Human Cultural Diversity

This course introduces students to the discipline of cultural anthropology. Students read a combination of ethnographies and articles as well as critically examine multimedia to learn about human cultural diversity. In exploring ethnographic methods, students also apply anthropological frameworks to reflect on their own lives and the world around them.


Environment and Culture

This course provides a general overview to the field of environmental anthropology, and surveys key methods and theories anthropologists use to analyze diverse expressions of human-environment interconnections. Topics include cultural ecology, agroecology, ethnobiology, politicalecology, and environmental justice. Students design their own mini-ethnography projects centered on a topic relevant to the course and build on knowledge about sustainable communities in the West Lafayette/Lafayette region. Check out the final report from Anth 327 Spring 2014 here:

EEE and ANTH undergraduate student Kaitlin Harris taking solar measurements to design sustainable power solutions for Kokojagoti, a Kayapó media collective.

EEE and ANTH undergraduate student Kaitlin Harris taking solar measurements to design sustainable power solutions for Kokojagoti, a Kayapó media collective.

EPICS Global Alternative Power Solutions

GAPS (Global Alternative Power Solutions) is a course offered through EPICS, a program at Purdue. Our mission is to provide alternative means of power to communities, businesses, or people. Currently, we are working on two projects. For the first project, we are partnering with the University of Antioquia to provide power to a local school (Leon XIII) in Medellin, Colombia. Our second project focuses on co-designing and supporting a media center with a Kayapó community in Brazil.

History of Theory in Anthropology

This is an advanced level seminar that covers the history of anthropological thought up to the 1980s.  Learning about earlier theories, students learn about evolutionism, historicism, functionalism, structuralism, materialism, visual anthropology, and other approaches that served as the foundation to the discipline. Applying a critical lens to this intellectual genealogy, students engage with theories with questions about authority, representation, and power in mind.

A different version of this course has also been offered at the 400 level and serves as a capstone experience for anthropology majors (Anth 407).  Check out the final projects from graduating seniors in 2014 where they addressed different "wicked problems” by clicking the button below and the Anth 507 podcast series here:

Ethnographic Field Methods

Ethnographic methods are at the core of most cultural anthropological toolkits.  This seminar course offers students an introduction to ethnographic research, methods, and design. A selection of case studies will be read, reported on, and discussed by seminar participants.  Students will formulate a research design appropriate to their graduate work and carry out assignments that build on their understanding of what it means to do ethnography.

Anthropology of Water

Using an anthropological and social science perspective on water issues, this course explores the myriad ways in which water resources are part of the lives of millions of peoples in the world. Focusing on issues of access, use, and resource management, students examine the politics and rules surrounding water in freshwater and marine environments. Students in this course will create digital ethnographies as part of the Presence to Influence team ( Stay tuned for more information about their results.

Political Ecology

Political ecology is a research framework that pairs the strengths of political economic analysis with socio-ecological approaches to environmental issues. In this course we explore the diverse ways of doing political ecology by drawing upon the fields of anthropology, political science, geography, and history as well as interdisciplinary environmental studies and sciences. We also critically examine the field through a historical exploration of its intellectual genealogy, an investigation of current research trends, and imagine possible futures.

Interdisciplinary Approaches to Environmental and Sustainability Studies

This course is the lynchpin of the undergraduate Certificate in Environmental and Sustainability Studies. It is designed from the ground up to be an interdisciplinary course, and to match the transdisciplinary spirit of the CESS program. CESS 326 explores three main fields of interdisciplinary approaches to analyzing and tackling environmental programs: 1) the humanities and social sciences, 2) engineering, and 3) environmental sciences. This team-taught course will present a series of case studies, core concepts, and problem questions that integrate the following three academic approaches in mind: 1) Human Dimensions and Environment/ Sustainability, 2) Engineering and Environment/ Sustainability, and 3) Environmental/ Sustainability Sciences.

Visual Anthropology

As new media and digital technologies are changing the landscape of how we engage, communicate and represent ourselves and each other, this course explores the visual as a site to examine everyday lives from an ethnographic perspective. This course will map the way in which anthropology, photography, film and museum work have long been intertwined. Approaching the visual as a data collection method and a site of analysis we will read ethnographies, make films, explore museums, and examine photographs as sites to understand the complex world in which we live.

Study Abroad

I co-lead a study abroad course to Brazil in the summer that is focused on Indigenous Rights, Conservation, Development and Media Activism


Purdue Anthropology Courses

Honors Options in Anthropology

Community Partnership Experiences

Anth 418: Ethnographic Methods Indigenous Peoples, Film, Conservation and Development