Admissions & Aid
The Department of Anthropology requires majors to have hands-on experience in the field or in the lab.
This requirement can be met by taking any one of the following courses: Anthropology 3470 (Summer Archaeological Field School (Intensive Program)), 3015 (Anthropology Abroad), 3480 (Intersession Archaeological Field School), 3475 (Archaeological Field School: Site Supervision), 4110 (Summer Ethnographic Field School), 3240 (Urban Archeology), 3440 (Zooarchaeology), or 4104 (Ethnographic Theory and Methods).
Field schools usually occur during the summer sessions or the winter intersession. Students go to research sites near home or abroad, and participate in collecting, preparing, and analyzing data. This may involve digging, as is the case for archaeology and biological anthropology, or interviewing and participant-observation, as is the case with ethnography and linguistic anthropology. In all cases, students work directly under the supervision of a faculty member. Individual field schools may have additional fees for living expenses, airfare, and tuition.
Field schools are a unique experience, probably like nothing you have ever experienced before. Learning occurs outside of the classroom, living and working conditions range from tents to hotels, and hard work and new, shared experiences forge strong bonds with your colleagues. You owe it to yourself to try it; it’s a lot of fun!
The Department of Anthropology offers a variety of field opportunities. These have primarily focused on cultural anthropology and archaeological methods, and provide unique opportunities for students to explore applied approaches to the discipline.
Poster for ANTH 3016 Field Work in Anthropology.
Brooklyn has been undergoing rapid waves of gentrification since the end of the 20th century, and the community of Bed-Stuy is no exception. How does class, race, and gender intersect to shape the way that residents approach the threat of displacement? What can we learn from the archaeological resources such as the material culture and built environment people left behind? Does the preservation of the historic built environment contribute to or deter the process of gentrification? In particular, can the preservation of a historic house owned by the United Order of Tents, a historical Black women’s benevolent society provide the space for these conversations to occur? These questions will be at the heart of exploration of this urban archaeological research project.
The course will prepare students with foundational archaeological and ethnographic methods. Students will explore the history and contemporary struggle for place through a variety of modes of engagement such as films, walking tours, museum visits, community board meetings, and archaeological and ethnographic methodology. By end of course students will have a grounding in the following topics:
Assistant Professor Naomi Schiller
Assistant Professor Kelly Britt
Poster for ANTH 3470 Archaeological Field School
The Lower East Side is in the midst of a major new wave of gentrification and waterfront development. How do class, race, gender, and migration status intersect to shape the way that residents approach the threat of extreme weather and rising seas? How do residents, planners, and policy makers understand the relationship between human action, gentrification, and climate change, and how do they work to influence development to preempt weather-related disasters that threaten both lower- and upper-income residents? How has the historical development of this section of New York City shaped the way people respond to climate change? What can we learn from the material culture people left behind? These questions will be at the heart of exploration of this urban anthropology field school, which will combine both ethnography and archaeological field methods.
The course will prepare students with foundational ethnographic and archaeological methods. Students will explore the history and contemporary struggle for space and survival through a variety of modes of engagement, such as films, walking tours, museum visits, community board meetings, and archaeological collection analysis. By the end of the course, students will have a grounding in the following topics:
Assistant Professor Kelly Britt
The four-credit three-week intensive India Global Health program introduces students to India through the study of international health and social anthropology. This program is open to undergraduate students and will be of particular interest to anthropology, sociology, psychology, health science, environmental sciences, pre-nursing, and pre-med majors. Participants will be housed and take seminars at the world-renowned Comprehensive Rural Health Program (CRHP) in Jamkhed, Maharashtra; travel to rural villages to observe the daily work of village health workers; and accompany the CRHP mobile team of Ayurvedic physicians, nurses, social workers, and development specialists on routine visits to rural areas. Participants will meet and engage with women health workers and hear personal testimonies of their life-transitions from teenage brides to respected health practitioners and political leaders. CRHP is a leading institution in the primary health care movement that trains physicians, nurses, public health workers, and local rural health workers. The global health course field trips to sacred monuments of Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism and Bibi ka Maqbara mosque as well as other important regional cultural and historical sites and museums. Students attend seminars led by Brooklyn College’s Associate Professor Patricia Antoniello and Dr. Shobha Arole, medical director of CRHP. Seminars focus on the dramatic changes in the health and well-being of rural villagers, and anthropological approaches to global, social, political, and economic matters in the local context. Students experience village life in rural India, learn about the history and culture of India, and understand global health from a local perspective.
The Cretaceous-Paleogene boundary marks a mass extinction event that is best known for the elimination of the non-avian dinosaurs 66 million years ago. Come out to North Dakota and Montana to discover why this event was also incredibly significant for our earliest primate ancestors and other mammals. A team of undergraduate students will be trained in excavation and screen-washing techniques and will collect fossils with paleontologists to better understand how mammals responded directly after the demise of the dinosaurs. Students will have numerous opportunities to prospect for fossil vertebrates including extinct mammals, dinosaurs, turtles, fish, crocodilians, and even fossil plants, which will ultimately paint a picture of the environment of our earliest primate relatives in North America. This course provides students with paleontological field experience and will teach students about our own evolutionary history—the first clear step in the divergence of humans from other mammals.
Barbuda, the small sister island to Antigua, provides a unique geographically bound island environment to study people interacting with their environment over the last 6,000 years through the in depth investigation of faunal remains. This project will apply a longue duree approach to understanding the processes and transitions from the archaic settlements of the Siboney to modern day Barbudans. Faunal remains from all time periods are looked at to identify continuity, change, ritual and tradition. The biochronology of the island is mapped through the species abundance and size. What species are available, does their abundance and size change through time, are their extinctions? What are the causes? How are Barbudans of today look at their environment and what animals do they hunt and fish. Are some of the differences noted due to contact with people of the mainland? Is trade and desirability of certain products driving the economic activities, are the changes due to environmental changes and/or overfishing? Could the translocation of animals from the continent affect the economic drivers? Are faunal evidence more than just environment and diet? These are some of the questions we are trying to shed light on while excavating in Barbuda. Our excavations are a combination of rescue archaeology and research.
Offers students a study abroad experience for this coming summer; 6 to 12 credits.
Registration limited to 25 students.
Field school forms and further details are available in the Anthropology Department Office.
3307 James Hall
E-mail us for any inquiries.
The Israel Field School at Tell Bet Shemesh, directed by Professor Arthur Bankoff of Brooklyn College, runs from mid June to late July and allows students the amazing opportunity to study and enjoy for eight weeks.
In 2008, in four weeks, the student crew excavated 15 5×5-meter trenches at Tell Bet Shemesh, uncovering architecture and material mostly from the Late Bronze Age (ca. 1400–1200 BCE). More than just drudgery, the digging left the students excited and exhilarated about the finds and gave them a real appreciation of the wealth of history in every inch of Israeli soil.
The finds from the 2008 season were especially thrilling and important for understanding the history of occupation and cultural change on the site, comprising as they did a large exposure of a massive Late Bronze Age (ca. 14th – 12th century BCE) destruction layer. Finding complete ceramic vessels, an Egyptian scarab and other artifacts from these contexts increased the students’ enthusiasm.
For 2009, we expect to return to Tell Bet Shemesh to do further work on the Late Bronze Age remains uncovered this past season. The experienced directors and staff have proven to be excellent, both archaeologically and pedagogically, providing an unforgettable learning experience for our students. The site is of intrinsic historic and theoretical interest. Its location in the center of the country minimizes worries about security. It is far enough from large cities to make casual travel inconvenient, but close enough for students to experience them and other parts of the country on weekends.
Last year we were able to work out a closer collaboration with the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. As in 2008, our program will be associated with the Rothberg School’s Summer Institute in Middle Eastern Studies, which runs through July. Thus, our students will also be able to take courses in Middle Eastern history and culture through the Summer Institute, while Hebrew University students will be able to enroll in the Brooklyn College courses that comprise the Israel: Then and Now program in June and July. This synergy benefits both programs.