Anthropology | Teachers College Columbia University

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Academic Catalog 2017-2018

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Anthropology

Department of - International & Transcultural Studies

Contact Information

212-678-3309
Professor Herve Varenne

Program Description

Within Columbia University, Teachers College has been a pioneer in exploring how anthropology can be engaged in public conversations about practical matters. This has led to the creation of two programs, one in Anthropology and Education and the other in Applied Anthropology. These two programs function as one entity and provide a unique research and training experience for a very select group of students. This highly personal academic environment within the larger university maximizes the interaction between students and faculty while offering a variety of scholarly and professional resources.

Both programs prepare students to enter current research and policy conversations about education, health, the enivornment, and other fields to which anthropology can contribute. The programs are built on the premise that one can apply anthropology only to the extent that one has been rigorously trained in the theory and methodology of the discipline. The program combines systematic theoretical training with courses on qualitative research methods, including participant observation, advanced ethnographic methods, and discourse analysis. We encourage students to conduct "on-the-ground" research, applying their emerging methodological expertise to situations across the globe. Many of our students also use their training to better social inequality around the world.

The faculty has a distinguished record of publications and research projects, most of which have been conducted in the United States, the Caribbean, South America, and Europe.

Anthropology and Education

The program in Anthropology and Education prepares professionals and researchers to analyze and understand educational processes in schools and classrooms, in families, on street corners, in community centers, in churches, and in all settings where education may proceed. The department houses the largest group of anthropologists of education to be found in any university in the world. It has been, for decades, one of the prominent places to study the anthropology of education.

Applied Anthropology (a joint program)

In 1968, Teachers College and the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences of Columbia University implemented a joint program of Applied Anthropology. This joint venture is open to graduate students registered at either graduate school. By this agreement, all applied anthropological training at Columbia University is administered through Teachers College. The joint program offers a course of study and thorough training in applied anthropology that is certified by both institutions and capitalizes on the strength of the university’s faculty.

This program focuses on the complex issues involved in applying anthropological knowledge and approaches to matters of policy at global, national, and local levels. Students work in a variety of areas, including education, international development, businesses and corporations, the environment, and health.

Resources

Both the Anthropology and Education and the Applied Anthropology programs are conducted in collaboration with the Department of Anthropology at Columbia University, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Barnard College, the School of International and Public Affairs, and other professional schools and institutions of the University. Students have access to courses across the university.

In addition, our location in New York City allows students easy access to a myriad of prestigious academic and research institutions. Doctoral students may take courses through the Inter-University Doctoral Consortium (for participating institutions, see the Inter-University Doctoral Consortium section in this catalog). They frequently become involved in the plethora of international organizations in New York, and they collaborate with the diverse individuals who call New York home.

Most graduates find academic posts and administrative positions in colleges, universities, and professional schools. Others locate in federal and international agencies, research institutes, private foundations, medical institutions, consulting firms, and social welfare and community service organizations in the United States and abroad.

Degree Summary

Anthropology and Education (ANTH)

  • Master of Arts (M.A.)
  • Master of Education (Ed.M.)
  • Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)
  • Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Applied Anthropology (ANTA)

  • Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

For a complete listing of degree requirements, please click the "Degrees" tab above

For a complete listing of degree requirements, please continue on to this program's "Degrees" section in this document

Degree Requirements

Anthropology and Education: M.A.

The Master of Arts program in Anthropology and Education offers a disciplinary approach that carefully explores and contributes to the analysis and understanding of educational processes in all settings where education may proceed. Administrators, counselors, evaluators, and research associates can improve their work through learning how anthropological methods are applied to educational problems, policy, and practice. Students should choose an area of emphasis from Urban Education or Ethnographic Methods for Education Analysis.

The program requires at least five courses (15 points) in anthropology offered through the Department. The program should include at least one colloquium or seminar-level course; three courses (9 points) in the fields foundational to anthropology (economics, history, linguistics, philosophy, psychology, sociology); and four other courses (8-9 points) that directly contribute to the emerging professional interest of the candidate. The M.A. program requires an integrative project in addition to the 32-point program.

To satisfy program breadth requirements, master's students must complete three Teachers College courses (for this purpose a course is defined as one in which at least 2 points are earned) outside the major program.


Anthropology and Education: Ed.M.

The Master of Education degree program is flexible, allowing students to address various professional concerns, satisfy diverse academic needs, and enhance professional skills.

Minimally, candidates for the Ed.M. degree in Anthropology and Education take 40 points in courses related to the main fields of the discipline, including at least 24 points in anthropology. A minimum of five courses (15 points) must be taken in fields foundational to anthropology (economics, history, linguistics, philosophy, psychology, sociology). An additional 21 points must also be taken to complete the course of study. To satisfy program breadth requirements, master's students must complete three Teachers College courses (for this purpose a course is defined as one in which at least 2 points are earned) outside the major program. These courses should be chosen so as to enhance the professional preparation of the student in his or her expected field of practice. Up to 30 of the required 60 points may be transferred from previous coursework to the extent that they fulfill some of the requirements listed above. Students are also required to conduct an integrative project in addition to the 60 points of coursework.


Anthropology and Education: Ed.D.

The Doctor of Education degree is for students who plan to engage in scholarly writing and research, applied research and evaluation, or teaching and administrative responsibilities at colleges, universities, professional schools of education and medicine, research institutes, or state, federal, and international agencies and bureaus.

A minimum of 90 points of acceptable graduate credit is required for the Doctor of Education (Ed.D.). A minimum of 45 points must be completed through Teachers College registration. Forty-two points of major courses are required. These courses prepare students with the requisite knowledge of epistemological, theoretical, methodological, ethnographic, and substantive areas of anthropology. They aim to develop competency in the discipline, while addressing the specific intellectual interests of the student. Fifteen points in research methods and statistical courses are also required.

An objective understanding of education and educational institutions, of persons and the learning process, and the various forms of measurement and evaluation in cognate areas prepares program graduates with the knowledge and skills necessary for researching and working in a variety of formal and non-formal educational settings through 18 points of broad and basic areas.

This leaves 15 points of electives to increase competence in comparative, regional or international studies, or to enhance technical skills used in conjunction with but outside the major course of study. At least three of these courses (8–9 points) must be taken in fields foundational to anthropology (economics, history, linguistics, philosophy, psychology, sociology).

Certification Requirements

Certification is the means of indicating that the student is regarded as having attained the expected competencies of the program. An overall grade average of B+ is expected. In addition, students must complete a set of written examinations on topics relevant to Anthropology and Education and to Applied Anthropology.

Dissertation Requirements

After passing the written certification examination, the candidate prepares a dissertation proposal to be defended in oral examination. One or two years of anthropological field research is required for the collection of original field data based on the dissertation research proposal.


Anthropology and Education: Ph.D.

The Doctor of Philosophy degree is for students who plan to engage in scholarly writing and research, applied research and evaluation, or teaching and administrative responsibilities at colleges; universities; professional schools of education and medicine; research institutes; or state, federal, and international agencies and bureaus.

Each student develops, in collaboration with an advisor, a program of study in anthropology designed to establish a high level of competency. A minimum of 75 points of acceptable graduate credit is required for the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.).

Of these 75 points, a maximum of 30 points may be transferred in courses from other recognized graduate schools. Forty-five points of Anthropology courses are required overall. Of these, up to 15 points in anthropology courses may be taken at other graduate institutions which are members of the Inter-University Doctoral Consortium.

These courses prepare students with the requisite knowledge of epistemological, theoretical, methodological, ethnographic, and substantive areas of anthropology. They aim to develop competency in the discipline, while addressing the specific intellectual interests of the student.

Within the major course requirements, 21 points in required courses must be taken: the four-semester sequence of colloquia and summer field research (a minimum of 12 points); an additional theory course outside of the first semester colloquium (3 points); and two ethnography courses, one within and one outside of a student's interest (6 points).

Fifteen points in research methods and statistical courses are also required. The remaining 15 points of electives are used to increase competence in comparative, regional, or international studies, or to enhance technical skills used in conjunction with but outside the major course of study. At least three of these courses (8-9 points) must be taken in fields foundational to anthropology (economics, history, linguistics, philosophy, psychology, sociology.) Of the 75 graduate points required for the degree, a minimum of 45 must be taken for an evaluative letter grade.

Certification Requirements

Certification is the means of indicating that the student is regarded as having attained the expected competencies of the program. An overall grade average of B+ is expected. In addition, students must complete a set of written examinations on topics relevant to Anthropology and Education or Applied Anthropology.

Dissertation Requirements

After passing the written certification examination, the candidate prepares a dissertation proposal to be defended in oral examination. One or two years of anthropological field research is required for the collection of original field data based on the dissertation research proposal.

Foreign Language Requirement

Each candidate must satisfy the foreign language requirement by demonstrating a high level of proficiency in one language other than English.


Applied Anthropology: Ph.D.

The Doctor of Philosophy degree is for students who plan to engage in scholarly writing and research, applied research and evaluation, or teaching and administrative responsibilities at colleges, universities, professional schools of education and medicine, research institutes, or state, federal, and international agencies and bureaus.

Each student, in collaboration with an advisor, develops a program of study in anthropology designed to establish a high level of competency. A minimum of 75 points of acceptable graduate credit is required for the Doctor of Philosophy.

Of these 75 points, a maximum of 30 points may be transferred in courses from other recognized graduate schools. Forty-five points of Anthropology courses are required overall. Of these, up to 15 points in anthropology courses may be taken at other graduate institutions which are members of the Inter-University Doctoral Consortium.

These courses prepare students with the requisite knowledge of epistemological, theoretical, methodological, ethnographic, and substantive areas of anthropology. They aim to develop competency in the discipline, while addressing the specific intellectual interests of the student.

Within the major course requirements, 27 points in required courses must be taken: the four-semester sequence of colloquia and summer field research (a minimum of 12 points); an additional theory course outside of the first semester colloquium (3 points); two ethnography courses, one within and one outside of one’s interest (6 points); and two sub-discipline courses (6 points), one in linguistics and one from either archaeology or physical anthropology.

Fifteen points in research methods and statistical courses are also required. The remaining 15 points of electives are used to increase competence in comparative, regional, or international studies, or to enhance technical skills used in conjunction with but outside the major course of study. At least three of these courses (8-9 points) must be taken in fields foundational to anthropology (economics, history, linguistics, philosophy, psychology, sociology). Of the 75 graduate points required for the degree, a minimum of 45 must be taken for an evaluative letter grade.

Certification Requirements

Certification is the means of indicating that the student is regarded as having attained the expected competencies of the program. An overall grade average of B+ is expected. In addition, students must complete a set of written examinations on topics relevant to Anthropology and Education or Applied Anthropology.

Dissertation Requirements

After passing the written certification examination, the candidate prepares a dissertation proposal to be defended in oral examination. One or two years of anthropological field research is required for the collection of original field data based on the dissertation research proposal.

Foreign Language Requirement

Each candidate must satisfy the foreign language requirement by demonstrating a high level of proficiency in one language other than English.


Application Information

Preference in scholarship awards will be for those applicants who meet the early application deadline.

The GRE General Test is required for all applicants. If the applicant will be in or near New York City, an interview with one of the program faculty is recommended.

Faculty List

Faculty

Lecturers

Visiting Faculty

Adjunct

Full-Time Instructors

Instructors

Gardner Cowles Professor of Anthropology and Education
Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Education
Professor of Education

For up to date information about course offerings including faculty information, please visit the online course schedule.

Course List

ITSF 4010 Cultural and social bases of education
Analyses of basic anthropological concepts, with particular reference to the sociocultural context of education and the role of educational institutions in community, national, and regional development. Four-point enrollment requires attendance at film showings before or after class and at discussion sessions held at hours to be arranged.
ITSF 4011 Contexts of education

The exploration of fundamental anthropological concepts for the analysis of educational, cultural, and social institutions, organizations, and processes of different peoples of the world. 

ITSF 4012 Cross-cultural studies of learning
Analyses of basic anthropological concepts, with particular reference to the influence of cultures and subcultures on the learning process, to education in multicultural classrooms, and to the relevance of psychological anthropology to educational issues. Four-point enrollment requires attendance at film showings before or after class and additional discussion sessions held at hours to be arranged.
ITSF 4014 Urban situations and education

An introduction to the anthropological study of cities and how larger-scale urban relationships affect schooling.  Emphasis is placed on understanding urban inequality.

ITSF 4016 Culture and society in Africa
A general survey of sub-Saharan Africa, using contributions from theoretical approaches to anthropological research in the area. Emphasis on socioeconomic, ideological and religious, educational, and political analysis of African communities.
ITSF 4018 Anthropology and development in Africa

This seminar considers issues and problems of development in sub-Saharan Africa. It examines specific development projects from different theoretical and empirical perspectives.

ITSF 4026 Technology and culture

An exploration of the impact of technology broadly defined upon cultural evolution as currently discussed in anthropology and related disciplines.

ITSF 4034 Dynamics of family interaction
An introduction to communication patterns inside families, with a special emphasis on both their complexity at the interpersonal level and their simplicity within the social structure of a community. Class time is dominated by cross-cultural data on family structure and videotape analyses of communication patterns within American families.
ITSF 4900 Research independent study anthropology and education
Advanced students may register for intensive individual study of some aspect of their concentration. Registration is only by permission of the instructor under whose guidance the work will be undertaken. Times for individual conferences will be arranged. Enrollment may be for 1 or more points each term, and registration is not limited to one or two terms.
ITSF 5000 Introductory methods of ethnography and participant observation

This course examines the methods of the social sciences as they relate to ethnography and participant observation. The course emphasizes the role of theory, characteristics of various research techniques, and the importance of integrated research design. The course provides opportunities to practice ethnographic research techniques, including developing a research question, designing a study, interviewing, conducting observations, and analyzing data. There are no prerequisites.

ITSF 5001 Advanced methods of ethnography and participant observation: fieldwork, analysis, reporting

Permission required. ITSF 5000, 4902, or equivalent required. This course examines methods to anayze ethnographic and, more broadly, qualitative data. Students who enroll are expected to be writing a proposal or to have already completed a significant amount of data collection. The course considers the role of theory in ethnography, different analytical traditions and techniques, and how to write up ethnographic data.

ITSF 5003 Communication and culture

An advanced and critical introduction to major theories of culture, language, and expression as they have proven relevant to the study of education.  The focus is on interpersonal processes, the structuring of interaction, the organization of larger groupings (race, gender, etc.), and the personal and institutional consequences of all symbolic processes.

ITSF 5007 Race, class and schooling: Ethnographic approaches
This course examines the role of schooling in the formation of race and class structures across the Americas, including Latin America, the Caribbean, and the United States.
ITSF 5012 Culture and society in the Caribbean
Detailed survey, utilizing contributions from theoretical approaches to anthropological research in the area. Emphasis on socioeconomics, community studies, and sociopolitical analyses.
ITSF 5013 Psychological anthropology
The concepts, theories, and methods of psychological anthropology. Cross-cultural studies of learning processes. Emphasis on recent work in the field, prob lems of cross-cultural methodology, and the study of socialization.
ITSF 5015 Political anthropology: Labor, race, and belief

This course considers the theories and concepts used by anthropologists and other social scientists in the analysis of political behavior and institutions. It analyzes the contemporary theories for the study of power and uses ethnographies of education to examine such ideas.

ITSF 5016 Anthropology and education

Introduction to the ethno- graphic investigation of educative institutions (villages, neighborhoods, families, peer groups, schools, etc.) and to the policy issues it addresses.

ITSF 5018 Drugs and Society
Utilizing theoretical and methodological perspectives from social and cultural anthropology, this course is designed to explore the contextual dimensions of illicit drug use as well as other drug-related issues. A comparative, cross-cultural approach will be utilized and case material drawn from traditional as well as modern settings.
ITSF 5020 Practicum in anthropological field techniques
For anthropologists and non-anthropologists contemplating independent, qualitative research, this course provides hands-on experience in techniques for generating, recording, and managing anthropological data in the field.
ITSF 5037 Global Literacies

This course draws upon the sociology of language, sociolinguistics, applied linguistics, and the anthropology of literacy to consider current debates in the field as well as trends in language and literacy in international contexts, specifically in regards to evaluation, teacher training, and curriculum development.

ITSF 5045 Globalization, Mobility & Education

Drawing on the anthropology of globalization and sociology of immigration, this course reviews major theories of immigrant incorporation and exclusion processes, examines case studies of im/migrants, refugees, and displaced persons and their adaptation process in countries in the North and South, and considers educational practices and policies that develop to address mobility in diverse contexts.

ITSF 5610 First-year colloquium in applied anthropology
Permission required. This is a year-long critical review of important works in anthropology and education and applied anthropology. During the spring semester, students present proposals for their summer fieldwork before the members of both programs. Required of, and open only to, first-year doctoral students. Meets concurrently with ITSF 5611 during the spring semester.
ITSF 5611 Second-year colloquium in anthropological method
Permission required. This is a year-long review of the methods of field research and data analysis in anthropology, with special reference to educational systems and processes. Network analysis, systematic observation, quantification procedures, participant observation, ethnographic interview, use of film and videotape, cross-cultural survey techniques, and testing and experimental design. During the spring semester, students report on their completed summer fieldwork before the members of both programs. Required of, and open only to, second-year doctoral students. Meets concurrently with ITSF 5610 during the spring semester.
ITSF 6510 Education and cultural production
Seminar reviewing theoretical developments in culture theory as it focuses on education as the foundation of cultural production.
ITSF 6900 Research independent study anthropology and education
Advanced students may register for intensive individual study of some aspect of their concentration. Registration is only by permission of the instructor under whose guidance the work will be undertaken. Times for individual conferences will be arranged. Enrollment may be for 1 or more points each term, and registration is not limited to one or two terms.
ITSF 6911 Workgroup in psychological anthropology
This workgroup meets every other week to discuss current issues in psychological anthropology. It also discusses and reviews current research and proposals for research of workgroup members, including faculty, alumni, and doctoral students concentrating in psychological anthropology.