News & Events

News & Events

Featured Courses: Fall 2015

April 16th, 2015

AN327/727 Islam in Africa
This course examines the Islamization of Africa and the various processes of Arabization and Africanization (localization) of Islam. Case studies from North, West and East Africa are discussed. The course examines the religious beliefs, cultures, and histories of multiple Muslim societies of Africa, including the complex struggles of Muslims in Morocco and in the Hausaland of Nigeria. The course also examines Islam in the Ashanti society of Ghana, in Buganda communities of Uganda, in Wolof communities of Senegambia, and in the ostensibly Christian state of Ethiopia (beginning with the first emigration of Muslims from Mecca in 615 AD). The Mahdi movement of the Sudan and the popular and expanding Muridiyya Sufi order of Senegal are also examined. The course concludes with a survey of the forms and contents of the rich religious and secular literatures in indigenous African languages written with the Arabic script. SS 4 cr.
Ngom, TR 12:30-2


AN330/730 Evolutionary Life History
Prereq: AN102 or BI107
This course analyzes human life history from an evolutionary and cross-cultural perspective. Issues to be addressed include: 1) the basic patterns of human growth and development; 2) techniques for assessing human growth status; 3) life history theory; 4) comparative analyses of human life stages, incorporating studies of living primates and fossil human ancestors; and 5) endocrine, social, and ecological determinants of variation in growth and development. Other topics include brain evolution, fetal programming, sexual dimorphism, senescence, immunity, and obesity. NS 4 cr.
Hodges-Simeon, MWF 9-10:00



AN234 Evolutionary Psychology (formerly AN334)
This course stands at the intersection of biological anthropology, with its focus on human evolution, and psychology, and an emphasis on human thought, emotion and behavior. It explores the extent to which the explanatory approaches of biological anthropology, based in modern evolutionary and genetic theory, can be usefully applied to the study of psychological traits. The course begins by laying a firm grounding in the relevant biological theories, and then uses these theories to dissect a wide range of psychological topics, including sensation and perception, consciousness, emotion and motivation, cognition, learning, individual differences, and various aspects of social behavior, including mating and parenting. NS 4 cr.
Hodges-Simeon, MWF 12-1:00

Anthropology Professor Robert Weller wins Gugenheim

June 25th, 2013

Rob Weller, BU China anthropologist, recipient of 2013 Guggenheim Fellowship

Robert Weller, Chair of the BU Department of Anthropology, and an expert in Chinese and Taiwanese anthropology, is the recipient of a prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship for 2013. Guggenheim Fellowships are intended for men and women who have already demonstrated exceptional capacity for productive scholarship or exceptional creative ability in the arts. The Foundation receives between 3,500 and 4,000 applications each year, and approximately 200 Fellowships are awarded each year.
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Posted in Department News

Arch Support

November 21st, 2011

BU profs seek to unlock mysteries of the human foot
By Amy Sutherland

Last winter Jeremy DeSilva and Simone Gill met over coffee to talk shop about how the human foot works. DeSilva is interested in prehistoric feet, how their anatomy changed when our ancestors gave up tree climbing for walking upright. Gill studies modern feet, specifically how obesity might affect them.

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Afghanistan: A Cultural and Political History

October 5th, 2011

Thomas Barfield introduced the audience to the bewildering diversity of tribal and ethnic groups in Afghanistan, explaining what unites them as Afghans despite the regional, cultural, and political differences that divide them. He showed how governing these peoples was relatively easy when power was concentrated in small dynastic elite, but how this delicate political order broke down in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries when Afghanistan’s rulers mobilized rural militias to expel first the British and later the Soviets.

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10 Years Later: Islam in the U.S.

October 5th, 2011

Robert Hefner, professor of anthropology and director of the Institute on Culture, Religion, and World Affairs (CURA) at Boston University, discusses the state of Islam and Muslim society in the U.S. since the September 11th terrorist attacks.

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The World, Post 9/11

October 5th, 2011

BU faculty and staff on what’s changed in decade since
Edited by John O’Rourke

By sheer coincidence I was teaching Sophocles’ Antigone in my course on conflict resolution on that fateful September day that changed the world—alas not for the better, at least not so far in America.

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One Class, One Day: Studying What You Eat

July 13th, 2011

CAS course examines how food defines culture
By Amy Laskowski

Class by class, lecture by lecture, question asked by question answered, an education is built. This is one of a series of visits to one class, on one day, in search of those building blocks at BU.

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The Science of Anthropology

May 18th, 2011

BU anthropologists on whether the field is a science
By Rich Barlow

The decision by the American Anthropological Association last fall to delete three references to “science” from its long-range plan drew volcanic eruptions from some outraged anthropologists. According to a New York Times report, the plan, which had said the AAA aspired “to advance anthropology as the science that studies humankind in all its aspects,” now says its goal is “to advance public understanding of humankind in all its aspects.”

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African Language Scholar Wins Guggenheim Fellowship

May 18th, 2011

CAS prof sheds light on centuries-old written language
By Susan Seligson

When he was growing up in Senegal, Fallou Ngom spoke six languages. He has applied his fascination with language toward cultivating knowledge of, and respect for, a written derivative of Arabic script called Ajami. Although long ignored by colonial powers and the West, Ajami is found in villages all over Senegal, Guinea, and Niger, where it remains a leading written language of commerce, legal documents, journals, even poetry.

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Professor Cheryl Knott featured at

February 15th, 2011

For the last 18 years, Cheryl Knott of Boston University has been racing the clock. While she researches orangutans in the rainforests of Gunung Palung National Park in Borneo, the numbers of this magnificent ape steadily plummet.

The outlook for orangutans–one of human’s closest relatives–is dire because there are only a few tens of thousands of them currently left in the wild, and they are found in only two places: the Sumatran rain forests, where they are critically endangered; and the Borneo rain forests, where they are endangered. The decline of the Sumatran and Bornean populations of orangutans is caused by varied threats, such as illegal logging, the conversion of rain forest to palm oil plantations and farmland, poaching and the pet trade.

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