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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Peter V Lape
ARCHY 101
Seattle Campus

Exploring Archaeology

Introduces perspectives from archaeology on the long term history of the diversity and the dynamics of human life. Examines how archaeologists gather and use data and how that information is relevant to contemporary society. Concepts and methods introduced through readings focus around a theme that varies such as environmental issues, warfare, and migration.

Class description

The Anthropology of War is a 5 credit, project-based introductory course designed to challenge students to think critically about communal violence.  Co-taught as ANTH and ARCHY 101, and employing theories and methods from both archaeology and sociocultural anthropology, the course will focus on a series of related questions: What is war?  Is it defined the same way across cultures and throughout time?  Is group violence part of the “normal” functioning of society or does it represent the breakdown or absence of routine social controls?  Are there gendered dimensions to communal violence that cross contexts?  How is war remembered and commemorated in different cultural contexts?  What difference does technology make to how war is conducted and understood?  What might we learn if we compare the various archives of wars past with the violent conflicts we see around us today or that we imagine in the future?

The Anthropology of War is part of two University of Washington initiatives: the campus wide effort to make Foundations courses an innovative introduction to the disciplines; and the Difficult Dialogues project, which seeks to make student engagement with the communities around them a key element of their education. We will therefore take an experiential learning approach to this course. The course is designed to challenge students to relate their coursework to projects involving diverse Seattle communities as interlocutors. Many Seattle residents have stories to tell about how war has shaped their identities and their communities, and the very geography of the city is determined by wars remembered and wars forgotten.

Student learning goals

Introduce students to the range of possibilities of anthropological inquiry

Assist students in critically engaging the challenging legacy of conflicts which have shaped their identities and the identities of others they encounter in and beyond the university

General method of instruction

In class time for this course will be divided between sections, lectures, and skills workshops. Sections for this class will meet two times a week, on Mondays and Wednesdays, and are co-taught by two TAs. Monday sections will be devoted to work on the projects. This will be an opportunity to work with students and TAs on developing and executing the projects. Course instructors will also participate in some of these discussions, and on some weeks we will not meet in order to give students time to work on projects. Wednesday sections will be devoted to discussions of the lectures and readings.

Lectures will also meet twice a week, on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Tuesday lectures will cover new topical material. Thursday meetings will vary in format. Some weeks will be lectures, others will be devoted to exams or to skills workshops in which we will go over the tools (conceptual and material) that anthropologists employ in the field and which students will use for their projects. For example, we will hold training workshops in archaeological site documentation and mapping, use of digital camcorders and still cameras, mini-disc audio recorders and editing software.

Recommended preparation

no prerequisites

Class assignments and grading

•Read and be prepared to discuss assigned readings for each class meeting •Complete three project segments and three quizzes •Engage with communities inside and outside of the course and the University of Washington •Post your projects to the course via the virtual map and present your project results to the class

•45% - Project (3 parts, 15% each plus final portfolio). Each of the three projects (archaeological mapping, ethnographic interview, and dialogue project) will be evaluated independently. The final segment of the project assignment will include a short critical reflection paper (4-5 pages) on the experience of the project work. It will be submitted at the end of the quarter as a final portfolio.

•25% - Participation. This part of the grade is based on participation in the lectures, sections and workshops. Grades are assigned in consultation with TAs.

•30% - Quizzes (3 at 10% each). There will be three in-class quizzes during the quarter which will cover material from the lectures and readings.


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Peter V Lape
Date: 03/04/2008