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Courses taught by Tom Shaw


Shaw is not teaching anthro in the Fall of 2010



Department of Anthropology

Departmental Office
Stevenson Hall 2054
1801 East Cotati Ave
Rohnert Park, CA 94928-3609
707- 664-2312
707- 664-3920 fax

Programs offered:

Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology

Master of Arts in Cultural Resources Management

Minor in Anthropology

Teaching Credential Preparation

Special Emphasis B.A. in Anthropology

Advisory Plan in Human Development

Bachelor of Arts in Human Development


Of all the human sciences, anthropology is the broadest. Anthropologists study how human beings have come to be as they are, a physically distinct species, communicating through language, adapted to every habitat on earth, and living an amazing variety of lives. As anthropologists have become increasingly engaged with the world of the 1990s, they have led in the development of a global focus on how culturally different peoples interact and how humans change their customary ways of life.

Anthropology consists of four (some would say five) subdisciplines:

  • Biological Anthropology deals with the evolution of the human body, mind, and behavior as inferred through study of fossils and comparisons with behavior of other primate species.
  • Archaeology examines our past ways of life through the interpretation of material remains, written records, and oral traditions.
  • Cultural Anthropology explores the diversity of existing human ways of life, how they work, how they change, and how they interrelate in the modern world.
  • Linguistic Anthropology examines the structure and diversity of language and related human communication systems.
  • In addition, Applied Anthropology emphasizes how the theories, techniques and methods of anthropology can be employed to facilitate stability or change and solve problems in real world situations, which for this faculty includes preserving Native American and early Californian cultural heritages, aiding indigenous specialists to collaborate in the planning of development, encouraging ethnographic understanding of schooling in its cultural context, and consulting on local community development.

Through training in anthropology students learn of many different cultures throughout the world, how they developed, the significance of their differences, and how they change. Students are thus equipped with a broad perspective for viewing both themselves and others.

Inevitably, students of anthropology face being asked what they can do with their degree. For professional anthropologists, many of whom are not academics lodged in universities and research institutions, opportunities for employment in government, in the business world, in education, and in social service are surprisingly diverse. For example:

Cultural anthropologists helped the government of Venezuela to plan an entire new city in a previously little-occupied region. Working for Xerox, cultural anthropologists assist in product development by studying the problems office workers encounter when working with new equipment.
Uncovering prehistoric cultivation systems, archaeologists have suggested how techniques from the past may be re-employed in the present to achieve sustainable agricultural systems. Archaeologists are employed by a host of federal and state agencies charged with locating and preserving sites that contain information about our own prehistoric and historic past.
Biological anthropologists work in a variety of settings, including medical schools (as anatomists) and medical research facilities (as medical geneticists and physiologists), in crime laboratories (as forensic anthropologists and expert witnesses), in industrial and military facilities (as designers of appropriate environments), and in zoos and nature conservancies (as keepers and students of primates).
Linguistic anthropologists are active in the design of curricula for teaching national languages to immigrants and indigenous populations. In Japan, where female speakers are expected to use complex terms of subservience and respect, linguistic anthropologists have studied how female scientists manipulate their language to achieve clear communication in technical laboratories.
At a more general level, students of anthropology acquire skill in the formulation of both theoretical and practical questions regarding human life, in collecting and organizing data on many levels of human behavior, and in constructing appropriate interpretations and generalizations based on well-thought-out procedures. The combination of knowledge about human ways of life, and training in analytic skills provides training valuable in virtually all fields of endeavor that deal with human society and culture. This perspective is invaluable in preparing students for careers either in research professions or in vocations involving human services or planned change. Some of these are: cultural resources management, environmental planning, nursing, teaching, public health administration, business, public relations, law, community development, and international service.

The bachelor of arts in anthropology provides a balanced grounding in the theoretical approaches and the body of knowledge central to the discipline of anthropology. The general major may be modified through a special emphasis in the anthropology major, which provides students with an opportunity to design an individualized course of study emphasizing a particular subfield of anthropology. The minor in anthropology recognizes basic training in anthropology as an adjunct to a major in other subjects.

The department also offers a master of arts degree in cultural resources management, which involves the identification, evaluation, and preservation of cultural resources, as mandated by cultural resources legislation and guided by scientific standards within the planning process. The primary objective of the master's program in cultural resources management is to produce professionals competent in the methods and techniques appropriate for filling cultural resources management and related positions, and to provide the theoretical background necessary for research design, data collection and analysis.

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