Anthropology At Foothill College: Integrating Study and Experience

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About Anthropology

Essential to an understanding of the global arena and sensitivity to the people who have inhabited it, anthropology, the science of humankind, views humans from the broadest possible perspective. Because of its study of culture and human behavior, anthropology is a social science; in its study of human physical traits, anthropology is a biological science. To investigate human behavior, anthropologists collect and analyze data from non-literate societies as well as communities in industrial nations of the world. From this wide perspective, anthropology helps us understand other peoples and thereby enables us to better understand ourselves. It is an informative, exciting, and challenging science that should be part of every informed citizen's education.

Silicon Valley is the hub of global technology change and its people are in the business of redefining traditional cultural barriers with technology. As the world increasingly becomes integrated it is important that we understand ourselves and others from an anthropological perspective. Employers look to see that you have developed the tools necessary to compete in the world today. You are the next generation of anthropology students, those that understand the new world in which we live and use that knowledge to improve our way of life.

In the Classroom

The Department of Anthropology at Foothill College turns the traditional classroom inside out by emphasizing experiential learning. We offer an excellent range of courses (listed under In the Classroom) that expose students to all facets of anthropology, including cultural anthropology, archaeology, human evolution, forensics, medical anthropology, magic and religion, lost civilizations, and modern and ancient cultures of California and the world.

In the Field

Foothill Anthropology is committed to learning anthropology by doing anthropology. To this end we conduct research in the field locally and internationally. The current archaeology projects are in the Santa Cruz Mountains and in Ireland. The Belize and Ecuador Programs are on hiatus. Students also conduct independent study projects with the Center for Applied Anthropology. Cultural and applied anthropology projects are also taking place in the local community, at the College, and internationally. Field opportunities are a very important part of anthropology and teach the process of doing anthropology, but there is also a heavy emphasis on the laboratory component of these research projects. The students take part in every facet of our ongoing research and help guide the investigations by conducting their own research.

In the Community

Our faculty and students are actively conducting research and learning about social science research methods in the community. Applied anthropology is the process of doing anthropology to serve the public. A critically important aspect of the student experience at Foothill Anthropology has been to use the much needed anthropological perspective as a way to inform people about their world. Community outreach and K-12 education has been a hallmark of our recent work. Our Anthropology in Action program has begun to connect with local grade schools and we are working to develop many new avenues for integrating with the community, such as working with local businesses to improve cultural competence and joining with public health institutions to improve their understanding of medical anthropology.

Why You & Anthropology?

The number one thing that students are asked coming out of an anthropology course, is "What are you going to do with that degree?" The answers are limitless.

What can someone do with an Anthropology major? Download the Major in Anthropology (pdf) document to learn what you can do.

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Top of page June 30, 2017