This course introduces students to the topics and themes of contemporary anthropology. We explore such areas as religion, gender, politics, media, and family in different societies in order to develop an appreciation of cultural diversity in a global world. For the fall 2015 voyage, the class also investigates how similar the practice of anthropology might be to the kind of educational tourism that takes place during Semester at Sea.
Field WorkCountry: Costa Rica
Day: 1 - Saturday, 5 December
Students will travel to the town of Las Juntas Abangares, Guanacaste, one of the few places in the New World where Spanish conquistadors’ dreams of finding El Dorado could be said to have come true: gold is found and mined here. This fact has brought the inhabitants of the region into a centuries-long engagement with the cycles of global industrial capitalism that continues today. Students will visit historic buildings in the town, and take a guided hike up the mountainside to see the remains of the 19th century processing facilities. The local economy today is still largely supported by artisanal gold mining, and students will learn how current health and economic issues are linked to those of the past, and how locals are meeting current health and environmental challenges that are part of their gold-mining legacy. Academic objectives: 1. Develop awareness of the local conditions that underpin industrial globalization 2. Appreciate the contribution of local geology to human lifestyles 3. Increase insight into present and historical rural working life in Costa Rica