Anthropology (BA)

The major in Anthropology provides students with a strong foundation in Cultural Anthropology and the perspective and expertise it offers: knowledge of regions, peoples, cultures, international/global issues; skills to research, analyze, communicate, work and use information in global, cross-cultural settings; and values of respect and concern for other cultures and peoples. The major also provides students experience in applying that knowledge to social problems that affect their own communities.

Learning Outcomes: 

  • A broad-based familiarity with the theories, positions, methodologies and topic areas that occupy the discipline of Anthropology;
  • A developed sense of some of the major historical trends in Anthropology from its
    origins to the present, including the discipline’s distinctive concern with
    humankind in all its aspects, the culture concept, cultural relativism, and
    ethnocentrism among other foundational ideas, the historical role of anthropology
    in relations to the colonized world, and the application of anthropological
    knowledge to the solution of human problems in global, cross-cultural settings;
  • An understanding and appreciation of diversity in all its dynamic complexity,
    exploring the subject at the level of the individual and at the level of whole societies;
  • The capacity to present a considered written interpretation of a passage from a
    primary source anthropological text, laying out the main conclusion(s) and the
    argument(s) that the text advances, evaluating their significance in relation to
    other arguments and positions within anthropology, and presenting a critical
    analysis of the text;
  • Demonstrated experience in carrying out a research project (fieldwork-based or
    library-based) that includes formulating and justifying a research question,
    collecting and analyzing data, and articulating conclusions;
  • The capacity to communicate research results in various formats, including written
    and oral presentation;
  • The ability to work in fields that require a nuanced perception of cultural
    difference; the ability to analyze, contextualize and interpret culture/cultural
    behaviors and beliefs; and the ability to integrate multiple threads of inquiry
    into a comprehensive whole.

    Some details:

    General Outline

    Part I: Required Core Courses
    Part II: Research Methods and Statistics
    Part III: Major Electives

    Credits required: 36 credits                         Four Year Academic Plan (coming) 

    Coordinator: Professor Johanna (Hanna) Lessinger (212-237-8293,

    PART I. REQUIRED COURSES                                        Subtotal: 21 credits


    ANT 101 Introduction to Cultural Anthropology 
    ANT 208 Urban Anthropology 
    ANT 212 Applied Anthropology
    ANT 220 Language and Culture
    ANT 305 Theory in Anthropology
    ANT 332 Class, Race, Ethnicity and Gender in Anthropological Perspective
    ANT 405 Senior Seminar:  Anthropology of Contemporary Problems

    PART II. RESEARCH METHODS                                        Subtotal: 6 credits


    STA 250 Principles and Methods of Statistics
    ANT 325 Ethnographic Research Methods 

    PART III. MAJOR ELECTIVES                                             Subtotal: 9 credits

    Select one of the following two concentrations, A) Global Cultural Forms
    and Social Inequalities; or B) Anthropology of Law, Power, and Politics.

    Concentration A: Global Cultural Forms and Social Inequalities (“Social Inequality”)
    his concentration provides students the opportunity to deeply explore various
    dimensions of social inequality now manifest on a global scale and across
    shifting cultural landscapes. Globalization—a process that began centuries
    ago—has reached new, unprecedented heights in the 21st century bringing
    with it new ideas, new symbols, new institutions, new social problems, new
    forms of inequality, as well as new forms of response and resistance. Courses
    in this concentration provide insight and information on key patterns and
    processes of social stratification, difference and disparity and global responses
    to disparity. They examine the structural and institutional forces implicated in
    inequality, global, national and local policies and practices, gendered aspects
    of inequality and resistance, and shifting cultural beliefs, rituals, and practices.

    Choose 3 courses from among the following: 

    ANT/PSY/SOC 210 Sex and Culture
    ANT/PHI/PSY/SOC 224 Death and Dying in Society 
    ANT 230 Culture and Crime 
    ANT/PSY/SOC 310 Culture and Personality
    ANT 3XX Anthropology of Work
    ANT 319 Anthropology of Global Health
    ANT 317 Anthropology and Development
    ANT 347 Structural Violence and Social Suffering
    ANT 480 Special Topics in Anthropology

    Concentration B: Anthropology of Law, Power and Politics (“Law”)
    his concentration is in keeping with John Jay College’s traditional area of focus
    on legal systems and the law. These areas are situated in broader contexts of
    power and politics, viewed from an anthropological, cross-cultural perspective.
    This concentration is for students with a particular interest in legal systems and
    how these are constructed, structured, experienced, and rooted historically and
    culturally. Courses in this concentration provide insight and information on
    cross-cultural legal systems, the intersections of law, power and culture, the role
    of language in the construction and experience of legal systems, and structural
    and institutional forces implicated in social inequality.

    Choose 3 courses from among the following:

    ANT/ENG 228 Introduction to Language 
    ANT 230 Culture and Crime 
    ANT 315 Systems of Law
    ANT/ENG 328 Forensic Linguistics 
    ANT 330 American Cultural Pluralism and the Law
    ANT 347 Structural Violence and Social Suffering
    ANT 480 Special Topics in Anthropology

    Total: 36 credits