Anthropologists investigate cultural variation, with particular attention to race, gender, ethnicity, social change, and human evolution. Anthropology is a comprehensive discipline offering students a broad, comparative, and essentially interdisciplinary approach to the study of human life in all its diversity.
Anthropologists are concerned with understanding human universals, on the one hand, and the uniqueness of individual cultures, on the other. At Bates the program includes archeological, biological, and sociocultural perspectives.
Anthropology attempts to make sense, in a nonethnocentric manner, of everyday life in both familiar and distant settings. In this way the discipline enables students to achieve cultural competence in the broadest sense of the term — the ability to function effectively in complex environments, to analyze material from their own and other cultures, and to appreciate the value of the cultural diversity that exists in our world. Some recent graduates have pursued careers in public health and medicine, community organizing, environmental law, international development, teaching, and museum work; some have gone on to graduate work in anthropology and archeology. Anthropology 101, 103, and 104 are designed as introductions to the discipline of anthropology and as preparation for more advanced courses. Other 100- and 200-level courses also admit first-year students, but more closely reflect a specific field within anthropology. The 300- and 400-level courses are open to all upperclass students, but the latter are especially designed for majors.