Anthropology Department

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the anthropology major, a student will have demonstrated a command of the methods and processes of contemporary anthropology, the ability to complete a sustained research project, and the ability to present their work in writing and in discussion. Majors will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate command of the work and methods of contemporary anthropology:
    • Recognize, analyze and compare key theoretical frameworks that have shaped the intellectual genealogy of Anthropology as a discipline (eg., the Boasians, Durkheimian structural-functionalism, structuralism, interpretive or symbolic anthropology, the postcolonial turn, etc.).
    • Apply such frameworks in analyzing specific ethnographic or historical phenomena
    • Analyze a descriptive ethnographic excerpt from classical and contemporary anthropological texts
    • Formulate a proposal for pursuing further anthropological analysis of the material, including accessing, collecting and analyzing additional data
  2. Execute and defend a significant independent research project in anthropology:
    • Formulate a significant research topic
    • Develop and pursue a methodology appropriate to a research topic
    • Situate the argument within anthropological and social theoretical literature
    • Articulate an original anthropological argument and mobilize ethnographic or historical data (whether gathered through first-hand fieldwork, through archival or other primary documents, or culled from secondary sources) to support it.
    • Independently investigate the topic with the support of an advisor
    • Respond appropriately to feedback
  3. Communicate work done
    • Write a clear and coherent document that is substantially longer than a traditional term paper or project and formatted in a style appropriate to the approach
    • Communicate both to experts in the field and non-experts
    • Orally present, discuss and defend work done

The primary assessment tool for learning in the major at Reed and the level of student achievement in the major area is the senior thesis; the junior qualifying examination, which assesses a student's readiness for thesis, provides a preliminary assessment tool. For more information on the thesis and the Junior Qualifying Exam, see Junior Qual and Resources for Seniors.