Still thinking about how to spend your next couple of months? Join Professor Javier Urcid as he journeys through the bio-cultural transformations of humanity and studies forensic methods and techniques in his Anthropology classes this summer!
Professor Urcid will offer two Anthropology courses during Summer School Session 2: July 8 to August 9, 2019. Read more about these classes below.
ANTH 5a – HUMAN ORIGINS
This course covers the transformation of human biological and cultural endowments through a span of some 7 million years, from a hominoid stage to the appearance of anatomically modern humans. A consideration of the human genome, of our place in nature–including our relationship with non-human primates–, and a review of evolutionary principles, leads to a broad coverage of the archaeological findings of hominids in a diachronic framework. Further consideration is placed on the selective processes that led to the human reliance on symbolic adaptations. The journey through the bio-cultural transformations of humanity highlights the emergence of bipedal locomotion, the increased levels of encephalization, changes in subsistence practices, the control of fire, the appearance of language, and the anthropogenic impacts of the global dispersal of modern humans.
The course is lecture-oriented and combines in-class presentations with discussions of assigned readings. Students engage throughout the summer session in the critical assessment of several video documentaries. Students make these assessments using the conceptual tools that are presented and discussed in class.
ANTH 116a – HUMAN OSTEOLOGY
This course reviews in detail human skeletal anatomy for the proper identification of the bones in the body, their biomechanical articulations, and their relationship with the muscular system. Focus is then directed to studying forensic methods and techniques for the estimation of age at the time of death, determination of sex, assessment of type of bone remodeling, identification of cultural modifications to bone, and of the impact of environmental processes on bony tissue. Hands-on laboratory sessions involve team analysis of human remains from the comparative collection in the Archaeology Laboratory at Brandeis.
The course combines lectures, class discussions, trans-media materials, and a hands-on project where students (organized in groups) use the human skeletal comparative collection to collect data and write a research paper that mimics a forensic report on a set of commingled and highly fragmented remains.