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Since the human experience extends far beyond the confines of written histories, this concentration utilizes the methods of archaeology and ethnography to explore aspects of cultural heritage often left unrecorded by traditional sources and ignored or repressed within dominant narratives. Cultural heritage is the legacy of the physical, cultural and natural worlds that we inherit from previous generations, use to structure our current world, and pass on to future generations. It plays a central role in the expression and development of cultural identities at a variety of scales from the individual to the nation state and is an often contested part of a wide range of social movements. Across the globe heritage relates to a set of critical issues, including:

  1. The documentation and protection of the material record of human history through the excavation and preservation of archaeological sites at risk due to urbanization and looting
  2. Connecting descendent and local communities to cultural heritage resources and involving them in the protection and development of these economically important resources
  3. The use of nontraditional narratives (archaeological histories, oral histories, etc.) to empower under-represented, unrecognized and persecuted groups
  4. Ongoing conflicts over the ownership of cultural heritage and intellectual property rights

The protection, exploration, management and celebration of heritage are the focus of a range of national and international bodies, museums, and NGOs including the National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, and UNESCO. Such organizations often promote controversial approaches such as heritage tourism as a rapidly growing vehicle for economic development representing billions of dollars in revenue. However, heritage also represents a powerful tool for empowering communities struggling for civil rights and recognition. In this context, claims of ownership and deployment of heritage within social movements are often contested and violent and are imbued with complex meanings attached to histories of race, power and politics. In this concentration we explore a wide range of culturally aware approaches to understanding the role of heritage in the modern world. We have particular strengths in the archaeological and ethnographic unwritten histories of the American South and Latin America with thematic strengths in expressive culture, memory, and oral histories.

Core Courses

  • ANTH 054 The Indians New Worlds
  • ANTH 060[FYS] Crisis and Resilience: past and future of human societies
  • ANTH 064[FYS] Public Archaeology in Bronzeville
  • ANTH 089[FYS] Anthropology of travel and tourism
  • ANTH 077 Introduction to Folklore
  • ANTH 120 Anthropology through expressive cultures
  • ANTH 121 Ancient Cities in the Americas
  • ANTH 123 Habitat and Humanity
  • ANTH 145 Introduction to World Prehistory
  • ANTH 202 Introduction to Folklore
  • ANTH 206 American Indian Societies
  • ANTH 220 Principles of Archaeology
  • ANTH 222 Prehistoric Art
  • ANTH 231 Archaeology of South America
  • ANTH 232 Ancestral Maya Civilizations
  • ANTH 233 Prehistory of SW Asia and Egypt
  • ANTH 250 Archaeology of North America
  • ANTH 252 Archaeology of Food
  • ANTH 278 Women in Science
  • ANTH 406 Native Writers
  • ANTH 420 Public Archaeology
  • ANTH 422 Anthropology and Human Rights
  • ANTH 454 Archaeology of African Diasporas
  • ANTH 538 Disease and discrimination in Colonial Atlantic America
  • ANTH 625 Ethnography and Life Stories
  • ANTH 674 Issues in Cultural Heritage