resource dependence theory, (neo)institutional theory, organizational change, organizational learning, leadership, and inter-organizational relationships.

SOC 317: Economy and Society
The aim of this course is to present an overview of the relationship between economy and society: from the production of goods and services, to their distribution, and their consumption. Additionally, the course aims to provide students with a sociologically informed understanding of the structure of the economy more generally: networks, markets, and institutions. This course is aimed primarily at two different groups: first, students who are interested in understanding the social world and thus interested in exploring the importance of understanding economic life to this broad endeavor; second, students who are interested in understanding the economy in a holistic and socially grounded manner.

 

SOC 318: Sexuality and Gender in a Transnational World
This course will introduce students to transnational and woman/queer of color perspectives at the advanced undergraduate level. After exploring the theory and praxis of transnational feminism, we will explore how constructions of gender and sexuality are 1) culturally specific and 2) have been historically implicated in geopolitical projects, including past colonizations and present-day imperialisms. Through reading and analyzing a variety of interdisciplinary materials, including but not limited to ethnography, literature, postcolonial literary criticism, and various strands of feminist theory, we will build an analysis of how gender and sexuality have historically been conceptualized in diverse contexts and what these conceptualizations mean for gender- and sexuality-based rights activism in a global and interconnected world.

SOC 321: Applied Policy Analysis: Tools and Perspectives
The aim of this course is to present an overview of policy analysis: from perspectives and approaches to the policy process to practical tools and methods relevant to the analysis of policy. The course opens by examining public policy: what it is and what its goals are. The remainder of the course is split into two halves. The first half considers the process through which policy is created. What constrains policy change? Why do certain issues get on the policy agenda and other remain absent? What role does evidence play? What role do government actors play? What power do external actors exercise over this process? The second half supplies a practical approach to the process of policy analysis: from problem definition, to the specification of policy alternatives, to the evaluation of these alternatives, and finally to making recommendations. The second half of this course aims at equipping students with the practical tools necessary to undertake policy analysis. Students will complete the subject with knowledge of key perspectives on the policy making process, the capacity to locate policy processes within broader social contexts, and a practical understanding of tools and methods that can be used to analyze policy.

 

SOC 399: Special Topics in Sociology
The exact topic of this course will change each time it is offered. It is used to explore new or unusual topics for which another course does not already exist.

 

SOC 400-404: Research Assistance in Sociology
The aim of this course is to allow students to assist in the research projects of faculty in the Sociology and Anthropology Department. The precise area and nature of research assistance will vary between faculty and their research projects. It is envisaged that students will participate in one or more of the following: the preparation of research materials; the collection of data; the management of databases; the analysis of data; the writing of research output. This course is aimed primarily at advanced anthropology majors who wish to gain experience in the research process.

 

SOC 415: Social Problems and Issues in Eurasia
Throughout the course of the semester we will examine contemporary social problems in Eurasia with a sociological lens. We will look into old and emerging issues and policy responses in the socioeconomic and political context of the Eurasian region. Some of the issues of interest include rising inequality, changing demographics, health and gender issues, migration, and environmental problems.

 

SOC 450/550: Contemporary Central Asia
In this course the students will learn about the five Central Asian countries – Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan.

 

SOC 498: Capstone Seminar Part I
Capstone seminar is a year-long course which is a fundamental feature of the Sociology BA program. It serves to culminate, solidify and provide clear demonstration of the capabilities that students have acquired previously in the course of the program. Capstone seminar consists of two consecutive courses: SOC 498, taught in the Fall semester, and SOC 499, taught in the Spring semester. In their fourth year in the program, students will have an opportunity to design, conduct, and present their research projects broadly falling within the fields of Sociology and Anthropology. In this process, they will consolidate and further develop their knowledge in sociology, anthropology and related disciplines as well as research, writing, communication, and presentation skills. At the beginning of the Fall semester, students will be asked to choose one of the two tracks for their Capstone seminar: Track One: An independent academic research and undergraduate thesis. Track Two: Community-engagement participatory research project and project report. During the Fall semester, students will design their research projects, develop research instruments, review relevant literature, obtain ethics review approval from the SHSS ethics review committee, and start data collection.

SOC 499: Capstone Seminar II
Capstone seminar is a year-long course which is a fundamental feature of the Sociology BA program. It serves to culminate, solidify and provide clear demonstration of the capabilities that students have acquired previously in the course of the program. Capstone seminar consists of two consecutive courses: SOC 498, taught in the Fall semester, and SOC 499, taught in the Spring semester. In their fourth year in the program, students will have an opportunity to design, conduct, and present their research projects broadly falling within the fields of Sociology and Anthropology. In this process, they will consolidate and further develop their knowledge in sociology, anthropology and related disciplines as well as research, writing, communication, and presentation skills. At the beginning of the Fall semester, students will be asked to choose one of the two tracks for their Capstone seminar: Track One: An independent academic research and undergraduate thesis. Track Two: Community-engagement participatory research project and project report. During the spring semester, students will analyze the collected data, write up their results, present their findings through a public conference. Track One students must write and publicly present an original research paper. Additionally these students will be asked to find avenues to disseminate their work widely including publishing in academic journals or presenting their work at a recognized academic conference. Track Two students will be also asked to present their research findings to their communities (organizations) in the form of an oral presentation, an exhibition, or using social media tools.

SOC 514/PLS 514/EAS 506: Qualitative Research Methods
How to interview people and how to observe the world around us? These are important skills that can be used in social science research and beyond. This course will teach you about qualitative research methods and give you a chance to practice conducting and analyzing your own research. Through readings and class discussions, you will become familiar with the basic tools and concepts of qualitative social research. You will design and conduct your own research to examine the question that you select. You will also have an opportunity to acquire and practice research skills in applying qualitative research methods. Throughout the course, you will develop your own research project, and at the end of the term you will present the findings in a final paper.

 

SOC 515: Social Problems and Issues in Eurasia
Throughout the course of the semester we will examine contemporary social problems in Eurasia with a sociological lens. We will look into old and emerging issues and policy responses in the socioeconomic and political context of the Eurasian region. Some of the issues of interest include rising inequality, changing demographics, health and gender issues, migration, and environmental problems.

 

SOC 518/ANT 580: Gender, Power and Social Change in South Asia
This course will explore gender and sexuality in South Asia since the events leading up to the partition of British India in 1947. After examining how “the woman question” in the nationalist movement advanced a particular interpretation of gender and women, we will explore the contemporary intersections of gender and sexuality in the context of the changes resulting from privatization policies beginning in the early 1990s. Our course materials will draw upon ethnographic studies, literature, and theoretical critiques exploring how globalization is an important structure that has transformed the constitution of gender and sexuality. While these critiques explore global processes, we will focus on South Asia to explore how these processes interact with local histories and understandings of gender, sexuality and feminist advocacy. We will also explore the linkages between global capitalism and development funding for NGOs to examine how NGOs present both possibilities and pitfalls towards their stated goal of promoting meaningful social change.

Pathways through Our Curriculum

You can map your pathway through our program based on either the topics of your interest or skills you would like to acquire.

Thematic Pathways

Our sociology program offers a variety of courses that span in multiple sub-fields. Some of the sub-fields that our faculty specialize in include economic sociology, the sociology of development, the sociology of gender and sexuality, political sociology, social policy, organizational sociology, the sociology of race and ethnicity, the sociology of work and labor, and the sociology of science. Some of the methods that faculty use include statistical analysis, interview analysis, ethnography, textual analysis, and policy analysis. In addition to a research focus on Kazakhstan, our professors’ research is international in scope: India, South Korea, New Zealand, to name a few.

For students interested in Applied Sociology

  • Applied Policy Analysis: Tools and Perspectives
  • Introduction to Social Policy
  • Quantitative Methods in Sociology
  • Qualitative Methods in Sociology
  • Organizations and Society
  • Social Science Research Methods

For students interested in International Development

  • Global Social Problems
  • Gender and Sexuality in a Transnational World
  • Approaches to Global Development
  • Gender, Power, and Social Change in South Asia

For students interested in Social Change/Gender/Race/Class

  • Social Movements
  • Gender, Power, and Social Change in South Asia
  • International Migration
  • Sociology of Race and Ethnicity
  • Social Inequality
  • Gender and Sexuality in a Transnational World

For students interested in Central Asia and Eurasia

  • Contemporary Central Asia
  • Research Assistance in Sociology

Skills Pathways

In addition to a variety of sub-fields, our program helps students gain marketable skills.

Quantitative and Statistical Skills

  • Quantitative Methods in Sociology
  • Research Assistance in Sociology

Research Skills

  • Social Science Research Methods
  • Qualitative Methods
  • Research Assistance in Sociology

Critical Thinking about Contemporary Issues

  • Environment and Society
  • Economy and Society
  • Classical Sociological Theory
  • Global Social Problems
  • International Migration
  • Sociology of Race and Ethnicity
  • Science, Technology, and Society
  • Food and Society

Presentation Skills

  • Capstone Seminar in Sociology
  • Introduction to Sociology
  • Introduction to Social Policy
  • Food and Society
  • Social Science Research Methods
Careers in Sociology

Our sociology students gain valuable transferable skills that help them pursue a variety of careers in the fields of education, business, government organizations, international organizations, nonprofit organizations, and more.

Our program helps students develop communication, research, organizational, and problem-solving skills. In our classes students learn how to collect and critically analyze information using both quantitative (statistical analysis) and qualitative (in-depth interviews, ethnography, focus groups, textual analysis) methods. These skills can subsequently lead students to pursue careers in marketing, education, research, policy analysis, data analytics, counselling, journalism, social work, and more.
Our alumni work and study in the fields of journalism, HR, public policy, public health, education, administration and management, and more.

Job Titles for Sociology Majors and Minors

Business and Industry

  • business analyst
  • consumer relations specialist
  • human resources manager
  • market analyst
  • merchandiser/purchaser
  • project manager
  • quality control manager
  • technical writer
  • public relations manager

 Government

  • employee specialist
  • foreign service officer
  • human rights officer
  • legislative aide
  • personnel coordinator
  • program supervisor
  • special agent
  • urban planner

Education

  • admissions counselor
  • affirmative action counselor
  • extension service specialist
  • public health educator
  • teacher

Research

  • census researcher
  • consumer researcher
  • criminology researcher
  • data analyst
  • interviewer
  • market researcher
  • social researcher
  • statistician
  • survey research technician

Community and Social Services

  • child development specialist
  • environmental organizer
  • family planning worker
  • hospital administrator
  • housing coordinator
  • career counselor
  • public health supervisor
  • public outreach coordinator
  • substance abuse counselor

Sociology Careers in Kazakhstan

Our students have interned or sought jobs in the following companies in Kazakhstan:

Market Research

  • BISAM
  • Brif
  • TNS Central Asia
  • Центр Исследования Общественного Мнения (ЦИОМ)

Education

  • Nazarbayev Intellectual School
  • Nazarbayev University
  • Spectrum International School
  • Bilim Media Group
  • Haileybury

Government

  • The Executive Office of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan
  • The Office of the Prime Minister
  • Ministry of Information and Communications
  • Ministry of Culture and Sport
  • Ministry of Education and Science
  • Ministry of Religious Affairs and Civil Society
  • Ministry of Labour and Social Protection
  • Ministry of National Economy
  • Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  • Akimats of regions and Astana and Almaty cities
  • Delegation of the European Union to Kazakhstan

Consulting

  • Samruk Kazyna Corporate University

Journalism

  • Khabar
  • National news agency KAZINFORM
  • Radio Azattyq

Sociological and Political Research

  • АО "Информационно-аналитический центр"
  • Kazakhstan Institute for Strategic Studies under the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan
  • Institute of Parliamentarism of NDP “Nur Otan”
  • Center of Study of Public Opinion (CIOM)

NGOs

  • The UN Women Kazakhstan Multi-Country Office
  • International Organization for Migration (IOM)
  • UN Development Program
  • UNICEF
  • UNESCO
  • Corporate
  • Samruk-Energo
  • Samruk-Kazyna

Others

  • Astana Expo 2017

Anthropology

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of the program, Anthropology graduates will be able to:

  1. Knowledge and Theory:  Explain anthropology’s holistic nature through its four-field approach as well as how the major sub-fields, cultural, biological, archaeological and linguistic anthropology, are interrelated. Students are expected to show understanding of the historical context within which anthropology developed and the concepts, questions, and theoretical approaches that are foundational to the discipline.
  2. Methods and Ethics: Approach study of human beings through a variety of skills and methods. Students should understand the ethical underpinnings of anthropology and how these values affect data collection methods and analyses.
  3. Engaging with Scholarship: Employ critical thinking and reading skills towards interpretation of ethnographic texts, reports and articles, as well as data sets from any of the major sub-fields. Students should be able to critically evaluate viewpoints and assumptions regarding representations of human cultures with a particular sensitivity to ethnocentric biases
  4. Practicing Anthropology: Apply the theories and methods developed within anthropology to issues of social and cultural concerns within a global and multicultural context. Students should be able to apply a critical lens to their own society and culture.
  5. Self-Directed Learning: Be able to gain practical experience in formulating a research project, using appropriate methods to gather data, carry out analysis of the data by applying anthropological theories in order to generate original conclusions as well as to communicate their findings through research essays and oral presentations.
Courses

ANT 101: Introduction to Sociocultural Anthropology

This course will introduce you to some major themes of sociocultural anthropology –kinship, gender, magic, religion, race/ethnicity, social stratification, nationalism, modernization, and globalization. We will explore these themes through ethnography –the research method and genre of writing that defines the discipline. Reading several anthropological accounts of different cultures, we will not only analyze what these ethnographies tell us about cultural diversity, but also think critically about the conditions of their production and their claims to authority. Throughout the course, we will also pay a special attention to the current ethnography of Kazakhstan and the workings of our own culture.

ANT 140: World Prehistory

This course surveys major developments in the prehistory of humans from the evolution of our earliest ancestors through the first cities. Significant topics include perspectives on critical inventions such as tool use and agriculture; development of inequality and social organization; the role of environment in society; and interactions among societies. We will also address approaches to archaeology and fundamental problems for studying people who left no written records.

ANT 160: Introduction to Biological Anthropology

Humans may be the strangest animals on the planet, and so this course examines what it means to be human in a biological sense, highlighting the many ways humans are unique and why this is. In examining these issues, students will learn about sources of biological variation in living humans; the fossil record for human evolution; and the adaptations and behaviors of our closest living relatives the Primates. This course also introduces students to broader theoretical principles of evolution, genetics, forensics, and animal behavior, which are extremely important in and beyond biological anthropology.

ANT 180: Being Human: An Introduction to Four Field Anthropology

This course explores the main subfields of anthropology: sociocultural, archaeological, biological, and linguistic. Students will be exposed to the primary theories, concepts, and methodologies relating to anthropology and how these four fields can work together to provide a more complete understanding of what it means to be human. This course is perfect for students in any major who are interested in exploring questions related to human behavior and societies in a holistic manner, or for those interested in a general introduction to the main subfields in anthropology before continuing more specialized coursework in the major.

ANT 181: Introduction to Medical Anthropology

This course examines the interaction between biology, culture and health, as well as how health is viewed cross-culturally. Material from this course is applicable to a range of fields including anthropology, medicine and public health.

ANT 204/PLS 204: Capitalism in Crisis

In this seminar, we will analyze socio-cultural conditions and forces behind economic developments that led to the current and previous global financial crises. Closer to our region, we will also examine ideological underpinnings and social implications of the post-communist economic transformations across the globe. Our primary readings will consist of 1) theories of political economy and capitalist development, 2) ethnographic/anthropological accounts of economic transformations in post-Soviet countries, China, Indonesia and Africa, and 3) in-depth articles from the New Yorker and the Economist dealing with contemporary economic issues in a non-jargon way. Topics to be considered will include liberalization/globalization, neo-liberal reforms, state-capital interaction, social construction of human needs and desires, creation of wealth, consumption, alleviation of poverty, and visions of happiness and affluence.

ANT 215/REL 215: What is Islam? Anthropological Perspectives

This course explores the question of how people in different parts of the world and in different social context understand what Islam is. We will consider the ways that anthropologists have approached this, reading the work of authors who present and analyze a wide variety of Muslim societies and realms of social-cultural life. In the general anthropology of religion, Islam has been a major focus. In this course, we will also consider realms that go far beyond beliefs and rituals, and encompass fields like “Islamic customs”, Islamic jurisprudence, Islamic art, “Islamic authority”, and “Islamic attitudes towards women.” We will further explore the challenge that some forms of Islamic observance pose for secularism, the ways that Islam has been counter-posed to Western models of modernity, and the role of Islam in defining national and other identities.

ANT 216: Marriage and Kinship

Studying how humans understand their relationships with other people and create new ones is at the foundation of anthropology and sociology. Who around us counts as “family”? How do we determine who our family members are and why? What are our obligations to family? What are the different roles in the family? How do we create new ties to each other through processes like marriage and adoption? What are the restrictions on new relationships? These processes both have a profound impact on the meaning and conduct of our everyday lives, as well as on how we form larger social groups and connections across and between groups.

ANT 222/SOC 222: Approaches to Global Development

In this seminar we will explore the theoretical and historical perspectives that gave rise to the ideas and practices of global development in the 20th century and their implications for the 21st century marked by the environmental crisis and the understanding of the limits to the planetary system. Sociological and anthropological approaches to development provide distinct understanding of the issues; while the boundaries between these two disciplines are blurring and stand in contrast to the rational choice and neoclassical economic approaches that dominate development discourses, it can be useful to examine the differences in an interdisciplinary fashion in order to enrich our understanding of development but also alternatives to development and postdevelopment approaches. What these approaches share is that development interventions never occur in a vacuum but require a nuanced understanding of the context in which they occur. Politics, culture, power, and social organization are very important to defining development problems especially if we want to identify just and viable solutions to these problems and to see they are implemented in a fair and humane manner. The readings in this course will focus on the history, theory, and critiques of global development. We will then focus on the relationship to development to social construction of human needs and desires and visions of the good life. We will end with practical exercises that allow us to try and formulate solutions in real life that must take into account the complexity of the issues raised in the course.

ANT 231: Frauds and Fallacies in Archaeology

This course examines claims that have been made in archaeology based on bad data, misinterpretation, logical fallacies, or outright fraud. In particular we will investigate claims that have gotten major popular attention such as the 2012 doomsday scenario, extra-terrestrial involvement in constructing ancient monuments, and the Piltdown fraud. By looking deeply at pseudoscience in archaeology, students will gain a deeper appreciation for the importance of a rigorous scientific framework in research and also the ways that data can be misinterpreted in popular culture. Additionally we will address the broader anthropological problem of why these unscientific claims gain so much popularity when better models are available.

ANT 232: Life, Death and Economy: Archaeology of Central Asia
This course surveys contemporary evidence from archaeological and art discoveries on elaborate rituals surrounding death and dying, economics of being a nomad, warrior culture, shamans, and the transmigration of gold and treasure in ancient Central Asia.

ANT 233: Stone Age Archaeology of Eurasia

This course will examine the archaeological record of Eurasia, starting with the earliest archaeological sites outside of Africa around 1.8 million years ago and ending with the period just before we begin to see the first signs of agriculture around 10,000 years ago.

ANT 262: Monkey business: Primate Society and Behavior

Why do humans and other primates behave the way they do? This class will examine the societies and behaviors of our closest living relatives, the Primates. The course begins by reviewing basic biology, anatomy, and variation of apes, monkeys and other primates. We will then examine aspects of primate social systems, including group sizes and mating strategies. The course will conclude by examining specific topics in Primatology, such as communication, cognition and infanticide. Students will ultimately come to appreciate how human behavior and society are like our relatives', and how they are unique.

ANT 263: Humans and Race

In this course we will examine the nature of human biological variation, in the contexts of genetics, anatomy, history, and society. Students will learn about why humans vary, what this variation does and doesn't tell us about individual people, and the ways in which social inequality 'becomes' human biology. The course will be divided into 2 units: the first will focus on what 'race' means scientifically and biologically, and whether human variation fits such criteria. The second half will examine the relationship between human variation and ideas about race and how such ideas have been, or can be used in society.

ANT 275/WLL 271: Language and Society

This course examines the manner in which language is embedded in society. Topics examined include the nature of language, language ideologies, and the social differentiation between the poetic and the plain, the polite and the vulgar.

ANT 285: Food and Society

This course explores the relationships among society, population, food production, and politics. We will study cross-cultural views about food, and how various systems of food production such as foraging, shifting cultivation, and intensive agriculture, are altered by society, government, and industrialization.

ANT 286: Nomads: Around the world and through time

The course will explore the archaeology and anthropology of nomadic pastoral societies in light of their ecological, political, and cultural strategies and adaptation to extreme environments. We will pay specific attention to the social groups in extreme environments, including the world’s driest deserts, highest and most treacherous mountains, and the coldest, bleakest reaches of the arctic. Moving through six regions of the world during the semester, we will examine the local ecology and the development of pastoral and nomadic ways of life in each. Case studies in archaeology and ethnography will form the backbone of student learning, and each student has the opportunity to explore one nomadic/ pastoralist society in-depth through a group research project. Students will learn to see where Kazakhstan fits globally in nomadic studies and that nomads, who are imagined as unchanging and in conflict with the sedentary world, are in fact incredibly adaptive and have been integral in shaping world empires. Based on this global survey, the class will explore the essential role nomads have played in the formation and transfer of culture, language, and power from prehistoric times to the current era – often in the most inhospitable of regions. Students can carry what they learned from the class forward with them into complementary courses in human systems in their majors.

ANT 302/REL 301: Anthropology of Religion and Secularism

This course examines the ways that anthropologists and other scholars of culture and society have explored the cultural experiences and social processes associated with religion and the other social systems in which religion is included or excluded. Case materials will be drawn primarily from Eurasia, broadly defined, while the course also aims to show how the experience of Eurasia -- particularly, post-Communist Eurasia -- can be better understood in a broad comparative perspective.

ANT 306: Anthropology of Performance

Shakespeare famously said that “All the world’s a stage.” In this class, we will examine the way anthropologists have conceptualized everyday life as a kind of theatre. How does life imitate art, or art imitate life?

ANT 313/PLS 332/REL 332: Islam and Politics in Eurasia

The course examines the ways in which Islam and politics are intertwined in many parts of Eurasia. The course provides background in the issues common to many Muslim societies that form the frameworks for political contention in Muslim contexts, such as concepts of the role of the state and religion in public life, Islamic notions of reform, contexts of Sufism and "Salafism", and connections between religious identity and national and other aspects of identity. It will explore the ways that the post-Communist context provides a case where the relationship between Islam and society unfolds in new and particular ways because of the end of official atheism, the growth of pluralism, and the flow of ideas and influences across international boundaries, as well as the ways that developments in Eurasia resonate with international trends. Islam will be examined in realms ranging from social movements and opposition politics to state building and legitimization. Themes will include issues such as the relationships between Islam and political authority, debates about Islam's significance for social order, the ways that Islam is brought into political conflicts and violence, and the role of Islam in secularism, international relations, proselytizing and religious conversion, and retraditionalization.

ANT 314/PLS 335: Politics of Identity in Eurasia

The course examines how identity concepts play a role in the politics of Eurasian countries. Topics include: the factors forming current national, sub-national and religious identities, the role of national ideologies in the state-building process and promotion of loyalty to the regime, identity as a factor in opposition mobilization, identity in conflicts, and the role identity in international relations. The focus is primarily on the post-communist period in the countries of former-Soviet Union, while providing the essential background in the historical context, as well as comparative reference to related regions including Western China, Afghanistan, the Near East and Russia. Theories of political identity are explored as they have been developed in the literature on Eurasia and in a broader comparative frame.

ANT 315: Youth Cultures in Eurasia

ANT 331: Early Cities and States

ANT 333: Anthropology of Space
In this course, we examine how our behaviors shape and are shaped by the space in which we live. Through the lens of anthropological theory, we explore different approaches to studying space use, at both the large and small scales. We will survey a broad body of literature that will demonstrate how human space use has changed over time, coinciding with the onset of major milestones in human behavioral/cultural evolution. While examining these changes, students will develop strong theoretical foundations for how archaeologists reconstruct the past by examining processes and behaviors present in various cultures today. Students will learn about the spatial behavior of modern day groups and how these behaviors are shaped by lifestyle and environment. The course will close by contemplating broader questions of landscape use and how religion and spiritual systems impact the way in which different people view space.

ANT 361: Human Evolution: Bones, Stones and Genomes

This course examines the evidence for the emergence of the human species, with an emphasis on the fossil or paleontological record. We will address questions such as: Why do humans have such large brains, and lack tails? How have technology and culture influenced human evolution? Are humans still evolving? In answering these questions, students will learn about the fossil, genetic and behavioral evidence of how we became human over the past several million years.

ANT 364: Building babies: Human evolutionary developmental biology

This course will introduce students to the evo-devo of humans and our fossil relatives. Humans are remarkable animals, and we will explore how we came to be ourselves, both as a species and as individuals, addressing questions including: Why, when and how did our brains become so large? Why did humans lose features common to other primates – such as tails and penis spines – and how did that happen? What can fossils tell us about the evolution of puberty and the adolescent growth spurt? The evo-devo framework will also be used to critique and envision how monsters and other mythical creatures could conceivably come to be.

ANT 385/WLL 385: Postcolonial Theory and its Applications in Eurasia

In this course, we will use postcolonial lenses to analyze Central Asia, its literature, and cultural production (film, songs, and videos). While postcolonial studies and postcolonial theory have been a part of the canon of several disciplines such as anthropology, comparative literature, and cultural studies in the West, the degree of its application to Eurasian Studies has been limited and its applicability has been questioned. We will read some classical theoretical texts in postcolonial studies and then see how this theory that has been so productive elsewhere can be applied to Central Asian cultural phenomena. Do we ever think of Central Asia as “Orient” or “Third World” or “Asia” having a “complex relationship” to “Occident,” “the First World” or “Europe”? If so, how can we theorize this state of having a complex relationship – coloniality, global hierarchy, dependency? In addition to classics of postcolonial studies such as Edward Said, Franz Fanon, Homi Bhabha and emerging theorizations on issues of coloniality in our part of the world, we will also read old and new ethnographies of Central Asia, Central Asian Soviet and Post-Soviet literature and watch films produced in the region and about the region.

ANT 386/SOC 386: Social Challenges of Climate Change
The human impact on our larger biophysical environment has grown to the point where we are now, by general acknowledgement, living in the ‘Anthropocene’, a geological era in which humans have become a key driver in the Earth’s system. In response, scholars, disciplines, universities, and other organizations have developed subfields, centers, funding programs, and intellectual approaches to investigate how humans interact with their natural environment. In this course we review what social scientists have done to better understand the human dimensions of environmental change. This course will draw on an interdisciplinary approach to understanding the past, present, and future interactions between the climate and human beings. This course will seek to strengthen students’ capacities for inquiry, analysis and critical engagement with real world challenges.

ANT 399: Special Topics in Anthropology

The exact topic of this course will change each time it is offered. It is used to explore new or unusual topics for which another course does not already exist.

ANT 400-404: Research Assistance in Anthropology

The aim of this course is to allow students to assist in the research projects of faculty in the Sociology and Anthropology Department.

ANT 415: Cutting-Edge Social Science Research on Eurasia

In this advanced level seminar, we will review the recent prominent works produced in the field of Eurasian studies. In particular, we will read monographs, collections, and articles that are considered to have left a lasting imprint on contemporary research and to have changed the way we conceptualize issues concerning ‘our region.’ The works we shall cover will include (but are not limited to) Serguei Oushakine’s (2009) Patriotism of Despair, Olga Shevchenko’s (2009) Crisis and the Everyday in Postsocialist Moscow, Morgan Liu’s (2012) Under Solomon’s Throne, Johan Rasanayagam’s (2012) Islam in Post-Soviet Uzbekistan and the collection, Ethnographies of the State in Central Asia (2014). We will also examine articles from the leading area studies’ journals such as Europe-Asia Studies, Central Asian Survey, and Slavic Review. On completion, students should be able to formulate and place their research within the framework of existing research.

ANT 475: Digital Ethnographies

This upper-level seminar will introduce students to the study of human communication and social activity as mediated by new communications technologies: mobile phones and the internet, social networks and virtual worlds. What social and cultural universals follow us into new media? How do new media offer new possibilities for social structures, relationships, and interaction? What new methods are required for doing ethnography online? We will explore these questions in class through reading monographs, articles, and methods handbooks, through traditional discussion, through experiments in online presence and ventures into virtual worlds.

ANT 480/SOC 418: Gender, Power and Social Change in South Asia

This course will explore gender and sexuality in South Asia since the events leading up to the partition of British India in 1947. After examining how “the woman question” in the nationalist movement advanced a particular interpretation of gender and women, we will explore the contemporary intersections of gender and sexuality in the context of the changes resulting from privatization policies beginning in the early 1990s. Our course materials will draw upon ethnographic studies, literature, and theoretical critiques exploring how globalization is an important structure that has transformed the constitution of gender and sexuality. While these critiques explore global processes, we will focus on South Asia to explore how these processes interact with local histories and understandings of gender, sexuality and feminist advocacy. We will also explore the linkages between global capitalism and development funding for NGOs to examine how NGOs present both possibilities and pitfalls towards their stated goal of promoting meaningful social change.

ANT 489/SOC 489: Advanced Qualitative Research Methods for social and allied health scientists
This course is specifically designed to provide students with an interest in the sociology/anthropology of health, public health and medicine with an academic grounding and also a practical, technical ability to successful conduct, analyze and report on in-depth (ethnographic) interviewing within the health arena. The course is a more specific than qualitative research methods (SOC 214/ ANT 214) currently offered. It has an applied and experiential focus. The purpose is to train students to conduct health profiles in Kazakhstan (as a later stage with a view to ultimately developing a masters programme). It will also provide technical and practical instruction for students to acquire skills necessary to successfully conduct qualitative interviews, within the health, public health field, sociology of health field. It has a particular focus on interviewing skills and data collection, analysis, interpretation and dissemination of information.

ANT 498: Capstone Seminar I

Capstone seminar is a year-long course which is a fundamental feature of the Anthropology BA program. It serves to culminate, solidify and provide clear demonstration of the capabilities that students have acquired previously in the course of the program. Capstone seminar consists of two consecutive courses: ANT 498, taught in the Fall semester, and ANT 499, taught in the Spring semester. In their fourth year in the program, students will have an opportunity to design, conduct, and present their research projects broadly falling within the fields of Sociology and Anthropology. In this process, they will consolidate and further develop their knowledge in sociology, anthropology and related disciplines as well as research, writing, communication, and presentation skills. At the beginning of the Fall semester, students will be asked to choose one of the two tracks for their Capstone seminar: Track One: An independent academic research and undergraduate thesis. Track Two: Community-engagement participatory research project and project report. During the Fall semester, students will design their research projects, develop research instruments, review relevant literature, obtain ethics review approval from the SHSS ethics review committee, and start data collection.

ANT 499: Capstone Seminar II

Capstone seminar is a year-long course which is a fundamental feature of the Anthropology BA program. It serves to culminate, solidify and provide clear demonstration of the capabilities that students have acquired previously in the course of the program. Capstone seminar consists of two consecutive courses: ANT 498, taught in the Fall semester, and ANT 499, taught in the Spring semester. In their fourth year in the program, students will have an opportunity to design, conduct, and present their research projects broadly falling within the fields of Sociology and Anthropology. In this process, they will consolidate and further develop their knowledge in sociology, anthropology and related disciplines as well as research, writing, communication, and presentation skills. At the beginning of the Fall semester, students will be asked to choose one of the two tracks for their Capstone seminar: Track One: An independent academic research and undergraduate thesis. Track Two: Community-engagement participatory research project and project report. During the spring semester, students will analyze the collected data, write up their results, present their findings through a public conference. Track One students must write and publicly present an original research paper. Additionally these students will be asked to find avenues to disseminate their work widely including publishing in academic journals or presenting their work at a recognized academic conference. Track Two students will be also asked to present their research findings to their communities (organizations) in the form of an oral presentation, an exhibition, or using social media tools.

Careers in Anthropology

How can anthropology help you in your career?

 

Anthropology Courses offer not only a wide variety of interesting and fascinating content but also prepare our graduates to enter the workforce with transferable skills.

 

For example, in Frauds and Fallacies in Archaeology students not only learn about famous hoaxes in Anthropology but also how to read the news critically and how to analyze the motivations of why various entities package ideas for public consumption the ways they do.  This course is ideal for those interested in marketing, consulting, politics and the non-profit sphere.  It teaches students to be critical thinkers, and also provides a place to hone essential skills such as writing, presenting, and connecting with various audiences.

 

In Food and Society, students learn about all aspects of the history of food, its production, distribution, and consumption.  The class exposes students to relevant topics like factory farming, advances in agricultural science and technology, the politics and science surrounding GMOs, the relationship between obesity and processed food, food insecurity and food desserts, the role of traditional diets worldwide and the effects of globalization on local diets.  Students can apply what they learn to their daily lives and own diets, and how they make choices in what to buy, cook, and eat. Those who want to work in government or as policy makers in the fields of agriculture and animal husbandry will gain a nuanced understanding of the history and current events surrounding the issues, as well as the skills to talk and write about them.   Those interested in medicine, public health, and nutritional science will benefit from taking this course, as it will help them connect better with their patients and clients.

 

Some of our classes have a research component where students do "mini-ethnographies." The mini-ethnographies teach students about how to choose a research question, how to conduct small-scale ethnographic research, and how to draw conclusions for that. This is useful for doing any kind of consumer research--marketing, user experience research, consulting--for working in any kind of governmental program where research needs to be done--for working in NGOs--etc. In Digital Ethnographies, in particular, students learn about research ethics in detail and go through the process of submitting their research to IREC; even private-sector researchers should think about research ethics! And they learn specific applications of qualitative social science research methods for studying what people do online.

 

Most of the courses also have a theoretical basis. Learning about social theory and looking at different ethnographic case studies of different sociocultural practices means gaining an understanding of cultural logics, of why it is that people do the things that they do. This is useful for anyone who wants to go into government or policy. Why do policies work or not?
What cultural logics made a particular policy seem like a good idea? What cultural logics lead that policy to succeed or to fail? This is also good for consumer research. What made engineers design a product in a particular way? (Here's a really good piece on gender and the Amazon Echo vs. Google Home: https://medium.com/startup-grind/google-home-vs-alexa-56e26f69ac77)

 

What careers can anthropologists pursue?

 

Contrary to the popular perception, anthropologists are not all archaeologists or Indiana Jones wannabes. Anthropologists can pursue a number of careers ranging from education to law. Here are some examples of the fields where anthropologists can apply their skills:

  • Education/Outreach Administration/Management
  • Cultural Resource Management (CRM)
  • Evaluation/Assessment
  • Health (international/public health)
  • Museum/Curation/Project Design
  • Environment and Natural Resources
  • Community Development
  • Business
  • Advocacy (human rights/social justice)
  • Tourism/Heritage
  • Human/Social Services
  • Healthcare Management/Services/Deliver
  • Management Consulting
  • Design (products and/or services)
  • Social Impact Assessment
  • International Development/Affairs
  • Market Research
  • Law/Criminal Justice/Law Enforcement
  • Mass Communication
  • Humanitarian Efforts

Job Titles for Anthropology Majors and Minors:

  • Museum Manager/Curator
  • Development Specialist
  • Preservation Planner
  • Architectural Historian
  • Archeologist
  • Archivist
  • Analyst
  • City Planner
  • Consultant
  • Consultant, International Development, Inter-Regional & Global Projects
  • Health Policy Consultant
  • Language Consultant
  • Health Data Manager/Researcher
  • Socio-Epidemiology Researcher
  • Discourse Analysis/Educator/Communication Specialist
  • Organizational Consultant
  • Coordinator
  • Field Museum Of Natural History
  • Development
  • Assistant Education Development Officer
  • Development Anthropologist, International Development
  • Economic Development Officer
  • Policy Analyst
  • Program Analyst
  • Program Assistant
  • Program Coordinator
  • Researcher
  • Land Use Specialist
  • Census Analyst
  • Geographic Information System Analyst Or Technician
  • Location Analysts
  • Real Estate Appraisers, Researchers
  • Writing And Editing Maps, Texts, Atlases
  • Environmental Analyst

(Source: American Anthropological Association, http://www.americananthro.org/AdvanceYourCareer/Content.aspx?ItemNumber=1783; Indiana University of Pennsylvania, https://www.iup.edu/anthropology/undergrad/current-students/career-planning/job-titles/)